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Clubs (social organizations)

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A club is an association of people united by a common interest or goal. A service club, for example, exists for voluntary or charitable activities; there are clubs devoted to hobbies and sports, social activities clubs, political and religious clubs, and so forth.


Origins of the word and concept Edit

It is uncertain whether the use of the word "club" originated in its meaning of a knot of people, or from the fact that the members “clubbed” together to pay the expenses of their meetings. The oldest English clubs were merely informal periodic gatherings of friends for the purpose of dining or drinking together. Thomas Occleve (in the time of Henry IV) mentions such a club called La Court de Bone Compaignie (the Court of Good Company), of which he was a member. In 1659 John Aubrey wrote, “We now use the word clubbe for a sodality [a society, association, or fraternity of any kind] in a tavern.”

Types of clubs Edit

School clubs Edit

Main article: Extracurricular activity

These are activities performed by students that fall outside the realm of classes. Such clubs may fall outside the normal curriculum of school or university education or, as in the case of subject matter clubs (e.g. student chapters of professional societies), may supplement the curriculum through informal meetings and professional mentoring.

Professional societies Edit

Main article: Professional body

These organizations are partly social, partly professional in nature and provide professionals with opportunities for advanced education, presentations on current research, business contacts, public advocacy for the profession and other advantages. Examples of these groups include medical associations, scientific societies, and bar associations. Professional societies frequently have layers of organization, with regional, national and international levels. The local chapters generally meet more often and often include advanced students unable to attend national meetings.

Service clubs Edit

Main article: Service club

A service club is a type of voluntary organization where members meet regularly for social outings and to perform charitable works either by direct hands-on efforts or by raising money for other organizations.

Social clubs Edit

Main article: Social clubs

Some social clubs are organized around competitive games, such as chess and bridge. Other clubs are designed to encourage membership of certain social classes. Those made up of the elite are best known as gentlemen's clubs (not to be confused with strip clubs) and country clubs (though these also have an athletic function, see below). Less elitist, but still in some cases exclusive, are working men's clubs. Clubs restricted to either officers or enlisted men exist on military bases.

The modern gentlemen's club, sometimes proprietary, i.e. owned by an individual or private syndicate, but more frequently owned by the members who delegate to a committee the management of its affairs, first reached its highest development in London, where the district of St. James's has long been known as “Clubland”. Current London clubs include Soho's Groucho Club, which opened in 1985 as "the antidote to the traditional club." In this spirit, the club was named for Groucho Marx because of his famous remark that he would not wish to join any club that would have him as a member.

Social activities clubs Edit

Social activities clubs are a modern combination of several other types of clubs and reflect today’s more eclectic and varied society. These clubs are centered around the activities available to the club members in the city or area in which the club is located. Because the purpose of these clubs is split between general social interaction and taking part in the events themselves, clubs tend to have more single members than married ones; some clubs restrict their membership to one of the other, and some are for gays and lesbians.

Membership can be limited or open to the general public, as can the events. Most clubs have a limited membership based upon specific criteria, and limit the events to members to increase the security of the members, thus creating an increased sense of cameradery and belonging. Social activities clubs can be for profit or not for profit, and some are a mix of the two (a for-profit club with a non-profit charitable arm, for instance). The Inter-Varsity Club (IVC) is the biggest British non-profit club.

Country clubs, athletic clubs, and sports clubs Edit

Main article: Country club

There are two types of athletic and sports clubs, those organized for sporting participants (which include athletic clubs and country clubs), and those primarily for spectator fans of a team.

Athletic and country clubs offer one or more recreational sports facilities to their members. Such clubs may also offer social activities and facilities, and some members may join primarily to take advantage of the social opportunities. Country clubs offer a variety of recreational sports facilities to its members and are usually located in suburban or rural areas.[1] Most country clubs have golf. Swimming pools, tennis courts, polo grounds and exercise facilities are also common. Country clubs usually provide dining facilities to their members and guests, and frequently host catered events like weddings. Similar clubs in urban areas are often called athletic clubs. These clubs often feature indoor sports, such as indoor tennis, squash, basketball, boxing, and exercise facilities.

Members of sports clubs that support a team can be sports amateurs -- groups who meet to practice a sport, as for example in most cycling clubs -- or professionals -- football clubs consist of well-paid team members and thousands of supporters. A sports club can thus comprise participants (not necessarily competitors) or spectator fans, or both.

Some organizations exist with a mismatch between name and function. The Jockey Club is not a club for jockeys, but rather exists to regulate the sport of horseracing; the Marylebone Cricket Club was until recently the regulatory body of cricket, and so on.

Sports club should not be confused with gyms and health clubs, which also can be for members only.

Fraternities and sororities Edit

Fraternities and sororities are social clubs of secondary or higher education students. Membership in these organizations is generally by invitation only.


Hobby Clubs Edit

Hobbies are practiced for interest and enjoyment, rather than financial reward. Examples include ham radio, collecting, creative and artistic pursuits, making, tinkering, sports and adult education. Engaging in a hobby can lead to acquiring substantial skill, knowledge, and experience. However, personal fulfillment is the aim.

References Edit

  1. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/dict.asp?Word=country+club The Free Dictionary

See also Edit

  • Childhood secret club
  • Probus Clubs cater for the interests of retired or semi-retired professional or business people.
  • Users' group, a type of club focused on the use of a particular technology, usually (but not always) computer-related.


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