SOC 200 Sociological Theory – Social Institutions of Marriage, Family, Education
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- Course Code: SOC 200
- Course Title: Sociological Theory
- Referencing Styles: Not Selected
- Words: 2750
- University: University of Michigan
- Country: US
The final exam will cover the social institutions of marriage, family, education and the concept of social change. Questions come from the posted notes and from the book. Be sure to study those notes and use the quizzes at the end of each section in the assigned chapters as study guides.
The basic thing to understand about these social institutions is that they are socially defined whatever a particular society says they are. Marriage is what a particular society says it is, whether between two people, or three or more people. Religion is what society views as their religion. Education is socially defined as the content, and the way it is delivered is determined by society. And not all societies do it the same way.
That is why we refer to them as social constructions. Earlier concepts from the course, such as deviance, gender, race, social class are social constructions in the same way. Their importance depends on the determination of society – socially defined. If a society does not reward one race or gender over another, then it is not particularly significant. But if it does, then it becomes important and can have a strong impact on an individual’s life.
If a society does not base its laws, norms and values in a particular religion, religion remains personal. But if a particular religion is elevated to the point that norms, values, laws are based on it, it has a much stronger impact on that society, and those who do not practice that religion may face blocked opportunities. And again, that is socially defined a social construction.
This holds true for any social institution or concept: its strength comes from the definition of importance placed on it by a particular society. As we have seen, not all societies define concepts the same. There are very few universals. Marriage is defined differently; different societies practice different religions; even family is not defined the same across the world. What is deviant in one society might be rewarded in another.
This diversity gives the world a wonderfully interesting flavour. I hope you all have been encouraged to view the world a bit differently and have gained more understanding of the big fat question “why?” and will never stop asking it. Or accepting that sometimes the answer is simply because we, society, say so.