Homophile , a word in disuse today. In Botany , it refers to all the species corresponding to the plant kingdom as plants or shrubs that have all similar or similar leaves to each other.

The person who tends to relate to those who resemble them is called Homophile . The similarity can be regarding beliefs , preferences , social class , education or age .
The person who tends to relate to those who resemble them is called Homophile . The similarity can be regarding beliefs , preferences , social class , education or age .


According to Charles Kadushin (2012), Homophilia (from the Greek, “love of the same or equals”) is a concept introduced in social theory by Lazarsfeld and Merton (1954) that incorporates a popular proposal such as “the birds of the same plumage fly together ”.

The word homophilia, in a literal way can be defined as “love for equals”; in a social environment it refers to the inclination of certain individuals to relate to others who are very similar to them.

If two people have characteristics that coincide in a high proportion, then they are more likely to be connected. The reverse is also true: if two people are connected, then they likely have common characteristics or attributes.


People with a union based solely on shared interests can be called Homophilous. For its part, homophilia harboring sexual connotations is used as an alternative word to homosexuality ; A term that was used in the 1950s and 1960s by different homosexual organizations and publications. Therefore, the groups existing in this period are known today as the homophile movement .

Then, in the late 1960s and early 70s, referring to this context, the word homophilia began to cease to be used thanks to the emergence of the gay liberation movements, being replaced by new terms such as gay, lesbian , transgender and bisexual, however it should be noted that certain homophilic groups survived until 1980 , 1990 and even until 2000 .

It was Karl-Günther Heimsoth, a German psychoanalyst, astrologer, and author who coined the term homophily in his doctoral dissertation Hetero- und Homophilie in 1924 , and it was since then that the concept began to be widely used in sociology and others. fields.

Sociological principles

In their original formulation of homophilia, Lazarsfeld and Merton (1954) distinguish between the homophily stage and the homophily value. The first means that individuals with similar social status characteristics are more likely to associate with each other than by chance. Rather, in value homophilia refers to a tendency to associate with others who think similarly, regardless of differences in status.

To test relevance, researchers have distinguished between baseline homophily and homophilic inbreeding. The first is simply the amount of homophily that would be expected by chance and the second distinction is the amount of homophily above the expected value.

People with homophilic relationships share common characteristics (beliefs, values, education, etc.) that make communication and relationship building easier. Homophilia often leads to homogamy (marriage of people with similar characteristics).

Homophile and Heterophile in Social Networks

Everett Rogers (2003) proposes the concepts of homophilia and heterophilia to understand how messages are transmitted on Social Networks . Which has to do with the concept of diffusion. They are concepts that he takes up from Lazarsfeld and Merton 1964 .

For C. Prell (2012), there are two main arguments regarding how homophily takes place.

1) The first argument states that organizational settings determine that relationships are formed between similar actors. For example, a voluntary organization with a particular focus will be based on members who share that focus, and this similarity between actors (most likely) will match other similarities. Therefore, the composition of a group at the organizational level produces homophilia. Examples of this type include: churches, gymnasiums, therapy groups, etc.

2) The second argument states that actors are attracted to bond with others similar to themselves. This implies that organizational adjustment does not matter, but rather that individuals seek and find others similar to them and can form bonds regardless of the configuration of an organization. Thus, for example, friendship ties are seen to develop as a result of people belonging to a similar age group or a similar educational level.

Organizational Principles and Communication

The science of communication holds that the exchange of ideas occurs more frequently between individuals with similarities. Homophilia, in this sense, is the degree of similarity between two individuals who communicate. The similarity can be regarding different attributes such as beliefs, social class, education, age, among others. Instead, heterophilia is the degree of difference in certain attributes of two interacting individuals.

Homophilia (Easley & Kleinberg, 2010 ) provides a fundamental first illustration of how the contexts surrounding a network can lead to the formation of its links.

Homophilia can act as an invisible barrier to the flow of innovations within a system , as new ideas enter a system usually through the most innovative or those with higher status. A high level of homophily can mean information redundancy and less access to new ideas. In other words, the homophilic diffusion pattern favors the horizontal diffusion of new ideas, but slows down the filtration of an innovative idea in a system .

This model indicates two elements to take into account. First, that interpersonal broadcast networks are mostly homophilic. Second, that in heterophile broadcast networks, followers look for opinion leaders.

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