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Social Structural Determinants of Similarity among Associates

Scott L. Feld
American Sociological Review
Vol. 47, No. 6 (Dec., 1982), pp. 797-801
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2095216
Page Count: 5
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Social Structural Determinants of Similarity among Associates
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Abstract

This paper shows how the social structuring of activity leads people to develop relationships with others who are similar to themselves. Most relationships originate in foci of activity that bring together disproportionately homogeneous sets of people. The more homogeneous these sets of people are, the more relationships tend to be with similar others. A sample survey and a study of friendships in one large factory illustrate the importance of the social structuring of activity for age similarity. It is suggested that the neglect of structural factors has led to the overestimation of the extent to which people "prefer" to associate with similar others.

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