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Intro for social group[edit]

The following as a draft of the intro for social group. Background for this can be found on the relevant talk page, although that discussion did turn into a bit of an epic. Points that were raised in that discussion related to avoiding weasel words, reflecting varying opinions on the topic, and keeping it accessible.


Draft 1[edit]

In the social sciences what exactly defines a social group is a matter of debate.[1][2][3][4][5] Social groups have been defined as two or more humans who interact with one another, share similar characteristics and collectively have a sense of unity.[6] Other theorists, however, are a wary of definitions which stress the importance of interdependence or objective similarity.[1][4] Researchers in the social identity tradition posit instead that “awareness of common category membership is the necessary and sufficient condition for individuals to feel themselves to be, and act as, a group”.[1] Regardless, social groups come in a myriad of sizes and varieties. For example, a society can be viewed as a large social group.

Draft 2[edit]

In the social sciences a social group is a collection of individuals who share a social relationship. [1][2][3][4][5]

Theorists, such as Joe Bloggs, do not think interdependence or similarity is necessary for the members of a social group.[1][4] Researchers in the social identity tradition posit that awareness of membership is sufficient for individuals to act as a group.[1]

Social groups come in a myriad of sizes and varieties. A society can be viewed as a large social group.


Do any of these definitions contradict- "In the social sciences social groups are collections of individuals who are share a social relationship". And if they do can we just reword this so they don't contradict it. There must be a simple definition that doesn't need a disclaimer that it's debatable.

It's still too weasely to have such a simple definition and call it debatable. Also we could probably get rid of the cliff notes def entirely since it's now a redundant second definition.

I'd like to see something like-
A social group is a blah that blahs. [r1]
ThisTradition puts more emphasis on blah, [r2] while the otherschoolofthought says that a social group can be defined solely by blah. [r3]
Bhny (talk) 07:07, 16 June 2012 (UTC)
Hi Bhny. I don't think any of the other definitions would contradict with “who are share a social relationship”, but we could get rid of it anyway. Removing it would probably make the intro less at risk of OR concerns.
In answer to your question, I am not aware of a definition that is not contentious in some way. You could search around for one if you like. I would still, however, like to see reference to the debate in the intro. In this case mentioning the debate keeps the intro aligned with the remainder of the article. Consequently, it is not a case of a weasely intro, but rather a reflection of the state of the research on the topic.
Anyway, I have created a version that removes the section that concerns you. How does that sit with you? Feel free to fiddle around with it. Cheers Andrew (talk) 03:03, 17 June 2012 (UTC)
I want to get rid of- "is a matter of debate". [Draft 2] is my edit-
btw, I have no idea what this means- are wary of definitions which stress the importance of interdependence or objective similarity. There must be a more straightforward way of saying what they think. If I don't understand it, most people won't. Bhny (talk) 04:59, 17 June 2012 (UTC).
I just did an edit that tried to make sense of that, and also simplified the jargon in the next sentence. Bhny (talk) 05:53, 17 June 2012 (UTC)
Hi Bhny. Can you please bring your drafts up to a level that you would be happy to post. I feel like this will expedite this process. As it stands I am not sure what I should address and what are just shortcuts that you have taken while we are drafting things. For example, presumably if you removed the reference to the debate you would also remove the first five references, but I am not sure if this is your intention.
Anyway, thanks for your contribution. I would have these three questions that I think would be worth addressing in order to progress this project:
  • Why did you remove the cliff notes definition? I agree that it isn’t the best source, but I feel that it is a fair reflection of a common way that social group is defined. It seems like something along those lines should be in there.
  • We need to be careful in rephrasing the Turner 1982 quote. Specifically, “awareness of membership” might sound as if we mean awareness of group membership. In which case that definition would appear circular. What if we were to say this: “researchers in the social identity tradition posit that awareness of being in the same social category is sufficient to lead people to act as a group.[1]”?
[Edit] We could also use: "a group is defined in terms of those who identify themeselves as mebers of the group.[7]", and reserve the more precise definition for the body of the article.
  • Why exactly is it that you do not want to include mention of the debate in there? You are obviously comfortable with the fact that the debate exists, and the debate is part of the article body, so I am not sure why you want to avoid it in the intro.
I will be interested in your answers to these questions. Cheers Andrew (talk) 05:56, 18 June 2012 (UTC)
sorry I have been attending to other urgent matters. Draft 2 looks good. Can we go with that and obviously replace Bloggs. I'll have more time next week Bhny (talk) 06:38, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
Hi Bhny. As stated above, Draft 2 raises several questions for me. Please attend to the questions and comments there. I look forward to your further contributions on this next week. Cheers Andrew (talk) 23:33, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
I don't think we have any common ground. Basically, as I have said, an article's first sentences has to be of the form <topic> is <definition>. If you want the article title to be <debate over definition of social group> then go for it and start a new page. What you have now isn't even an article. I've just been through a similar thing with algorithm and Algorithm characterizations. The algorithm page defines algorithm and the Algorithm characterizations page has research into formal definitions. Bhny (talk) 08:37, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
Hi Bhny. I am sorry to hear that you do not see any scope for consensus and that you do not wish to discuss this further. If you change your mind I am happy to hear out the rationale for your position. Anyway, I will relate that we failed to reach consensus on the talk page. This will prevent other editors from expecting a resolution from us. I might also invite members of the WikiProject Psychology to offer their opinions. Perhaps they can help us see eye to eye, or at least break the deadlock. Cheers Andrew (talk) 14:18, 20 August 2012 (UTC)

