Segmental Relationships




Segmentalrelationship is a concept that explains the partial involvement ofindividuals in the interactions in the society, rather than totalinvolvement. According toRitzer (2011), peoplein a large social group tend to have segmental involvement with othermembers of the society, instead of being fully interactive. Segmentalrelationship is the explanation of the phenomenon that there are onlysegments of the society that are involved in interactions among them,despite being part of a larger society. The segmental relationshipfurther explains why there is greater involvement and interactionamong members of a small social group than it is in the large group.

Simmelthinks that modern societies are composed of many segmentalrelationships because of the growing size of the society and thegrowing distance between the members of the society. Therefore, thelarger the social group, the more segmental the relationships amongthe people there is. The modern society tends to involve manysegmental relationships among the people who form it, rather thanhave all people get involved. In such societies, social actorspromote their involvement with the members of the society that formthe groups they are involved in. To cope, social actors immersethemselves in the small groups in the society, such as the family(Ritzer,2011).

Thesituation of segmental relationships is true of our society today.This is because the modern society is characterized by disengagementbetween people and creation of distance between the members of thesociety. The reliance on technology keeps people partially engaged,and rarely interacting fully. This promotes the formation ofsegmental relationships, with the most common forms being the familyand workplace groups. This makes the society full of segmentalrelationships, rather than closely interactive social groups.


Ritzer,G. (2011). ClassicalSociological Theory, (6th Ed). Boston:McGraw Hill