Primary vs. Secondary Groups Research Paper

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¶ … Secondary Groups

Primary Groups

These are groups of people who in general know each other very well, have emotional ties, spend a lot of time together and share a number of activities and interests. The primary group members care for the health and welfare of each other and share a sense of "we." According to his book, Social Organization: A Study of the larger Mind, Charles Cooley was the first sociologist to describe in detail what a primary group is. He identified "intimate face-to-face" associations between people as primary groups. Cooley wrote that there is "a certain fusion of individuals in a common whole" when they have sympathy and "mutual identification" with each other (Cooley, 1909).

Primary groups will sometimes be involved in "harmony and love," Cooley explained, but a primary group can also be brought together in a "competitive unity, admitting of self-assertion and various appropriative passions," he continued. They come under the discipline of a "common spirit," Cooley continues. The individual in the primary group is expected to be ambitious, but the "chief object of his ambition will be some desired place in the thought of the others" in the group, and the individual will feel "allegiance to common standards of service and fair play" (Cooley). There may be disputes in the primary group, for example with a team of baseball players they may be some disputes, but "…such disputes will place the common glory of his class and school" (Cooley).

Typically, primary groups include: families; close circles of friends; team members; a close peer group involved in a high school club or singing group (who have face-to-face interaction when involved in activities); and neighbors who are close and supportive of one another.

Secondary Groups

A secondary group is less cohesive than a primary group and more formal than a primary group. A secondary group might be a book club (that meets once a month); a church choir; the workplace (where everyone knows everyone else but there is no close tie… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Cite This Research Paper:

APA Format

Primary vs. Secondary Groups.  (2011, December 16).  Retrieved December 14, 2019, from

MLA Format

"Primary vs. Secondary Groups."  16 December 2011.  Web.  14 December 2019. <>.

Chicago Format

"Primary vs. Secondary Groups."  December 16, 2011.  Accessed December 14, 2019.