SOCIAL INSTITUTIONS AND SOCIAL INTERACTION

Definition of social institution;

A social institution consists of patterned behavior and status role relationships that fulfill certain basic societal needs. (Craig etal; 1994)

Each society has its own social institutions. These are not buildings or places, but structures of relationship, obligation, role and function. Members of a society has similar mental concept of right and wrong, order and relationships and patterns of good  (positive values). Institutions are structures and mechanisms of social order and cooperation governing the behavior of two or more individuals.

Institutions are identified with a social purpose and performance, transcending individual human live and intentions, and with the making and enforcing of rules governing cooperative human behavior. The institutions are commonly applied to customs and behavior patterns important to a society, as well as to particular formal organization of government and public service.

They are centered to basic social needs, such as replacing personnel, preserving order, teaching new traits, producing and distributing goods and services, providing and maintaining a sense of purpose e.t.c. some of the social institutions include; family, the government, religion, education, economy and health care system.

Social organization or social institution is a group of social positions, connected by social relations, performing a social role.

  • It can also be defined in a narrow sense as any institution in a society that works to socialize the groups or people in it. Eg education, governments, families, economic systems, religions etc.

 

TYPES OF SOCIAL INSTITUTIONS

  1. Political

Every society has an organizational principle, with authority figures, with defined roles and obligations. There are written or oral laws. Some societies are tightly knit, while others are very loosely organized.

  1. Economic

This involves the production of goods and the organization of labour, the provision of care and similar factors, not just money, buying and selling. Every society has systems of provision or procurement. Economic and political institutions are related.

  1. Religious

This entails beliefs about the world, universal order and good, spirituals beings and power, as well as rituals and ceremonies. For many people, religion is not separated into a separate sphere of life but is part of the fabric of the society. Political and religious institutions are often related. This may involve religious ceremonies of cultural identity.

  1. Linguistic

Language usages may involve role and function, affecting social identity or status, so can be considered institutions. There are often subtle but significant meanings in the languages used or choice of words used in certain situations or topics.

  1. Educational

Even in primitive societies, there are highly developed methods of conveying knowledge and values. These methods will affect reception of new ideas. The effective communicator learns and uses the insider formats and channels.

  1. Aesthetic (art and architecture)

The artistic self-expressions of people become part of their cultural identity. These are also communication media.

 

                       DEFINITION OF SOCIAL INTERACTION

Social interaction is the process of people orienting themselves to others and acting in response to what others say and do. Social interaction is purposive in the sense that people act and react to each other in their pursuit of goals. (Craig etal 1994)

According to R. J. Rummel, social interactions are the acts, actions or practices of two or more people mutually oriented towards each others self.

This means that the parties to the social interaction must be aware of each other/ have each others self in mind.

Social interaction is a dynamic, changing sequence of social actions between individuals or groups who modify their actions and reaction according to the actions by their interaction partners.

 

Forms of Social interaction:

1. Accidental:-

This form of social interaction is not planned is is not likely to be repeated. Eg asking a stranger for directions or shopkeeper for product availability.

2. Repeated:-

This form of social interaction is not planned, and is bound to happen from time to time. Eg accidentally meeting a neighbor from time to time when walking on your street.

3. Regular:-

This form of social interaction is not planned, but very common, and likely to raise questions when missed.

4. Regulated:

This form of social interaction is planned and regulated by customs or law, and will definitely raise questions when missed such as interaction in a work place (coming to work, staff meetings, playing a game et.c), family meeting.

 

FACTORS INFLUENCING SOCIAL INTERACTION

The focus here is what makes people get interested in interacting with each other. We will therefore look at the several general principles that have been discovered by researchers in social psychology in this area. They include the following;-

1. Proximity:-

Physical proximity increases attraction, as opposed to long distance relationships which are more at risk.

2. Familiarity:

Mere exposure to others increases attraction, even when the exposure is not consciously realized.

3. Similarity:-

The more similar two people are in attitudes, background, and other traits, the more probable it is that they will like each other. Contrary to popular opinion, opposite do not attract.

4. Physical attractiveness:-

It is the perception of the physical traits of an individual human person as pleasing or beautiful.

5. Propinquity:-

Refers to the physical or psychological proximity between people

6. Reciprocal liking:-

It is a psychological term to describe an effect where a person who is liked by another will tend to return that liking. It reflects the notion that people enjoy the company of those who give them positive feelings.

 

ROLE OF SOCIAL INSTITUTION IN HUMAN DEVELOPMENT

  1. Replacing personnel:-

Any group or society must replace personnel when they die, leave or become incapacitated.

  1. Teaching new traits:-

A group must encourage recruits to learn and accept its values and customs, either informally through interactions and negotiation in peer influence.

  1. Producing and distributing goods and services:-

Any group that is relatively permanent must provide and distribute desired goods and services for its members. The group must satisfy the needs of most members to a large extent in order to avoid high degrees of disconnect, which may lead to disorder.

  1. Preserve order:-

Maintaining order and protecting members ensure continuity and reduces the chances of extinction.

  1. Providing and maintaining a sense of purpose:-

People must feel motivated to continue as members of a group in order to fulfill the other functions.

 

IMPACT OF SOCIAL INTERACTION ON HUMAN DEVELOPMENT

  1. Through socialization people develop distinct ways of action depicted through their lifestyle.
  2. It enables people to learn and develop an identity
  3. Socialization ensures functional integration, by equipping society members with different skills
  4. It enables people to learn how to adapt to their physical, cultural and social environment.
  5. It enables people to learn the attitudes, values and behavior appropriate for members of a particular culture, hence helps in appreciating other peoples culture.
  6. It ensures the long term continuance of a society through transmission of culture from one generation to another.
  7. It helps shaping our self images thus determine our self-esteem.
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