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Social Institutions

This unit analyzes such major social institutions as the family, education, religion, the economy and work, government, and health care. Major questions include how institutions are organized, how inequality is reproduced and/or challenged in institutions, how institutions change, and how they vary across and within different societies/cultures.


Learning Goals:
  1. Understand the concept of social institution as a set of patterned and relatively enduring strategies for dealing with one or more important social needs.
  2. Understand that institutions have patterned social positions (statuses), roles, and norms that operate to some degree independently of the individuals filling those positions.
  3. Understand what some of the major social institutions are in modern societies, what functions they serve, how they vary across societies, and how they change.
  4. Understand that social inequalities and social control may become embedded in social institutions.