Social Groups Definition and Meaning

Social groups are groups of people who come together and interact due to common values, norms, beliefs and / or social interests.

Since the beginning of humanity there have been social groups. To form a social group, a minimum of two people is required, not having a maximum limit of members. The sociologist Georg Simmel (1858-1918) was dedicated to the investigation of small group dynamics by classifying them into:

  • Driadas: composed of two members, it is extremely fragile since if one of the members leaves the group, the group falls apart.
  • Triads: a social group consisting of three people whose dynamics are more flexible than the dryads.

The social interaction between the members of a social group is defined by the communication that exists between them and not by proximity. Social networks, in this sense, has helped to expand social groups beyond physical boundaries.

Types of social groups

Sociology also divides social groups according to the intimacy of social interaction among their members, the following being:

  • Primary: they are those that constitute the most intimate circle, generate, therefore, greater interaction and cooperation on the part of the person such as, for example, family and close friends. They are characterized by the voluntary association of members without the need for formalization.
  • Secondary or formal: they are social groups that define norms and rules for the generation of such relationship as, for example, a union or a political association.
  • Informal: they are formed due to friendship ties, but without structure like the former schoolmates.
  • Membership: members adhere to this type of social group to show the place of belonging in society, such as a football match or an urban tribe.
  • Reference: it belongs as a member for comparison and imitation of styles, standards or forms.
  • Peers: they are homogeneous groups in age, interests and social class.

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