Responses to classmates

Good Evening Professor Tucker and Classmates,
Peter Blau, whom made his reputation as an organization theorist, had a goal that was to “derive complex from simpler processes without the reductionist fallacy of ignoring emergent properties.” (Blau, 2006) I believe he means that no matter what situation two or more individuals are in they can actively be in a social exchange. Blau also mentions that social exchange of life is specifically the central principle of social life. Rational choice theory and exchange theory both work within certain circumstances. According to D. Jary & J. Jary (2006) “exchange theory is associated with interesting hypotheses about social behavior.” It looks like rational choice theory is from individual actors who are characterized by the use of technically rigorous models. I do believe that these theories are supposed to be looked at on a more practically level that involves groups not just individuals. I think that it is important to look at individuals for the overall outlook though.

Good Morning Classmate,
I do believe that everything in life is meant to work within certain limits but often there are ways around those situations. Functionality is important when it comes to discussing a theory and how it will work. Do you think that functionality is important when it comes to each theory? Your last statement makes it seem like the way others see things are not important when it comes to a theory. I am slightly confused by this, maybe I am just reading it the wrong way.  

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Rational choice theory is about someone making a choice based on how it will help them economically and that differs from social exchange because social exchange could include a number of different scenarios. Take intimate relationships for example, the exchange comes from what the people do or could do for one another. With rational theory it is more about decisions being made in the best interest of the person making that decision. Social exchange cannot be made invalid because of the similarities because they are two separate things. People can be friends with someone who they do favors for and receive favors from but it may not be a friendship that is in the best interest of either persons involved.

One of the criticisms of exchange theory was the claim that it only presents a partial account of human social relations.  The author is claiming that there is much more to human social relations beyond what exchange theory is capable of explaining.  A second criticism is made in our readings was that social interaction always involved exchange.  This seems to suggest that the author believes that social interaction could take place without some form of exchange (Jary & Jary, 2006).  While I do agree that these criticisms have some validation, I do not think that they invalidate the theory.  It takes multiple theories to understand the social world.  The differences between conflict theory, functional theory and symbolic interactionism are a good example of this concept.  Each theory examines society differently and it could be argued that they miss certain aspects of explaining society, yet we do not invalidate them (Turner, 2014).

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