Social Institutions

Topics: Sociology, Society, Institution Pages: 4 (1005 words) Published: August 1, 2012
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.

Commonly, experts officially recognize five major social institutions that have been evident in some way in every civilization in history:

1. Government (Political)
2. Family
3. Economics
4. Education
5. Religion

A government is an institution entrusted with making and enforcing the rules of a society as well as with regulating relations with other societies. In order to be considered a government, a ruling body must be recognized as such by the people it purports to govern. A person or group that considers itself the leading body of a society has no power if the members of the society do not recognize the person or group as such. Government is an institution because it consists the bodies of legislature, executive and judiciary has the power over the citizens in the state as well as the foreigners within the state.

The institution of family has three important functions:
1. To provide for the rearing of children
2. To provide a sense of identity or belonging among its members 3. To transmit culture between generations

Throughout the years there have been many social institutions that have made a dramatic impact on society; none more important than families. In today's modern industrialized societies, families carry out basic necessities that other social institutions cannot. Different skills such as responsibility can also be acquired from families where it can be applied to everyday life. Furthermore families in the past needed to be the most important social institution to...
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