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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GitterMichael D. The feeling of gratitude reinforces that of rectitude and contributes to conformity, thus social stability. In short, itpremises a common tendency toward what used to be called “egoism,” asalient but not exclusive concern with the satisfaction of one’sown needs.

Norm of reciprocity – Wikipedia

Sociology TodayNew York: Overall, exchange transgressions by the English—be endorse some form of the reciprocity norm, and that only they failures to give, accept, or reciprocate property— a few members were exempt from it—the very young, the immediately preceded nearly every intercultural assault at sick, and the old.

For this we need to turn to thereciprocities processes because these, unlike pure complementarity,actually mobilize egoistic motivations and channel them into themaintenance of the social system. Harcourt, Brace,p. The term complementarity, however, is itself an ambiguousone and is not, in all of its meanings, synonymous with reciprocity.

In otherwords, it does not follow that rights and duties are alwaystransitive. Both of these extremes are probably rare insocial relations and the intermediary case, in which one party givessomething more or less than that received, is probably more commonthan either of the limiting cases.

The things exchanged may be heteromorphic; that Peggy Kamuf. The exploitation rendered possible by notable disparitiesof power among the contracting parties encourages a sense ofinjustice which has socially unstabilizing consequences. The norm of reciprocity mirrors the concept of reciprocal altruism in evolutionary biology. Every social system of course has a history, which means that ithas had its beginnings even if these are shrouded in antiquity. Monkeys international settings Lindskold First, the stakeholder is assembling, mobilizing, liquidating resources or assets so as to make a suitable repayment.


Levi-Strauss, Les Structures elementaires de laparenteParis: Like participants in a disarmament conference, eachmay say to other, “You first! We owe others certain things because of whatthey have previously done for us, because of the history of previousinteraction we have had with them. One of Malinowski’s central theses holds that people oweobligations to each other and that, therefore, conformity withnorms is something they give to each other.

Recognition thatthe requirement is for “rough” equivalence, however, should not beallowed to obscure the fact that there may be a specific reciprocitynorm which does in fact call for equivalence.

This research for Social Exchange.

In this respect, the norm ofreciprocity is a concrete and special mechanism involved in themaintenance of any stable social system. Thedecisive issue is whether existent versions of functional theory canexplain social survivals, not whether specific social survivals canexplain other social patterns. 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.

Merton’s discussion implies that certain patterns ofhuman behavior are already known to be, or may in the future be shownto be, social survivals. Universityof Chicago Press,p. New tive meta-norm and Boyd and Richerson Contributors to the American Sociological Review In contrast to the positive reciprocity norm’, the negative reciprocity norm emphasizes the return of unfavourable treatment as an appropriate response to a misdeed.

From the standpoint of a purely economic or utilitarian model, 49 there are certain difficulties in accounting for the manner inwhich social interaction begins. Routledge and Kegan Paul.

Lower trait self-control was associated with a greater willingness to take ethical risks and use curse words.

Norm of reciprocity

Characteristically focusing on the problemof social instability and change, rather than stability and cohesion,the “Marxian” tradition emphasized the opposite end of reciprocitynamely, exploitation. This, I suspect, is one of the major butoverlooked convergences in the history of sociological theory. To suggest that a norm of reciprocity is universal is not, ofcourse, to assert that it is unconditional. First, the actor is accumulating, mobilizing, liquidating, orearmarking resources so that he can make a suitable repayment.

As Kanin andHoward remark, “It has been the practice to speak of exploitationwhen males were found to have entered sexual liaisons with women ofcomparative lower status. Waller’s ambivalentcomments about the concept suggest why it has fallen intosociological disrepute. Depleting self-control resources in a self-control exercise caused participants subsequently to talk when they had been instructed to remain silent. If, for anyreason, people refuse to do their duty, those demanding compliancemay be required to justify their claims.


Why is it that expedientconsiderations do not suffice to mobilize motivations to comply withother’s expectations, thereby inducing them to provide reciprocalcompliances? In addition, it is morally improper under thenorm of reciprocity to break off relations or to launch hostilitiesagainst those to whom you are still indebted.

Use of terms such as “pattern” or “unit” is intended toindicate that the present discussion deliberately collapsesdistinctions between institutional, interpersonal, group, or rolereciprocities, treating them here under a single rubric for reasonsof space. Itis also a sceptical position in that he holds that “even when suchsurvivals are identified in contemporary literate societies they seemto add little to our understanding of human behavior or the dynamicsof social change.

While Alec and Frank were friends I never heard either oneof them discuss the services he was performing for the other, butwhen they had a falling out. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. There are also contrasting ideas when it comes to the differentiation of negative and positive norms of reciprocity. The unsavory implications of the concept of exploitation have not excluded it from studies of sexual relations, althoughalmost all other specializations in sociology eschew it.

The Neural Basis of Altruistic Punishment. Scientific Research An Academic Publisher. Although reciprocal relations stabilize patterns, itneed not follow that a lack of reciprocity is socially impossible orinvariably disruptive of the patterns involved. Howard Becker, for example, hasfound this concept so important that he has titled one of hisbooks Man in Reciprocity and has even spoken of man as Homoreciprocusall without venturing to present a straightforwarddefinition of reciprocity.

The Evolution of Cooperation.