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Chapter 5: Social Structure, Social Interaction and Social Groups

5.4 Test Your Knowledge

1. All of us have a status set, which includes both ascribed and achieved statuses. Outline the statuses that make up your status set (please list at least 6-7 statuses). Beside each one, indicate if the status is an ascribed or an achieved status. Discuss a status symbol that represents one of these statuses.

2. Looking at your statuses listed in question 1 above, choose one status and discuss the roles that are associated with this status. Provide an example of either role conflict or role strain that you have experienced, explaining how your experience demonstrated the concept.

3. Social groups are the building blocks of social life, and it is virtually impossible to imagine a society without groups and difficult to imagine individuals not being involved with many types of groups. Discuss the traits that define a group of people as a social group, and distinguish between social groups, social categories and social aggregates. Make sure to provide examples of each.

4. Explain how primary groups are different from secondary groups. Provide examples of each from your own experience and discuss the functions that each group serves in your life.

5. What are in-groups and out-groups, and how are they related to one another? How can behavior within and between these types of groups be seen as both functional and dysfunctional?

6. We’ve talked about the roots of social change a few times already this semester (within the context of diffusion, invention and discovery). In this chapter, social change is discussed in the context of social movements. What is a social movement? Discuss one social movement in the U.S. or other country and discuss the changes brought about by this social movement.

7. One of the most interesting parts of this chapter is the discussion of group dynamics and behavior. Group size is discussed in relation to group stability. What are the findings related to group size and the stability of groups?

8. Revisit the best or worst team activity in Section 5.3 of the text, where you explored how group leadership affects group success. Thinking further about your group experience, consider it in relation to the list of factors that contribute to group cohesion. Discuss how these factors also impacted the team’s success or lack thereof.

9. The experiments of Solomon Asch and Stanley Milgram are discussed in this chapter. What are the major conclusions drawn by each of these researchers?

10. Groupthink and the Diffusion of Responsibility are two fascinating behaviors associated with groups. Explain each and provide an example from your own experience of both.

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Exploring Our Social World: The Story of Us by Jean M. Ramirez, Suzanne Latham, Rudy G. Hernandez, and Alicia Juskewycz is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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