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Social Interaction and Social Groups

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1 Social Interaction and Social Groups
Chapter 5: Social Interaction and Social Groups

2 What to Expect in This Chapter...
What is social interaction? Contexts and Norms of Social Interaction Studying Social Interaction: Ethnomethodology and Dramaturgy Types of Social Interaction Elements of Social Interaction What are Groups? Functions of Groups Group Size Bureaucracy Institutions and Social Organization

3 What is Social Interaction?
Social interaction is the social action of two or more people taking each other into account in their action Social action refers to those actions which people are conscious of doing because of other people

4 Contexts and Norms of Social Interaction
The context in which a social interaction takes place determines its meaning Three elements comprise the context: The physical setting The social environment Activities surrounding the interaction Norms are the rules of behavior governing the interaction

5 Studying Social Interaction: Ethnomethodology and Dramaturgy
Ethnomethodology is the study of the norms governing social interaction This approach normally involves purposely violating commonly understood rules as a means to gauge the nature of people’s response Dramaturgy understands social interaction in terms of the theater Interacting parties are actors involved in a performance known as impression management

6 Types of Social Interaction
Nonverbal Behavior Involves forms of communication that involved body movements, or kinesics Researchers focus on things such as posture, yawns, and eye contact Exchange—social interaction with the express purpose of receiving mutual rewards Cooperation—social interaction engaged in to promote common interests Conflict—social interaction that involves working against each other for a commonly prized object Competition—form of conflict in which individuals confine conflict to agreed-upon rules

7 Elements of Social Interaction: Statuses
A status is any socially defined position that people occupy Some statuses are more influential than others in shaping our identity and the interactions of others around us. These are called master statuses Statuses can be either conferred upon us, or can be voluntarily attained Ascribed statuses are conferred upon us, usually at birth. Include our race, sex, etc. Achieved statuses are voluntarily attained and include our occupation, student status, etc.

8 Elements of Social Interaction: Roles
Roles are the “...culturally defined rules for proper behavior that are associated with every status.” All of the roles attached to a particular status are called, collectively, role sets Because we cannot possibly fulfill all of the roles attached to a particular status at any given time, we typically identify a role set as those rules that apply to our interaction with other individuals in particular statuses

9 Understanding Role Sets
Student Grade Papers Write Papers Admin- istrator Professor Professor Staff Chair Committee Lobby for money Give Lectures Present Papers Faculty Commu- nity Advise Students Role Sets Each of the relationships depicted here has its own set of roles Status and Roles

10 Role Strain and Role Conflict
Because we occupy several statuses, and numerous roles are attached to each status, there is great potential for conflict between roles Role Strain occurs when there is conflict between roles attached to the same status Role Conflict occurs when conflict is encountered between roles that are attached to two or more statuses

11 What Are Social Groups? Social groups consist of people who have a common sense of identity, shared norms and common goals Social groups are distinct from two other types of collectivities: Social Aggregates—people who happen to be in close physical proximity, but share little else Social Categories—people who share one or more characteristics in common, but do not interact

12 Comparing Primary and Secondary Groups Social Characteristics
Primary Groups Secondary Groups Physical Conditions Small number Long duration Large number Shorter duration Social Characteristics Intrinsic value on relationship Inclusive knowledge of members Freedom and spontaneity Informal norms and controls Value goals of group more than relationship Limited knowledge of members External constraint Formal norms and controls Sample Relationships Friends Husband/Wife Parent/Child Clerk/Customer Performer/Spectator Officer/Subordinate Sample Groups Play Group Family Work team Professional Association Corporation Government Agency

13 6. Controlling Members' Behavior
Functions of Groups 1. Defining Boundaries 2. Choosing Leaders 3. Making Decisions 4. Setting Goals 5. Assigning Tasks 6. Controlling Members' Behavior

14 Group Size: Small Groups
Small groups are few enough in number so that all members know one another Dyad is the smallest group, consisting of only two people Triad is a group of three, which introduces the possibility of coalitions and mediation As the group grows larger, subgroups within the larger group may form

15 Group Size: Large Groups
Large groups consist of many people who do not usually know each other well Associations are large groups purposely created to accomplish clearly defined goals Associations have both a formal structure and an informal structure The formal structure consists of formally defined, typically written job definitions The informal structure is negotiated in the day to day activities of the association

16 The Bureaucracy The bureaucracy is “a formal, rationally organized social structure with clearly defined patterns of activity in which...ideally, every series of actions is...related to the purposes of the organization.” The classic model of bureaucracy was laid out by the German sociologist Max Weber, who identified six essential characteristics....

17 Weber’s Classical Model of Bureaucracy
Clear cut division of labor Hierarchical Decision Making Formal Rules Impartiality in Relationships Employment based on technical merit Distinction between public and private lives

18 The Reality of Bureaucracy
While Weber suggested that bureaucracy was the most rational and efficient way of accomplishing goals, we know that bureaucracies also produce a sense of alienation, adherence to unproductive ritual and even incompetence Moreover, Robert Michels observed that bureaucracies inevitably come to be dominated by a small number of self-serving people at the top—an oligarchy. This tendency has come to be known as the “iron law of oligarchy”

19 Social Institutions Social institutions are the ordered relationships that grow out of the values, norms, statuses, roles and groups of society. Social institutions respond to the basic need areas of society, which include: Family Educational Institution Economic Institution Religion Political Institutions

20 Social Organization Social organization refers to the “...relatively stable pattern of social relationships among individuals and groups in society” The organization of society consists of statuses, roles, groups and institutions, ordered according to social norms that provide regularity and predictability in social interaction

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