According to Aristotle, “Man is by nature a social animal”. People live in association with each other at multiple levels in society. Such associations or grouping are broadly called social groups. In this write-up, we shall understand social groups in Sociology with the help of examples.
Social groups are important units of a society. Sociologists took great interest in understanding social groups and the relationship of an individual to a particular social group in society.
What is a Social Group?
A social group is a collection of people interacting with each other based on common identity, interests, or activities. People in a social group share a sense of belonging, common social identity, and support with each other.
Social groups can exist at different levels of society. For instance, social groups range from small groups of friends and family members to large organizations and communities.
Social groups can have different characteristics. They can vary in size, structure, cohesion, etc. In addition, they can be formed based on a variety of factors, such as age, gender, ethnicity, religion, occupation, and interests.
Importance of Social Groups in a Society
Social groups offer a platform to people for socialization, exchange of ideas, mutual support, and cooperation. Furthermore, social groups assign individuals different roles and statuses within a society.
Moreover, they also provide a framework for social norms and values that provides bonding and cohesion among members. In addition, social groups play a crucial role in shaping human behavior, attitudes, and relationships.
In short, a social group provides a platform to individuals where they can exist mutually with definite identities and defined roles. An individual can be a part of more than one social group at a time.
Types of Social Groups
Social groups can be broadly classified into two main types; i.e. primary groups and secondary groups.
1. Primary Groups
Primary Groups are social groups that are characterized by close, intimate, and enduring relationships among members. These types of social groups are usually small in size. Moreover, they often involve face-to-face interaction.
The relationships in primary groups are typically based on emotional bonds and personal attachment, rather than on specific goals or objectives.
Examples of primary social groups include families, close friends, and romantic partners.
2. Secondary Groups
Secondary Groups are social groups that are usually characterized by formal, impersonal, and temporary relationships among members.
Secondary groups are usually larger than primary groups. Moreover, they often involve less frequent or indirect communication.
The relationships in secondary groups are typically based on shared interests and specific goals, rather than on personal attachment.
Some examples of secondary groups include workplaces, schools, and professional organizations.
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