Characteristics of Social Institutions




Characteristics of Social Institutions:

1. Every society consists of different types of institutions. Institutions are gener­ally social in nature. They are established within a society and affect different aspects of social life. It is the individuals and society that are responsible for establishing institutions within any society.

2. Institutions are found in every type of society. They are universal and ubiqui­tous. They are found in different forms in the most primitive to the modern type of societies.

3. All institutions are established procedures, governed by norms. They prescribe the ways of doing and acting. Individuals are socialized into institutional norms and regulations. Social acceptance makes these norms, rules, and regulations binding on the members of society.

4. Institutions are a means of satisfying specific ends, which are basic and vital for the continued existence of society. These basic needs include the need for self- preservation, self-perpetuation, and self-expression.

5. Once social patterns are established and accepted by members of society, they become more or less permanent patterns of behaviour. The basic structure and functions of institutions remain more or less the same, though they may be subject to change because of changing social situations.

6. We may not be able to see institutions as they are neither visible nor tangible. However, these institutions may be manifested in the forms of behaviour, rites, and rituals. Associated with institutions are marriage rites, religious offerings and prayers, the existence of families and family bonds, and the various ways in which kin relationships are named, or kinship used. To the extent that institu­tions cannot be seen or felt, they are abstractions.

7. Since social life cannot be compartmentalized, and different aspects of indi­vidual life cannot be viewed in isolation, one can say that institutions governing different aspects of social life are interrelated. For example, the institution of family cannot survive without the existence of marriage as an institution. Simi­larly, without the establishment of family, kinship and kin relations would never come into existence.

8. Institutions persist because they are based on traditions, whether oral or writ­ten. In primitive societies, institutions persisted and continued to survive on the basis of oral traditions, since the written word was hardly a part of such societies.

9. In most of modern societies, institutions survive on the basis of traditions and customs, which are formal or written. For example, many marriage rites and rituals have been formalized, though they still depend on traditions and customs that are accepted because they have been followed since time immemorial.

If you would like to contribute notes or other learning material, please submit them using the button below.

      Forgot password?
Use app×