Social Institutions

Topics: Sociology, Institution, Social structure Pages: 2 (468 words) Published: March 8, 2008
The concept of social institution is a major component in the world of sociology, which allows us to grasp a lot of content in society. Social institution allows us to understand and explain macro-level social phenomena. Institution is a term widely used to describe social practices that are regularly and continuously repeated, are sanctioned and maintained by social norms, and have a major significance in the social structure. Like role, the term refers to established patterns of behaviour, but institution is regarded as a higher – order, more general unit that incorporates a plurality of roles .Social institution is a combination of the four main micro concepts; norms, sanctions, roles, and institutionally – regulated behaviour. These four micro concepts are the building blocks to help to distinguish and explain the various types of social institution. Social norms are guidelines that people follow to fit in within the social institution or structure that they occupy. Social norms are that a group uses for appropriate and inappropriate values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviours. These rules may be explicit or implicit. Failure to comply to the rules can result in severe punishments, the most feared of which is exclusion from the group. A common rule is that the some norms must frequently be displayed; neutrality is seldom an option. Social norms are critical in social institution because every institution needs structure. Structure can be obtained through norms and sanctions.

Although every society has its on personal set of norms, individuals still find ways to not abide by these set rules or norms. Rule following is promoted and encouraged by sanctions Social sanctioning is what distinguishes norms from other cultural products or social constructions such as meaning and values. Norms and normlessness are thought to affect a wide variety of human behavior. Sanctions are important in social institutions because they provide both positive and negative...
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