SOC103H1 - 16
Sociology of Secrecy – Georg Simmel (1906)
There are two worlds through which people exist:
(i) first world: the recognized world of socially acceptable activities.
(ii) second world: hidden deviate activity.
Secrecy and lack of secrecy can be harmful.
: our relationships can benefit more from concealment than from openness.
Secret society definition:
(i) a concern by the members of a group to protect the ideas, activities, and sentiments
to which they attach positive value.
(ii) Members defend the secrecy and privacy of their community by controlling the
distribution of information about the valued elements.
Dyads, Triads, and Small Groups
Georg Simmel defines socially as being composed of two elements
(i) Content: the purpose of motive of an action or interaction (ex. What you argue about)
(ii) form: the mode of interaction among individuals through which the specific content
achieves social reality (ex. Who you argue it with, two vs. three people will change the form).
: a social psychological approach that argues that our social behavior is a clear reflect of
our goals, values and interactions, and that our identities shape our interaction. Sociologists believe
that our social behavour often has little to do with our true goals, values, and intentions.
A study on social forms (Robert Bales)
Group cooperation lead to the formation of three different forms:
Task leader: organized the group to solve the problem.
Emotional leader: help the group cope with frustration.
Joker: helped release tensions in the group.
The fulfillment of roles happens without planning or even a conscious awareness of
Symbolic interactionism perspective