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Social Institutions in Sociology – A Fundamentally Progressive View

Social Institutions in Sociology - A Fundamentally Progressive View

Social Institutions in Sociology – Sociology is the study of human societies, and their surroundings in which they change, or evolve with time. It examines the range of the components of societies like institutions, race, age groups, population, gender, etc. It analyzes the social classification such as social movements or change, and societal disorder in the form of deviance, crime, and revolution.

Social institutions include individuals or groups of people who come together to achieve a common goal related to society. Some tools of social order focus on meeting social needs, like healthcare, government, education, economy, family, and religion. In traditional times, sociology examined social institutions as interlocking social roles and expectations. Social institutions are termed as fundamentally progressive views that better serve human needs. They exist in both informal or formal social order or organization that reflects the human culture, psychology, habits, and customs, etc. The term social institution is using for social forms, conventions, rules, rituals, and systems of organizations. There are some institutions that are called meta institutions and they form other organizations. The biggest example of a meta institution is a government that consists of other large institutions which focus on the economic system, police, military, and so on. 

Major Social Institutions in Sociology

These Institutions understand social inequalities and control that are embedded in society and try to understand the functions they serve in modern society, and how they grow or change and vary among societies. Some major social institutions that are interactive and makeup society are:

    • Family – It is the most basic social institution as it produces humans or develops members into adulthood and future families. It includes organized relationships involving dependable ways of meeting fundamental social needs. 
    • Religion – It is the set of beliefs in supernatural powers present in the universe and ways of expressing ceremonial ways of expressing these beliefs. It provides a means of facing crises with strength. There are various religious beliefs that people follow with the set pattern of behavior. 
    • Political – Government as political institutions administers and maintains the regulatory functions of the law and order to ensure security in the society. They work for the development of society and work towards the proper implementation of programs and for that government may decentralize its power.
    • Economic – It ensures and provides the physical sustenance of the society by meeting the basic needs of humans like food, shelter, clothes, etc. These institutions include agriculture, marketing, credit, banking, etc.  Economists use this term for property rights, political stability, honest and responsible government with competitive open markets, etc. 
    • Education – It is a process of making oneself socialized informally or formally at home first and then at educational institutions. Education helps to develop knowledge, skills, and make students competent for the real world. It helps them to widen their perspective and make them more open-minded by perceiving new ideas and thoughts.

Purpose of Sociology Social Institutions

Social solidarity and cohesion among the people is the social need. These institutions will help to establish such needs. And dysfunction of these institutions can lead to unrest among the people. Following are the functions of the social institutions:

      • Socialization – Learning is a lifetime process, it starts from birth and continues till the end of our life and so does socialization. We learn socialization through meeting people in these institutions. We learn about the norms of social life from them and develop our mindset. Family teaches basic ethics and elementary norms and educational institutions teach and guide in legal courses of life. Economic institutions talk about market dealings and so on.
      • Personality Development – Personality is a product of the institution in which we socialize because it is not a biological trait. Institutions are the organs of society and shape the individual. Feelings, ideas, habits, attitudes, are part of the personality that develops in social institutions we interact with.
      • Reproduction – Family institutions reproduce the human race and other patterns of social life like human goods, services, traditions, etc. Economic institutions distribute and produce material goods and services. Political institutions enforce the power of authority and status. Educational institutions reproduce the different ways of living for the people.
      • Sense of Purpose – These institutions are made to fulfil special needs or special purposes. They focus on the fixed needs of the people and their respective aims. Like universities are set up to provide quality education, government to provide security of the people, hospitals to give health facilities, and the military to protect from external disputes or conflicts.
      • Preservation of Social Order – Human societies maintain law and order with the cooperation and association of other institutions. When institutions organize together they create a condition of control and order among societies. With the help of laws and social orders, social solidarity and stability in society can be maintained properly. This is done by government or political institutions.


Social institutions in sociology are the organizing system of social relationships. This embodies common values and procedures that meet the basic needs of society. These institutions are formal cultural institutions.  It was established with a certain set of rules and traditions.


What is sociology and how does it relate to social institutions?

Sociology is the study of human societies and the various elements within them that evolve. Social institutions are a key focus of sociology as they comprise the structures and systems through which society functions and evolves.

What are social institutions and what purpose do they serve?

Social institutions are groups of individuals or organizations that come together to fulfill common societal goals. They serve to meet fundamental social needs such as healthcare, education, government, economy, family, and religion.

Can you provide examples of major social institutions?

Major social institutions include family, religion, government (political), economy, and education. These institutions play integral roles in shaping societal norms, values, and behaviors.

How do social institutions contribute to social order and cohesion?

Social institutions contribute to social order and cohesion by providing structure, norms, and guidelines for behavior within society. They help establish and maintain social solidarity by promoting shared values and beliefs.

What is the significance of socialization within social institutions?

Socialization within social institutions is crucial for individuals to learn societal norms, values, and behaviors. It is a lifelong process that begins in the family and continues through educational, religious, and other institutions.

Posted on May 8, 2021 by NAH