- group, social groupA number of individuals, defined by formal or informal criteria of membership, who share a feeling of unity or are bound together in relatively stable patterns of interaction. The latter criterion is necessary in order to distinguish social groups from other aggregates dealt with by sociologists which are grouped only in the statistical sense that they share some socially relevant characteristic (including, for example, social categories such as suburban residents or junior managers). However, the term is one of the most widely used in sociology, and will often be found applied to combinations of people who may or may not share a feeling of unity (as in social class groups) and may or may not be involved in regular social interaction (as in the case of members of certain ethnic groups). See also Cooley , Charles Horton; descent groups ; dyad ; group dynamics ; out-group ; pariah group ; peer group ; pressure groups ; reference group ; status group ; Sumner, William Graham; triad.
Dictionary of sociology. 2013.
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