Reference Group :
This term was used first of all by Herbert Hyman in 1942 while studying the gradation of s groups. "Soiclogists use this term Reference group when of any group that individuals use as standard for evaluating themselves and their own behaviour." (R.T, Schaefer 1989)
Robertson Ian (1987) defines reference groups as:
"Reference group, a group to which people refer when making evaluation of themselves and their behaviour".
We refer to the standards of a group while evaluating our behaviour, desires, style of life, determinations and that group may be we are in group of which we are members or may be a group of which we are not members. That group may be part of or:r beautiful past or we desire to become a member of this group in future" These groups play an important role in the social action of an individual because they give a to the tendency of an individual and have the force of a strong element" That is why we cannot ignore the important
functions of these groups.
Functions of Reference Group :
There are two functions of this group, Normative and comparative functions.
1. Normative Functions :
i. This group determines the standard of behaviour and expected role of individuals of a society with reference to this group under which the individuals of a society instead of an external pressure, make
their behaviour under the influence of their desires according to the needs and demands of a society, which promotes harmony and social stability.
ii. This increases the fulfilling of the promise of an individual with group life because if the primary or secondary group is his reference group, then it will be a matter of pride for him and its members will be a role model for him and he will abide by the group functions being impressed by this. He will be faithful to his group and he.will not care about even by offering a sacrifice for the survival and stability of his group.
2. Comparative Functions :
i. With reference to the Reference Group, individuals get help in correcting their character, tendency and behaviour. An individual compares his life with that of the Reference Group and then by removing his weaknesses, tries to be one like those of the Reference Group. if the individual's Reference Group is in
harmony with positive thinking, he tries to make the society better but in case of negative thinking, the results may be reversed.
ii. Change in attitude gets help from reference group of an individual. For example, cricketers and actors are reference group of our youth and through them same useful adventures like fighting police, jaundice and AIDS can be effectively introduced to the people.
iii. Reference Groups have an importance in the study of trends and behaviour of an individual because they have a deep effect on the personality of the individual. Some times reference groups play more important part in the making of personality of an. individual as compared to his primary group.
iv. The intensity and depth of the influences of the reference group can help in knowing the future trends of an individual.
The term of Locality group was first used by Ferdinand Tonnies. He gave it the name, Gemeinschaft or locality group.
"Gemeinschaft is the term used to describe close-knit communities, often found in rural areas, in which strong personal bonds unite members."
Afterwards, Rolph Linton explained this further to study the characteristics of this group in different societies and prepared a list of commonly found characteristics, the detail of which is given below:
Characteristics of Locality Group:
1. It consists of a few individuals of a few families where racial background, and ancestors are one and the same and have lived in an area for a long time.
2. There is intense social group and this is often interaction among the individuals of a locality of secret nature because of which a few words, intonation and way of speaking separate than that of the other societies
and this is their recognition.
3. The attachment of the individual of this group is of emotional nature. The relations are durable and hereditary. The reason of this is the love of the locality and relations, which are often shown in poetry and folk songs.
4. The interaction is informal and unceremonious. Sympathy element is present and there is no status consciousness among the members of this group.
5. This group has its specific local culture. The language, words, dress, marriage and death sites and customs are different than that of other societies. The individuals of the group have a desire to have their individuality consciously to have an identity in the local culture.
6. This group does not like change in life style, prevents the social variation and collective efforts are made to present this change. that variation is compulsory and then the whole group tries to adopt it to keep its
individuality and separateness.
7. There is a system of formal activities to keep discipline and group stability which is strictly followed and any antagonism has a group reaction which is often very intense and unbearable for the individuals and the individuals are kept bound for group activities, traditions and values.
8. The membership in the Locality Group is racial and hereditary. Strangers are not allowed to enter the group and their membership is nearly impossible. Because the presence of a stranger is thought an external
interference and it is hated and is thought against the integrity of the group.
9. The social discipline in Local Group is on strong formulation. Therefore, no deviation from social discipline or very rare. However, there are internal grouping and they are solved at the locality level. External interference in the solution of problem is not liked at all and is hated and there is a collective defense against it.