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  1. 1. Introduction to Sociology: Groups
  2. 2. Groups vs. Categories ● a group is usually defined as a number of people who identify and interact with one another ● One way of determining if a collection of people can be considered a group is if individuals who belong to that collection use the self-referent pronoun "we" ● Collections of people that do not use the self-referent pronoun "we" but share certain characteristicsare different from groups in that they usually do not regularly interact with each other nor share similar interests or values. Such collections are referred to as categories of people rather than groups
  3. 3. Social Identity Theory ● Social psychological theory concerned with when and why individuals identify with, and behave as part of, social groups ● It is also concerned with what difference it makes when encounters between individuals are perceived as encounters between group members
  4. 4. Categorization ● We categorize objects in order to understand them ● We do the same with other people ● We use social categories like black, white, Australian, Christian, Muslim, student, and busdriver because they are useful. ● If we can assign people to a category then that tells us things about those people. ● We also find out things about ourselves by knowing what categories we belong to.
  5. 5. Identification ● We identify with groups that we perceive ourselves to belong to. Identification carries two meanings. – Part of who we are is made up of our group memberships. That is, sometimes we think of ourselves as "us" vs. "them" or "we" vs. "they." In other words, sometimes we think of ourselves as group members and at other times we think of ourselves as unique individuals. Thinking of yourself as a group member and thinking of yourself as a unique individual are both parts of your self-concept. The first is referred to as social identity, the latter is referred to as personal identity. – The other meaning implied by the concept of identity is the idea that we are, in some sense, the same, or identical to other people. We aren't actually identical, but those in our INGROUP are more like us than those in our OUTGROUPS. We treat people differently based on ingroup/outgroup distinctions.
  6. 6. Comparison ● To function effectively in the world we need to feel good about ourselves. ● The idea of social comparison is that in order to evaluate ourselves we compare ourselves with similar others. ● We often gain self-esteem by comparing ourselves with others in our group, particularly if we can claim membership in a prestigious group. ● The prestige of a group is also often created through comparisons that positively reflect on the group. Groups choose dimensions for comparison in order to maximize the positivity of their own group.
  7. 7. Primary and Secondary Groups ● A Primary group is typically a small social group whose members share close, personal, enduring relationships. ● Secondary groups are large groups whose relationships are impersonal and goal-oriented. families are primary groups classes are secondary groups
  8. 8. Group Dynamics ● Groups strongly influence the identity and behavior of group members
  9. 9. Dramaturgy ● Erving Goffman defined social life as an information game wherein people give (i.e., intentionally transmit information) and give off (i.e., accidentally transmit information) details about themselves through the emphasis they place upon the social groups to which they belong. ● People spend much of their lives attempting to demonstrate and affirm their membership within groups that are well regarded while distancing themselves from groups that are stigmatized within society. ● People learn a wide variety of "signifying practices" or ways of showing others who we are and what we do within group contexts, which demonstrate group membership
  10. 10. Identity Work ● things people do to give meaning to themselves and others – group members must define an identity into existence – group members must establish a set of codes or symbolic signals that allow people to tell others they are a member of a group – group members must establish ritual occasions or opportunities to affirm our membership in the group – group members must come up with ways to police the boundaries of our group.
  11. 11. Conformity ● If you've ever done something in a group that you would not do if you were alone, it's likely that you experienced conformity; your attitudes, beliefs, and/or behaviors were influenced by other people. Solomon Asch's conformity experiments led people to deny reality in order to fit in.
  12. 12. Social Facilitation ● Social facilitation is the tendency for people to be aroused into better performance on simple tasks or tasks at which they are expert or that have become autonomous when under the eye of others Recent neurological research on the footballer Neymar from Brazil showed that his brain was often on something akin to an “autopilot” when playing futbol. This supports the idea of social facilitation.
  13. 13. Social Loafing ● Social loafing refers to the phenomenon that can occur when people in a group make less of an effort to achieve a goal than they would working alone. ● As a result of social loafing, groups can sometimes generate less total output than the combined performance of their members working as individuals.
  14. 14. Deindividuation ● Deindividuation refers to the phenomenon of relinquishing one's sense of identity, self- awareness, or evaluation apprehension. ● This can happen as a result of becoming part of a group that fosters obedience to group norms rather than an individual's norms, such as an army or mob. People can lose their sense of individuality in a mob.
  15. 15. Group Polarization ● Group polarization refers to the finding that after participating in a discussion group, members tend to advocate more extreme positions and/or call for riskier courses of action than individuals who did not participate in any such discussion. ● Group polarization results from two primary mechanisms: social comparison and informational influence
  16. 16. Diffusion of Responsibility ● Diffusion of responsibility (also called the bystander effect) is a social phenomenon which tends to occur in groups of people above a certain critical size when responsibility is not explicitly assigned. ● When something happens that warrants intervention, because responsibility has been diffused, no one takes action. A widely cited example of this effect is the murder of Kitty Genovese in 1964.
  17. 17. False Consensus and Illusory Superiority ● The false consensus effect is the tendency for people to project their way of thinking onto other people. ● Illusory superiority is a cognitive bias in which people overestimate the degree to which they possess desirable qualities, relative to others, or underestimate their negative qualities relative to others.
  18. 18. Groupthink ● a process by which a group can make bad or irrational decisions ● In a groupthink situation, each member of the group attempts to conform his or her opinions to what they believe to be the consensus of the group.
  19. 19. Networks ● A social network is a social structure between actors, either individuals or organizations. ● It indicates the ways in which they are connected through various social familiarities ranging from casual acquaintance to close familial bonds. ● Research in a number of academic fields has demonstrated that social networks operate on many levels, from families up to the level of nations, and play a critical role in determining the way problems are solved, organizations are run, and the degree to which individuals succeed in achieving their goals.