Social Groupwork, Community Organization & Social Action - Notes

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Working with Groups & Community 2012 FOURTH SEMESTER SW 4 B 05 - WORKING WITH GROUPS & COMMUNITY Social Group A common conceptualization of the small group drawn from the social work literature is “...a social system consisting of two or more persons who stand in status and role relationships with one another and possessing a set of norms or values which regulate the attitudes and behaviours of the individual members in matters of consequence to the group. A group is a system of relationship amo

Text of Social Groupwork, Community Organization & Social Action - Notes

Working with Groups & Community 2012 FOURTH SEMESTER SW 4 B 05 - WORKING WITH GROUPS & COMMUNITY Social Group A common conceptualization of the small group drawn from the social work literature is ...a social system consisting of two or more persons who stand in status and role relationships with one another and possessing a set of norms or values which regulate the attitudes and behaviours of the individual members in matters of consequence to the group. A group is a system of relationship among persons. Therefore, group as a social system has a structure and some degree of stability in interaction, reciprocity, interdependence and group bond. Open social systems do not exist in a vacuum; they are part of and transact with their surroundings. Thus group is a collection of people who need each other in order to work on certain common tasks, and the social group work(er) provides a hospitable environment (agency setting) to achieve those tasks. Definition Conceiving of a group as a dynamic whole should include a definition of group that is based on interdependence of the members (or better, the subparts of the group). Kurt Lewin (1951: 146) A group is a collection of individuals who have relations to one another that make them interdependent to some significant degree. As so defined, the term group refers to a class of social entities having in common the property of interdependence among their constituent members. Dorwin Cartwright and Alvin Zander (1968: 46) Types of Groups There are various ways of classifying groups, for example in terms of their purpose or structure, but two sets of categories have retained their usefulness for both practitioners and researchers. They involve the distinctions between:1. Primary and Secondary groups; and 2. Planned and Emergent groups.

Primary and Secondary Groups Charles Horton Cooley (1909) established the distinction between 'primary groups' and 'nucleated groups' (now better known as secondary groups): Primary groups are clusters of people like families or close friendship circles where there is close, face-to-face and intimate interaction. There is also often a high level of interdependence between members. Primary groups are also the key means of socialization in society, the main place where attitudes, values and orientations are developed and sustained. Characteristics: 1 Mrs. Jinu Abraham, Asst. Professor, Social Work Dept., LISSAH

Working with Groups & Community 2012

Physical proximity Small in size Stability Similar status Self interest towards group Mutual sharing between individualsSecondary groups are those in which members are rarely, if ever, all in direct contact. They are often large and usually formally organized. Trades unions and membership organizations such as the National Trust are examples of these. They are an important place for socialization, but secondary to primary groups. Characteristics:

Large in size Formal and impersonal relationship Active & Inactive Indirect relationship Goal oriented State of individualThis distinction remains helpful especially when thinking about what environments are significant when considering socialization (the process of learning about how to become members of society through internalizing social norms and values; and by learning through performing our different social roles). The distinction helps to explain the limited impact of schooling in important areas of social life (teachers rarely work in direct way with primary groups) and of some of the potential of informal educators and social pedagogues (who tend to work with both secondary and primary groups - sometimes with families, often with close friendship circles). Planned and Emergent Groups Alongside discussion of primary and secondary groups, came the recognition that groups tend to fall into one of two broad categories:

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Mrs. Jinu Abraham, Asst. Professor, Social Work Dept., LISSAH

Working with Groups & Community 2012 Planned groups. Planned groups are specifically formed for some purpose either by their members, or by some external individual, group or organization. Emergent groups. Emergent groups come into being relatively spontaneously where people find themselves together in the same place, or where the same collection of people gradually come to know each other through conversation and interaction over a period of time. (Cartwright and Zander 1968). As Forsyth (2006: 6) has put it People found planned groups, but they often find emergent groups. Sometimes writers use the terms 'formed' groups and 'natural groups' to describe the same broad distinction but the term 'natural' is rather misleading. The development of natural groups might well involve some intention on the part of the actors. More recently the distinction between formed and emergent groups has been further developed by asking whether the group is formed by internal or external forces. Thus, Arrow et. al (2000) have split planned groups into concocted (planned by people and organizations outside the group) and founded (planned by a person or people who are in the group). They also divided emergent groups into circumstantial (unplanned and often temporary groups that develop when external forces bring people together e.g. people in a bus queue) and self-organizing (where people gradually cooperate and engage with each other around some task or interest). Social Group Work Social group work is a method of social work which develops the ability of individuals through group activities. It is a distinct way of helping individuals in groups based upon and growing out of the knowledge, understanding and skill that is general to all social work practice. Social group work is concerned with the social development of individuals. Practice of group work requires a deep knowledge about how humans interact in groups. Definition Social group work is a psycho-social process which is concerned no less than with developing leadership ability and cooperation than with building on the interests of the group for a social purpose. (Hamilton 1949). Social group work is a method through which individuals in groups in social agency settings are helped by worker who guides their interaction in programme activities so that they may relate themselves to others and experience growth opportunities in accordance with their needs and capacities. (Trecker 1955). As an educational process generally carried as an in leisure time with voluntary groups with the aid of a group leader under the auspice (support) of an agency for the satisfaction of the social needs of individuals and for the development of legitimate group goals. (Stroup 1960) Social group work is a method of social work, which helps individuals to enhance their social functioning through purposeful group experiences and to cope more effectively with their personal, group and community problems. (Konopka) 3 Mrs. Jinu Abraham, Asst. Professor, Social Work Dept., LISSAH

Working with Groups & Community 2012 Historical Developments in America Social group work began as 'group work' with its own unique history and heroes. It was not part of the mainstream of professional social work, which in the early days was synonymous with casework, as far as the method was concerned. The ideological roots of social group work were in the self-help and informal recreational organisations, such as YMCA, YWCA settlement, scouting, Jewish Centres in U.S.A. and democratic ideals that all should share in the benefits of society following the Industrial Revolution. Social group work was also influenced by progressive education as it developed in Europe and stressed the use modern and liberal techniques in group learning. The major thrust of early group-serving agencies was toward the normal rather than the maladjusted person who would seek service primarily during his 'leisure' hours. He came for recreation, education, enjoyment and the development of special skills and interests. Group work was then not geared towards individuals with particular problems. The person with severe problems who appeared in the group was incorporated as much as possible with his peers or was referred for individual attention to a casework agency or psychiatric clinic. The first course in group work was offered by the Western Reserve University in the U.S.A. in the early 1930s. There was then great preoccupation and focus on the activity and programme of the group. This, unfortunately, in many ways held back the flowering of group work as a theoretically sound method within social work. In 1935 Grace Coyle, as the Chairman of the newly established section of social group work of the National Conference of Social Work, began to clarify that group work was a method within social work and that recreation and education were other fields (professions) which might include group work as a method. The focus then gradually moved from doing activities to talking activities which was understood at that time as leading more quickly towards self-understanding, insight and behavioural change. In the 1940s, with the efforts of persons such as Grace Coyle, Clara Kaiser, Wilber Newsetter, Gertrude Wilson and Helen Phillips, group work was more fully rooted within the profession of social work and began to be taught in many more schools in the USA. Soon the American Association of Group Workers was established, which brought out regular ly a professional publication called The Group. Several new text-books had been published that served to formalise the thinking of the day. By the early 1950s the method developed its own distinctiveness and was introduced in most schools of social work throughout the U.S.A., Great Britain, Canada and other parts of the world. Social group work now wrested itself from the field of social psychology and also distinguished its methodology from group psychotherapy. It moved into ma