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Reference groups - Assignment Example

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Three examples of the sociological significance of the concept of reference groups are the family, religious organizations and celebrities. Such groups are sociologically significant because they influence vast numbers of people to behave in similar ways.(Williams). …
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Reference groups
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Reference Two examples of my own reference groups are my college dormitory mates and my football team. The former is an informal referencegroup since my classmates have no authority over me, whereas in the latter case my football team including myself are under the authority and direction of the coach and quarterback who stipulate when I must attend practice, what players will play in different situations and what plays will be used in games. On the other hand, while my classmates have no authority over my behavior, I want to feel part of the group so I wear similar clothes, study about the same amount, and hang out with them at parties and consume about the same amount of alcohol so that the others consider me part of the group as I display similar norms, behaviors and attitudes.
Three examples of the sociological significance of the concept of reference groups are the family, religious organizations and celebrities. Such groups are sociologically significant because they influence vast numbers of people to behave in similar ways.(Williams). For example, the formal family is the reference group an infant interacts most with in early life. Therefore the family is the institution charged with the responsibility of nurturing the child not only physically by providing adequate food and shelter, but also with socializing societal norms so that the child learns what his/her society consider to be right and wrong behavior. The importance of this socialization can be seen in the lack socially acceptable socialization when parents are absent, abusive or they are incapacitated by alcohol and/or drug dependency. Formal religious institutions can be very sociologically significant especially in populations considered disadvantaged. For example, in Muslim culture mosques can exert tremendous influence in either curbing unrest by teaching their members to accept their situation or they can foment strife by fostering anger towards Western values and encouraging people to join terrorist groups such as ISIS. Celebrities, an informal reference group can influence behavior especially among adolescents as they are role models encouraging by example their fantasies of mimicking their glamorous, successful and wealthy lives and selling their endorsed products .For example, girls starve themselves trying to develop model like figures in the hope of becoming movie stars. Boys become addicted to working out trying to become wealthy adulated athletes. In both cases few will achieve this sought after success, but this reference group is sociologically significant in influencing adolescent aspirations and norms.
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1). Williams, Yolanda “Reference Group in Sociology Definition Examples & Types” retrieved from stidy.com/academy/lesson/ reference=groups-in-sociology-definition-examples-types/htm.
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