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CHAPTER V- Development of Social Institutions

The term "institution" is commonly applied to customs and behavior patterns important to
a society, as well as to particular formal organizations of the government and public services.
According to Bertrand, institutions are a system of social relationships for meeting various felt
human needs. Merill also gives definition of institution as the interrelated system of norms.
Social Institution is define as a system of behavioral and relationship patterns that are densely
interwoven and enduring. Each institution fulfills certain tasks and responsibilities that
contribute to the overall functioning and stability of society.
Characteristics of Social Institutions
The following are the characteristics of Social Institutions according to Merwill;

Social institutions are patterns of behavior grouped about the central needs of human beings in

society.
In all societies, the institution of family plays a central role.
Social institutions are therefore social patterns directing the ordered behavior of human beings

in the performance of their basic activities.


The continuity of institutional practices is further assured by the development of rituals.
The central aspects of institutions are the functions they perform and the pattern, established to

carry out the functions.


The claim of institutions upon the members is also known as loyalties.
The institutions of a society are connected in a close end interdependent pattern.
Institutions are connected through status and role of the members.
Institutions are the most important agencies in the formation of personality.
Social institutions are the great conservers and transmitters of cultural heritage.
Cultural heritage is thus transmitted through social interaction.
The moral values of the society are embodied in its institution.
Each institution is a center of complex social norms.

Community
The term community refers to a group of people living in the same locality and under the
same government or a group or class having common interests. It governs the intangible
institutions such as kinship, marriage, inheritance and sharing of oxen at community level and
organizations that operate at community level and are controlled by their members.

Figure 1 Community

Functions of Community

Production-Distribution-Consumption: No community can survive if it does not provide some


way for its people to make a living and obtain the material resources that they need for living.

Socialization: No community can survive it does not arrange for its continuation. A way must
be found for children to learn what they will need to know to be adults; for workers to develop
the knowledge, skills and abilities to do their jobs; for in-migrants (whether they are from the
neighboring State or from across the ocean) to learn how we do things here.

Social Control: Communities are incredibly complex systems. For all those players (whether
human or corporate) are to move around and do their thing, there have to be traffic rules to
keep them from crashing into each other. Only the smallest part of social control is busting bad
guys; much of it is an issue of forming and enforcing contracts (mutual agreements about who
will do what to whom how and with what) and supporting the social contract (those rules of
what is expected of one that were learned through socialization). This function is also often
referred to as boundary maintenance.

Social Participation: In part, the community needs the human resources of its people to get the
job done. It is through participation that much of those functions is accomplished (And much of
socialization and social control is accomplished as a by-product of social participation.

Mutual Support: Finally, one of the purposes of community is to motivate and encourage each
other along the way.

Health Care Institutions


The institution of medicine is responsible for defining and treating physical and mental
illnesses among members of a society. The goal of a societys medical establishment is to
promote health and the total well-being of its people. The nature of both health and medicine in a
given society are culturally determined.

Figure 2 Medicine as a Social Institution

Medicine has existed for thousands of years, during most of which it was considered as an
art that frequently had connections to the religious and philosophical beliefs of each culture.
Medical availability and clinical practice varies across the world due to regional differences in
culture and technology. Modern scientific medicine is highly developed in the Western world,
while in developing countries such as parts of Africa or Asia, the population may rely more
heavily on traditional medicine with limited evidence and efficacy and no required formal
training for practitioners.
Contemporary medicine is in general conducted within health care systems.
Legal, credentialing and financing frameworks are established by individual governments,
augmented on occasion by international organizations, such as churches. The characteristics of
any given health care system have significant impact on the way medical care is provided.
From ancient times, Christian emphasis on practical charity gave rise to the development of
systematic nursing and hospitals and the Catholic Church today remains the largest nongovernment provider of medical services in the world. Advanced industrial countries (with the

