.“ Social institution are those ways of inter relationship in society which are eternal and acknowledge by the society.” (C.L.Wood)
.“ Social institution is the name of inter co-ordination of social relationships.” ( Young and Mac )
.“ Social institution is an organization of several folkways, mores and norms which undertake different functions for the betterment of Society.” ( A.W Green )
.“ Social institution represent the social structure and machinery through which human society organizes, directs and executes the multifarious activities, required to satisfy human needs.” ( H.L Barners )
In sociology the study of social institution is very important in society generally social institutions are considered more important than individuals. The social institution determine the standard of human character although theoretically social institutions seem to be simple, but practically they are very complicated. The functions of almost all social institutions are more or less universal. e.g. in all societies the functions of the family are same such as breeding, raring and caring of the children’s and education etc. social institutions strength the human relationships.
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Since these institutions uphold the balance in human relationships, they don’t accept any change in their structure, functions and roles etc easily. In shot, social institutions are an abstract which have no visible structure, it can be understood or viewed by observing the roles and functions of its members unconsciously. Among important social institutions there are following institutions: Family, economic, Religious and Political institutions etc. according to Giddens the main functions of these institutions is to preserve the activities of human beings.
Structure of Social institution
By structure of social institution it should be noted the structure is a consist of those ways of acting and techniques of the persons according to them they undertake their duties in this way they achieve successfully useful values. The structure of social institutions is based on following elements.
Individuals- : Different members of society perform different Economic functions on account on account of which the society is divided into different strata’s such as Teacher, Manager, Engineer, Former etc. e.g. the family is consist of children’s and parents similarly religious institution is consist of followers and clergy.
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Material Structure -: the 2 nd important element of social institutions is the material structure where by the member perform their functions. e.g. in economic institutions we include machines, forms, and stationery etc. for family we include hose and furniture etc. for religious institutions the places where the members worship are included such as Mosque, Temple, Church.
System -: system is aggregation of those ways which organizes the people and material structure of the particular social institution. These ways guide the human character under the certain principles. e.g. in political institutions there are different system such as democracy, monarchy and socialism etc are adopted. Economic institutions may adopt capitalism or socialism. In Religious institutions there are variety of religions available such as Islam, Christianity, Buddhism etc. in Family there are 2 systems single or multi marriages systems.
The Difference between Social institutions and Association/Organization
S ocial institutions are eternal where as association are formed for a temporary and short lived.
T he membership of the social institutions is necessary where as the membership of the institution is volunteer.
O ne can not change the membership of social institutions where as the membership can be changed in associations.
Functions of Social Institutions
Economic institutions- : economic institutions fulfill the economic needs of the society. These needs are provided under the system of production, Distribution of Wealth, Expenditures and Services.
Political Functions - : the main function of political institution is to deep the human character in organize form. The further objective of this institution is to maintain social organization. This done through the governments and related bodies.
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Familial Functions - : The main responsibility of social institution is to increase the human race. Similarly the social institutions are supposed to bring up the new generation this is done through the family and marriage.
Religious Functions- : The principle aim of the religious institution is to satisfy the religious or spiritual needs of the society. The religious institutions uphold mutual relationship between human being and God. it provide sustain ability and durability to society.
Social Control- : The basic objective of the social institutions is to maintain social control in the society. Social institution provide formation to its members through exemplary characters. Through this formation it expected from the members that they would be following these models in their normal routine social life.
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Social Transformation- : The social institutions protect the social inheritance by transforming it from one generation to another. If this transformation is not done then it will be difficult to sustain the existences of the society. e.g. in our daily life we act and behave what ever we are taught during to process of socialization.
Socialization -: social institutions play vital role in the socialization of the individuals. It is therefore, the members of each society posses particular characteristics which separate them from the other societies. The purposed characteristics of social institutions are also necessary for there own existents. For this purpose the social institutions dose the socialization of its members.
Important Social Institutions
Family – according to Samuel the family Is a Latin word. This term includes parents, children’s and slaves. It is primitive and ancient concept.
“ As a more or less durable association of husband and wife with or without children.” ( Meyer F. Nimkoff )
“ Family is the unit of social organization in which there are almost two generations counted. This is bond through the blood relations.” ( Sumner Keller )
“ Family is a social institution which provides foundations of every society.” ( Robert E. Riegel )
In short family is an aggregation of parents children and relatives in broader context it is basic and necessary social institution which provides solid foundations to build a structure of a society.
Functions of the Family
Biological Function -: the most important function of family is increase of human beings along with bringing up the children. Without this the human generation can not maintain its existence.
Love and Affection -: family is the basic source of love and affection in society. Family gives love and affection to its members in any case. It also satisfies the sexual needs of a person due to love and affection among husband, wife, and children the family and the social life is strengthened.
Educational Function -: family is the first school of the children. The family gives basic formation to the children although the schools are major source of education but first and foremost education comes from family. The family focuses on social and religious education.
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Recreational Function -: the family does take care of recreational needs of its members. It is the family which teaches a person about the limits to fulfill the recreational needs.
Religious Function -: family is the first source which gives religious identity to the children. We are not born Muslims or Christian it is the family which gives us religious identity. With the initiation of the socialization process the religious formation is also started.
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Function of Social Protection -: the family provide protection to its members from every kind of social and natural problems. It gives psychological as well as social support to the members.
Economic Function -: the parents work hard for the economic empowerment of their children they bring them up and send them for formal education so that they ma be able to earn their lively hood. Incase of unemployment it is the family which takes care of a person.
