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Taking your first steps into higher education
Taking your first steps into higher education

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2.2 Group membership

If you are a member of a group, you share a connectedness or common culture with other members of that group and, in some way, you differ from those who are not members.

In some groups membership is quite formal, as when you are a member of a club and have a membership card. However, for most social groups membership is more informal and comes about because of where someone lives or as a result of something that has happened to them.

‘Mothers’ are a good example of this. There is no membership card required but someone who is a mother is more likely to share ways of seeing the world that differ from those who are not mothers. Mothers are also seen by society as a single group which can mean that they are assumed to share characteristics. For example most mother are assumed to care for their children, so only ‘bad’ mothers do not.

These ideas about mothers are the basis of the humorous take on mothers in this video:

Double take – Mothers’ Group
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Informal membership also connects people who use social networking websites and media such as Facebook. As members of this group, they share common behaviours such as ‘poking’ friends, sharing photos and writing on each other’s walls. They might also share ideas about the importance of virtual connectedness and may believe that having an online element to their social life is important. In these ways they share a common culture.

However, this does not mean that all Facebook users are the same or that they all use Facebook in the same way or with the same frequency. Another way in which Facebook users will differ is that different users will below to a range of other groups. For some, these other groups will be far more important than being on Facebook. So each individual will have their own personal combination that reflects their personal identity.