What do you understand by the term social institution?
Institution, commonly refer to a formal organization, for example, All India Institute of Medical Sciences. The sociologists use the term institution differently. Institution can be defined as a form of organization that performs some of the essential functions of a society.
Institutions are strongly defined by cultural values and norms and are generally viewed and accepted as essential part of the social structure and the society in general. Like the social structures we discussed in our previous unit institutions are made up of relationships among statues and roles.
Some of the important institutions in a society are family, marriage, political systems, economic systems, education, religion health care institutions, law and order. It has been found that -specific individuals or the roles that they perform may be criticized but rarely the institutions itself.
For instance, one may criticize the father’s role in a family as being too authoritative or One may criticize an individual father for not taking his parental duties ,seriously but societies rarely ever contemplate doing may:with the institutions itself. Though people are wondering, especially in the West, if the institution of marriage is losing its ground, since more and more-people are in a ‘living together’ arrangement.
Sociologists are also of the opinion that the institution of marriage may not have so much acceptance as before, because it is possible to look for companionship, sex, children, sharing of housework outside the institution of marriage, which are increasingly getting social acceptance. Social institutions are not only tied up with the functions they attend. to but depend on the acceptance of the general society. It is generally found that social institutions are strongly supported by the cultural norms. and values.