Social groups and processes

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Information about Social groups and processes

Published on February 4, 2014

Author: DrJBalamuruganPhD



Social groups and Processes The meaning and classification of groups Primary & Secondary Group In-group V/s. Out-group, class, Tribe, Caste Economic, Political, Religious groups, Mob, Crowd, Public and Audience Social Interaction and Social Processes - Co- operation, Competition, Conflict, Accommodation, Assimilation & Isolation

Meaning of Social Groups In its elementary sense, a group “is a number of units of anything in close proximity to one another”. Social group is a collection of human beings who are brought into social relationship with one another with a common goal under a common set of codes. It may be a pair, number of persons or even a collection of millions of people ex. Sports club, a political party, a family etc. Social relationships needs – reciprocity – mutual awareness – consciousness of joint interaction.

Definition of Social Groups William – Social group is a given aggregate of people playing inter-related roles and recognized by themselves or others as a unit of interactions. Horton and Hunt – “Groups are aggregate or categories of people who have a consciousness of membership and of interaction”. Ogburn and Nimkoff – “Whenever two or more individual come together and influence one another, they may be said to constitute a social group”.

Characteristics of Social Group Reciprocal Relations Sense of Unity ‘We’ feeling Common interests Similar behaviour Group norms

Characteristics of Social Group  Reciprocal relations:  The member of a group are inter-related to each other.  A gathering of persons forms a social group when they are interrelated.  Sense of unity:  The members of a group are united by a sense of unity and a feeling of sympathy.  We-feeling:  The members of a group help each other and defend their interest collectively.

Characteristics of Social Group Common interests:  The interest and ideal of a group are common. Similar Behaviour:  The members of a group behave in a similar way of behaviour. Group Norms:  Every group has its own rules and norms which the members are supposed to follow.

Classification of Social Groups Simmel considered size as a criterion for classifying groups.  Small size group  Large size group Dwight Sanderson suggested a three fold classification of social groups by structure.  Involuntary group  Voluntary group  Delegate group

Classification of Social Groups Cooley classified groups on the basis of kind of contacts.  Primary group  Secondary group F.H. Giddings classified group into  Genetic (involuntarily. Ex: family)  Congregate (voluntarily. Ex: union)

Classification of Social Groups George Hasen classifies groups one the basis of their relations to other group into     Unsocial group (does not participate in large society. ex: Tribe) Pseudo-social group (mix with all for own gain. ex: common) Anti-social group (destroys public property) Pro-social group (welfare of the people) Miller divided social groups into   Horizontal groups Vertical groups

Classification of Social Groups Sumner made distinction between an  In-group    The groups with the individual indentifies himself are his ingroup, his family or tribe or sex or college or occupation or religion. Usually expressed in the contrast between “they” and “us”. Every group they are communists; we are Hindu, they are Muslims; we are Brahmians, they are others not my people etc.,  Out-group  Its opposite of in-group

Classification of Social Groups Charles A Ellwood distinguished among.  Involuntary and voluntary  Institutional and non-institutional  Temporary and permanent Leopold classified  Crowds  Groups  Abstract collectives Park and Burgess distinguished  Territorial  Non-territorial

Primary & Secondary Groups Cooley classifies social group into  Primary group and Secondary group Primary group is a small group which a  small in number,  direct contact,  face to face relations,  mutual aim,  common goals and companionship.

Characteristics of a Primary Group  Physical  Small proximity Size  Stability  Similarity  Limited of background self-interest  Intensity of Shared interests

Characteristics of a Primary Group Physical proximity:  In order that relations of the people may be close, it is necessary that their contacts also should be close. Small size:  Relationship can be intimate and personal only in a small group. Stability:  To promote intimacy of relationship, the primary group should be stable to some extent:

Characteristics of a Primary Group Similarity of background:  The members of a primary group must be not only close and near to each other but also approximately equally experienced and intelligent. Limited self-interest:  The restricted common interest must predominate in their minds. Intensity of shared interests:  In a primary group the common interest is shared by every member and by being shared by all the interest acquires a new significance, a new emphasis and new valuation.

Importance of Primary Group For the individual:   The first things to be impressed about group is that it is a medium through which we learn culture, use culture and change culture. The group is an important factor in shaping the personality of the individual. For the society:   Help in the socialization of the individuals and maintain social control over them. The attitudes of sympathy, love, tolerance, mutual help and sacrifice which provides this cementing force.

Secondary Group Secondary group is a large group like a city, nation, political party, corporation and labour union etc., Here human contacts become superficial and undefined. He communicate with them by such indirect means as the written word. No face to face relations. H.T. Mazumdar – “When face-to-face contacts are not present in the relations of member, we may call that is secondary group”.

