dyad and triad
dyad and triadsocial interactions or relationships comprising two elements (dyad) or three elements (triad). As an aspect of his FORMAL SOCIOLOGY, SIMMEL suggested that certain properties of dyads and triads obtain whether the parties to the interaction or relationship are persons, organizations, or nation states, e.g. mediation or divide-and-rule is possible within the triad but not the dyad; the ‘peculiar closeness’ of the two compared with the three. The analysis of dyads and triads provides a particularly clear example of the character of FORMAL SOCIOLOGY, with its emphasis on recurring forms of social interaction.
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000