The Group in Society meets the challenges of teaching courses on small groups by revealing the full complexity of small groups and their place in society. It shows students the value of learning how to carefully study a group's history and context, rather than merely learning a fixed set of group participation skills. This text brings together disparate theories and research (from communication, social psychology, organizational and managerial studies, and sociology) in a way that helps students make sense of a complex body of scholarship on groups.
Features & Benefits
Part I – Theorizing Groups: builds a strong theoretical foundation, exploring social theory and the group, forming and joining groups, the life and death of the group, and changing society through group life; Part II – Understanding Groups in Context: explores the histories, purposes, memberships of a variety of groups—including juries, families, executive committees, study groups, and political action groups—thus enabling the student reader to speak clearly about group formation, norms, roles, tasks, and relationships. Detailed end-of-chapter case studies explicitly connect with the concepts, theories, and empirical findings introduced in each respective chapter; examples include the powerful group bonds of the modern terrorist cell; the wired network of groups in the anti-Globalization movement; and the deliberation of a jury in a murder trial
Teaching & Learning Ancillaries
Teaching resources are available at http://www.groupinsociety.org/ and include chapter summaries, discussion questions, and practical applications; a sample course schedule; Embedded Systems Framework PowerPoint slides; group project assignments, group project worksheets, and a group project description and contract; and links to useful Web resources such as small group teaching resources and active wikis on small groups; An open-access student study site at http://www.sagepub.com/gastilstudy features e-flashcards, practice quizzes, and other resources to help students enhance their comprehension and improve their grade.
Chapter 1: Small Groups up Close
Small Groups up Close
Groups have their detractors. From the left, playwright Oscar Wilde quipped that “the problem with socialism is that it takes up too many evenings.” From the right, pundit George Will once observed, “Football incorporates the two worst elements of American society: violence punctuated by committee meetings.” From outer space, Captain James T. Kirk offered that “a meeting is an event where minutes are taken and hours wasted.”1
Our distaste for group life has justification. Small groups can create more problems than they solve, and they can wreak havoc in the service of dubious or even evil purposes. But as our own experiences already attest, groups can prove indispensable and help us achieve great ends. After all, if groups truly ...