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PRIMARY AND SECONDARY GROUPS One of the most widely utilized concepts of sociological groups is that developed by Charles Horton Cooley (Cooley 1909) of the "primary group". Cooley defines a primary group as being a "small intimate, face to face association..." of individuals who share some type of common group identity. Cooley goes on to say that the development of this common group identity lead the members of the primary group to naturally identify themselves as "we or us." ELEMENTS OF A PRIMARY GROUP 1. Primary groups tend to be small and are ordinarily composed of fewer than 15 to 20 individuals. 2. Interaction and communication among members in a primary group tends to be of an intimate and personal nature. 3. Members in aprimary group commonly develop strong emotional bonds with other members. 4. Primary groups generally persist over extensive periods of time. SECONDARY GROUPS The term secondary group has come into use in sociology to describe any group which lacks one or more of the elements that go together to characterize a primary group.
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