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Social Brain, Distributed Mind$
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Robin Dunbar, Clive Gamble, and John Gowlett

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780197264522

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197264522.001.0001

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Cliques, Coalitions, Comrades and Colleagues: Sources of Cohesion in Groups

Cliques, Coalitions, Comrades and Colleagues: Sources of Cohesion in Groups

(p.268) (p.269) 13 Cliques, Coalitions, Comrades and Colleagues: Sources of Cohesion in Groups
Social Brain, Distributed Mind

Holly Arrow

British Academy

Cohesion may be based primarily on interpersonal ties or rely instead on the connection between member and group, while groups may cohere temporarily based on the immediate alignment of interests among members or may be tied together more permanently by socio-emotional bonds. Together, these characteristics define four prototypical group types. Cliques and coalitions are based primarily on dyadic ties. Groups of comrades or colleagues rely instead on the connection of members to the group for cohesion, which reduces the marginal cost of increasing group size. The strong glue of socio-emotional cohesion binds cliques and comrades, while coalitions and groups of colleagues are often based on weaker forms of cohesion. The mix of strong and weak adhesives and the greater scalability offered by the member-group bond provide the building blocks for assembling very large societies without overtaxing the social brain.

Keywords:   social cohesion, dyadic ties, social brain, cliques, comrades, group bond

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