exception of the United States) and many developing countries provide medical services through
a system of universal health care that aims to guarantee care for all through a care system, or
compulsory private or co-operative health insurance. This is intended to ensure that the entire
population has access to medical care on the basis of need rather than ability to pay. Delivery
may be via private medical practices or by state-owned hospitals and clinics, or by charities,
most commonly by a combination of all three.
Most tribal societies, and the United States, provide no guarantee of healthcare for the
population as a whole. In such societies, healthcare is available to those that can afford to pay for
it or have self-insured it (either directly or as part of an employment contract) or who may be
covered by care financed by the government or tribe directly. Transparency of information is
another factor defining a delivery system. Access to information on conditions, treatments,
quality, and pricing greatly affects the choice by patients/consumers and, therefore, the incentives
of medical professionals. While the US healthcare system has come under fire for lack of
openness, new legislation may encourage greater openness. There is a perceived tension between
the need for transparency on the one hand and such issues as patient confidentiality and the
possible exploitation of information for commercial gain on the other.

Market Institutions
According to Adam Smith, market economy is made up of a series of individual exchanges
or transactions which automatically create a functioning and ordered system. This happens even
though none of the individuals involved in the millions of transactions had intended to create a
system. Each person looks only to their own self-interest but in the pursuit of this self-interest the

interests of all or of society also seem to be looked after. He also argued that the capitalist
economy is driven by individual self-interest and works best when individual buyers and sellers
make rational decisions that serve their own interests. The society overall benefits when
individuals pursue their own self-interest in the market because it stimulates the economy and
creates more wealth. This economic philosophy was also given the name Laissez-faire means
leave alone or let it be

.
Figure 3 Market as a Social Institution

Modern economics developed from the ideas of early thinkers such as Adam Smith and is
based on the idea that the economy can be studied as a separate part of a society that operates
according to its own laws leaving out the larger social or political context in which markets
operate. In contrast to this approach sociologists have attempted to develop an alternative way of
studying economic institutions and processes within the larger social framework. Sociologists
view markets as social institutions that are constructed in culturally specific ways. For example
markets are often controlled or organized by particular social groups or classes and have specific

connections to other institutions, social processes and structures. Sociologists often express this
idea by saying that economies are socially embedded.
Law
It refers to the system of rules that are enforced through social institutions to govern
behavior. Laws can be made by legislatures through legislation (resulting in statutes), the
executive through decrees and regulations, or judges through binding precedent (normally
in common law jurisdictions). Private individuals can create legally binding contracts, including
(in some jurisdictions) arbitration agreements that may elect to accept alternative arbitration to
the normal court process. The formation of laws themselves may be influenced by
a constitution (written

or

unwritten)

and

the rights

encoded

therein.

The

law

shapes politics, economics, and society in various ways and serves as a mediator of relations
between people.
The history of law links closely to the development of civilization. Ancient Egyptian law,
dating as far back as 3000 BC, contained a civil code that was probably broken into twelve
books. It was based on the concept of Ma'at, characterized by tradition, rhetorical speech, social
equality and impartiality. By the 22nd century BC, the ancient Sumerian ruler Ur-Nammu had
formulated the first law code, which consisted of casuistic statements ("if ... then ..."). Around
1760 BC,King Hammurabi further developed Babylonian law, by codifying and inscribing it in
stone. Hammurabi placed several copies of his law code throughout the kingdom of Babylon
as stelae, for the entire public to see; this became known as the Codex Hammurabi. The most
intact copy of these stelae was discovered in the 19th century by British Assyriologists, and has

since been fully transliterated and translated into various languages, including English, German,
and French.
The Old Testament dates back to 1280 BC and takes the form of moral imperatives as
recommendations for a good society. The small Greek city-state, ancient Athens, from about the
8th century BC was the first society to be based on broad inclusion of its citizenry, excluding
women and the slave class. However, Athens had no legal science or single word for "law",
relying instead on the three-way distinction between divine law, human decree and
custom. Yet Ancient Greek law contained major constitutional innovations in the development
of democracy.

References

Anonymous (2012). Characteristics of Social Institutions. Retrieved from


http://www.studylecturenotes.com/social-sciences/sociology/371-characteristics-of-socialinstitutions
Prodanciuc, R. (2012). Social Institutions. Retrieved from
http://www.upet.ro/annals/economics/pdf/2012/part2/Prodanciuc.pdf
Raya, M. (2013). Social Institutions. Retrieved from
http://www.slideshare.net/bchozinski/social-institutions
http://www.wikipedia.com