What are social institutions and what role do they play in shaping the decorum of the society in present times? An individual lives in a society. Human Society is composed of different races, religions, castes, and languages. Every society has distinct norms and values based on religious and cultural traditions. These norms and values sustain the lives of the people. They are a source of vital importance as they can unify different social communities into one whole. Based on its historical experiences and consciousness, every society develops a variety of social institutions.
Role of social institutions
Institutions are defined as established laws, practices, and customs sanctioned by societal sanctions and norms.
Social institutions are a system that contains numerous social norms and values supported by the traditions and customs of the particular society. These institutions are distinct in every society, and they evolve throughout the generations. Human society came up with these institutions according to the needs that arose.
Social institutions are a remedy to the bloody revolutions and anarchism of progressives. It instills loyalty and reverence for authority and tenacious regard for the existing things. They are protected as a durable heritage that must be passed down to the upcoming generations as society is a social contract between the dead, the living, and the unborn.
Primary Social Institutions
Socialization takes occurs in primary institutions, which is a vital component of development and helps to organize one’s life. Values, values, and beliefs instilled in children between the ages of 4 and 18 have a direct and visible impact on how they see and react to the world. It’s more than just having a child. These organizations give social support and aid in the development of communities.
The family institution has long existed in our society as a primary social institution. This social institution is the bedrock of every human civilization on the earth. It is one of the oldest social institutions to exist. The formation of human groups is inevitable in every society, and subsequently, human groups organize themselves according to their needs and interests.
A family institution is a major social institution. From primitive societies to modern societies, it has always been an integral part of all social structures. Of all institutions, family institutions contain varied members connected by blood and often similar religious beliefs. Family members often sit to discuss the vital issues concerning and governing their daily lives. There are some unwritten family rules which every family member adheres to. Each family member has some specific function and tasks for performing.
The progressives and Marxists have always targeted the social institution of the family. Vladimir Lenin described the family as a danger to his revolutionary projects. Progressives see family as a relic of a dark past that must be dismantled if there is to create an egalitarian society.
The progressive mind is in perpetual motion to compel the human consciousness to reconstruct itself on what constitutes the truth, that is, their variety of truth. They want to remake the society according to their whims, and anyone who disobeys their whims is an infidel, an ignorant individual who must be treated with contempt and outcasted.
The preoccupation of the progressive’s mind is with the imaginary world that he wishes to create by his grand wishes and rational-liberal temperament at the expense of the actuality and what is in existence. Thus, any social institution with a relic of the past inherited from our ancestors is a sign of deformation and darkness. They seek to be destroyed to achieve a utopian world where there would be heavenly situations.
Many classic liberal and conservative intellectuals have long defended the family. Friedrich Hegel was one of the foremost defenders of the institution of the family. He argued that family is based on piety’s obligations, which can never be negotiated or bought off.
How could children contract with his parents that he be conceived and nurtured in return for the later care and protection he would give to his parents? The very suggestion is irrational and remarkably stupid. The family and its obligations are deeply embedded in the individual’s initial rise to freedom. Without that, any civil society in the world can not stand for even a moment.
Edmund Burke commented that the family is the core constituent unit of the society whereby societies reproduce themselves and pass moral knowledge to the next generation. Burke thought that social institutions and human associations were fundamental to the flourishing of humans. Burke argued that the best life could begin only with the help of “little platoons”: family, church, guilds, and other social institutions. These social institutions help a person practice the virtues of honesty and forbearance.
One of the most important social institutions is religious institutions. This social institution is present in every society in the world in varied proportions. A religious institution is a spectacular way to organize society and different individuals into one common thread. Religious Institutions serve to bind different societies too. Religious institutions are more than just a belief system. It ties people to their families and communities. Belief in religion and religious institutions sustain our faith in life, and we become grateful for what we have. If someone takes that belief away, resentment and anxiety pursue.
Religious institutions provide some collective norms and values to the group of dispersed people and have nothing in common except the belief in one common religion. Human behavior and tendencies have always been tribal, and they feel secure in groups. Religious institutions and organizations provide one with a sense of security and fulfillment. It provides people with a set of high cultural values, which form the base of civilizations worldwide.
Every social community and institution has a function it fulfills; it contains a dogma or transcending purpose; it has an authority established through habit and custom. There are some fixed institutional norms, and those certain norms are expected to be followed by everyone.
These institutions have a distinct culture that contains symbols, monuments, and rituals. Temple, churches, and mosques are some monuments where people of a particular religion unite and pray. Symbols include flags and signs like Om in Hinduism and crosses in church. Rituals include Hindus bathing in the holy river Ganga in Hinduism, Muslims prostrating to the Black Stone at the Kaaba and circumambulating in Islam, and a Christian beseeching a statue of the Virgin Mary in Christianity.
The regulative rules of every religion are expected to be customarily followed by the believers. In the absence of the following of the rules, members are erased from the group as they are understood to threaten the social order and well-being of the social institution and society itself.
There are some secondary institutions in the society that complete the secondary needs of the people, and they have grown exponentially in contemporary times. Secondary institutions are established consciously and with a definite purpose to discharge. Business, education, and law are the primary areas where these institutions function significantly.
Educational institutions are a magnificent facet of modern societies. These social institutions play an essential role in the transmission of scientific knowledge. Parents send children to schools and colleges to learn to acquire values that are not just scientific but social and cultural as well. Together, the educational institutions and the system help children learn scientific knowledge and become indispensable assets to modern societies.
