Impact of Social Institutions on Caribbean Culture and Society Cont’d
The Social Institution of the Justice System • The justice system refers to the interaction of those social institutions that are clearly identified with social control. • It further includes the relationship between crime, the law, judiciary, police and the protective services • The justice system is therefore concerned with maintaining a society where citizens are treated justly and fairly.
Justice System Cont’d • Members of society are usually taught what is considered as acceptable or unacceptable social behaviour at a young age via the family and the education institution (primary and secondary socialisation). • Observance of these rules are most often based on a system of rewards and sanctions. For e.g. Children are rewarded for acceptable behaviour and punished for unacceptable behaviour
Functionalist perspective of the Justice System • They believe that justice, equality and fairness help to form the basic framework of society and are universally good • Deviant behaviour is best explained in terms of a breakdown in the socialisation within the family or how individuals react to changes in society • Society must find ways to deal with deviants (those who break the laws of society) and deviant behaviour, as these contribute to disorder, chaos and confusion in society
Functionalist Perspective on the Justice System Cont’d • The institution of the justice system was created to take care of deviants through punishment, deterrence or rehabilitation; therefore the operations of the police force and court system have a role to perform.
The Marxist Perspective of the Justice System • They believe that the justice system is oppressive and exploitative of the lower class of society • Members of the lower class are usually targeted as criminals and therefore the fairness of the justice system is not extended to these individuals. For e.g. Members of the upper class are sophisticated criminals and therefore they are rarely caught by the police or convicted in the court. This makes it seem as if crime is predominantly a lower class activity, which may not be the case
Marxist Perspective of the Justice System Cont’d • According to the Marxists, structural inequalities in society brought on by capitalism, isolate the poorer groups. Their acts of crime are therefore thought of as rebellion against their situation and not deviant acts • Crime is used as an excuse to enact legislations to restrain the poor and is in the interests of the elites.
Summary The family • Functionalism is the dominant view of reality that Caribbean people hold towards the family. However, there is much diversity in family forms existing in the region and the values accepted are not evident in practice • It may be argued that the Marxist perspective of the family provides a more accurate picture, for e.g. As it relates to the sexual division of labour within the family. To this end the nuclear family, which is not the prevailing family form of the region, is still held in high esteem. It is argued however, that this is so because the nuclear family unit represents the value of the rich and powerful in society
Education • The impact of the education institution on Caribbean people can be viewed in terms of both the Functionalist and Marxist perspectives. Therefore, some may believe that the education system works with other institutions in society to ensure the smooth working of society, while others believe that the dominant ideas of education are those of the elites whose children have greater access to education and continue to succeed
Religion • Throughout the Caribbean religion impact our lives as a conservative force associated largely with positive values • Christian worship in the Caribbean has historically been associated with preserving social life according to accepted norms and values • However, syncretism of religious forms in the Caribbean displays elements of resistance and independence. They therefore help to comfort the worshipper but also oppose mainstream values and thus seek to undermine the status quo. For e.g. Rastafarianism • On the whole, the Functionalist perspective of religion is most dominant in the Caribbean
The Justice System • One’s perception of the justice system is usually a result of one’s experience. Therefore the justice system impacts individuals through their understanding of reality