Friday, 14 January 2022

Social Institutions 

Institutions are the building blocks of society, which made society, fulfills social needs and maintains social order. Due to its closeness to society and individual it is an important concept in social sciences like Sociology, Anthropology, Political Science, Economics etc. Institutions are not an individual concept it is a social concept. Social institutions are helps to maintain social order and social existence. It is mainly fulfills the social needs. It simply means the complex set of social norms, beliefs, values and role relationship that arise in response to the needs of society. Society is the subject matter of sociology and society is made out of social institutions like family, marriage, caste, religion, education etc. so it has very importance in sociology. Even though the concept has some complexities sociologists differently conceptualize it those are given below;

Definition  of Social Institutions

  1. MacIver and Page define “social institution is the established forms or conditions of procedure characteristics of group activity.”  

  2. Ian Robertson defines “an institution is a stable cluster of values, norms, status, roles and groups that develops around a basic social need.”  

  3. Horton and Hunt define “an institution is an organized system of social relationship which embodies certain common values and procedures and meets certain needs of the society.” 

These three sociologists similarly conceptualize social institution as the established forms of values, norms. Especially the institutions are the norms regulating the behaviour of individuals and help to fulfill the social needs like, family provides a code of conduct for regulate the behaviour and family fulfills the needs of individuals, marriage another institution, facilitates union of two individuals and give room for reproduction, religion a social institution regulate the behaviour of individual. Hence institutions are norms that are codified in different heads like family, marriage, caste, religion etc. 

Features of Social Institutions 

Social institutions are the inevitable part of society and individual, which in found in all societies in all times. It has certain features which are given below

  1. Satisfaction of specific needs: 

Institutions are the established forms of laws which help to satisfy the needs of individual. For example family is a primary institution which satisfies certain needs like affection, economic, security etc.

  1. Prescription of rules: 

Institutions are the sources of prescription of rules. It provides certain rules for behaving like religion provide certain rules for controlling the behaviour.

  1. Abstractness: 

Institutions are neither visible nor tangible. Individuals cannot see the institutions but they can experience it.

  1. Cultural symbols: 

Culture is a way of life. Institutions are the symbols which expresses certain lifestyles so it is the cultural symbols.

  1. Universality: 

Social institutions although in different forms are found in all societies in all times in primitive and modern societies. 

  1. Social in nature: 

Institutions are not individual phenomena. It is exist among group so they are social phenomena.

  1. Institutions are the controlling mechanisms: 

Institutions are set of norms or rules which act as the controlling mechanisms. Institutions like family, marriage, religion, caste etc. provide certain rules for controlling the behaviour and interaction pattern of individuals.

  1. Institutions are relatively permanent: 

The sudden changes are not commonly reflected in social institutions. The slow changes are found institutions and therefore they are relatively permanent.

  1. Oral and written: 

In early period the institutions are mainly oral, there have no a developed language for record the rules. Certain rules are transmitted through communication like recognize and respect others. Certain rules are written, like constitution and other written laws.

  1. Institutions are interrelated: 

All institutions are related to each other. Family, marriage, caste, kinship, religion etc. are related to each other for maintenance of social order. 

Social institutions are the established forms of norms and rules. Society cannot exist without social institutions. It helps to maintain social order. It also helps to social growth and capable to become a welfare society. 

Significance of Social Institutions 

Social institutions have certain function in society which helps to the smooth functioning of society. It is a universal phenomenon, exists in all societies in all periods of history.

  1. It helps to maintain social order and social welfare

  2. It helps to social growth

  3. It works as a control mechanism

  4. Social institutions are the inevitable part of society

  5. It controls social interaction of individual 

Types of Social Institutions 

Social institutions are classified into primary institutions and secondary institutions on the basis of the nature and characteristics of them. Primary institutions are the most basic type, which helps to fulfill our basic needs like food, clothing and shelter. Family, marriage, kinship, religion etc are important examples of primary institution. Secondary institutions are another type of social institutions which helps to fulfill the secondary needs like education entertainment, economic needs. It is mainly support the primary institutions for the fulfillment of the primary needs. Economy, political institutions, education etc. are the major secondary institutions commonly found in society.