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Theories of

Social
Institutions
Application of Sociological
Schools of Thought

Institutions

We often think of the physical


manifestations of an institution
Place

or building where some organized


activity is carried out

Institutions have theoretical components

Can be organized and


predictable ways
societies develop to
meet their basic needs

Examples of Institutions

Family
Physical Structure: Home
Purpose: Regulate reproduction and
socialize children

Examples of Institutions

Religion
Physical Structure: Church, Mosque,
Synagogue, etc
Purpose: Help meet universal spiritual
needs

Examples of Institutions

Medicine
Physical Structure: Hospital, Clinic
Purpose: Prevent disease, heal the sick

Examples of Institutions

Education
Physical Structure: School, University
Purpose: Transmit knowledge, skills and
socialization to the next generation of
citizens

Role Expectations

For an institution to function effectively,


it must assign roles to its members

Roles: Predictable behavior expected of


an individual within a social institution

Roles: Religious Institutions

Insist that the spiritual leader (priest,


imam, rabbi, etc.) instructs the believers
in the values and norms of the religion as
well as offering spiritual advice/guidance

Roles: Health Institutions

Insist that a doctors role is to heal the


sick to the very best of their ability

Role expectation is based upon the


supreme medical value, which is the
sanctity of human life

Behaviours in Institutions

Behaviour changes as they enter a different


social institution and assume a new role
Ex.

Starting school, you assume a new role


of student instead of son/daughter

Status: position a person has within a social


institution, depending on their role
Expected

role expected depends on that


individuals status in the institution

Each

person interacts with others within


the institution in a certain way depending
on their respective status

Sociology Schools of Thought


Structural-Functionalism
Believes

society provides its members


with stable patterns of social
structure and fulfills their basic needs

Conflict Theory
Believes

society is always changing


and is in constant conflict between
the powerful, whom social institutions
benefit, and the powerless, whom
social institutions disadvantage

Sociology Schools of Thought


Symbolic Interactionism
As

unique individuals with complex


brain structures, human beings are
active members in creating their
social circumstances instead of just
reacting to them

Feminism
Some

groups, primarily women and


minorities have been disadvantaged
by society and its social institutions,
which have historically favoured men

Structural Functionalism and


Symbolic Interactionism

Similarities:
Positive

view of society and the institutions

Differences:
S-F

sees social institutions as main actors


and individuals as responding to and
following social patterns and structures

S-I

views individuals as active members in


creating social patterns and manipulating
social structures to serve their purpose

Conflict Theory & Feminism

Similarities:
Negative
See

view of society and institutions

conflict between various groups

Differences:
Conflict

Theory: based on economics:


struggle between rich and poor; Institutions
benefitted the rich, who have power

Feminism:

based on gender and race:


struggle between men and women OR
dominant group and minorities; Institutions
have benefitted white males

Jigsaw Activity

Please form your own groups of 4

Select which Sociological School of


Thought each group member will become
an expert in:
Structural-Functionalism
Symbolic-Interactionism
Conflict

Theory

Feminisim

In your School of Thought groups, discuss and


complete the organizer
Discuss

how individuals who fulfill certain


roles are expected to act and behave

Create

three rules, and discuss their purpose

Discuss

the purpose of Structured Timetables


and Class Schedules; Curriculum/Subject
Matter; and Grades and Ability Streaming

Discuss

the overall purpose of school and how


it acts as an agent of socialization from the
perspective of your school of thought

Does

this school of thought reflect your own


beliefs and perceptions of schooling?