Drawing of people sitting around a table.


This lesson explores some of the different ways we organize our lives in groups. Here you will gain some of the analytic tools you can use to understand the specific groups we’ll be investigating later in the semester. Concepts such as peer pressure, teamwork, bureaucratization, and anomie can be fruitfully applied to analyses of families, work and volunteer organizations, political groups, and religious communities. Consider this lesson an introduction to group dynamics in general—a springboard from which to begin our sociological analysis of particular types of groups. During the week, think about the groups you belong to and how they affect your values and behavior.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Describe how sociologists define groups, organizations and networks.

  • Distinguish between theoretical perspectives on groups.

  • Analyze how personal identity is related to groups.


Be sure to hand these in before the deadline


  • Groups’, Chapter 5 in Real World

Textbook cover


  • Politics (Just the parts about power and authority.)

Discuss: Crip Camp

Just down the road from Woodstock, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, a parallel revolution blossomed in a ramshackle summer camp for disabled teenagers. Steeped in the humor and music of the era, Crip Camp explores the universal experience of summer camp awakenings that would transform lives and shape the future of the disability rights movement. Told from the point of view of former camper Jim LeBrecht, the film traces the journeys of campers up to the present day, in this compelling and untold story of a powerful journey towards inclusion. ida

We will use the documentary film Crip Camp as an opportunity to identify and evaluate group and socialization concepts. We will watch it together during class.

  • Be sure to have the movie ready to go at the start of class.

  • Login to the course Slack by 9:30am and say hi to your group!


If you have any questions at all about what you are supposed to do on this assignment, please remember I am here to help. Reach out any time so I can support your success.

Lesson Keywords

  • group

  • crowd

  • aggregates

  • category

  • primary groups

  • secondary groups

  • social network

  • social ties

  • strong ties

  • weak ties

  • anomie

  • group dynamics

  • in-group

  • out-group

  • reference group

  • groupthink

  • social influence

  • asch experiment

  • social identity theory

  • power

  • coercive power

  • authority

  • traditional authority

  • legal-rational authority

  • charismatic authority

  • instrumental leadership

  • expressive leadership

  • bureaucracy

  • rationalization

  • McDonaldization\

The least you need to know

Theoretical perspectives on groups

Table 1 from Chapter 5 in the textbook