Exchange Theory and the Micro-foundations of Social Structure
The processes that lead to social order are considered as intricate and premeditated, and not spontaneous. The construction of social order is the result, in reference to Blau’s Exchange Theory, of trust and solidarity achieved through repeated social exchange. This paper will explain how and why social exchange occurs and the significance of continual social exchange between two counterparts.
Blau states that “social attraction is the force that induces human beings to establish social associations on their own initiative and to expand the scope of their associations once they have been …show more content…
Therefore, the more dependent a subordinate is of a single exchange counterpart as a source of rewards, the greater the difference in power between the two counterparts; thus, an inequality of power is established (Blau 1964: 119). One can then infer that through Blau’s inquiry, social order, in a general view, can range from an equal social association to an association related to subordination and superordination due to inequality in power.
Blau states that the causal relationship of how social exchange proceeds is more of a psychological aspect of human behavior, due to the “underlying feelings of attraction between individuals and their desires for various kinds of rewards” (Blau 1964: 112). “An individual is attracted to another if he expects associating with him to be in some way rewarding for himself, and his interest in the expected social awards draws him to the other” (Blau 1964: 113). An individual that is attracted to another, is then “interested in proving himself attractive to them” (Blau 1964: 113), in order to further associate with the counterpart. Blau emphasizes that social exchange consists of social obligations created through social interactions that are unspecified and difficult to quantify (Blau 1964: 122), therefore the exchange cannot be valued as “1-1”. Thus, there is a risk of a