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Sociological Theory, 6/e
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Exchange, Network, and Rational Choice Theories
Sociological Theory

Chapter 12 Learning Objectives

After reading this chapter, students should be able to:
  • explain the interrelationship between exchange theory, network theory, network exchange theory, and rational choice theory;
  • identify the concepts that underlie the theories discussed in this chapter;
  • discuss George Homans and his contributions to exchange theory;
  • discuss Peter Blau and the ways in which he enriched and altered exchange theory;
  • discuss Richard Emerson and identify his unique contributions to exchange theory;
  • explain the role of power and dependence in exchange theory;
  • identify and discuss the major theorist associated with network theory;
  • discuss the motivation between network exchange theory and its premises;
  • explain the role of strong and weak structures and actors in network exchange theory;
  • identify and discuss the underlying tenets of rational choice theory;
  • discuss the importance of James Coleman to rational choice in sociology;
  • explain the major propositions of rational choice theory and its stance towards other sociological theories;
  • discuss the ways the theories covered in the chapter deal with links between the various levels of analysis: micro-micro, micro-macro, macro-macro, macro-micro; and
  • identify the major criticisms of rational choice theory.