Homan’s Law of Inequality Essay
Homan’s law of inequality focuses on two assumptions. First, friendships are usually among people with similar rankings in society. Second, there are some people that break these rules by having strong bonds with members of another social rank. These people generally do not have strong social bonds with people of their own rank. The base reason that people generally stick together with people of their own rank is because of convenience due to similar living situations, educational background, and current career.
As this ranking system is put under closer scrutiny, the unbiased observer begins to realize that ranking systems in society are arbitrary meaning that the system could be set up differently. This system of ranking is set up by the social elite, meaning the people that control the majority of power or resources. It is set up in a particular way such as not to threaten the control of the people at the top.
The people with the most power rarely mingle with the class right below them because the class one step down is a threat to the maintenance of the elite’s control. The elite puts themselves on a pedestal because they realize that their position in whatever society it may be could be easily taken over by someone besides themselves. However, the same elite are usually willing to befriend people of ranks several steps below them because they are no real threat to their power.
When reference is made to the people that befriend others outside of their own rank, the situation becomes harder to unravel. There are various reasons that a person can become an outcast with people of their same rank such as a recent promotion at work or a sudden elevation in wealth. In the situation of a recent promotion a person’s previous cohorts will no longer have their job duties in common and in many cases the promoted person will be placed into a position where he/she is responsible for the supervision of his/ her previous peers.
This can lead to jealousy and resentment causing the supervisor to seek friends in higher places. As the supervisor makes friends of the same rank he/she further alienates themselves from their previous friends. Homan’s Law of Inequality is a great way to understand the societal dynamics that take place both between people of equal rank and those that befriend people of ranks different than their own.