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A primary group is a typically small social group whose members share close, personal, enduring primary relationships. These groups are marked by member's concern for one another, shared activities and culture, and long periods of time spent together. Examples include family, childhood friends, and highly influential social groups (team sports groups, academic groups, etc...).
People in a secondary group interact on a less personal level than in a primary group, and their relationships are temporary rather than long lasting. Since secondary groups are established to perform functions, people’s roles are more interchangeable.
The theory of primary and secondary groups was put forward by Charles Horton Cooley, a sociologist. He labelled these groups as "primary" because people often experience these sort of groups early in their life. Relationships formed in primary groups are often long-lasting and goals in themselves. They also are often psychologically comforting to the individuals involved and provide a source of support and encouragment. Primary groups play an important role in the development of personal identity.
See also[edit | edit source]
[edit | edit source]
- McGraw Hill online Sociology Glossary
- "Primary Groups" excerpt from Cooley's "Social Organization: A Study of the Larger Mind"
- "National Sociology Center"
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