Types of Social Groups

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Types of Social Groups

By | March 2006
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TYPES OF GROUPS

Categories, Aggregates, and Groups

Social Category - people who share a social characteristic, such as a taxpayer, a woman, or a college student.

Social Aggregate - people who happen to be at the same place at the same time, such as students waiting in line for concert tickets.

● A group is sometimes confused with a social category and a social aggregate. Although neither categories nor aggregates are groups, some of their members may form groups by interacting regularly, sharing ways of thinking and feeling, taking one another's behavior into an account, and having some common goals.

Primary Group

→ is composed of people who are emotionally close, know one another well, and seek one another's company. The members of a primary group have a "we" feeling and enjoy being together. It is the most important setting for socialization.

Charles Horton Cooley, one of the founders of symbolic interactionism, coined the term primary group. Cooley observed that the family, neighborhood, and childhood socialization are primary because they are the first groups an infant experience.

Conditions that promote the development of primary groups:

● Small group sized. Members of a small group are more likely to develop primary relationships and close emotional ties than members of large groups.

● Face-to-face contact. Primary relationships occur more easily when interaction is face-to-face. People who can see each other and who can experience nonverbal communication such as facial expressions, tone of voice, and touch are much more likely to develop close ties.

● Continuous contact. The probability of developing a primary relationship also increases with prolonged contact.

● Proper social environment. The social environment in which interaction occurs also affects the development of primary relationships. If individuals are expected to relate to one another strictly on the basis of status or...
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