Download Citation on ResearchGate | The Norm Of Reciprocity: A Preliminary Article in American Sociological Review 25(2) · April with 1, Reads. DOI: / Cite this publication. Alvin Ward GOULDNER. Abstract. American sociologist Alvin Gouldner () was the. first to propose the existence of a universal, generalized. norm of reciprocity. He argued that almost all. (). More than four decades ago, Gouldner clarified the concept and its dimensions and assumed the existence of a universal norm of reciprocity in a.

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The norm of reciprocity | Hein Lodewijkx –

In the course of the polemic, thequestion of the degree of such gratification– the relation betweenits output and input–became obscured. Indeed, he is in very good company, agreeing with L. If the exploitation of women by men or men by women is worthy ofsociological attention, then also worth studying is the exploitationof students by teachers, of workers by management or union leaders,of patients by doctors, 24 and so on.

The Evolution of Cooperation. The norm thussafeguards powerful people against the temptations of their ownstatus: Granted that the question of origins can readily bog down in ametaphysical morass, the goulcner is that many concrete social systems dohave determinate beginnings. Recent studies offriendship and other interpersonal relations in housing projects havebegun to explore this problem.

Inthe first case, heteromorphic reciprocity, equivalence may mean thatthe things exchanged may be concretely different but should be equalin valueas defined by the actors in the situation. Why this isso remains nlrm tempting problem for the sociology of knowledge, butcannot be explored here.

It is further indicative of our terminological difficulties inthis area that this is often what Piaget spoke of as “reciprocity. Hekman and colleagues found that professional employees, such as doctors and lawyers, are most likely to repay POS with better performance when they have high levels of organizational identification combined with low levels of professional identification. This is a time, then, whenmen are morally constrained to manifest their gratitude toward, or atleast to maintain peace with, their benefactors.

Thus he speaks of reciprocity as taking place “within astanding partnership, or as associated with definite social ties orcoupled with mutuality in non-economic matters. However, the rise of sociobiology was not well received by mainstream psychologists. Free Press, ; seeesp.


Norm of Reciprocity – Gouldner

This formulation induces a focus on conformity anddeviance, and the degrees and types of each. Hobhouse, who held that “reciprocity. Properly speaking, complementarity refers only to thefirst two meanings sketched above, where what is a right of Egoimplies an obligation of Alter, or where a duty of Alter to Egoimplies a right of Ego against Alter.

Why do we punish? In this vein, Malinowski writes: Speaking of the reciprocal exchange of vegetables and fish betweeninland communities and fishing villages, Malinowski remarks thatthere is a “system of mutual obligations which forces the fishermanto repay whenever he has received a gift from his inland partner, andvice versa.

In thesecond case, homeomorphic reciprocity, equivalence may mean thatexchanges should be concretely alike, or identical in form, eitherwith respect to the things exchanged or to the circumstances underwhich they are exchanged. A Your colleague will make a proposal as to how the money should be divided.

Norm of reciprocity

Presumably, the reason for this isbecause of the importance of complementarity in maintaining thestability of social systems. The other two meanings of complementarity differ substantially. Universityof Chicago Press,p.

Clearly, if what one party deems hisright is accepted by the other as his obligation, their relation willbe more stable than if the latter fails to so define it. Routledge and Kegan Paul. Perhapsa less emotionally freighted–if infelicitous–term such as”reciprocity imbalance” will suffice to direct attention once againto the crucial question of unequal exchanges.

Parsons uses the two concepts as if they aresynonymous 29 and, for the most part, centers his analysis oncomplementarity to the systematic neglect of reciprocity rigorouslyconstrued.

At theother logical extreme, one party may give nothing in return for thebenefits it has received. Note Davis’s tendency to assume that legitimate sexualrelations entail an exchange of equal values even though hisprevious sentence indicates that there may be no more than “a certainamount gokldner reciprocity” involved. This is animportant problem that cannot be developed here.

It is to this anti-Durkheimianpoint that he directs the brunt of his polemic. The positive reciprocity norm is a common social expectation where a person who helps another person can expect positive feedback whether it’s in the form of a gift, a compliment, a loan, a job reference, etc.


Ross, 17 von Wiese, andHoward Becker. Merton’s posture toward the notion of a social survival is bothpragmatic and sceptical. A full analysis of the ways in which the whole reciprocitiescomplex is involved in the maintenance of social systems wouldrequire consideration of the linkages between each of its variouselements, and their relation to other general goulrner of socialsystems.

These may require an almostunconditional compliance in the sense that they are incumbent on allthose in a given status simply by virtue of its occupancy. In these four implications of complimentarity–sometimes calledreciprocal rights and obligations there are two distinctive types ofcases.

Given the often vague use of theterm “right,” it is quite possible that this proposition, in oneaspect, is only an expansion of some definition of the concept”right. In effect, then,reciprocity has its significance for role systems in that ittends to structure each role so as to include both rights andduties.

Malinowski frequently seems to confuse this general norm with theexistence of complementary and concrete status rights and duties. Forced to the wall, the man demandinghis “rights,” may say, in effect, “Very well, if you won’t do thissimply because it is your duty, then remember all that I have donefor you in the past and do it to repay your debt to me.

Webarchive template wayback links. Although reciprocal relations stabilize patterns, itneed not follow that a lack of reciprocity is socially impossible orinvariably disruptive of the patterns involved. Howeverconvenient, such a disposition would be rash, for we can readily notethe importance attributed reciptocity the concept of reciprocity by suchscholars as George Homans, Claude Levi-Strauss, and Raymond Firth, 6 as well as by such earlier writers as Durkheim, Marx, Mauss,Malinowski, and von Wiese, nofm name only a few masters.