Social Institutions

The more things change, the more they stay the same

Friday, October 8, 2010

Society vs. Culture
Society-a self-sufficient group of people
Social structure-the enduring and repetitive relationships among a society’s members; results from carrying out of roles attached to statuses

Culture-the way of life of a group of people; the way in which we learn the roles attached to statuses, and how to carry them out
Friday, October 8, 2010

Social Institutions
Social institutions are simply elements of culture: They are clusters of accepted (i.e., negotiated, shared, agreed upon) and persistent (i.e., influencing behavior over a long period of time) statuses, roles, values and norms that become accepted and persistent because they fulfill important societal needs (e.g., replacing members, socializing new members, social control, social cohesion, division of labor).

Friday, October 8, 2010

Institutions are Unplanned
We find effective ways to accomplish tasks or order our lives; Our “solutions” become habitualized or routinized; We develop explanations for why our ways are “right” and “natural”

Friday, October 8, 2010

Institutions Change Slowly
To challenge an institution is to challenge collectively agreed upon logic and what is “right” or “natural” Often where individuals fail to change institutions, other institutions succeed (especially the economy)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Institutions are Interdependent
Change in one institution usually brings about change in another; Economic changes have brought about all sorts of changes in family, gender, immigration, healthcare, politics, science, religion (what?), etc.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Social Institutions are Relative

Each society settles on its own solutions to the problem of meeting societal needs Social institutions differ across place and time

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Specialization Trend
As societies grow in size and complexity, their institutions become more specialized e.g., families serve narrower needs; healthcare is more specialized, so is education, etc. What is driving the specialization of institutions?
Friday, October 8, 2010

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