Classification Of Social Groups

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There is no single basis for the classification of groups.  There is considerable variation in the form of social groups, so its classification also has different grounds.  Sociologists have different views regarding the classification of social groups.  Different sociologists have presented types of social groups on different grounds.  Thus there can be so many types of social groups that it is difficult to determine their numbers.  Here the classification of social groups given by some prominent sociologists is being presented.

 Classification by Miller:

Miller experienced social distance between people in society.  He considered the basis of this distance as status, authority and financial prosperity.  According to him, there are some groups in the society in which people belonging to different social classes are involved, on the other hand there are some groups in which people of the same class and status are found.  Hence, Miller has divided social groups into two parts.

   (i)Vertical group

 (ii) Horizontal group

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  1. Vertical group – Social distance is found in Udaya groups. Everyone feels some distance from each other.  The basis of this social distance is money, education, business, power etc.  This is to say that people are divided on different grounds under a vertical group.  If we look at an educated group, you will find that they do not all have the same financial status.  People belonging to different caste and education-level also converge in an occupational group.  That is, some sub-groups also exist under that one group.  Some of these subgroups have high status and some have low.  People of one caste consider themselves higher, lower and middle than other caste.  Thus it is clear that people of different status are found in a group.  This division is related to social strata.  A similar feature is found in the vertical group.


  1. Horizontal group – Members of such groups have the same position. There is no distinction between high and low.  All members are of equal status, power and authority.  That is, there is not much variation in social status.  Such as – author class, teacher class, working class etc.  The educational qualification of all the teachers in the teacher class is almost the same.  All members in the working class are of the working class only.  Due to social equality among all these groups, they are called flat and horizontal groups.  There may be some financial difference between the members of a flat group but there is not much difference in social status.  People are related to each other due to equal social status.  In the vertical group, there is a four relationship among their members, despite the difference in height – low, personality etc., while communication between them may decrease even if the level and the social group remain equal in social status.

Classification by Guillén and Guillén:

Guillén and Guillén also include a group with cultural characteristics in their classification.  Gillin and Gillin’s classification of social groups as the basis of blood relations, physical characteristics, regionality.  Sustainability and cultural characteristics are etc.  On the basis of all this, they have discussed six types of groups.

  1. Blood-related groups, such as family, caste.
  2. Groups based on physical characteristics, such as same sex, race, species and age group.
  3. Regional groups, such as states, nations and tribes.

 4 temporary groups, viz., Crowd groups

  1. Permanent groups, such as – rural, neighborhood, town, city etc.
  2. Cultural groups, such as – economic, religious, political, educational etc.


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  Classification by Lester Ward (Lester E. Ward): Lester Ward divided it into two parts, paying attention to the form of the group –

 (i) elective group (voluntary group)

  (ii) Mandatory group (non-voluntary group)


 (i)) Voluntary Groups – These are the groups we achieve by our own will.  We do not have any proposal for this.  Membership of groups such as membership of a club, political party membership, trade union etc. are optional.  Just as a person achieves his nerve through his will, similarly, his recovery can be easily abandoned.  Such groups depend on our will.


 (ii) Mandatory groups – These are groups whose person does not depend on the will of the person.  Recruitment of such groups is achieved by priority: birth.  For example, membership of family, caste group, species group etc. is mandatory.  Which person is a member of which family, who is a member of a caste or who is a member of a species group, it depends on where we were born.  The kind of people do not get the desire of such groups by their own will, likewise they cannot leave them of their own will.  That is, its symptoms are achieved automatically.



   Classification by Cooley:

sociologist Cooley first used the term primary group (primary group) in 1909 in his book ‘Social Organization’.  The concept of primary group is very important under sociology.  Cooley described the basis of this group as limited size, face-to-face contact and close relationship.  The primary group is called the group of individuals who have direct relationship, cooperation and limited size.  Later, a group with opposite characteristics was called a secondary group.


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 Classification by Sumner –

American sociologist Sumner has divided the groups into two parts based on mutual intimacy and social distance of the group members.

  1. In – Group
  2. Out – Group



1.In-Group – In his book ‘Folkways’, Sumner has discussed the inner group and out group .  The inner group is the group in which we feel among the members.  Their members experience mutual subordination, perseverance, loyalty, differentiation, cooperation and intimacy.  They address themselves with the word ‘Hum’ always.  This is the reason that there is a feeling of belonging and belonging among them.  In the members of the inner group, such an attitude develops, due to which people feel attached to them and use the word ‘we’ for them.  In this fry, they feel alienated from other people and do not use the word ‘we’ for them.  For example our family, our college, our country etc.  Here we feel more connected with our family, our college and the people of our country who do not feel like with other family, college and people of the country.  The members of the intergroup behave biased towards their group.  They consider their group as the best.  I admire him and feel proud.  On this basis, they consider their culture as superior.  The size of the end group is not fixed.  It depends on the time, context, geographical strengths and circumstances of the members along with the ‘feeling of us’.  Today what we address as an external group may be converted into an intergroup tomorrow.  Its size can be from small to large.  From the family to the world, on the basis of the ‘spirit of us’, we can call ourselves as intergroup.  The basis of the intergroup can be religion, language, caste, class, place, species and political outlook etc.  Due to these perceptions, there are conflicts and riots in the society from time to time.  Thus it is clear that the members of the end group are familiar, but their behavior is always biased.  They form opposite perceptions towards external groups.


