Sex and race homogeneity in naturally occurring groups


Journal Article

We generate a number of hypotheses about face-to-face groups using the energy distribution principle: the frequency of an event is inversely related to the amount of energy expended in that event. The principle predicts that (1) the size of groups will be inversely related to the frequency of their occurrence; (2) at any group size, the composition of social positions will be less heterogeneous than chance; and, (3) as group size increases, observed compositional homogeneity will decline at a slower rate than chance. We test these hypotheses using data on more than 100, 000 naturally occurring, public, face-to-face groups gathered in sampling sweeps through two communities over a three-year period. The data support the hypotheses and yield interesting differences in the strength of sex and race heterogeneity. We discuss the findings as they relate to the general energy distribution principle and to other sociological perspectives. © 1995 The University of North Carolina Press.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Mayhew, BH; Mc Pherson, JM; Rotolo, T; Smith-Lovin, L

Published Date

  • January 1, 1995

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 74 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 15 - 52

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1534-7605

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0037-7732

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1093/sf/74.1.15

Citation Source

  • Scopus