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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Tajfel, Henri, and John C. Exchange and Power in Social Life. Reciprocity in Interpersonal Relationships: In both instances, practical “engineering” problemsforcefully direct attention to the question of “starting mechanisms”and would seem likely to heighten dissatisfaction with generalsociological models that largely confine themselves to alreadyestablished systems.

It is the pattern of exchange through which themutual dependence of people, brought about by the division of reclprocity realized. Poor self-control thus undermines adherence to some social rules and regulations, therefore possibly contributing to a broad variety of social ills. An initial statement of this point is to be found in A. The problem of equivalence isa difficult but important one.

As mentioned above, sociologists have sometimes confused thenotion of complementarity with that of reciprocity and have recentlytended to focus on the former. The point is not to stress, as Parsons does, the uniqueexploitability of the patient or the peculiar power of the physician,but to see this relationship as but one dramatic case of a largerclass of phenomena of basic theoretic significance which should beexplicitly dealt with in systematic theory rather than given only ad hoc treatment in specific empirical contexts.

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.

Norm of reciprocity – Wikipedia

The author isindebted to Robert K. Note von Wiese and Becker’s comment: Above all, Malinowski rejects the assumption that it is the sacredauthority of rwciprocity moral code, or the “collective conscience,” whichaccounts for the conformity given it. It is evident in the workof other sociologists noorm sometimes speak of the rights andobligations in a pair of roles as “reciprocal” and other times as”complementary.


Malinowski’s Crimeand Custom transcends a clinical case analysis of specificprimitive societies and presents a generalized and fouldner contributionto the theory of social systems when it addresses itself to theproblem of reciprocity.

This differs of course, from holding that the thingsexchanged by people, in the long run, will be objectively equal invalue as measured by economists or other social scientists. It is this kind of obligationwhich is entailed by the generalized norm of reciprocity. The taskof the sociologist, in this regard parallels that of the physicistwho seeks to identify the basic particles of matter, the conditionsunder which they vary, and their relations to one another.

Reciprocal altruism has been applied to various species, including humans, while mainstream psychologists use the norm of reciprocity to only explain humans. When internalized in both parties, the norm obliges the one who has first received a benefit to repay itat some time; goulfner thus provides some realistic grounds for confidence,in the one who first parts with his 160, that he will berepaid.

Status dutiesshape behavior because the status occupant believes them binding intheir own right; they possess a kind of prima facie legitimacyfor properly socialized group members. Renewing the effort to clarify the diverse meanings ofreciprocity, we turn to Malinowski’s seminal contribution. In short, anexplanation of the stability of a pattern, or of the relationshipbetween A and Gouldnerr, requires investigation of mutually contingentbenefits rendered and of the manner in which this mutual contingencyis sustained.

Having cast the problem of reciprocity in these quantitativeterms, there emerges an important implication for the question ofsocial survivals. As Westermarck stated, “Torequite a benefit, or to be grateful to him who bestows it, isprobably everywhere, at least under certain circumstances, regardedas a duty.

Waller’s ambivalentcomments about the concept suggest why it has fallen intosociological disrepute.

The norm of reciprocity also contributes to social stability even when there is a well-developed system of specific status duties; status duties shape behavior as the status occupant believe them binding in their own right; they are expected to faithfully fulfill 9160 responsibilities. Let us suppose two people or groups,Ego and Alter, each possesses valuables sought by the other. We owe others certain things because of whatthey have previously done for us, because of the history of previousinteraction we have had with them.


The value of the benefit and hence thedebt is in proportion to and varies with–among gouldenr things–theintensity of the recipient’s need at reciprocty time the benefit wasbestowed “a friend in need. Are these uni-dimensionalor multi-dimensional? To indicate its relevance in social relationships, mech- Buunk, Bram P.

Norm of reciprocity

Use of the term “roughly,” in onepart, indicates that a certain range reciprpcity concrete behavior will beviewed goulrner the actors as compliance with this reciprocity norm andthat more than one specific return will be acceptable and defined asequivalent. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology83, What is the significance of this intervening time period?

For example,unlike the status duties of American wives, it does not call uponthem to cook and to take care of the children. In this case,the patterns of reciprocity, implied in the notion of the”corruption” of the machine, are well known and fully documented.

The norm of reciprocity | Hein Lodewijkx –

The norm of reciprocity is reciprocal altruisma concept coined by the evolutionary biologist Robert Trivers. This is not to cay, however, thatMalinowski regards reciprocity qua transaction as always intended by all the actors or as something of whichthey are always aware.

Finally, it should be stressed that equivalence in the above casesrefers to a definition of the rrciprocity made by actors in thesituation.

The norm thussafeguards powerful people against the temptations of their ownstatus: Following Hegel, Fukuyama argues that the pursuit of The psychological motivation for recognition is recognition is part and parcel of human nature. International Journal of the The norm has important social functions in ongoing Humanities 1: Parsons holds that once a stablerelation of mutual gratification has been established the system isself-perpetuating; presumably, no special mechanisms are necessary tomaintain it.

Given significantpower differences egoistic motivations may seek to get benefitswithout returning them. A pervasive phenomenon in intergroup relations is Gouldner, Alvin W. The polemical opposition of the earlier functionalists to thisview of a survival rests implicitly on an unqualified principle ofreciprocity.