Social Groups Paper

In everyone’s life they become or are involved with a social group or organization sometime in their lives. Personally, I have been involved in several groups and organizations, I have been a leader of a youth Masonic organization named DeMolay, I am also a Mason, I have been a member of student councils, academic clubs, and several others. I have found that most of the groups are primary groups. I will further explain a primary group as well as bureaucratic structures of some of the groups I have belonged to.

As well as explain positive and negative ramifications of the groups. GROUPS & SOCIALIZATION Socialization is about the creation of cultural and social network skills within an individual. It becomes one’s guide in approaching and viewing the world as he lives his life. From sociological point of view socialization points to the processes by which one learns to become a part of a culture. Factors that contribute towards socialization are social agents; social forces that has an effect on how things are organized, how they become. Individuals, groups, people are social agents.

They carry on roles that are shape the structures, conditions and systems that allow for particular cultures & societies to exist. Sociology defines groups as a collection of individuals involved in a social network sharing particular expectations, characteristics, & obligations while working towards particular goals & through this interaction maintains a common identity. In a way, particular groups share their own culture, which becomes an identifier. As society or a community can be defined as a large group, in the social sciences, groups are seen to exhibit a sense of kinship.

To an extent ethnicity & linguistic backgrounds are shared but interests & shared values also play a large part. In sociology (based on the theory of CH Cooley), groups are subdivided into primary, secondary & reference levels. Primary refers to nucleus groups that become a basic in an individual’s life. Families are considered primary groups that are small & maintain very close interaction where members exchange implicitly personal items like love, care, support, etc. Secondary groups are large. Within this interaction primary groups are formed (i. e.

pairing up of couples who in turn create families of their own or very close bonds among friends who maintain kinship that lasts a lifetime). They could either be institutional or formal. Examples of these are employment groupings, work groupings and such. Reference groups are groupings that hover about secondary & primary. They are the groupings to which the individual relates to in an attempt to explain aspects of him that make him unique. For instance, “I am a Tolkien fan like many of my friends,” or “I am a mountain bike enthusiast like my brother.

” It is important to remember that groups are dynamic, formal or institutional, informal or referential; organizations tend to change throughout time due to various factors that shape its existence. Max Weber’s ideas on ideal bureaucracy cannot always be applied universally in every organization however certain aspects of it can be used to maximise the potential of a group according to function. A PERSONAL EXPERIENCE From the day I was born I instantly became a part of a primary group, that of my family.

it is from them – my parents, elder siblings, relatives – that I learned my initial social skills that by continued experience & education allowed me to build up my capacity in performing complex & demanding social skills to become a productive individual as part of my family and of the other primary groups & secondary groups I have come to be a part of. My group of friends, an informal yet intimately primary setting. The schools that I have attended where my friends and I are a part of as a secondary and formal group as well as the reference groups that I have come to join.

In grade school I was part of the Math Club. In High school I joined several clubs including the Math Club, the Literary Circle and the Theatre Arts Club – they are all formal as they were part of the extracurricular activities of the school. But the members are informal in approach with each other and I recall I have created close friends within these clubs making them secondary & reference groups that I have belonged in whereby I can also count a primary circle I am a member of within.

These Academic Clubs, despite the primary-group nature of intimacy was governed by a set of officers elected by members. Therefore when we have to function as a group, we function controlled by our hierarchy. The president leads and the rest of the officers – vice president, secretary, treasurer, research, and logistics must perform their responsibilities. While I was never elected as a member I was a part of certain committees and it was my duty to perform tasks accordingly.

These clubs helped young students like me then understand responsibility & social hierarchy as well as the importance of taking an elected post seriously. It gave us a working experience of what it is like in a complex social network – being a part of both an informal & formal group with secondary, referential & primary groupings thrown into the dynamics. It is by all means using Weberian bureaucratic ideals; our student clubs _were ”with the configuration into which (hypothetical) ‘factors’ are arranged to form a cultural phenomena which is historically significant_ ” (1904 in Martin et.

al. , 1994). In other words, we followed the democratic suffrage to chose our leader as well as select those who should be responsible for certain offices/functions following what was in effect the ‘American Way’ of governance mirroring the real world into our secondary group. Conclusion The social world is a dynamic network of social groups in primary, secondary & referential nature. Our socialization is facilitated by our membership in these groups. We draw our identity from being a member of these groups and it is also where culture is cultivated and traditions maintained or created.

Membership in a secondary group, like in a workplace for example can allow for the creation of primary groups – it is quite common to form bonds with team members and create friendships that last long after membership in that secondary group has expired (for example, some of our ‘friends’ at work gets transferred or goes for another job in a different setting/company). Even in the creation of primary groups, Weberian principles apply. It is easy to find that in friendships, there is always an emerging leader while other members take on varied roles.

Even in families, typical stereotypes are always unavoidably the basis – the father leads the family & is the head of the household, primarily providing and making the ‘big decisions’, the mother is the nurturer & provides support while the elder children are expected to be responsible for the younger. As the family matures, roles slowly shift and when the children hit maturity, they then take on the role of looking after their parents as they look after their own newly-formed families. This is so because this is what is ‘expected of them’ by society, it is the ideal outcome.

While some of these ideals & stereotypes are easily broken by the demands of modernity (in several families, the mother becomes the primary provider & the father stays home), they persist because they become ‘the standard’ hence primary family groupings ‘model’ their own according to what is ideal. After all, if culture is a social construct, then social groups must be governed by the rules of what is accepted within a particular social construct to preserve, advance & maintain a civilization’s ideals.

References Hare, A. P. (1962). _Handbook of small group research_. New York. Macmillan. Kornblum, William (2004). Sociology in a Changing World. Wadsworth Publishing. Martin, Michael & McIntyre. (1994). Readings in the Philosophy of Social Science. MIT Press. Oneil, D. (2007). Non kinship based social groups. Retrieved from http://anthro. palomar. edu/stat Sherif, Muzafer & Sherif, Carolyn W. (1956), _An Outline of Social Psychology_, Harper & Brothers: New York.