Source Book For Social Psychology


Kimball Young

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The most fundamental division of social groups as to type is that between the "in-group" and the "out-group" (the others-group). This separation runs throughout society, primitive as well as modern. The in-group attitudes and habits are those of loyalty, co-operation, mutual aid, concern for social welfare of other members, and sense of social solidarity and oneness. All of these attitudes and habits are integrated around the group ideals and standards, around the need for group survival. In sharp contrast with them stand the attitudes and habits built up in reference to the out-group, that is to those groups to which one does not belong. Around these, one integrates his dislikes, his disgusts, his prejudices, his fears. There is either group conflict, open or implied, or else indifference at all times.

This ambivalent situation, love, sympathy, loyalty, mutuality, and the like, directed toward the in-group, and hatred, fear, suspicion, avoidance, or even warfare directed toward the out-group, corresponds in social evolution to the deepest division of one's trends as a personality. Thus, in time of war it is possible to love ardently one's country, and at the same time to hate and fear the enemy with equal vigor.

One process accompanies and abets the other. To love one's friends and to hate one's enemies is natural ; one might say, inevitable. But to love one's enemies, following the injunction of The Master, is a severe doctrine ; indeed it is, like many of His wise sayings, a paradox. That is to say, Jesus, of course, intended, by this doctrine, to eliminate hatred, for He perceived that one could not "love" an enemy, a member of the out-group, a Gentile, an Auslander.

The paper by Sumner presents some valuable aspects of this matter

( 57) of in-group versus out-group, touching especially on ethnocentricism.

But there is another dimension in social groupings. Within any given set of in-groups there may be other groupings, themselves 'dividing into in-group versus out-group relations. Thus we come to Cooley's fundamental concept of the "primary" and the "secondary" groupings. The family, for example, is the most fundamental primary group; it is the group in which biological trends and social t patterns are integrated. In this sense it is primary, as also in the sense used by Cooley. Both Ellwood and Cooley make pertinent comments on these two types of groups. Secondary groupings tend also to be much more voluntarily and self-consciously formed than do the primary groupings. The present period of culture is one marked by the increasing domination of the secondary groupings.

Of the primary groups other than the family, we may mention the neighborhood and the play group. Growing out of the play group is the important gang group. This is of great value in the process of forming new attachments not related to the family or group of elders. In most cases it does have a geographic unity, but it cuts across many other types of groupings which adults might regard as true barriers to social intercourse. That is to say, it overrides religious, racial, and other cultural barriers. For example, Catholic and Protestant boys are found in the same gangs. So, too, boys of Italian or Greek homes mingle 'with Irish-American and German-American and with the older American stock of British extraction. The paper by Puffer, while of older date, and of somewhat looser terminology, than the investigations of Furfey and Thrasher, contains the essential features of the in-group attitudes and habits of the gang. Among these are leadership, division of tasks, subordination to gang purposes, and typical antagonistic responses to outside groups. Criminalistic gangs which infest our urban centers are fed by these boy gangs. Their organizations have all the features of the close-knit primary group abetted by all the devices of modern rapid communication and transportation and of sophisticated warfare.

There is also a form of primary group hitherto little studied which has been termed the congenial group. The writer has included a section taken from a series of examples which he has collected of this type of intimate, face-to-face group. The congenial group grows

( 58) out of play groups originally, but in adolescence and adulthood it seems dependent rather on conscious common interests and less on geographical locality than is the case in the primary groups described by Cooley. In this aspect the congenial group partakes of some characteristics of the secondary group.

Another type of grouping in both primitive and modern social life and partaking of primary group characteristics, though often formed on the basis of conscious interests and thus akin to secondary groupings, is the so-called "secret society." These associations are sometimes more or less purely recreational in the sense of possessing clubhouse and amusement features ; but at other times, they play a distinctive part in social control. Such were the men's societies among primitive peoples. Such is our own Ku Klux Klan. Such have been the religious cults organized in every society at all complex. There are also, both in primitive and present societies, groupings of military classes, occupational and professional classes, and, among preliterate peoples, groups known as "age-classes." An enormous literature on this type of grouping among primitive people is available. There exists also some descriptive material bearing on the secret fraternities of our own time, although, of course, little of reliable sort on their secret features since they are still a vital part of current culture. Given our complex political organization in the Western World, and our notions of democracy and open classes, it is of great interest to note how large a place these cults play in present social control. While no selections are given to illustrate this type of grouping, the student will find in the bibliography materials to which he can refer for interesting and enlightening data.

Industrialism and political democracy as culture patterns have produced certain, profound changes in our modes of life—changes of which many of us are hardly aware. It is amazing to note that college students of the present generation know so little, for instance, of the horse-drawn wagon and carriage stage of transportation which existed everywhere before 1900. This is merely a current instance of the speed of change and the attendent unconsciousness of what has taken and is taking place all about us. New modes of travel, better means of communication, advanced commercial and industrial techniques, ever-changing scientific appliances are everywhere mak-

( 59) -ing for increased wealth, health, and comfort. Yet, while material culture has made great changes, the moral codes, the mores, belong distinctly to another age. This has produced a crisis in our social life, perhaps the most profound crisis in history. As a concluding section of the present chapter the paper of Cooley on changes in group life in present-day society indicates some of the more important alterations which democracy and industrialism have produced.

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