Social groups and organisations comprise a basic part of virtually every arena of modern life. In the last 50 years or so, sociologists have taken a special interest in studying these scientific phenomena from a scientific point of view.
In the Discovery Channel of Television we very often come across group of animals behaving within the group and reacting to outside intruders. It reflects on animal social behaviors, with relation to defending the territory and dominance. But, unfortunately, these animal behaviors have been largely neglected by sociologists and anthropologists while dealing with group behavior of the social animal, i.e. man. Indeed, vast literature on organization, property, law enforcement, ownership, religion, warfare, values, conflict resolution, authority, rights, and families have grown and evolved without any reference to any analogous social behaviors in animals. This disconnect may be the result of the belief that social behavior in humankind is radically different from the social behavior in animals because of the human capacity for language use and rationality. Of course, while this is true, it is equally likely that the study of the social (group) behaviors of other animals might shed light on the evolutionary roots of social groups and behavior of people in relation to members within and out side.
In the social sciences a social group can be defined as two or more humans who interact with one another, share similar characteristics and collectively have a sense of unity. A social category is a collection of people who do not interact but who share similar characteristics. For example, women, men, the elderly, and high school students all constitute social categories. A social category can become a social group when the members in the category interact with each other and identify themselves as members of the group. In contrast, a social aggregate is a collection of people who are in the same place, but who do not interact or share characteristics. By this definition, a society can be viewed as a large group, though most social groups are considerably smaller.
The definition is simple enough, but it has significant implications. Frequent interaction leads people to share values and beliefs. This similarity and the interaction cause them to identify with one another. Identification and attachment, in turn, stimulate more frequent and intense interaction. Each group maintains solidarity with all, to other groups and other types of social systems.
Cite this article:
Sameer Sourav. Social Groups . Research J. Humanities and Social Sciences. 3(2): April-June, 2012, 205-209.