Definition of Group
(noun) A collection of two or more people who share an identity.
Types of Group
- control group
- descent group
- dominant group
- ethnic group
- peer group
- primary group
- minority group
- reference group
- secondary group
- subordinate group
- American English – /grOOp/
- British English – /grOOp/
International Phonetic Alphabet
- American English – /ɡrup/
- British English – /ɡruːp/
- Plural: groups
- The terms group and social group are used interchangeably in a sociological context.
- Some sociologists and texts differentiate between groups and social groups. Groups are more impersonal (e.g., crowds or aggregates where members may not know each other), whereas social groups are more personal (e.g., families or co-workers, where members depend on each other and have a shared identity).
- Also called:
- social unit
- “All groups have norms, values, beliefs, ways of life, and codes of conduct that identify the group and define its boundaries” (McNamee and Miller 2013:58).
- “Culture consists of patterns, explicit and implicit, of and for behaviour, acquired and transmitted by symbols, constituting the distinctive achievement of human groups, including their embodiments in artifacts; the essential core of culture consists of traditional (i.e., historically derived and selected) ideas and especially their attached values; culture systems may, on the one hand, be considered as products of action, on the other as conditioning elements of further action” (Kroeber and Kluckhohn 1952:181).
- “Conflict perspectives argue that society is a continuous power struggle among competing groups, often based on class, race, ethnicity, or gender” (Kendall 2006:37).
- “In addition to prejudices, the dominant group also applies various actions against minority ethnic groups, including avoidance, denial, threat, or physical attack. At different times, all of these forms of coercion may be used, depending on how threatening the minority group is perceived to be. These actions are collectively called discrimination” (Marger 1985:45).
- “The kind of person we become depends greatly on what we learn during our formative years from our surrounding social groups and social environment” (Kendall 2006:105).
- Role Theory Resources – Books, Journals, and Helpful Links
- Word origin of “group” – Online Etymology Dictionary: etymonline.com
- Homans, George Caspar. 1950. The Human Group. New York: Harcourt, Brace.
Kendall, Diana. 2006. Sociology in Our Times: The Essentials. 5th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Kroeber, Alfred L., and Clyde Kluckhohn. 1952. Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions. Cambridge, MA: Peabody Museum of American Archæology and Ethnology.
Marger, Martin. 1985. Race and Ethnic Relations: American and Global Perspectives. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
McNamee, Stephen J., and Robert K. Miller, Jr. 2013. The Meritocracy Myth. 3rd ed. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
Abercrombie, Nicholas, Stephen Hill, and Bryan Turner. 2006. The Penguin Dictionary of Sociology. 5th ed. London: Penguin.
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Branscombe, Nyla R., and Robert A. Baron. 2017. Social Psychology. 14th ed. Harlow, England: Pearson.
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Bruce, Steve, and Steven Yearley. 2006. The SAGE Dictionary of Sociology. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
Ferrante, Joan. 2011a. Seeing Sociology: An Introduction. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Ferrante, Joan. 2011b. Sociology: A Global Perspective. 7th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Ferris, Kerry, and Jill Stein. 2010. The Real World: An Introduction to Sociology. 2nd ed. New York: Norton.
Griffiths, Heather, Nathan Keirns, Eric Strayer, Susan Cody-Rydzewski, Gail Scaramuzzo, Tommy Sadler, Sally Vyain, Jeff Bry, Faye Jones. 2016. Introduction to Sociology 2e. Houston, TX: OpenStax.
Henslin, James M. 2012. Sociology: A Down-to-Earth Approach. 10th ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
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Shepard, Jon M. 2010. Sociology. 11th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
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Turner, Bryan S., ed. 2006. The Cambridge Dictionary of Sociology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation. (https://en.wikipedia.org/).
Cite the Definition of Group
ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “group.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved April 1, 2023 (https://sociologydictionary.org/group/).
APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)
group. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/group/
Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “group.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed April 1, 2023. https://sociologydictionary.org/group/.
MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)
“group.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 1 Apr. 2023. <https://sociologydictionary.org/group/>.