Characteristics of Secondary Group Main Characteristics of secondary group  Formal and impersonal relations  Large in size  Option of membership  Active and Inactive members  Relations – no face to face  Formal rules  Individuals status  Goal orientation

Importance of Secondary Groups The primary group have an important place in a simple and small society. But in modern era the trend is towards secondary groups. The changing trends of modern society man now depends for his needs more on secondary groups then primary groups. Efficiency (the emphasis is on getting the job done). Open Channels of Opportunity. Wider Outlook.

Difference between Primary & Secondary Groups Primary Group Secondary Group Meaning: Groups which Groups which provide Nature of Social Social relations are re characterized by faceto-face relations, mutual aid are primary group. Ex: family, friends etc., Relations: social relations are face-to-face, direct intimate, personal, non-partisan in character. experience lacking in intimacy are secondary group. Ex: political parties, unions etc., indirect, impersonal, contractual, specialized, and more economic nature.

Difference between Primary & Secondary Groups  Size: primary groups are  Secondary groups are  Physical proximity: group are  Groups are not characterized  Communication: its not only  Members are spread over a direct but also quick and effective. vast area direct communication is difficult.  Group interest: interest of  Interest of members are more smaller in size. confined to a small geographic area. members are not specific but general.  Nature of co-operation: co- operation is direct. relatively bigger in size. by physical area. specific.  Co-operation is mostly indirect.

Difference between Primary & Secondary Groups  Group structure: its very  Group structure is formal.  Durability: groups are  Groups may be temporary or  Effects on personality: the  The impact of group on the informal. The group is not very much organized in the modern sense. relatively durable. group has a long-lasting influence upon the personality.  Nature of group control: informal means of social control. The organization of the group is carefully planned and worked out. permanent. personality of the members is rather limited.  Formal means of control.

In-group V/s. Out-group Sumner’s classification between in-group and out- group. The individual belong to number of groups which are his in-groups. All other groups to which he does not belong are his out groups. Family, tribe, the college are examples of ingroups.

In-group V/s. Out-group In in-groups their relationships towards each other they display:        Sense of belonging co-operation goodwill mutual help solidarity feeling of brotherhood and readiness to sacrifice In-group signifies their unity by the word “we” and their distinctions from the others by applying to those the term “they”.

Crowd The crowd may be defined as a collection of individuals united temporarily and in close proximity to each other. Their objects may be diverse kinds. It is an unorganized manifestation. After the people collected in a garden for a picnic are called crowd. A crowd is quickly created and quickly dissolved.

Definition of Crowd MacIver – “it as a physically compact aggregation of human being brought into direct, temporary and un-organized contact with one another”. Kimball and Young – “a crowd is a gathering of a considerable number of persons around a center or point of common attraction”. Lundberg – “a crowd is a temporary collection of persons who react to a common focus of attention, and engage in spontaneous interaction.

Characteristics of Crowd Anonymity – because its large and temporary. Narrow attention –one or two things at one time. Suggestibility – crowd are not open to conviction. Credulity – easily believe others words. Low mental level – ideas not deep and wide. Emotional – crowd are highly emotional. Irresponsibility – crowd sense very poor of it.

Mob The crowd is always a transitory and unstable organization. Thus a group of students recreating by the seashore are an aggregate; if they hear a film actor they become a crowd. But if the actor makes insulting remarks to the country they may become unruly and turn into a mob.

Mob Mob is a violent group it concern more emotional people, they are creating problem they don’t maintain a peace . They have some struggle mind. Ex: Caste violence and industrial revaluation.

Public The common speech the term ‘public’ is often confused with people but in reality public is a part of the people. The public is merely a psychological group who think and feel about social issues. They are diffused, and are found in far off places. They are psychologically united due to some social issues.

Definition of Pubic Kingsley Davis – “A dispersed group; it is a feeling and thinking group”. Schettler – “The public is a group of individuals who are united together by common interest or objectives”. Horton & Hunt – “A public is a scattered group of people who share an interest in a particular topic”.

Characteristics of Public Public is disposed group It is a psychological group. It thinks, feels, and experiences certain common things. In public, all people do not have unanimous opinion. The members of the public communicate each other through mass media. Public is an organized group. There is no personal contact in public.

Audience This is a time of audiences as there are meetings all over, including class rooms, pubic meetings, etc., This is also a psychological important group. It is a group that sees, listens, and thinks. They follow some rules and regulations. They don’t have any leader but the organizer control for all the participants or people. Ex: theater, programme etc.,

Definition of Audience V.V. Akolkar – “An audience is a temporary assembly whose members have gathered for a definite and similar purpose, each one come to the spot on account of his individual interest”. Some of the important traits  It is an aggregate of people at a particular place and time.  It has a pre-determined purpose.  It has certain norms, and so, there is some sort of discipline too.

Classification of Audience Information audience: seeking audience. e.g. class room, TV hall etc., Conversational audience: discussion audience. Recreational audience: we have cinema, sports etc., Religious audience: religious worship, as in churches, temples and mosques. Political audience: audience are addressed usually by political leaders.

