Social Groups

What is a social group? A: A social group consists of at least two persons who interact with one another and who recognize themselves as a distinct social unit. The frequent interaction leads these people to share values and beliefs. Another of the results of this interaction is that the members of the social group identify with each other, what causes, in turn, a more intense interaction. Social groups are the most stable and enduring social units. They are important to both, their members and their whole society. A very important characteristic of social groups is that they encourage regular and predictable behavior, basic concepts in which society rests. Some examples of social groups are: families, political parties, villages, sport teams, classmates, friends, etc. 2.What keeps people in a social group together? A: People keep in a social group because they have similar ideas, values, customs, traditions, hobbies, likes, interests, etc. 3.What is a primary social group? What kinds of relations do its members have with each other? Give an example of a primary social group. A: Charles Cooley assigned the term “Primary Social Group” to those groups that are characterized by intimate face – to face association. These groups are fundamental during the development and adjustment of their members to their society. Some examples of Primary Groups are: the family, the playing group (when we’re kids) and our neighborhood (when adults). This type of group is almost universal in all societies because it gives people their earliest and most complete experiences of social unity. Even of this definition, modern society is changing a lot, so maybe this term is not so useful if we think about a family that is constantly moving, or families in which parents are divorced. These groups tend to have emotional relations among each member. 4.What is a secondary social group? What kind of relations do its members have with each other? Give an example of the primary social group? A: These groups are often called special interest groups because, as the name says, the members are looking for their needs first. Also they receive this name because the persons are able to choose if entering to the group or not (is voluntary). In secondary groups, there are no emotional ties. Instead, there may be economic, work or companion ties. In few words, secondary groups provide experience but lack intimacy. Relations are indirect because secondary groups are bigger in size and members may not stay together. These groups are also larger than primary groups; some examples are: co-workers, members of a political party, of a labor union, a city or a complete nation, etc. An important aspect to consider is the fact that secondary groups are very organized: each member has a status and a role; and there is a formal authority. 5.What is a reference group? What kinds of relations are involved? Give an example. A: People whose attitudes, behavior, beliefs, opinions, and values are used by an individual as the basis for his or her judgment. One does not have to be a member of a reference group to be negatively or positively influenced by its characteristics. Some examples of reference groups are: the church, political parties, labor unions, etc. The principal tie in these groups is that the member believes in what other members say or think.