Aggregates of individuals united by specific relations or characteristics, which make them distinct from other aggregates.
Social life in human societies relies on interactions and cooperation between their members. At the same time, the distribution of these interactions is not equal across the whole population. Instead, social life goes on within collectives, or groups, uniting a number of individuals. Such collectives are distinct from other collectives and exist in many different forms, from small family groups to states and nations. Although it might seem intuitively clear what a “group” is, its scientific description turns out to be very difficult. There are two general approaches to understand the nature of human groups. The first one is based on researchers’ goals and interests, whereas the second one is based on lay people’s perception of groups.
Social Group as a Researcher’s Construct
The first approach to...
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