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Social Institutions Essay

Social Institutions are a set of organized beliefs and rules that are to establish how society will meet basic functions. Social institutions are basic and important to the human society. Social institutions provide structure for behavior in certain parts of social life. There are several types of Social institutions such as mass media, the government, the economy, family, and the healthcare system (Schaefer R. T. , Pg. 113). Each of these social institutions listed intersect and are interrelated coming together and affecting our daily life.

I have chosen to focus this paper on a social institution that is not listed above; the social institution of education. Education is both a social institution and an organization. Education is a process where educated teachers teach skills, knowledge and values to students. Education has been in our history since the 1950’s. Each individual has the right to have an education whether young or old. Individuals need education to prepare them for dealing with the issues in everyday life. This gives us an insight to why education prepares one for life as an adult.

In the time that we live now schools are in competition with other social institutions and our government has been unsuccessful in satisfying all needs of education. The history of education states that education served both the economic and political needs though this has changed. Below I will look closer at the theories in how they relate to education and are represented by individuals, society and the social change. The Functionalist perspective is a sociological approach which emphasizes the way in which the parts of a society are structured to maintain its stability (Schaefer R. T. , Pg. 14).

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This means that one would not work without the other. Education performs a number of important services each contributing to the operation and maintenance of the whole system. Functionalist believes that there are main functions of education, transmission of cultural values, social control, economic training and social selection. The functionalist strives for stability rather than conflict and change, for changes could confuse the balance of social systems. According to the functionalist theory Education has an effect on the view of individuals who are a part of education because a bridge is seen between family and society.

Schools transmit core values of society, as well a social network for the young encouraging innovation and social change. The educational system is seen as fair, the schools teach what acceptable behavior is and what is unacceptable. Functionalist believes that in every society there is the right to regulate some of the citizen’s activities. Young ones are prepared for adult roles and positions through the socialization of education. Labor is provided for education to meet needs of our economy. Without the economy our schools would not be able to survive.

Functionalist claim that the educational institutes provide the training of skills, needed to fulfill jobs in society, without these families would not be able to survive either. According to the functionalist view there is a high degree of equality for opportunity in the educational system. The functionalists stress the link between the economy and education. We all benefit from the benefits of the educational system. There are differences between the social class and education; individuals are assigned to functions by education rather than by class.

The functionalist theory suggests that as a society develops they become complex and interdependent. Emphasing social order rather than social change. These causing differences that shall be integrated as a whole. This meaning change does not occur but structures within society change or emerge to compensate for the change. The change occurs and the structures are integrated to assure smooth functioning, this allowing for social order to be achieved through the process of socialization, education and sanctions.

The view of society by functionalism is affected by society because they believe that the society must function together or it shall fall apart, calling for a system that will instill beliefs and values in each member such as the school, believing that those who work the hardest will be the only ones to excel in society. The functionalist believe that the meritocratic society in which society is based on ability and effort rather than a privilege and inheritance stating that society works better when education is present.

The more the skills of an individual the better the society will be, and the more education would require less inequality. Students learn morals and the moral are a part of the society and have a part in the society this preventing the failure of society allowing one to feel a part of the society. Based on conflict theory society consists of different groups that struggle with one another to obtain the social resources that are available, these being money, power, prestige, and/or the authority to impose one’s value within the society.

The conflict theory believes strongly in change, disregards stability and its job is to control. Education can be used by powerful groups to limit opportunities for those of less power in the society. The conflict theory individuals view education as a power to exert power over another. Since education is based on class, students are born into the social system; this determines his or her behavior. Each student is viewed differently as a result in being taught and treated differently by those who may be of a higher class in the society.

This is cause for inequality which the conflict theorists think that there is little that can be done about the inequality without broader changes. This results in a lot of confusion between students and teachers. For example one school teaches in one manner and the other may teach in a completely different manner. The conflict theory is viewed as a competition between students, lack of power, influence, wealth are all viewed as one’s own fault. According to conflict theory social changes in not avoidable in society.

When society reaches a point the organization forms barriers to further economic growth due to powerful groups and as the interest change so does society. Society strives through power, dominance, and authority. The most powerful members will create the rules for one to succeed and for the opportunities in the society, this allowing the groups to keep the power and authority. The functionalist and conflict perspective are similar in some ways. They both examine the same functions, and agree that the educational system practices sorting but they disagree on how sorting enacts.

Both have a structuralism in the approach to education, paying attention to the social institutions rather than the individuals. The attention to the students and teacher interaction is little this including how the teacher or student may interpret what goes on in the schools. When looking at the interaction perspective it focuses on everyday social interaction among the individuals rather than the large social structures such as politics and education.

The interaction perspective places focus on the face to face social interaction between the student and the teacher while in the classroom. Recognizing the social expectations and meanings as a part of interaction; this playing a major role in what the students learn and accomplish as well how they feel about themselves. Ones social life is determined by expected behaviors this meaning a person will learns from communication and social interactions. Internationalists ignore the fact that social institutions such as family, religion, and the economy have part in molding the human behavior.

The Interactions perspective claims that educational attainment is constructed through teacher expectations and inside of the schools. The schools label the students according to their grades, and self is determined by interaction. Concerns of interaction are made regularly about the daily life and experiences. Self is viewed by how others view the individual and how the person responds and develops his or her response. How people interpret objects and meanings around them is the determination of social change.

Social interactions then change perspective on the viewing of something, expectations and boundaries are then changed. Change is a dynamic and constant feature of society. Our society is created by those who exist and act, society will always be changing.

References Schaefer R. T. , Sociology: A Brief Introduction 8th Edition, McGraw Hill Companies, Inc. 2009. http:www. cliffnotes. com/WileyCDA/CliffsReviewTopic/Theories-of-Education. topicAtricle www. educationforum. co. uk/sociology_2/roleofeducationpptt. ppt http://www. edu. utas. edu. au/users/pthrosse/ED4-99/HaraHolborn. htm

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