+
Groups

Groups

Rating:
Rating
(0)
Description:

This lesson will define group and distinguish between primary and secondary groups.

(more)
See More
Try a College Course Free

Sophia’s self-paced online courses are a great way to save time and money as you earn credits eligible for transfer to over 2,000 colleges and universities.*

Begin Free Trial
No credit card required

25 Sophia partners guarantee credit transfer.

221 Institutions have accepted or given pre-approval for credit transfer.

* The American Council on Education's College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE Credit®) has evaluated and recommended college credit for 20 of Sophia’s online courses. More than 2,000 colleges and universities consider ACE CREDIT recommendations in determining the applicability to their course and degree programs.

Tutorial

What's Covered

This tutorial will cover the topic of social groups, through the definition and discussion of:

  1. Social Groups
  2. Primary Groups
  3. Secondary Groups

1. SOCIAL GROUPS

Groups are a basic part of society and social life, and of particular interest to sociological study. There are two kinds of social groups: primary groups and secondary groups.

People belong to many social groups of all different levels at the same time. A group is simply a collection of two or more people who regularly interact with each other for some purpose.

ExampleCouples, family, friends, business associates, coworkers, or lifestyle groups like activist groups, environmental groups, or even your neighborhood church, are all social groups that are part of an individual’s regular interactions.

Term to Know

Social Groups

Any collection of two or more people who regularly interact with each other for some purpose.


2. PRIMARY GROUPS

Primary groups are smaller social groups whose members share intimate and lasting personal connections. Primary groups comprise your immediate family and friends, and are characterized by what sociologists call strong ties.

Term to Know

Primary Groups

A smaller social group whose members share intimate, lasting personal connections.

You're bound together by loyalty and emotional connection--you can't go out and replace your brother in the same way that you can replace a coworker. Primary groups are the very first form of human group contact and interaction, which is why they are called primary. You first experience the family, and then the friends.

Primary groups provide your ideas of right or wrong, your attitudes and behaviors, your worldview and outlook.

ExampleWhether a person is religious or not, or conservative versus liberal, is often shaped in his or her very first primary group contact.


3. SECONDARY GROUPS

Secondary groups are larger, more impersonal collections of people who join together for a purpose or goal. These are people that you don’t know as well as the people in your primary groups. Secondary groups are characterized not by strong ties, but by what sociologists call weak ties, meaning you have little emotional connection and personal knowledge of the other person beyond a vague group affinity.

ExampleThe following represent secondary groups--people you see occasionally, whose faces are familiar to you, but you don’t really know that much about them. You’re still united in a way, because you share a group affinity, but in the event that the unifying circumstance is dissolved--soccer league or class ends, change of job, etc.--that secondary group also dissolves.

    • A group of people you play soccer with once a month
    • A class for a lecture that you have. But once the class is dissolved, well, there goes that secondary group.
    • People who work in your company

Term to Know

Secondary Groups

A larger and more impersonal social group that joins together for a specific purpose or goal.

Summary

Today you learned about social groups, including primary and secondary groups.

Good luck!

Source: This work is adapted from Sophia author Zach Lamb.

TERMS TO KNOW
  • Secondary Groups

    A larger and more impersonal social group that joins together for a specific purpose or goal.

  • Primary Groups

    A smaller social group whose members share intimate, lasting personal connections.

  • Social Groups

    Any collection of two or more people who regularly interact with each other for some purpose.