Kinds of Groups
We have already found out that sociology, as one of its main objects, studies social institutions and social relations, social bodies and social groups. Sociologists were early concerned with the problem of classifying groups as well. They have proposed many different classificatory schemes for the specific groups. They make up their classifications on the basis of selecting a few properties and define 'types'of groups on the principle whether these properties are present or absent.
Among the properties most often employed are size (number of members), amount of physical interaction among members, degree of intimacy, level of solidarity, focus of control of group activities and tendency of members to react on one another as individual persons. On the basis of these properties the following kinds of groups have been identified: intimate or impersonal, small or large, temporary or long-lasted, loosely organized or tightly knit. Some groups have a strong influence on people's behaviours, and their members are deeply committed. Others have little influence, and their members may not care much whether the group continues or disbands.
Sometimes sociologists make up their classifications of the groups according to their objectives or social settings. These are such groups as work groups, therapy groups, social groups, committees, clubs, gangs, teams, religious groups, and the like.
II. Answer the following questions.
1. What does sociology study as one of its main objects?
2. What were sociologists early concerned with?
3. They have proposed many different classificatory schemes, haven't they?
4. What is the basis of their classification?
5. What properties are most often employed?
6. What kinds of groups are identified on the basis of these properties?
7. What other principle do sociologists employ in their classifications?
8. Give examples of formal groups, informal groups, primary groups, secondary groups.
III. Agree or disagree with the following statements.
Use: You are right.
Sorry, but you are wrong.
1. One of the main objects of the sociologists is to study social bodies and social groups.
2. Sociologists have begun classifying groups quite recently.
3. They make up their group classifications on the basis of a few properties.
4. But sociologists failed to identify these groups.
5. Sometimes they classify groups according to their objectives and social settings.
6. There is no clear-cut difference between primary and secondary groups.
7. Work groups are formal groups.
IV. Find the facts to prove that:
1. Sociologists have proposed many different classificatory schemes of the groups.
2. They have managed to identify some properties for their classifications.
3. They have identified different groups.
4. There are some groups according to their objectives or social settings.
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