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Outline: Social Groups. Social Networks Small world syndrome Efficacy of weak ties and structural holes Density and longevity Why your friends are more popular than you are Families, clans and tribes Classes and Companies Rise of bureaucracy Status Party. Social groups.

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outline social groups
Outline: Social Groups
  • Social Networks
    • Small world syndrome
    • Efficacy of weak ties and structural holes
    • Density and longevity
    • Why your friends are more popular than you are
  • Families, clans and tribes
  • Classes and Companies
    • Rise of bureaucracy
  • Status
  • Party
social groups
Social groups
  • Social groups include kin groups, classes, organizations, status groups, and political groups
  • These groups are based on different interests
    • genetic interests (kin groups),
    • economic interests (classes, companies)
    • status interests (status groups) &
    • political interests (political groups).
social networks
Social networks
  • Social networks are the pattern of ties or connections between individuals or groups.
  • Example – “friends” on Facebook make up a social network
  • Other examples –
    • Family members who keep in touch with each other are a kinship network
    • Members of clubs (e.g. dog clubs) or social groups (e.g. bridge players)
    • Members of criminal/terror groups (e.g. Mafia, Al Qaeda)
Social groups such as kinship groups may or may not be linked by networks
    • E.g. you may not know or communicate with many of your relatives
characteristics of all social networks
Characteristics of all social networks
  • Small world syndrome
    • People all over the world are closely connected through networks
    • Milgram’s 1967 experiment
    • He sent information packets to a few hundred randomly-selected individuals in Nebraska and Kansas.
Each packet contained a letter with the address and occupation of the target person in Boston.
  • Each person was supposed to forward the packet onto the target
  • Many packets never did reach the target because people refused to send them on.
Of those that were sent on, the average path to the target took about 5.5 or 6 links between people.
  • Hence the term “six degrees of separation.”
  • Other recent studies have replicated Milgram’s result
efficacy of weak ties
Efficacy of weak ties
  • Most of the ties that bind people together in the “small world” studies are weak ties
  • Weak ties are between people who do not know each other well
Network researchers have found that weak ties are often more important to people than strong ties
  • People you know well are likely to know what you know, people you don’t know well know what you don’t know – and this can be helpful!
structural holes
Structural holes
  • Structural holes are not really holes at all but links between one or more social networks
  • People in structural holes tend to be very influential
  • Act as “information brokers” between social networks
density and longevity
Density and longevity
  • Over time networks tend to become more dense – that is, they tend to contain more and more ties (or links) between people in the network.
  • This is because friends of one person often become friends themselves
  • This is known as the principle of transitivity
why your friends are more popular than you are
Why your friends are more popular than you are
  • This is because popular people show up in many people’s networks
  • Because popular people have many friends, the average of your friends’ friends tends to be higher than the number of your own friends.
kinship groups families clans tribes
Kinship groups: Families, clans, tribes
  • Your kinship group consists of people who share genetic interests with you
  • Include parents, siblings, aunts and uncles, cousins, and so on
  • In our society, only the nuclear family group tends to be important
  • In many pre-industrial societies the extended family or clan is very important socially.
  • Clans are typically divided into lineages
    • may be patrilines (tracing descent in the male line) or
    • matrilines (tracing descent in the female line)
  • Clans often claim descent from a single, often mythical ancestor
  • In some societies these clans make up tribes, and the tribe itself is an important social grouping.
  • In some places in the world both clans and tribes are very important.
  • Include Africa and parts of the Middle East
E.g. The Luo Tribe make up around 12% of Kenya's population, making it the 3rd largest ethnic group (after the Kikuyu and the Luhya).
    • There are approximately 12 sub-groups within the tribe.
    • http://www.kenya-advisor.com/kenya-tribes-a-to-h.html
  • A class is a group of people who share in common an economic position.
  • They may share economic interests or similar positions on a market
  • E.g. CEOs of companies make up a class
  • E.g. People with similar amounts of wealth or income make up a class
marx on class
Marx on class
  • Karl Marx is considered another of the founding fathers of sociology
  • In Marx’s definition, a class is a group of people who share the same relationship to the means of production.
In Marx’s time – he saw two primary classes – people who owned the means of production (capitalists) and those who did not (the workers)
  • Marx saw tension between those two groups
  • The clash would eventually bring down capitalist society
Marx’s ideas have been tremendously influential
  • Were partly responsible for the founding of socialist (communist) societies e.g. China and the Soviet Union
Because he lived too early, Marx did not see the development of a middle tier of people who were neither owners nor workers – middle managers.
  • Nor did he see the expansion of stock ownership in most western industrial societies.
  • One of the things that Max Weber saw, because he lived after Marx, was the proliferation of companies in industrialized societies
Companies and organizations are staffed by middle managers and technocrats who are neither owners nor workers
  • These people also made up classes
  • Companies and organizations are typically organized as bureaucracies
  • People in bureaucracies can have a great deal of power
characteristics of bureaucracy weber
Characteristics of Bureaucracy (Weber)
  • Specialization
  • Hierarchy of offices
  • Formal, Written Communication
  • Technical competence
  • Full time positions
  • Rules and regulations
status groups
Status Groups
  • Weber thought there were other important social groups besides classes
  • He thought there were what he called status groups – people who shared in common not an economic position, but a style of life
In pre-industrial societies, members of religious groups make up status groups
  • E.g. monks in Myanmar
Examples in our society include scientists, or members of a religious sect, distinctions between “old money” and “new money”
  • E.g. Boston Brahmins, the name given to the old, upper crust New England families of Protestant (usually English) origin, are an example of a status group in the United States.
  • Weber also saw the rise of a new class of people involved in politics and these people made up another distinct social grouping.
  • This group is not so much distinguished by its economic position or its style of life, but political affiliation.
E.g. In the former Soviet Union and in contemporary communist China very salient group
  • A person’s party affiliation was/is vital in all aspects of life.
In our own society, party or political affiliation is less consequential for a person’s life chances