Primary and secondary groups | Individuals and Society | MCAT | Khan Academy

Primary and secondary groups | Individuals and Society | MCAT | Khan Academy


– [Voiceover] Each of us belongs
to several types of groups. Some groups provide intimacy
and close relationships, while others do not. And two main types of groups are called primary and secondary groups. But first, let’s look at primary groups. An example that helped me
understand primary groups is a wedding. And as we can see, there’s
a bride and a groom here. And think about who gets asked to be a bridesmaid or a groomsman. It’s usually the bride
and groom’s closet friends or their really close family members. And that’s an example of primary group because in primary groups
there’s a sense of belonging and a shared identity. And group members care about you and you would care about other
members of the group as well. And you have this sense
of loyalty to each other. And belonging to the group is the whole value of
the friendship in itself. You’re not in it to gain any sort of goal or anything like that. So individuals in primary groups, they provide sort of an anchor point, and you were born into a
primary group, your family. And you meet with members
of your primary groups face to face and you know
a lot about their lives. And these close
relationships are often seen as a source of close human
feelings and emotions such as love, cooperation, and concern. Now, another type of group
is called secondary groups. And secondary groups are those with formal, impersonal, and
business-like relationships, and they’re often temporary. And they, on the other hand, are based on a specific limited purpose or goal. So these relationships are
usually short-term as we said, and you would only do a few
goal-directed activities with these people in your secondary groups like maybe attending a lunch
meeting to talk business. So people in secondary
groups often see them as a means to an end, meaning
that they’re only part of the group to accomplish a task or to earn money, for example. So let’s say that this wedding
is over now, and let’s head to the reception to look
at some of the different primary and secondary groups. So the bride and groom are gonna sit with their bridal party as we said, and these are the close
friends that they have known for a very long time and close family. So let’s say the groom
played football in college and a lot of his teammates
are attending the wedding. So they sit close to him as well because they are in his primary group. They put countless amounts
of hours in practicing with each other, and they really grew up and learned how to live
on their own in college. So they’re an example of
one of his primary groups. Sitting together in the primary group, we may also have the bride
and groom’s immediate family like their brothers and
sisters or their moms and dads. So let’s say the bride grew up in a really great neighborhood and was friends with
everyone on her street. Everyone grew up together
and hung out on the weekends, and they often would
take trips to the beach and have cookouts as a
neighborhood, as a community. So this is an example
of her primary group. So you can say that all these people, the neighborhood friends, the
close family, the teammates, these are examples of primary groups within the bride and groom’s life. But as we make our way around
the reception, we can see that there are many different
secondary groups as well. Over here, the bride and groom’s parents may have invited some of
their important work partners and over here there is some distant family that is only seen once or twice a year or at big family gatherings. And then let’s say over here
there’s some acquaintances. They aren’t close friends,
but they’re well-connected so maybe they could help the
bride and groom in the future so they invite them to the wedding. So these secondary groups are
more formal and goal-oriented. So looking around this wedding reception, there are a lot of guests who are there to keep strong relationships in case they are needed in
the future to make money or maybe even the distant family members are also there to keep everyone happy and to avoid family drama and
hurting anyone’s feelings. So these are all examples
of the bride and groom’s secondary groups. They aren’t close relationships. They’re more informal. So we’ll just put an S for secondary. So the big takeaway
from this video is that primary groups are close,
intimate, long-term relationships and that secondary groups are short-term and often goal-oriented relationships.

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