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Social Institutions

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Social Institutions

Heather Koppelman

Sociology 100



Social institutions are established patterns of governed behavior.  They include family & marriage, education and religion. Family plays an import role in stabilizing society. Education is an important social institution because it helps with socialization and encourages social integration especially in countries with a lot of diverse populations.  Religion is important because it helps society meet its basic needs.

The first video that I watched was “Why Are Fewer Americans Getting Married?” This video describes the social institution of family and marriage. Family is described as relationships between at least two people who are related in some way. It can be by birth, adoption, marriage or intimacy. Marriage is described as a “legally recognized social contract between two people, traditionally based on a sexual relationship and implying a permanence of the union.” (Openstax College) This video was comparing the difference between marriage in the 1950s and now. The ages of men and women have rose to 26 and 28 while some people actually wait until their 40s, 50s and 60s to get married.  In this century this gives off the impression that marriage is more optional that the norm from the 1950s. In fact, Stephanie Coontz, an author of Marriage: A history; states that 15% of people will actually not get married at all in their lifetime. Functionalism in families is the primary area for children socializing. Society now is not possible without adequate socialization. The family members provide each member with their social identity.  Children are born into their parents’ religion, social class and also race and ethnicity. The conflict in families are problems that come from economic inequality and from within the member of the family itself, including violence and cruelty from its own members. Interactionism in families involve sharing the understandings of their own situations.  Family issues come from different expectations that each spouse has of their marriage.

In the video, “What We’re Learning from Online Education” by Daphne Koller, she states that Education now in this age is not socially acceptable.  Education is described is a process in which knowledge, skills, and values are sent from one person or group to another. Education costs have gone up twice as must as the rising cost of medical care.  Of all the people that get college degrees, on 55.6% of them re actually working in a job that requires that educational degree.  Along with her colleague, Andrew Ng, they have created an online school for free. The online program is called Coursera and it is combined of the best course from the best universities and every program that is launched is 100% free. Currently there are 640k students using Coursera.  Education serves several functions in society.  Some of them are the establishment of peer to peer relationships and social placement.  Education teaches societies norms and values.  The conflict within education is the social separation.  Schools often differ in their finding’s and this leads to conflict.  Conflict theorists add that standardized tests are culturally biased and thus also help perpetuate social inequality (Grodsky, Warren, & Felts, 2008).  Interactionism in Education finds that social interaction in schools can affect the development of gender roles as well as the expectations of their learning.



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