SJT content[edit]

  • Yserbyt et al. (1997) in the social pyschology of stereotyping... p39
  • Haslam et al. (2010) in Rediscovering social identity p344
  • Elemers and Ad van Knippenberg (1997), in the social pyschology of stereotyping, for content relating to the constraining role of the social context.

IC content[edit]

  • Haslam (1997) in the social pyschology of stereotyping p 124 (bottom) - Softening of stance
  • McGrart et al. (1997) in the social pyschology of stereotyping - General
  • Fiedler & Schmid (2001) in black well handbook (p. 265) for a broader definition of IC, although, this definition would perhaps sit well with the McGarty & Collegues explanation of the Hamilton & Rose data.

RCT Content[edit]

  • Bourhis et al. (1997) in the social pyschology of stereotyping... p274 and p294
  • [8]

IF content[edit]

  • For Bias discussion[9]. See also Turner & Oakes 1997 p309 (in Rediscovering Social Identity). See also Oakes 2001 in blackwell handbook
  • Blackwell handbook of social psychology: intergroup processes for an example of 'bias' used broadly (bottom of p. 154). See also Abaud and Amato for bias that is closer to outgroup homogeneity and prejudice, p66. See also Bias as a synonym for ingroup favoritism p335 & 436.
  • Agustin 2009 for intergroup bias as differing evaluations. See also [10]
  • Crisp et al. 2003 point to some background on ingroup favoritism vs. outgroup derogation: "No differences were found across negative traits, which is in line with the general ®nding that intergroup discrimination is driven by in-group enhancement rather than out-group derogation (Brewer, 1979; Hewstone, Rubin, & Willis, 2002; Mullen, Migdal, & Hewstone, 2001)."
  • Ouwerkerk, Ellemers, de Gilder (1999, chapter 9, p185 for the importance of other indentity maintanence strategies.
  • Eggins et al. (2002) for a starting point on how categorization does not necessarily lead to ingroup favoritism.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Turner, J. C. (1982). Tajfel, H., ed. "Towards a cognitive redefinition of the social group". Social identity and intergroup relations. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press: 15–40. 
  2. ^ a b Hogg, M. A. (1987). Social identity and group cohesiveness. In J. C. Turner, M. A. Hogg, P. Oakes, S. Reicher & M. S. Wetherell (Eds.), Rediscovering the social group: A self-categorization theory. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
  3. ^ a b Turner, J. C., & Bourhis, R. Y. (1996). Social identity, interdependence and the social group: A reply to Rabbie et al. In W. P. Robinson (Ed.), Social groups and identities: Developing the legacy of Henri Tajfel (pp. 25-63). Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann.
  4. ^ a b c d Platow, M. J.; Grace, D. M.; Smithson, M. J. (2011). "Examining the Preconditions for Psychological Group Membership: Perceived Social Interdependence as the Outcome of Self-Categorization". Social Psychological and Personality Science. 3 (1). 
  5. ^ a b Oakes, Penny; Haslam, Alex; Turner, John (1994). Stereotyping and social reality. Blackwell: Oxford. 
  6. ^ "Social Groups." Accessed June 2011.
  7. ^ Reicher, S.D. (1982). The determination of collective behaviour (pp. 41-83). In H. Tajfel (ed.), Social identity and intergroup relations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
  8. ^ Bourhis, R. Y.; Gagnon, A. (2001). Brown, R.; Gaertner, S. L., eds. "Social Orientations in the Minimal Group Paradigm". Blackwell Handbook of Social Psychology: Intergroup processes. 3 (1): 133–152. 
  9. ^ Turner, J. C.; Reynolds, K. H. (2001). Brown, R.; Gaertner, S. L., eds. "The Social Identity Perspective in Intergroup Relations: Theories, Themes, and Controversies". Blackwell Handbook of Social Psychology: Intergroup processes. 3 (1): 133–152. 
  10. ^ Jackson, J. W.; Smith, E.R. (1999). "Reconceptualizing social identity: a new framework and evidence for the impact of different dimensions". Personality and social pyschology bulletin. 25: 120–135.