Social institutions are the major determinants of conformity, cohesion, and sustainance for the social system. By nature, they are interwoven, interdependent, and evolutionary. And, the health of our society depends on the proper functioning of these institutions, otherwise chaos and disorder may surface. Let’s see the role of social institutions in modern societies.
What does Social Institution mean?
“Social institution is the set of mutually accepted externally imposed set of rules, norms, beliefs or values”
The ultimate goal of these instructions is to ensure conformity and cohesion among communities in the modern societies.
Types of social institutions in modern societies
- Economic system
These are the major social institutions that we generally experience in the today’s modern societies.
Over a time, these instructions evolve by assimilating newer values, beliefs and norms. Undoubtedly, they have both assimilating capabilities and adaptability in adverse course of time.
Importance of Social institutions in modern societies
Let’s see the role, functions, and importance of these major social institutions in our modern world societies.
- Family institution — building block of society
It is the building block of any social system as it contributes through procreation, socialization, and cooperation. Sociologists around the world also call it primary socializing agency. But, Its nature differs from place to place over a period of time.
Nuclear family Vs Joint family
We know that the “joint families” were predominant in the ancient and medieval times. Whereas, modern age is characterized by the more “nuclear societies”.
If we think about the spatial dimension, then we can easily point out the difference between tribal, agricultural and industrial societies. In the tribal and agricultural societies, still joint families outnumber the nuclear. But, in the industrial centres, nuclear families are so common.
Religion institution — source of values and norms
There are contradicting views by social fraternity on the religion as a social institution. Structural functionalist call it a means to ensure conformity and solidarity among the communities of societies.
On the other hand, non-functional approach treat it as a means to relieve anxiety of mind. Here, I don’t want to plunge into the never-ending debate to prove religion either angel or devil.
Meaning of religion
For the layman’s understanding, religion is a system of beliefs mutually accepted and evolved over a period of time. At the centre of religion, it is a sacred thing, called God with set of rules for worshipping.
Importance of religion as social institution
The rationale behind religious institution is to provide moral standards to ensure conformity. And, we know that without conformity in society, there will be chaos everywhere. Moreover, religion helps to shape the behaviour of individuals through beliefs system. And, it gives a sense of security in difficulty for the individuals in society.
Nowadays, though its nature is changing, but the relevancy is still intact. Today’s religion cannot be confined within limits of boundaries. Right to religion is instrumental for the proliferation of this institution beyond continents.
Education institution — means of change and socialization
It is the most impactful socializing agency. Besides, It also helps to transform the social norms, thought process, and belief system of individuals.
Meaning and importance of social institution
For definition point of view, “Education is a deliberate process of equipping required desirable skills to individuals so that ways of living life could be changed as per the expectations”.
In the modern societies, education is the powerful weapon to purify one’s attitude and behaviour provided that it is free from partiality and bias. All the enlightened individuals can interact and exchange ideas and thoughts.
These ideas helps in unifying people, creating a sense of cohesion. After all a well cultural individuals is the everlasting asset of society that makes civilization more worthful.
Economic system as institution as a means to achieve goals
It is the cause of social stratification, division of labour and interdependence in society and economy.
Role of economic system
As per the sociologists, its role is to satisfy the needs of society so that it could sustain longer period.
Hence, resources are instrumental in making stratification according to ability and merits. In this way, people remain interconnected for the purpose of cooperation, creating organic solidarity.
Like other institutions economic system too bring people together. Whether directly or indirectly economic system maintain solidarity, satisfying required needs.
Government – welfare and order in society
It is the governing agency designed and imposed by people themselves. Its main function is to ensure law and order, security and welfare of citizens. By the means of rewards and punishment, it maintain order and solidarity in the societies.
Nowadays, these are the five major social institutions play important role in maintaining solidarity, cohesion, conformity among communities. Also, they help in satisfying the need and goals of society as a whole.
This is an outline of social institutions in modern societies with major roles and functions.