  1. Out – Group – Under the outer group, the feeling of belonging and hum is less than in the inner group. That is, the outer group is a group with opposite characteristics to the inner group.  When one group feels alienated from another group, the other group is called the outer group for the first group.  Lack of sympathy for the outgroup is found.  The outer group is the opponent and the opponent.  This does not mean that the inner group always has conflict or war with the outer group, or that the inner group perceives the outer group as alien and experiences social distance with it.  People’s relationship to members of the external group is upper and formal.  A person does not confine his relation to the inner group only, but he also has to relate to the external groups.  These types of relationships are meant to show off.  There is no emotional connection between them.  The concept of outgroup and intergroup is comparative.  Whenever we address a group as an inner or outer group, there is always a reference to another group.  Like the inner group, the size of the outer group is not fixed.  Each intergroup is an outgroup to other groups.  Extrinsic groups may vary.  It can be caste, species, religion, class, country etc.  People of other caste and religion will be external groups for people of the same caste, religion.  For those who believe in a Hindu religion, those who believe in Muslim, Christian and Sikh religion will be considered as an external group.

.  It is also related to area and situation and it is also comparative.  As such, there are many provinces in India and on the basis of regionality, its members consider themselves as members of other groups of different provinces, but when these people reach out to any other country outside India, on their own  Indians are called and there is a sense of belonging and belonging among them.  That is, they reveal the characteristics of an intergroup under specific circumstances, but when they return to their homeland, then on the basis of regionalism, people of other regions and provinces consider them as members of the external group.  Similarly, one language-speaker also considers other language-speakers as members of the external group.  It is clear from these examples.  That we can understand the external groups only in the context of the inner group.


 Classification by Maciver and Page: Maciver and Page have classified the group in a much broader sense.  In it, he has divided the social group into three major parts and many sub-divisions of these three major parts also tell.  From this perspective, there are many types of groups in the society, they all fall under some part or sub-department.  The classification of the driver is as follows

  (i) Regional group

  (i) Conscious groups with policies that have no fixed organization

  iii) Conscious groups with a fixed number of policies


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(i)Regional group – The regional group is the group in which all members of the group in a certain area live their normal life.  The interests of its members are broad.  In this type of group, only the ideas of the members are fulfilled within its area.  For example, there are villages, communities, city states and nations and tribes etc.  A village is a group whose broad feelings of people are catered to within a certain area.


  (ii) Conscious group with interests which have no fixed organization (conscious unity of interest without definite organization) – Conscious group is a group with no definite organization.  Their members may harm others to fulfill their rights.  There is a similarity in attitude of their members.  There is a difference in the rank, status and opportunities of its members.  For example class, species, group and crowd etc.  These types of groups have no definite area.  Its members take more interest in personal welfare and interests and also harm other people for their fulfillment.


  (iii) Conscious groups with interests which have definite organization (Interest conscious unities with definite organization) A group conscious of interests is a group which also has a definite organization.  The interest of its members is limited.  A personal relationship is found between them.  Some groups of this type have a limited number of members.  A sense of unlimited responsibility is found among its members.  Such as family, sports – groups and clubs etc.  Apart from this, there are some groups whose membership is relatively high and formal and impersonal relationship is found in them.  Such as – state, economic union, trade union etc.  The number of members of the groups is unlimited and formalities are also found.

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 Classification by Fitcher:

Fichtor introduced a general classification of groups, which includes all types of groups in society.  There are four grounds to any collective life

 (i) Common ancestry

  (ii) Territory shared in common

 (iii) Similar bodily characteristics


Common ancestor The common ancestor was the mainstay of social ancestors in the traditional society, whereas in the modern era its importance has reduced very little.  Such a group is called a blood group, in which people are related on the basis of marriage, birth and adoption.  Like family, gotra etc.  A major basis of social group is Territorial Proximity.  The group requires members to live in a limited area.  Like village, city etc.  Groups are formed in modern society on the basis of physical equality.  The importance of such groups is more in the modern era.  Such groups are formed on the basis of caste, gender, and age, such as youth associations, women’s organizations, etc.  Groups are also formed based on the fulfillment of common interests.  These types of groups are more important than groups in the modern era.  This group is also more important from a sociological point of view, because people work together to form social groups to achieve common goals.

  Fitcher discusses six types of groups based on the functions of society

  Family group – Members of the family group address the basic needs of family life.  Under them, sexual relations are regulated, the birth of children, their upbringing and they have an emotional relationship among themselves.  That is, a family is a group that caters to the needs of sexual, reproductive and child rearing.


Educational group – Educational group is the group through which we are made to cultivate culture.  This work is done in both formal and informal ways.  In some communities, this work is done by the family itself, but in a complex society, different types of schools and institutions.  There are associations of scientists and learning through which this work is done.  Where and how this work is done, it does not matter that much.  But it is only through educational groups that this necessary social work is completed.

Economic group is the group in which the material goods are the work of saving and sustaining life of the people.  In this way, a variety of commercial, industrial and commercial groups are created for the fulfillment of economic activities.


  Political group A political group is a group which works to maintain rules and order in society.  The task of establishing administration – law and order is done through political grouping.  Political organizations, courts – courts, jails, soldiers etc. all come under this group.  Whatever be the structure and organization of our state or society, it is necessary to form a political group to maintain the system under it.


 Religious group Religious group is the group which helps in establishing a relationship between man and God.  Large religious groups are organized to fulfill the objectives of religious thought and action.  Even today religion exists on a social level.  Other types of work are also done by religious groups, such as running a school and college or other social work such as presenting playgrounds and other recreational means etc.  In some societies, there is control over the organization of such groups, but such societies are exceptional.


 Recreational group Recreational group is a group that provides social entertainment to an individual.  Entertainment is not just about sports, play and physical exercise.  Under it, various types of activities occur which entertain the person.  Commercial entertainment plays an important role in creating an economically entertaining group.  Its purpose is only to earn money.  Nowadays the business of this type of group is increasing.  But there are also some recreational groups in the society, whose job is to provide entertainment to the people and expand the sense of beauty.


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