SOME KINDS OF GROUPS
In-groups and Out-groups There are some groups to which I belong my family, my church, ‘my clique, my profession my race, my sex, my nation-any group which I precede with the pronoun, “my These are in-groups, because I feel I belong to them. There are other groups to which I do not belong-other families, cliques, occupations races, nationalities, religions, the other sex-these are out-groups, for I am outside them. The least advanced primitive societies live in small, isolated bands which are usually clans of kinsfolk. It was kinship which located one’s in-group and out-group, and when two strangers met, the first thing they had to do was establish the relationship. If kinship could be established, then they were friends-both members of the in-group. If no relationship
could be established, then in many societies they were enemies and acted accordingly. In modem society,· people belong to so many groups that a number of their in-group and out-group relationships may overlap..
Members of the senior class treat freshmen as an out-group most of the time, but in the stadium both unite as an in-group cheering for the same team. Similarly, those who have’ an in-group relationship as members of the same church may be in different political parties: members who work together in the PTA may find that they are no longer in the same in-group when someone plans a party at the country club Exclusion from all in-group can be a brutal process+ ,Most primitive societies treated out; sliders as.part of the animal kingdom; many had no separate words for “enemy” and “stranger,” showing that they made no distinction. Not too different was the attitude of the Nazis, who excluded the Jews from the human race. Rudolf Hess, who commanded the Auschwitz concentration camp in which 700,000 Jews were put to death, characterized this slaughter as “the removal of racial-biological foreign bodies. In-groups and out-groups are important, then, because they affect behavior. From fellow members of an in-group we expect recognition loyalty and .
From groups our expectation varies With.the kind of out-group. From some out-groups we hostility; from others; a, more: or less friendly competition; from still others, in difference. From the sex out-group we· may expect neither hostility nor indifference in our behavior a difference undeniably remains. The-Is-year-old boy who’ shuns girls grows up to become a romantic lover and spends most of his life in matrimony. Yet when men and women meet on social occasion’s they tend to split into one-sex groups, perhaps because each sex is bored by many of the conversational interests of the other. The clique is one kind of in-group. Thus our behavior is affected by the particular kind of in-group or out-group which is involved