SOCI 1002 E
Foundations of Sociology
Week 10: Groups and Organizations
• Looking at how individuals are brought together within larger configurations of people.
does this occur, under what circumstances and with what effects?
• Another way of putting it: who do we mean when we say ‘all of us’, ‘we demand’ and ‘we
agree’. Who is the we?
Groups and Communities
• Social groups: set of people who identify with one another and adhere to defined norms,
or statues. Ex: family, sports, college.
• Primary groups: norms, roles and statuses are agreed upon but not put in writing, social
interaction leads to strong emotional ties, extends over long period and involves a wide
activities. Ex: family (most important).
• Secondary groups: larger and more impersonal, narrow social interaction over a shorter
of time that create weaker emotional ties. Ex: sociology class.
Inclusion and Exclusion
• In-group members: those who belong.
• Out-group members: those who are excluded. • In-group members usually draw boundaries separating themselves from out-group
and keep them from crossing the line. Boundaries include: race, class, athletic, ability,
Community (First major group, focus on interests)
• Community: collection of people who are not clearly defined but who agree to something
other people reject and bestow an authority upon those beliefs.
• Historically or contemporary
• Most powerful allude to ‘common blood’, hereditary character, timeless link with a ‘land’ –
types of people (Historically).
• Communities of faith – communities that have been chosen, built around events and
types of interests (Contemporary).
Social Networks (Second major group, focus on exchange)
• Social network: bounded set of individuals who are linked by exchange of material or
• Members exchange resources more frequently with one another than with nonmembers,
also think of themselves as network members.
• May be formal (defined in writing) but more often informal (defined only in practice).
• Old forms of social networks: scientific influence, disease spreading, social ties.
• New forms of social networks: advances in technology, communication, blogs,
comments, music, pictures, status updates, trending topics, quick information, linking stories and
professional networking, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn.
Organizations (Third major group, focus on task-orientation)
• Communities pursing defined tasks are otherwise called purpose groups or
• Organizations have rules members must follow and individuals have different roles to
• Formal organizations: large secondary groups organized to achieve their goals
efficiently. Ex: business corporations, NGO, government.
• Three types of formal organizations:
o Utilitarian organizations: pays people for their efforts.
o Normative organizations: pursue some goal they think is morally worthwhile
involved and volunteering).
o NGOs: non-profit organizations that operate independently that advocates for
social aim and are more normative in nature (wants change).
o Lobby groups: much closer to political process, more utilitarian in nature.
o Coercive organizations: involuntary membership, people are forced to join these
organizations (prisons, boarding schools, psychiatric hospitals). Have security
and isolate them from society.
• Organizations are specialized and their members are rec