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Journal Article

A Theory of Social Integration

Peter M. Blau
American Journal of Sociology
Vol. 65, No. 6 (May, 1960), pp. 545-556
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2773647
Page Count: 12
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A Theory of Social Integration
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Abstract

Social integration prevail in a group if bonds of attraction unite its members. Persons interested in becoming integrated members of a group are under pressure to impress the other members that they would make attractive associates, but the resulting competition for popularity gives rise to defensive tactics that block social integration. A member who can provide valued services to the others forces them to give up their defensive tendencies and manifest their attraction to him; the process in which his services are exchanged for their respect and defense gives rise to social differentiation. Alternatively, one who demonstrates his approachibility obviates the need for the difensiveness of other and thus frees them to express their feeling of attraction to him; the process in which his disclaimer of superordinate status is exchanged for their acceptance gives rise to social integration. Empirical data support the hypothesis that acceptance as a peer depends on approachability as well as attractiveness.

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