These institutions include preschools, schools, colleges, and universities. It provides knowledge and skills to children. Alongside, the children’s curious minds are developed as they are provided free space and an open environment where people discuss, debate, and argue healthily with each other.
These institutions are a place for learning and growing. They are supposed to discharge one of the essential tasks of the world, making the young generation capable of achieving something worthwhile in life by providing them with vital education. The qualities which make people worthy of admiration, which make them kind and generous, which make them humble and brave, all have foundations in the hidden curriculum of the social institutions like schools and colleges.
Without proper education, one can never be receptive to the plan of social justice. Social institutions combat social evils through public participation and the legal system. The legal system punishes those who threaten society’s stable patterns and established customs. As Burke once observed that we human creatures are vehemently desirous of novelty, but at the same time, we are attached to habit and custom.
The progressives are always pursuing novelty, which is one of the most superficial pursuits to be engaged in. In their magnitude of arrogance, they tend to think that their illuminative imagination and grandest theories can replace the human conditions, religious beliefs, and the social institutions which have shaped, governed, and sustained the human society and the social life of the people.
The path of social justice is laid through social institutions and they spontaneously erupt in every society because people want to have some solutions in their lives. Education, politics, law, and the market are distinct responses to the specific needs of the people. Out of all this, education has emerged as the best medium through which the pursuit of social justice could be achieved in modern societies. In modern times, every small group of the larger society tends to ponder over the growing importance of education. Education in the lives of the people of modern societies has become a foremost need to attend to.
Economic institutions are one of the most necessary social institutions to exist globally. Every society in the world creates a system to meet the basic needs of human life. The goods and services demanded of the society are fulfilled by the economic institutions. These are responsible for the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services effectively.
Three sectors of the economy invisibly cooperate and fulfill the requirements of people.
- The primary sector consists of agriculture, fishing, forestry, and related activities.
- The secondary sector includes mining and industrial activities.
- The tertiary sector often referred to as the service sector, incorporates teaching, law, sports, and numerous other activities.
The tertiary sector produces maximum output in developed countries and contributes the most to the economy. The economy of a nation depends on the efficient functioning of these sectors.
There are two different ways of economic organization of the society.
Capitalist Society: Capitalist societies tend to be based on individual freedom where everyone has equal opportunities to compete with each other. The market plays an essential and decisive role in the well-being of people. Many community service organizations also operate voluntarily. These community service organizations serve the poor people and provide them with the essential goods and services to live with ease.
Socialist society: The other mode of economic organization of the society is Socialist society. The government or the state controls all resources. There’s a single leader that controls the whole government’s decisions. Such economic systems usually crumble because they are totalitarian and tend to subvert human nature.
The monumental conviction of enlightened, progressive individuals of coming off some revolution unfailingly establishes their contempt for anything that is in existence that we are fond of and attached to.
The apostles of progressiveness and rationalism have constantly organized their efforts and activities to dismantle every debris of the past. They have done their best to break every cultural link that we have inherited from our ancestors. According to their treacherous designs, they have organized many attempts to subvert the human consciousness and nature itself radically.
The building blocks of the social institutions include the culture and religion of the society. Culture plays an essential role in forming norms and social institutions of societies across the world. Every social institution is formed and evolves through the gradual ascendancy of the spirit of knowledge alongside culture and religion.
Same-sex marriage is discouraged by most cultures of the world. However, society’s social order and norms have become lenient towards same-sex marriages with the gradual ascendancy of science and knowledge. Society has become more receptive and compassionate toward same-sex couples.
The legal institutions of every society help them solve the disputes, and subsequently, they play an essential role in every society. The social institution of the court has a broader acceptance in every society, and it is indisputable that if courts and judges were not present in one society, the law and order of the society would break down in one moment. The social norms and order would crumble into pieces.
The lawyers and judges are accorded an honorable place in society because they solve society’s disputes unbiasedly, only by examining the evidence presented before them. They protect the rights of the citizens when the government arbitrarily arrests any citizen without offense.
The conscience of the legal institutions is critical in sustaining democracy in the country. The moment judiciary, the best social institution, loses its moral and ethical conscience and succumbs to political pressure or bribes, the nation falls into the pit. The certain norms of society dictate that we never talk about the perpetual problems of our social institutions, which must be discarded. Every social institution is responsible for its survival. These institutions would decline because of the corruption and bribes, making the nation vulnerable to the balkanization of society.
Other social institutions of the autonomous society involve political institutions. Politics plays a pivotal role in every society. All societies worldwide have some form of political arrangement whereby they take collective decisions of great importance. All members directly or indirectly take part in the process of decision-making.
A social institution of government helps in the effectiveness of the working of the whole society. It regulates law and order, minimizes conflict, and ushers peace and prosperity to the ordinary people. However, the government must have no more power than these elemental powers. The principal objective of every social institution should be to protect social order and the protection of ordinary citizens from bureaucracy and the government.
According to many great thinkers, including Adam Smith and Locke, man is naturally a social being. We all have tribal traits where we are protective of our group and hateful towards others. Thus government functioning in a particular region assumes a more significant function of avoiding bloodshed and peace and accommodation for everyone.
Social institutions exist because humans naturally possess a social impulse. They possess a desire to form social groups. These institutions have always helped humans fulfill their interests and desires. If the ancient and medieval periods saw the emergence of family, religion, monastery, guilds, and other such institutions, the modern times saw the emergence of labor unions and business corporations. There are hollow social disorders that often erupt in every society, which the existence of social institutions could solve.