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Social Institutions: Family and Religion. (or how sociology takes on traditional values). Social Institutions: Family and Religion. Sociological perspectives on social institutions The family: a global view Sociological perspectives on the family Religion as a social institution

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Social Institutions: Family and Religion


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    1. Social Institutions: Family and Religion (or how sociology takes on traditional values)

    2. Social Institutions: Family and Religion • Sociological perspectives on social institutions • The family: a global view • Sociological perspectives on the family • Religion as a social institution • Components of religion

    3. Social Institutions • Social institutions: organized patterns of belief and behavior centered on basic social need • All societies have social institutions • Cultural universals • Functionalist view of institutions: • Any society must accomplish 5 major tasks: • Replace personnel • Teach new recruits • Produce and distribute goods and services • Preserve order • Provide and maintain a sense of purpose

    4. Social Institutions • Conflict view of institutions • Object to the implication that the outcome of institutions is efficient and socially desirable • Major institutions, such as education, help maintain privileges of most powerful individuals and groups • Social institutions inherently conservative • Social institutions operate in gendered and racist environments • Interactionist view of institution • Emphasize that social behavior conditioned by the roles and statuses we accept, groups we belong to, and institutions within which we function

    5. Family: a Global View • Composition: what is a family? • Set of people who are related by blood, marriage, or adoption who share the primary responsibility for reproduction and caring for members of society • Nuclear family- married couple and their unmarried children living together • Extended family- family in which relatives- grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.- live in the same home as parents and their children • Monogamy: form of marriage in which one woman and one man are married only to each other • Serialmonogamy: when a person has several spouses in his or her lifetime, but only one spouse at a time

    6. Family Compositions • Polygamy: when an individual has several husbands or wives simultaneously • Polygyny: marriage of a man to more than one woman at a time • Polyandry: marriage of a woman to more than one husband at the same time

    7. Kinship Patterns • Kinship: state of being related to others • Bilateraldescent: both sides of a person’s family are regarded as equally important • Patrilineal descent: only the father’s relatives are important • Matrilineal descent: only the mother’s relatives are significant

    8. Authority Patterns • Patriarchy: males are expected to dominate in all family decision making • Matriarchy: women have greater authority than men • Egalitarianfamily: family in which spouses are regarded as equals

    9. Functionalist Perspectives on the Family • Family serves 6 functions for society (Ogburn): • Reproduction • Protection • Socialization • Regulation of sexual behavior • Affection and companionship • Provision of social status

    10. Conflict Perspectives on the Family • Family reflects inequality in wealth and power found within larger society • In many societies, husbands have exercised power and authority within the family • View family as economic unit that contributes to societal injustice

    11. Interactionist & Feminist Perspectives on the Family • Interactionist: • Focuses on micro level of family and other intimate relationships • Interested in how individuals interact with each other whether they are cohabiting partners or longtime married couples • Feminist: • Interest in family as social institution • Urged social scientists and agencies to rethink notion that families in which no adult male is present are automatically cause for concern • Contributed to research on single women, single-parent households, and lesbian couples

    12. Religion As A Social Institution • Religion: unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things (Durkheim) • Durkheim believed religious bonds often transcend personal and divisive forces • Offers people meaning and purpose • Religion allows us to “do something” about calamities we face • Encourages us to view personal misfortunes as relatively unimportant

    13. Religion and Social Change • Weber: The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism([1904] 2009) • Protestant ethic: followers of Protestant Reformation emphasized a disciplined work ethic and a rational orientation for life • “Spirit of capitalism” emerged as generalized cultural trait • Marx: Religion impeded social change • People focus on other-worldly concerns • Religious values reinforce other social institutions and the social order as a whole • To whatever extend religion influence social behavior, it reinforces existing patterns of dominance and inequality

    14. Feminist Perspectives on Religion • Theorists stressed fundamental role women play in religious socialization • Women generally take subordinate role in religious governance • Because most religions are patriarchal, they tend to reinforce men’s dominance in secular as well as spiritual matters • Women play vital role as volunteers, staff, and educators

    15. Components of Religion • ReligiousBeliefs: statements to which members of a particular religion adhere • Fundamentalism: rigid adherence to fundamental religious doctrines • ReligiousRituals: practices required or expected of members of a faith • Generally affirm beliefs • ReligiousExperience: feeling or perception of being in direct contact with ultimate reality or of being overcome with religious emotion • Being “born again”