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Sociological Groups - Lecture Sociology 101 Notes 2011-12

Sociology Lecture Notes Assignments

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Old 03-08-2011, 12:08 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Sociological Groups - Lecture Sociology 101 Notes 2011-12

Sociological Groups - Lecture Sociology 101 Notes 2011-12


A group is a collection of two or more individuals who have developed a common social identity relating to some object of activity.

Elements of a Sociological Group

1. Interaction among the members.

2. Members are aware of their membership in the group.

3. Member share a common cause or interest.

4. Organizational structure.


An aggregate is a collection of people who are in the same place at the same time but do not share a definite connection with one another. A collection of peole at a bus station would make up an aggregate.

Social Category

A social category is a collection of people who are classified together because they all have the same characteristic. White males, native Americans, and females over 65 years of age, would all be examples of social categories.


In-groups and out-groups are concepts that were introduced into sociology by William Graham Sumner (Sumner 1906.) The term in-group refers to any group to which the individual has membership or belongs.


The concept of "Conciousness of Kind" is related to the concept of groups and was introduced by the American sociologist Franklin H. Giddings (Giddings 1906). Conciousness of kind is the concept that human beings have a tendency to join or associate with other people who are perceived of as having similarities to themselves.


One of the most widely utilized concepts of sociological groups is that developed by Charles Horton Cooley (Cooley 1909) of the "primary group". Cooley defines a primary group as being a "small intimate, face to face association..." of individuals who share some type of common group identity. Cooley goes on to say that the development of this common group identity lead the members of the primary group to naturally identify themselves as "we or us."


1. Primary groups tend to be small and are ordinarily composed of fewer than 15 to 20 individuals.

2. Interaction and communication among members in a primary group tends to be of an intimate and personal nature.

3. Members in aprimary group commonly develop strong emotional bonds with other members.

4. Primary groups generally persist over extensive periods of time.


The term secondary group has come into use in sociology to describe any group which lacks one or more of the elements that go together to characterize a primary group. In general, a secondary group is composed of individuals who lacks strong emotional ties one another.


A reference group is composed of individuals possesing a set of similar characteristics which are used as standards by other individuals in evaluating their own behavior. Reference groups in many cases are not true groups in that the individuals who make up the refernce group may not share the common identity characteristic of groups.


A peer group is made up of individuals of relatively equal status with whom the individual interacts frequently.


Groups may be classified according to how members become members. If an individual select to become a member of a group then that group can be referred to as a voluntary group. On the other hand, if an individual becomes a member of a group, as a result of factors over which he/she has no control, then the group may be referred to as an involuntary group.


A bureaucracy is a large and complex formal organizational structure in which efficiency is achieved through a system of professional managers who control and direct the activities of the organization according to distinct rules and guidelines.


1. Division of Labor

2. Hierarchy. A bureaucrcy has "Chain of command."

3.Written Rules.

4. Professional Managers.

5. Depersonalization of Individuals.

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