Social Groups

What are Social Groups?

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

Social groups have existed since the beginning of humanity. To form a social group, a minimum of two people is required, without a maximum number of members. The sociologist Georg Simmel (1858-1918) was dedicated to the investigation of the small group dynamics classifying them in:

  • dryads: Composed of two members, it is extremely fragile since if one of the members leaves the group, the group falls apart.
  • Triads: social group formed by 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, have helped to expand social groups beyond physical borders.

See also Social networks.

Types of social groups

Sociology also divides social groups according to the intimacy of social interaction between its members, they being the following:

  • primaries: are those that constitute the most intimate circle, generate, therefore, greater interaction and cooperation on the part of the person, such as 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 said relationship, such as, for example, a union or a political association.
  • informal: They are formed due to bonds of friendship, but without structure like the former classmates of the school.
  • of belonging: Members join this type of social group to show their place of belonging in society, such as a football match or an urban tribe.
  • Reference: one belongs as a member for comparison and imitation of styles, norms or forms.
  • Peers: they are homogeneous groups in age, interests and social class.
You may be interested:  Association