Social Exchange Peter Blau
Two functions of social exchange • Establish bonds of friendship Ex. The ceremonial Kula exchange in Western Pacific—the Kula partnership provides every man within its ring with a few friends near at hand, and with some friendly allies in the far-away, dangerous, foreign districts. (2)Establish superordination over others Ex. The potlatch in the American Northwest—status in associations and clans, and rank of every kind, are determined by the war of property. • Exchanges in some institution sometimes serve to cement peer relations and sometimes to produce differentiation of status • An individual who supplies rewarding services to another obligates him. To discharge this obligation, the second must furnish benefits to the first in return.
Diminishing of marginal utility • "The profits from exchange decrease with the number of exchanges” • For example: five minutes of expert advise worth much=>another five minutes is just valuable=>more thirty minutes will be less significant
Social exchange entails “"unspecified obligations”—whereas an economic transaction rests on a formal contract that stipulates the exact quantities to be exchanged, social exchange involves the principle that one person does another a favor and its nature is not stipulated in advance.
Social exchange generates trust in social relations—social exchange involves favors that create diffuse future obligations; however, since there is no way to assure an appropriate return to a favor, social exchange requires trusting others to discharge their obligations.
Only social exchange can produce feelings of personal obligation, gratitude, and trust; purely economic exchange cannot. • The benefit involved in social exchange do not have an exact price in terms of a single quantitative medium of exchange—both the social scientist and the actors themselves cannot measure the worth of approval and help in terms of money.
An internalized norm of reciprocity would make one feel guilty if s/he fails to discharge his/her obligations—people usually discharge their social obligations, even though there is not binding contract that can be enforced, in contrast to the contractual obligations in economic exchange, which can be enforced through legal sanctions.
DQ • Do you think that social exchange relation is a process of exchange benefits or it can involve power?