Social Institutions Essay

Submitted By kholder613
Words: 2218
Pages: 9

In today’s American industrial society, social institutions play some huge roles on how we behave in certain situations with regard to each institution and how we function in society as a whole. Family is, always has been, and always will be without a doubt the strongest social institution. The family you are born into and raised by molds you into who you become. Family will forever be the most influential institution, whether the image of a “traditional family” may be deteriorating is irrelevant. One-parent families and divorced parents can be even more influential than the traditional family because children are subconsciously learning the rights and wrongs of love and marriage and how to be a successful but independent man or woman. In addition, blended families are extremely influential because you have the opportunity to learn from up to 4 different parental figures – your birth mother and father and a step-mother or step-father. Views on society and education and politics will differ from parent to parent within a single blended family and therefore children will be more exposed to a larger part of the world and different opinions about given parts. There is also a large increase in gay and lesbian families broadening the minds of young people as a whole rather than just children they raise specifically. This generation is the most supportive of the gay-lesbian-equal rights movement than ever before, and not just because there are more gays and lesbians but because there are a large amount of straight supporters. That is because they were raised by family to believe in equal rights, the predisposition has already been set in their minds. This goes for other things like social stature, religion, education, and lifestyle as well as many other areas of life as a whole.
The second most influential social institution in the mass media. This is due to the electronic age we live in and the rapid growth of the rate of exposure and audience of media outlets. Traditionally there has always been a standard newspaper of some sort but there are so many different strongly opinionated mediums that target specific audiences with their views. Magazines tell you how to dress, how to act around your friends, what your home should look like, and how to generally be accepted into society; and it absolutely works. You see people every day that have the living room right out of “Better Homes and Gardens” or the girl dressed mirror image to the models walking down the runway in “Seventeen Magazine”. There are so many different news outlets, each telling their own version of a different story or case to try to get you to agree with their opinion on a certain conflict. The Trayvon Martin vs. George Zimmermann case for example: FOX, NBC, CNN, ABC are just a few major news stations that each reported a very slightly biased version of the story on this case. Some were in favor of the shooter, some were in favor of the victim, but there isn’t a single news media outlet that just reports facts, everything is in someone else’s opinion of some sort. It prevents individuals from thinking for themselves and forming their own opinion based on fact, instead it just conditions individuals to adapt to the stance of others.
Religion is a social institution I believe to be becoming less and less significant. The relationship between society and religion is very difficult to take seriously because there are so many variations of essentially the same types of religion that all completely shun each other. In the eyes of an outsider, it is a joke. More and more people convert religion now than ever before, and even those who may believe in a certain religion don’t practice or participate in a religious community. I believe religion and the “guidelines” that accompany it will continue to be less and less influential over time. Even war based on religion is evolving to be less so. A war began with the suicide terrorists on September 11,…