Marriage -: Marriage is a relation between man and women which is acknowledged by society. The state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law.
Types of Marriage-:
Monogamy: Marriage of one person to anther person.
Polygamy : Marriage of a man to two or more women.
Polyandry : Marriage of a women to two or more men.
Exogamy : In this type one can marry out of caste, class, group, or even out of religion.
Endogamy : In this type one is bond to marry within the caste, class, group, or a religion. Its most popular and acceptable type.
Political Institution -: Political institution is one of the important social institution it keeps the society organized and united through the organ of government. To understand the political institution one should try to understand.
What is Government?
Government -: Government is a group or institution of people which is responsible for social organization and administration. It utilizes the force if required to perform this duty.
Law and order and Administrative Functions- : To maintain social organization and administration.
Welfare Function- : To provide welfare services to the masses without any discrimination of class, color and creed.
Economic Function- : it is the prime responsibility of the government to maintain economic justice. The government control over the economic resources and mainly responsible for there equal distribution.
Mediatory and Judicial Function- : it is also important function of the government to provide mediatory and judicial services. The government maintains the balance among all the classes in the state.
Protection of Resources- : it is the prime function of the government to protect and preserve the natural and human resources of the country.
“ Religion is an ambition of understanding to un-understandable and encompassing the unlimited phenomenon to the Scope of knowledge.” ( A.B Taylor )
Religion is instinctive to man. Man is the only religious being. As reason distinguishes him from animals, he can similarly be distinguished through religion. Man is finite –infinite being. From the time when he opened his eyes on this planet he has been desirous of knowing and being acquainted with the conscious power latent in nature. As and when he was compelled to face natural hardship and dangers, storms, floods, lighting, epidemics, famines, deluge, scarcity, dangerous animals, etc., Man has looked up to some invisible power for assistance, motivation, strength and help.
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Thus, this religious tendency awoke in man when he was gripped sometimes by fear and at other times by curiosity. And, man tried to realize this intangible for reasons such as to obtain salvation from sorrows and transience, death, birth, and old age. Similarly man, when he got fade up of the worldly sensual love, conceived God as the object of love in supreme aesthetic idealistic form. There is no relation which man did not attaches to God. people try to attain God in the relation of, Father, Friend, Husband, Master, Lover, beloved, verily In every form of relationship. In this way, man, time and age, attempted to quench his urge in that supreme person, the search of which is religion.
Functions of the Religion
Guidance of Human Character: Religion protect the social values.
Answer of Supernatural concepts and powers: the Religion reduces the Humans curiosity by giving the answer of supernatural concepts and powers.
Satisfaction of Human Desires: the Religion provides internal satisfaction to human beings it provides them love,
Education: the Religion facilitates and guides the human beings in their personal and social life.
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The maintenance of Social Organization: the religion maintains the social organization by promoting the teachings of moral in this way, it promote the value of good and bad for the necessary social control.
Social cohesion: Emile Durkheim suggested that because of its focus on the sacred, religion creates a sense of common purpose and unity.
Social control: this function of religion was emphasized by Karl Marx when he said that religion is “the opium of the people.” Religion is a powerful force in encouraging conformity. religious institutions are often the very last to join reform efforts, such as the abolition of slavery.
Educational institutions are those organized establishments which mainly provide formal education. It is the education institution which provide objectivity to a certain society. It is very much important for individual and social growth and development. John Dewy in book “Democracy and Education” has described the functions of the educational institutions comprehensively as follow:
Development of Individual’s capacities-: it is the responsibility of the educational institutions to provide the students the opportunities and environment where his or her personal qualities and capacities may develop.
Awareness of Social and National Objectives: every society has specific national objectives which are drawn according to the norms and values of the society. It is the function of these institutions to infuse these objectives in the minds of students.
Social and Cultural adjustment: it is the main function of the educational institution to inculcate the students social and cultural values so that may be able to create better adjustment in prevailing social and cultural environment.
Construction of Human behavior: educational institution are build to give proper formation to its members it is the prime responsibility to reconstruct the character and behavior of the students. The respect for social norms, values and objective is promoted among the students through educational institutions.
Development of Creative abilities: from educational institutions it is expected that they will develop creative senses of the students. The educational institutions provide an environment and opportunities where the students can develop their artistic qualities more over students are equipped with the skills which enable them to earn their lively hood.
Economic institution are those which directly or indirectly related with economic activity of the country. These institutions deal in production, distribution of wealth and services of goods. It includes banks, factories, agricultural and dairy farm etc.
Providence of Basic needs: through the economic institutions we can fulfill our economic basic needs. e.g. we can get food and cloths for our family by paying the cost.
Economic Protection: economic institutions work to provide to protection to the members of the society. e.g. the institution of pension social security and insurance agencies etc. run a related program.
Encourage of the abilities of the persons: economic institutions give reward to those who utilize their abilities for the benefit of the society or certain organizations. e.g. the people are rewarded of promotion and other benefits upon showing impressing performance. Similarly the economic institutions give financial intensives and jobs to the sports persons and actors etc.
Political Stability: economic institutions also play a vital role in maintaining political stability in the country. If the economic institutions deliver accordingly it brings satisfaction of the masses over the current political government. If the economic institutions perform properly they bring about the cause of political stability.
Effects on the Foreign Policy: economic institutions also effects the foreign policy of the country. If the economy of the country is durable, the country can have sovereign policy on contrary economically weak states are not free to formulate their foreign policies.