consists of two or more people who are distinct in the
following three ways:
•Interact over time.
•Have a sense of identity or belonging.
•Have norms that non-members don’t have.
A class of students is a group. Classes by definition consist
of more than two people, meet at least a few times a week
for an entire semester, and identify themselves on the
basis of what classes they are taking. Students in a class
must follow that professor’s class and test schedule, as
well as rules for behaviour and contribution in class.
a collection of people who happen to be at the same place
at the same time but who have no other connection to one
The people gathered in a restaurant on a particular evening are
an example of an aggregate, not a group. Those people
probably do not know one another, and they’ll likely never
again be in the same place at the same time.
a collection of people who share a particular
characteristic. They do not necessarily interact with one
another and have nothing else in common.
Categories of people might include people who have green
eyes, people who were born in Nevada, and women who have
given birth to twins.
is typically a small social group whose members share
close, personal, enduring relationships. these groups
are marked by concern for one another, shared
activities and culture, and long periods of time spent
• Meet frequently on a face-to-face basis.
• Have a sense of identity or belonging that lasts a long
• Share little task orientation.
• Have emotional intimacy.
Members of a primary group meet the following criteria:
is a group in which one exchanges implicit items, such
as love, caring, concern, support, etc.
Secondary groups are large groups whose relationships are
impersonal and goal oriented; their relationships are
> Secondary relationships involve weak emotional ties and little
personal knowledge of one another. In contrast to primary
groups, secondary groups don't have the goal of maintaining
and developing the relationships themselves.
> Secondary groups include groups in which one exchanges
explicit commodities, such as labour for wages, services for
payments, and such. They also include university classes,
athletic teams, and groups of co-workers.
In-Groups and Out-Groups
social groups to which an individual feels he or she belongs, while an individual doesn't
identify with the out-group.
In-group favoritism refers to a preference and affinity for one’s in-group over the out-group, or
anyone viewed as outside the in-group.
One of the key determinants of group biases is the need to improve self-esteem. That is
individuals will find a reason, no matter how insignificant, to prove to themselves why their
group is superior.
Intergroup aggression is any behavior intended to harm another person, because he or she is a
member of an out-group, the behavior being viewed by its targets as undesirable.
The out-group homogeneity effect is one's perception of out-group members as more similar to
one another than are in-group members (e.g., "they are alike; we are diverse”).
Prejudice is a hostile or negative attitude toward people in a distinct group, based solely on their
membership within that group.
A stereotype is a generalization about a group of people in which identical characteristics are
assigned to virtually all members of the group, regardless of actual variation among the members
Sociologists call any group that individuals use as a standard for
evaluating themselves and their own behaviour a reference group.
Social comparison theory argues that individuals use comparisons
with others to gain accurate self-evaluations and learn how to
define the self. A reference group is a concept referring to a group
to which an individual or another group is compared.
Reference groups provide the benchmarks and contrast needed for
comparison and evaluation of group and personal characteristics.
Robert K. Merton hypothesized that individuals compare
themselves with reference groups of people who occupy the social
role to which the individual aspires.
A social network is a social structure between actors, connecting them through various
The study of social networks is called both "social network analysis" and "social network
Social network theory views social relationships in terms of nodes and ties. Nodes are the
individual actors within the networks, and ties are the relationships between the actors.
In sociology, social capital is the expected collective or economic benefits derived from the
preferential treatment and cooperation between individuals and groups.
The rule of 150 states that the size of a genuine social network is limited to about 150
The small world phenomenon is the hypothesis that the chain of social acquaintances
required to connect one arbitrary person to another arbitrary person anywhere in the world
is generally short.
Milgram also identified the concept of the familiar stranger, or an individual who is
recognized from regular activities, but with whom one does not interact.
A New Group: Electronic Communities
On the Internet, social interactions can occur in online communities that
preclude the need to be face-to-face.
An online community is a virtual community that exists online and whose
members enable its existence through taking part in membership rituals.
An online community can take the form of an information system where
anyone can post content, such as a bulletin board system or one where only a
restricted number of people can initiate posts, such as Weblogs.
Cost plays a role in all aspects and stages for online communities. Fairly cheap
and easily attainable technologies and programs have also influenced the
increase in establishment of online communities.
is the process of two or more people working or acting together. Cooperation enables
social reality by laying the groundwork for social institutions, organizations, and the
entire social system. Without cooperation, no institution beyond the individual would
develop; any group behaviour is an example of cooperation. Cooperation derives from
an overlap in desires and is more likely if there is a relationship between the parties.
This means that if two people know that they are going to encounter one another in the
future or if they have memories of past cooperation, they are more likely to cooperate
in the present.
TYPES OF COOPERATION
It is cooperation to which all parties consent.
It is when cooperation between individuals is forced.
It is a form of cooperation in which individuals do not necessarily intend to
cooperate, but end up doing so because of aligning interests.
is the struggle for agency or power within a society. It occurs when two or
more people oppose one another in social interactions, reciprocally exerting
social power in an effort to attain scarce or incompatible goals, and prevent
the opponent from attaining them.
• emphasizes interests deployed in conflict, rather than
the norms and values. This perspective argues that the
pursuit of interests is what motivates conflict.
Resources are scarce and individuals naturally fight to
gain control of them. Thus, the theory sees conflict as a
normal part of social life, rather than an abnormal
1. Society is composed of different groups that compete
2. While societies may portray a sense of cooperation, a
continual power struggle exists between social groups
as they pursue their own interests.
3. Social groups will use resources to their own advantage
in the pursuit of their goals, frequently leading
powerful groups to take advantage of less powerful
The three tenets of conflict theory are as follows:
Zero sum game
meaning that if group A acquires any given resource, group B will be unable
to acquire it. Thus, any gain for group A is automatically a loss for group B.
further argues that group A will continue to search for resources in order to
keep group B from getting them, leading to the exploitation of the powerless.
The idea that those who have control will maintain control.
is a contest between people or groups of people for control
over resources. In this definition, resources can have both
literal and symbolic meaning. People can compete over
tangible resources like land, food, and mates, but also over
intangible resources, such as social capital. Competition is the
opposite of cooperation and arises whenever two parties strive
for a goal that cannot be shared.
competition may serve as a form of recreation or a
challenge provided that it is non-hostile.
competition can cause injury and loss to the organisms
involved, and drain valuable resources and energy.