Individuals in groups are connected to each other by social relationships In the social sciences a social group has been defined as two or more humans who interact with one another, share similar characteristics and collectively have a sense of unity. Other theorists, however, are a wary of definitions which stress the importance of interdependence or objective similarity. Instead, for researchers in the social identity tradition "a group is defined in terms of those who identify themselves as members of the group". Regardless, social groups come in a myriad of sizes and varieties. For example, a society can be viewed as a large social group. *
Primary and Secondary Groups
* Groups• Group: two or more people who have one or more goals in common and share common ways of thinking and behaving• Features: They are in regular contact with one another They share some ways of thinking, behaving and feeling They take one another’s behaviour into account They have one or more interests or goal in common * Groups• Groups play an important part in people’s lives• Groups range in size and formality• Groups draw lines around themselves creating insiders and outsiders (boundaries) These boundaries can change over time * Social Categories and Aggregates• Groups are sometimes mistaken with social categories and social aggregates.• Social Categories: people who share a social characteristics Example: high school seniors, women• Social Aggregate: people who happen to be at the same place at the same time Example: people waiting in line at the airport * Primary Groups• What is a primary group? A primary group is made up of people who are emotionally close, know each other well and seek each other’s company People in these groups have primary relationships (relationships that are intimate, caring and fulfilling) Primary groups are important in socialization People participate in primary groups throughout their life * How do they develop? There are several factors that are preferable for the development of primary groups Small Size: It is hard to develop close personal relationships in large groups. Small groups are needed to get to know people well Face to Face Contact: F to F contact allows people to communicate with nonverbal Continuous Contact: People need to meet on a regular basis to develop a primary relationship Proper Social Environment: The environment where the interaction takes place needs to be suitable to the relationship. * What are their Functions?• There are 3 important functions of Primary Groups Emotional Support: Strong support ties keep you going in difficult times Socialization: Teaches children and later adults how to participate in social life as well as norms and values Encourage Conformity: Apply pressure to conform to their norms and values * Secondary Groups• Secondary Group: people who share only part of their lives while focusing on a goal or task• These impersonal relationships exist only to accomplish a specific purpose• Members of these groups interact involving only parts of their personality Secondary Relationships: impersonal relationship involving only parts of the personality Examples: Employers/Workers, Clerks/Customers * What are they like?• Members of these groups may be friends but the relationship exists to accomplish a task. It doesn’t look to create a friendship• If a friendship becomes more important than the task then the group becomes ineffective• There are some cases where there is a crossover between primary and secondary Friends who work at the same place Definition
The social cohesion approach
A social group exhibits some degree of social cohesion and is more than a simple collection or aggregate of individuals, such as people waiting at a bus stop, or people waiting in a line. Characteristics shared by members of a group may include interests, values, representations, ethnic or social background, and kinship ties....
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