Notes Social Studies

Social Environment: Meaning, Types

Social environment is defined as the social practices around a man and the interactions that exist between him and other men (people) in the groups – family, peer group, school, community and institution. The social practices around man include customs, language,food, dressing norms etc.


Social group is an aspect of social environment that refers to a number of people who are united and organized to achieve a common goal. It is categorized into two;

  • Primary Social Group
  • Secondary Social Group

Primary Social Groups

A primary group is one in which its members are closely related. They know each other very well. It is formed by nature as individuals have little or no choice over the group they find themselves. Examples of primary group are family, age group and kinship.

Characteristics of a Primary Social Group

  1. The members are small.
  2. They depend on one another.
  3. They maintain a continuous and permanent membership.
  4. There is a close and intimate relationship among members.
  5. There is face-to-face interaction.


  1. Define social environment.
  2. Explain social group and state its types

The Family

A family refers to those who are related by blood, marriage or law (i.e. adoption) through the union of a minimum of two adults of opposite sex with or without children.

Blood relationship (e.g. father and son) is called a consanguine or natal relationship. Marriage relationship (e.g. wife and father in-law) is described as a conjugal relationship. The social group a child is born into is the family.

Types of Family

  • Nuclear Family: This is made up of father, mother or mothers and children (biological or by law). Nuclear family could be monogamous (one man, one woman with or without the children) or polygamous (one man and several wives) i.e. polygyny or one woman and several husbands i.e. polyandry).
Nuclear Family
  • Extended Family: In this type of family, uncles, aunties, cousins, nieces, grandparents, step mothers etc. are all members of the same family, though they may not live together. There are many nuclear families in an extended family.
  • Compound family: this consists of some brothers, sisters and relatives with their wives, husbands and children living together in the family house.

Functions of the Family

  1. Procreation: Family exists in order to produce younger ones.
  2. The family ensures that the children have everything they need to survive and become responsible members of the society.
  3. The family ensures that children are properly socialized. The family teaches the child acceptable norms and values of the society.
  4. Every child needs to be given love, security, affection, and companionship right from birth.
  5. The parents are expected to give each child good formal education besides the informal training which naturally takes place in a normal family.

Roles and Responsibilities of Members

A. Father

  • He is the head of the family and the bread winner.
  • He provides the basic amenities.
  • He disciplines the erring members of the family .
  • He is the family’s representative outside.

B. Mother

  • She prepares food for the family.
  • She sees to the cleanliness of the home.
  • She assists the father in the provision of the family needs.
  • She also disciplines the children.

C. Children

  • They run errands for their parents and elderly people.
  • They perform domestic chores .
  • They show respect to their parents and the elders in the community.
  • They take care of their parents when they are old.

Age Group

This is made up of people of about the same age in a society who do things in common.


This refers to a group linked together as a result of a common ancestor, marriage ties or adoption. Kinship is an extension of extended families.


  1. Mention three examples of primary group.
  2. Give four roles of a father.
  3. Mention five roles of a mother.


Solakat New Syllabus on Social Studies for Basic Seven by A. Oluwasola Oyewole. Pages. 21&30.

Simplified Social Studies for Nigerian Secondary Schools & Colleges Book 1 byYusuf R.A.Pages.7- 10. Fundamentals of Social Studies JSS by Sola Akinyemi.Pages. 44 – 51


  1. _______ is made up of people of about the same age who do things in common in a society. A. Young people B. Age group C. School children D. Old people
  2. Nuclear family is common among the A.Muslims B. traditionalists C. religionists D. educated Africans and     the Europeans
  3. Kinship relationship is often based on A. blood and marriage B. family and blood C. money and property D. age and achievement
  4. One of the ways by which one can become a member of a family is through A. kindness B. cooperation C. obedience D. birth
  5. Relationship by marriage is called ————- relationship. A. conjugal B. natal C. love D. friendship


  1. From fig. 2, state Sola’s relationship with Segun, Tope, Ijeoma and Tony.
  2. List and explain briefly, the types of family we have.