Social And Social Functions Of Social Institutions

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Before delving into the debate whether social institutions are universal or not and if the universality applies to deviance in such institutions, understanding the concept of social institutions and deviance gets significant. Thereafter, one can take an honest effort to answer any question on the topic. Social institutions are a set of norms, guiding social interactions for the fulfilment of one or more of our societal needs. On acceptance, they lead to realising of our societal needs. Family, Religion, Education and our Political system are examples of the basic social institutions found across most societies. Social institutions have three basic elements: 1. They help to fulfil the basic needs of a society. 2. It lays down a set of norms and values. 3. The social interaction is guided by these norms and values of social institutions, wherein the norms are expressed as roles which are related to different social position. Deviance can be defined as behaviour that is in violation of the norms of a society or social group, like any social institution. It is essentially a non-conforming behaviour. Example can be made of an atheist living in a theistic society or a physically challenged person. It is important to keep in mind that it is the culture, which codes a behaviour as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. Deviance is something relative as well, i.e. the accepted behaviour varies as societies differ. Contrary to popular mindset, deviance has positive functions as well.
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