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11.2: Social Groups

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    A social group has two or more people who interact with one another, sharing similar characteristics, and share a sense of unity other than kinship [2].

    Social groups consist of two basic categories:

    • People who interact with each other and know each other personally,
    • People who identify with each other on some common ground, but who may never meet with one another or interact personally.


    A "friend" is defined as a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically exclusive of sexual or family relations. There are many different degrees of friendships, for example, many people could react in a friendly manner to people they have only met a couple of times. While there can be deeper relationships through friendship, friendship oftentimes come second to kin. In other cultures, friendship is considered sacred and a ritual is utilized as a declaration of such. An example of this is the Bangwa of Cameroon. The Bangwa believe that friendships are more important than relations among kin[3]. Friendship is a choice, often based on equality, needs, or similarities. Friends in the United States, for example, may do things together like sports or activities and are also there for each other in times of need,

    Social Clubs

    Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\): Chico State University

    A social club is created around a group of people organized for a common purpose, activity or motive, especially clear in a group that meets regularly. Through clubs, people may gain, and are facilitated in the opportunity to meet others who share similar interests and beliefs. These Clubs can be founded by almost any individual, so long as others join the club and so they size can vary greatly. Many clubs are associated or branched form certain larger organizations such as schools or churches and other mass activities or interests, even professional or hobbyist. There are also many clubs that that open membership to the general community and other that restrict it, there are even clubs that are pursue secrecy around their focus and membership. One common type of club is a culture club. A culture club is a club that revolve around a different culture than the participants own. Some other examples of what clubs can center around include art, reading, cooking, dance, sports, immigration origin, consumer rights, etc.

    With the advent of the internet, online communities have become increasingly popular and old types of social activity, like the social clubs has been eroded. These online communities can be seen as a type of club. People from differing cultures and regions can come together to work toward a common goal.

    Rites of Passage

    Another kind of group are those people who go through rites of passage together. Rites of passage are the life cycle rituals that mark a person's transition from one social state to another. Usually understood in the context of marriage and reproduction or religion, Rites of passage can be understood from a social context as well. Usually it is not just one person going through whatever the rite of passage is alone. Often it is a group of people similar in age, all going through the rite of passage together. So those individuals form a group and bond over the ordeals that they have to face together.

    This page titled 11.2: Social Groups is shared under a CC BY-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Wikibooks - Cultural Anthropology (Wikibooks) .

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