Social Institutions

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Social Institutions
A social institution is a complex, integrated set of social norms organized around the preservation of a basic societal value. Obviously, the sociologist does not define institutions in the same way as does the person on the street. Lay persons are likely to use the term "institution" very loosely, for churches, hospitals, jails, and many other things as institutions. Sociologists often reserve the term "institution" to describe normative systems that operate in five basic areas of life, which may be designated as the primary institutions. (1) In determining Kinship; (2) in providing for the legitimate use of power; (3) in regulating the distribution of goods and services; (4) in transmitting knowledge from one generation to the next; and (5) in regulating our relation to the supernatural. In shorthand form, or as concepts, these five basic institutions are called the family, government, economy, education and religion.

Definition: Groups of persons banded together for common purposes having rights, privileges, liabilities, goals, or objectives distinct and independent from those of individual members Social Institutions Categories:

1. Community: A group of people residing in the same locality and under the same government or a group or class having common interests. 2. Community Service Organizations: Non-profit, charitable organizations dedicated to assisting others meet basic needs, resolve personal or family problems, or improving their community. This includes soup kitchens, rotary clubs, Boys and Girls Clubs, scouts, etc. 3. Educational Institutions: Social organizations dedicated to teaching skills and knowledge to individuals. 4. Ethnic or Cultural Groups: A social organization consisting of many extended family groups related by a distant, common ancestry. 5. Extended Family: A social organization consisting of several nuclear family groups related by common ancestry. 6. Families and Households: A fundamental social group consisting especially of a man and a woman and their offspring; a domestic establishment including the members of a family and other who live under the same roof. 7. Governments and Legal Institutions: The office, function, authority, or organization that sets forth and administer public policy and the affairs. A government consists of a legislative branch which writes law and policy, executive branch which executes law and policy, and judicial branch which enforces law and policy. This includes local, state, and national governments. This includes all branches of the military. 8. Health Care Institutions: Social institutions that specialize in monitoring public health, providing health maintenance, and treating illness and injury. 10. Intellectual and Cultural Organizations: Social organizations dedicated to search for new knowledge or the development and preservation of art. 11. Market Institutions: Social organizations dedicated to barter and trade. This includes all corporations and businesses. 12. Political and Non Government Organizations: Social organizations dedicated to influencing the processes of government; political parties. This includes non-governmental organizations and groups of people with common goals, interests, or ideals formally bound together by a common set of rules or by-laws that influence public policy. 13. Religious Organizations: Groups of people who share a common, codified belief in and reverence for a supernatural power accepted as the creator and governor of the universe.

Each society has its own social institutions. These are not buildings or places, but structures of relationship, obligation, role and function. These are social concepts and practices, but also involve cognitive structures. Members of a society have a similar mental concept of right and wrong, order and relationships, and patterns of good (positive values). Those who do not honor these concepts are “criminals,” or at least antisocial. There are five social...
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