primary group characteristics

It is in the possession of the’ we’ feeling, the quality of ‘sympathy and mutual identification’ that Cooley distinguishes the ‘primary’ from the ‘secondary’ group. Following are the main characteristics of primary groups: 1. Long duration and continuity in the relations of members. Prohibited Content 3. The person in the primary group is not merely a legal entity, an economic cipher, or a technological cog. These relations are based on ties of affection and loyalty, involve many different aspects to people’s lives, and endure over long period of times. Whether or not physical proximity will provide an opportunity for the development of intimate relations depends on the situation as defined in the culture. The solidarity involves a close identification of the members with one another and with any symbols of the group which might have grown up.” These are the groups in which we come to know other people intimately as individual personalities. It gives to the relation an altruistic character. They are the chief basis of what is universal in human nature and human ideals. Family in this sense is a primary group because its influence over the child is the earliest. The essential characteristics of a primary group are intimate feelings and close identification. Differences of language, sex, status, occupation or age may prevent physical proximity from providing an opportunity for intimacy to develop. Feeling and talking to each other facilitates subtle exchange of ideas, opinions, and sentiments. They have a common experience. One lives in the feeling of the whole and finds the chief aim of his will in that feeling. Famous sociologists Prof. K. Davis divide these characteristics as internal and external… There is a fusion of personalities within the group, so that what one experiences the other also tends to experience. Sociologists distinguish between two types of groups based upon their characteristics. They must come together in a spirit to participate cooperatively. In a primary group the common interest is shared by every member and by being shared by all the interest acquires a new significance, a new emphasis and a new valuation. Face-to-face companionship with other people enables a man to endure hardships in company that would be unendurable single- handedly. In a primary group we directly co-operate with our fellows and our relations with them are intimately personal. So on the basis of ‘we’ feeling groups cannot be separated into primary and secondary. It is always a differentiated and usually a competitive unity, admitting of self-assertion and various appropriative passions; but these passions are socialized by sympathy, and come, or tend to come, under the discipline of the common spirit. There are relationships which are not face-to-face’ but are friendly and closely intimate, and there are relationships which are face-to-face but are formal and impersonal. They do not act independently even interdependently but all participate in the same process. (6) They are the important agency for the development of personality (socialisation) of the individual. Further, this feeling cannot be limited to ‘face-to-face’ relationships. They directly and face-to-face co-operate with each other to achieve their common interest. It makes possible the ‘conversation of gestures’ of which mind speaks. The primary group not only sustains the common interest but does more than that; “It sustains the interest of living itself.” The relationship is not regarded by the parties as an end but rather as a value or end in itself, a good in its own right. They meet “face to face” for mutual help, companionship and discussion of common questions.

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