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20. Small Groups, Networks, and Social Interaction

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines the basic premises, major findings, and implications for comparative sociology of four of the major theoretical perspectives of this field: social exchange, justice, social dilemmas, and expectation states and status characteristics. Social exchange theories study how power and inequality develop from network structures; and justice theories analyze affective and behavioral reactions to inequalities. Social dilemma theories explore how classic tensions between actions that benefit the group or the individual are resolved; and expectation states and status characteristics theories explain how status hierarchies emerge and structure interaction in small groups. The chapter outlines the major arguments of each of these perspectives, and reviews some of their core findings. The conflict between self-interest and collective interest that is at the heart of social dilemmas might be expected to vary cross-culturally.

Keywords: expectation states theory; larger exchange networks; social exchange theories; social interaction; status characteristics

10.1163/9789004266179_050
/content/books/b9789004266179_050
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