Social Interaction and Social Processes  Man is a socio-cultural being and society is necessary for man.  They always live in various groups and associations.  As members of this group they act and behave in a certain manner.  This behaviour of individual is affected by the behaviour of others.  This behaviour we call as a social interaction.  This interaction is essential of social life.  Without interaction there would be no social life.

Definition of Social Interaction & Processes Dawson and Gettys – “Social interaction is the process where by man interpreted the minds of each other”. Eldredge and Merril – “Social interaction is the general processes where by two or more persons are in meaningful contact as a result of which their behaviour in modified, however slightly”. Ginsberg - “Social processes means the various modes of interaction between individuals or groups including co-operation and conflict, social differentiation and integration, development, arrest and decay”.

Social Interaction and Social Processes Social Interaction and Social Processes takes place in the forms of  Co-operation  Competition  Conflicts  Accommodation  Assimilation  Isolation

Co-operation Co-operation is an Integrating activity it generally means that working together in the pursuit of common interest. Merril and Eldredge – “Co-operation is a form of social interaction wherein two or more persons work together to gain a common interest”. Fairchild – “Co-operation is the process by which individual or groups combine their effort in a more or less organized way for the attainment of common objective”. Green – “Co-operation is the continuous and common endeavor (attempt) of two or more persons to perform a task or to reach a goal that is commonly cherished”.

Types of Co-operation Five Types co-operation:  Direct Co-operation: under this category are included those activities in which co-operating individuals doing directly like things together, that is,   Moving a pile of stones, pushing a motor car of the mud, playing together, worshipping together etc., Indirect Co-operation: in this type of co-operation individuals work towards a common end but each has his own specialized functions too as the case, for Ex:  When carpenters, plumbers and masons co-operate to build a house.

Types of Co-operation  Primary co-operation: In this co-operation is found in primary groups such as the family.  Secondary co-operation: This type is cooperation is found in the secondary groups such as Government, Industry, Church and Trade union etc.,  Tertiary co-operation: This co-operation is found in the interaction between the various big and small groups to meet a particular situation. For Ex:  When Russia and America join together to defeat China in war.

Competition Competition is the most fundamental form of social struggle. Struggle for existence and better life. It is one aspects of struggle which is universal not only in human society but also in the animal society. Importance – assignment of individuals to proper places – source of motivation – conducive to progress.

Definition of Competition Sutherland – “Competition is an impersonal, unconscious, continuous, struggle between individuals or group which because of their limited supply all may not have”. Biesanz – “Competition is the struggling between two or more persons for the same goal which is limited so that all cannot share it”. Characteristics of competition:    Competition is impersonal struggle. Competition is an unconscious activity. Competition is universal.

Conflict It is the anti-thesis of co-operation. It is a process of seeking to obtain rewards by eliminating or weakening the competitors. Definition of conflict Gillin and Gillin - Conflict is the social process in which individuals or groups seeks their ends by directly challenging the enemy by violence or threat of violence.

Characteristics & Causes of Conflicts  Characteristics of conflict: conscious action  it is a personal activity  lacking continuity  universal one   Causes of conflict: Individual differences  Cultural differences  Clash of interests  Social change 

Types of Conflicts Gillin and Gillin mentioned five types of conflict – Personal conflict Racial conflict Class conflict Political conflict International conflict

Accommodation Accommodation is resolution of conflicts which generally means adjusting oneself to the new environment. Adjustment may be to the physical or social environment. Accommodation denotes acquired changes in the behaviour of individuals which enable them to adjust to their environment.

Definition of Accommodation MacIver – “The term accommodation refers particularly to the process in which man attains a sense of harmony with his environment”. Sutherland and Others – “Accommodation is the process by which those once in conflict can work together in common enterprises”. Ogburn and Nimkoff – “Accommodation is a term used by the sociologists to describe the adjustment of hostile (unfriendly) individuals or groups”.

Characteristics of Accommodation Accommodation is the natural result of conflict. Accommodation is mainly an unconscious activity. Accommodation is universal. Accommodation is a continuous process. Accommodation is a mixture of both love and hatred.

Assimilation It is more permanent than accommodation. Its more functional changes than accommodation. This is also a process of learning like socialization – both social and psychological process. It is a process by which persons and groups acquire the culture of the other group in which they come to live by adopting its attitudes and values . In short, its way of life.

Definition of Assimilation Bogardus – “Assimilation is a process whereby attitudes of many persons are united, an thus develop into a united group”. Biesanz – “Assimilation is the social process whereby individuals or groups come to share the same sentiments and goals”.

Characteristics of Assimilation Its not confined to single field only – its applied two different groups. It is a slow and gradual process – cannot take place all of suddenly. It is an unconscious process – we cannot see the real things. It is a two way process – its principle of give and take.

Isolation If the communicative interaction or social contact is absent that condition can be called as isolation. It occurs among individuals and groups. Absolute isolation is impossible. Types of Isolation: spatial & organic  Spatial isolation is external.  Organic defects of individual such as deafness or blindness.  Shyness.  Privacy.

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