Social Institution:

Social institutions have been created by human beings from social relationships in society.

An institution is defined as an organized system of social relationships which embodies

certain common values and procedures, and meets certain basic needs of the society. Institutions

are culturally approved patterns of behavior including prescribed roles and procedures, and are

grouped to satisfy some basic social needs.

-Major institutions may be grouped under two categories. These are –

1. Informal or Social Institutions-

a. Family

b. Marriage

c. Religion

d. Class

e. Caste

2. Formal Institutions-

a. Government/ Political – Gram Panchayat

b. Education – School

c. Economy Services- Co-operative Society

1. Informal or Social Institutions-

a. Family: The word ‘family’ has been derived from the Latin word ‘Famulus’ meaning

‘servant’. Family is the most permanent and universal social institution. It is the most basic

institution providing for procreation, upbringing and socialization of children. Family is the

biological social unit composed of husband, wife and children. It is the basic unit of society

and basic unit of extension work also. Family can be categorized into different types based on

several criteria.

Types of Family –

i. According to blood relations living together –

Nuclear family or primary family – consisting of husband, wife and their unmarried children

Joint family – with more than one primary family, usually of close blood relations living


ii. According to authority –

Patriarchal family – the family where male being the head of the family posses inclusive

powers. He is owner and administration of the family property right.

Matriarchal family – the family where female being the head of the family posses inclusive

powers, male is subordinated to her. She is owner and administration of the family property


iii. According to number of husbands/ wife’s

Monogamous family – where one man marries to one woman

Polygynous family – where the man has more than one wife

Polyandrous family – where the woman is married to more than one husband

iv. According to rule of lineage/ ancestry

Patri-lineal family – where the determination of descent and property inheritance follows the

male line

Matri-lineal family – where the descent and property inheritance occurs along the female line

v. According to rule of residence

Patri-local family – where the married couple and their children put’s up with the husband’s


Matri-local family – where the couple sets up in the wife’s family after marriage.

Neo-local family – where the newlywed couple set up a separate residence.

b. Marriage: It is the public joining together, under socially specified regulations of a man and

woman as husband and wife. The major forms of marriage are –

i. Exogamy – marrying outside ones clan

ii. Endogamy – marrying within ones tribe

a. Levirate – man had to marry with his brother widow

b. Sarorate – when several sisters are simultaneously the wife of same man

iii. Polygamy – one man marries more than one woman.

iv. Polyandry – one woman marries more than one man.

v. Adelphical – when several brothers share the same wife.

vi. Hydergamy – when a man marries a woman of a lower social status

c. Religion: It is belief in supernatural. Religion is an attitude towards super human powers.

The beliefs and rituals are the two main component parts of religion everywhere. Religion

provides a means by which individuals can face crisis and, ups and downs in life with strength

and fortitude.

d. Class: Social classes are defined as abstract categories of persons arranged in levels

according to the social status they possess.

e. Caste: Caste is a social category whose members are assigned a permanent status within a

given social hierarchy and whose contact are restricted accordingly.

2. Formal Institutions-

a. Government: government is a political institution that administers the regulatory functions

of law and order, and maintains security in society. The Government as a welfare state is a

system wherein all the citizens can enjoy minimum standard of employment, income,

education, medical aid, social security and other civic facilities.

b. Education: Education is the process of socialization that begins at home and continues

through educational institutes and throughout life. Education plays an important role in transmission of cultural heritage, social integration, socialization and social change. It promotes social mobility and influences social stratification. Desirable changes in one’s

attitude, skill, knowledge and understanding is possible through education.

c. Economy: This provides basic physical sustenance of the society by meeting the needs for

food, shelter, clothing and other necessary supply and services. These are very essential for

survival. Economic institutions include agriculture, industry, marketing, credit and banking