What Is A Social Institution And The Types Essay

Length: 2 pages Sources: 2 Subject: Sociology Type: Essay Paper: #29604976 Related Topics: Social Norm, Social Identity, Social Worker, Spirituality
Excerpt from Essay :

Social institutions are the most fundamental building blocks of societies. They are the structural foundations of human social life. Social institutions "order and structure the behavior of individuals in core areas of society," (Verwiebe, n.d., p. 1). Kinship, religion, and politics are all examples of the social institutions that hold sway over the lives of individuals. However, underneath the strongest of social institutions are the values and norms of that society. This is why different cultures may have similar social institutions (such as religion, politics, and family) but those institutions appear vastly different. Moreover, the role each institution plays in a society may vary. For example, religion plays a central role in some societies but not in others. Social institutions change over time, and often dramatically. Patriarchy, for example, is a social institution common to many cultures but is being increasingly challenged from within those very same societies. Likewise,...


When social institutions as fundamental as those related to family or religion change, the results can be dramatic and occasionally violent. Changing social institutions can cause serious repercussions not only on the society as a whole, but also on individuals and their own psychological and social ties.

Gender is another social institution that is often taken for granted, mistakenly believed to be linked directly to biological sex. Yet the ways different cultures "do" gender becomes institutionalized. Heterosexuality is, for example, a social institution in most cultures. Yet there are a few cultures in which a more open and tolerant or fluid view of sexuality exists. In this way, social institutions that are strong and apparent in one culture may not be so in another. Most societies have relatively strict gender roles and norms, with division of labor and differential social statuses conferred depending on gender.

Political structures and institutions are cornerstones of all societies. Even in small tribal or kinship-oriented cultures, there is some hierarchy that enables law and order. Power is the most critical dimension of the social institution of politics. Politics becomes the means through which people express their power. Power can be shared among all members of a society as it is in democracies, or power can be vested into the hands of a select few who govern tightly and authoritatively over the vast majority of people. Closely connected with politics are…

Sources Used in Documents:


Miller, S. (2011). Social institutions. SEP. Retrieved online: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/social-institutions/

Verwiebe, R. (n.d.). Social institutions. Retrieved online: https://www.soz.univie.ac.at/fileadmin/user_upload/inst_soziologie/Personen/Institutsmitglieder/Verwiebe/Social_Institutions_in_Encyclopedia_of_Quality_of_Life_Research.pdf

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