Subject : social Studies

Class: JS2

Topic: Social Groups

Learning Objectives: This lesson is expected to teach the learners the following:

  1. The meaning of social groups
  2. Types of social groups
  3. Characteristics of social groups

Lesson Begins


Social groups are collections of people who have one or more things in common and see themselves as members of the group. They may exist for a particular purpose. There is sometimes a leadership structure and reward system built into social groups. This ensures their survival.
The social environment consists of many groups and associations that people form and join as a way of adapting or adjusting to modern society.

Types Of Social Groups

Social groups can be divided into primary and secondary social groups.

1. Primary Social Groups

This social groups refer to families into which individuals are born and by which they are socialised. The main role of the family is to provide an environment for procreation and the socialisation of children.

Reasons Why The Family Is Seen As Social Group

There are two main reasons for calling the family a primary social group. First, the family exists as the first human group to which an individual belongs. One’s membership of the family, unlike other groups, is often not based on choice. The word ‘primary’ comes from the Latin word Primus, which means ‘first or most important’. For this reason, the definition of the family as a primary social group is originally based on biological membership.
Secondly, The family is also a primary social group because it is the first group within which an individual receives human socialisation. It serves as a place where members can bring their problems, whether they are of the body, the mind, or any other problem, and be sure to get someone who would want to help. Members share what they have and divide responsibilities and duties among themselves. Parents are expected to pay children’s school fees and generally care for them, while the children are expected to be respectful and obedient to their parents, assist them in whatever ways they can, and avoid conduct or behavior that would bring their families to shame and disgrace.
The family is therefore the most important socialising agent. It is a trainer or character and values such as honesty, tolerance, self-discipline, cooperation with others, kindness and general usefulness are best learnt in a family setting.

Characteristics of Primary Social Groups

i. Membership of primary social groups such as family is usually based on blood and kinship relationships. Occasionally, members may not be related by blood.
ii. Membership of primary social groups is not by choice. It depends on which family one is born into, or some other changes of nature.
iii. A primary social group is the place where individuals begin to socialise.
iv. Relationships in primary social groups are warm, direct and intimate, such as the relationship between a mother and daughter. Relationships are diffuse and not organised around specific purposes.

2. Secondary Social Groups:

Secondary social groups are next to primary groups, because they are second in order of appearance. An individual joins secondary social groups at his or her own will. These groups include schools, religious organisations, work, political and economic associations, etc. Membership of secondary social groups involves a greater exercise of choice than for membership of primary groups. Also, there is always a purpose for such membership. For example, Nigerians outside the country often form Home Town Development Association as a way of contributing to the development of their hometowns even while they live and work elsewhere. Such groups are called development associations.
Some secondary social groups are called professional associations because their membership is open to only people who are trained in that profession, such as the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA). An architect or engineer who is not a medical doctor is not likely to be allowed membership of the NMA. Other professional associations include the Nigerian Sociological and Anthropological Association (NASA), the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) etc. In addition to these professional associations, there are many cultural groups in the country whose role is to promote the culture of the communities in which they are found. Membership is voluntary and it is another important way of interaction among members of a society who share similar interests.
Political parties represent different ways of protecting national interests and the individual rights and safety of Nigerian citizens. A political party is a group of people who take part in an election in order to govern or rule a country. Political parties play very important roles in society. Competition among parties may lead to conflict.
The social environment can therefore be seen as a web of interactions among numerous social groups and persons whose interactions depend on the expectations they have of one another. In modern Nigeria, the rise of religious, political and ethnic associations is an important aspect of our democratic culture. Ethnic groups seek to protect the rights of their territories and lay claim to the resources of their states. Competition among them may also lead to conflicts. The religious organisations represent a departure from traditional forms of worship that are less in line with modern needs that people have. In some cases, the very good aspects of our culture, such as music, have been integrated into modern forms of worship. This is good because it shows the influence of the world becoming a global village, and the local culture influencing the world in the area of religion.

Characteristics Of Secondary Social Groups

i. Membership of secondary social groups is usually voluntary and by choice.
ii. Secondary social groups are the next place where individuals receive socialisation after the primary setting.
iii. Relationships in secondary social groups are usually impersonal and formal. Members act in accordance with laid down rules and regulations.
iv. Relationships in secondary social groups are organised around specific purposes. For example, political parties want to win an election and teachers’ associations seek to protect the interests of teachers.


1. What are social groups?
2. Mention and explain the types of social groups you have learnt.
3. State five characteristics of each of the social groups studied.

Did you provide the right answers without looking back at the note? Kudos!!

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