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Sociology Ch. 4 S. 2 : Types of Social Interaction

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1 Sociology Ch. 4 S. 2 : Types of Social Interaction
Obj: Identify the most common types of social interaction; distinguish between types of interactions that stabilize social structure and those that can disrupt it.

2 When you play a role, most of the time you have to interact with others. This interaction can take many forms. Some kinds of interaction help stabilize the social structure. Others promote change. Among the most common forms of social interaction are exchange, competition, conflict, cooperation, and accommodation. These five types of interaction take place in societies throughout the world.

3 Exchange Whenever people interact in an effort to receive a reward or a return for their actions, an exchange has taken place. Almost all daily interaction involves exchange. In fact, scholar Peter Blau suggested that exchange is the most basic and common form of interaction. Dating, family life, friendship, and politics all involve exchanges. Reciprocity -the idea that if you do something for someone, that person owes you something in return-is the basis of exchange. The reward might be nonmaterial. For example, a simple “thank you" from your parents might be a reward for washing the dishes. The reward could also be material, such as the wage you might receive for working at a supermarket.

4 The volume of exchange in daily interactions has led to the emergence of an exchange theory. Exchange theorists believe that people are motivated by self-interest in their interactions with other people. In other words, people do things primarily for rewards. Behavior that is rewarded tends to be repeated. However, when the costs of an interaction outweigh the rewards, individuals are likely to end the relationship. According to exchange theorists, most of social life can be explained as the attempt to maximize rewards while minimizing costs.

5 Competition Imagine that you have applied for an after-school job at a local store. When you arrive for your interview, you find that you are competing with several other applicants for the job. Competition occurs when two or more people or groups oppose each other to achieve a goal that only one can attain.

6 Competition is a common feature of Western societies
Competition is a common feature of Western societies. Some scholars consider it to be the cornerstone of the capitalist economic system and the democratic form of government. Advancement in business, school, and sports is achieved through competition. As long as competition follows accepted rules of conduct, most sociologists view it as a positive means of motivating people to perform the roles society asks of them. On the negative side, competition can also lead to psychological stress, a lack of cooperation in social relationships, inequality, and even conflict.

7 Conflict The main emphasis in competition is on achieving the goal. With conflict the emphasis is on defeating the opponent. Conflict is the deliberate attempt to control a person by force, to oppose someone, or to harm another person. Unlike competition, conflict has few rules of conduct, and even these often are ignored. Conflict may range from the deliberate snubbing of a classmate to the killing of an enemy.

8 Sociologist Georg Simmel identified four sources of conflict: wars, disagreements within groups, legal disputes, and clashes over ideology, such as religion or politics. Sometimes conflicts begin as competition. Rival businesses may first engage in intense competition for customers. However, as the competition increases, the emphasis shifts from attracting customers to undermining the other business. One business may sell merchandise well below cost to try to force the other business into bankruptcy.

9 Although we tend to think of conflict as negative, some sociologists have pointed out that conflict serves some useful purposes. For example, conflict reinforces group boundaries and strengthens group loyalty by focusing attention on an outside threat. Focusing on an outside threat also draws attention away from internal problems. In addition, conflict can also lead to social change by bringing problems to the forefront and forcing opposing sides to seek solutions.

10 Cooperation The members of a football team work together to win a game. The pep club, school band, and student body also contribute to this effort by encouraging the team. If, in the end, the team takes a trophy, it will be through the shared efforts of the entire school. Similarly, the employees of a corporation work together to increase sales for the organization. If their efforts are successful, everyone benefits. In both of these examples, the people involved are cooperating to achieve a desired goal. Cooperation occurs when two or more people or groups work together to achieve a goal that will benefit more than one person

11 Cooperation is a social process that gets things done
Cooperation is a social process that gets things done. No group can complete its tasks or achieve its goals without cooperation from its members. Cooperation is often used along with other forms of interaction. Competition may be used along with cooperation to motivate members to work harder for the group. For example, individuals who go out for a team sport often compete with one another to make the varsity team.

12 Accommodation In many of your interactions, you neither cooperate nor engage in conflict. You simply accommodate the other party in the interaction. In other words, you give a little, and you take a little. Accommodation is a state of balance between cooperation and conflict. One way to remember this type of interaction is by thinking about staying at a motel. The owner of the motel is accommodating you by letting you stay for the night in exchange for $60. If the owner were cooperating with you, you would be able to stay for free. On the other hand, if the owner refused to let you stay under any condition, you would be in a conflict situation.

13 Accommodation can take a number of different forms
Accommodation can take a number of different forms. One of these forms is compromise. A compromise occurs when two parties both give up something to come to a mutual agreement. For example, you and a friend want to see different movies. To compromise, you might choose a third movie that you both would like to see. Another form of accommodation is the truce, which brings a halt to the conflict until a compromise can be reached. Sometimes, when two parties cannot agree on a compromise, they will use mediation. This form of accommodation involves calling in a third party who acts as adviser and counselor to help the two parties reach an agreement. However, they may use arbitration. In arbitration, a third party makes a decision that is binding on both parties. These types of interaction help to ensure social stability

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