Discuss the contribution of groups to the function of social structure.

Discuss the contribution of groups to the function of social structure.

 5.5.1 There is more to social structure than statuses, roles, and institutions.  Social groups are the powerhouse that makes social structure function because these are the interpersonal associations within which social actions take place.Sociologists also use the word group to refer to different types of behavior that do not involve interaction.  Remember that the term “Social Group” only applies to groups in which there is direct or indirect interaction.


Discuss the contribution of groups to the function of social structure.


View http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnE1tiwQ57M
Primary Groups There are three essential features of primary groups.

  1. They are small. Usually less than 11 people although some researchers claim they can be as large as 21.
  2. They are intimate.  This refers to physical and emotional closeness meaning that the members of small groups allow other members to be physically closer (think of the physical distance we keep between co-workers, then think of the distance we keep between ourselves and good friends, family, lovers and children to understand this). In small groups interactions tend to be face to face.
    1. Source for above: http://www.internalmedicine.osu.edu/hemonc/857.cfm
    2. 3.    They are characterized by cooperation. People within small groups work together to meet their needs and challenges.  Most sociologists would add that primary groups are not usually organized to perform a single task or goal, but work together to assure the well-being of everyone in the group.  
Secondary Groups Secondary groups are more formal, larger and organized around the accomplishment of goals.  Secondary groups can be small:  a 2 person team working on a project who are not otherwise friends or relatives is a secondary group; 5 students in a band may be a secondary group if they don’t’ have closer ties between them other than the band. Work groups are usually secondary, regardless of size and at work friendliness, just think about how rare it is for work “friendships” to survive once we leave our jobs and don’t share that common tie of working toward company goals.Source:  Introduction to Sociology by Ron J. Hammond.  Published online @ http://freebooks.uvu.edu/SOC1010/index.php/about.html
Key Terms  
Define Primary Groups
  Secondary Groups
Slides none
Evaluation  Quiz 5.5.1
Additional resources none
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