institution(redirected from Institutions)
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institutionan established order comprising rule-bound and standardized behaviour patterns. The term is widely acknowledged to be used in a variety of ways, and hence often ambiguously. SOCIAL INSTITUTION refers to arrangements involving large numbers of people whose behaviour is guided by NORMS and ROLES. In functionalist theory (see FUNCTIONALISM), the concept of institution is linked to that of FUNCTIONAL PREREQUISITES OR FUNCTIONAL IMPERATIVES. MALINOWSKI lists seven social institutions which meet biological and social-psychological NEEDs. GOFFMAN uses the term TOTAL INSTITUTION to refer to bureaucratically organized establishments (see BUREAUCRACY) in which the inmates have little possibility of escape from the norms and roles of the administrative structure. INSTITUTIONALIZATION refers to the process whereby the norms and roles expected in various social settings are developed and learned. Although this often involves an OVERSOCIALIZED CONCEPTION OF MAN, researchers influenced by PHENOMENOLOGICAL SOCIOLOGY stress the creative and adaptive aspects of social life.
an organization established to carry out a particular kind of activity. The USSR has both state and public institutions, governed by charter or statute and, as a rule, enjoying the rights of a body corporate. State institutions include ministries, as well as organizations that perform functions not associated with material production, such as schools, hospitals, theaters, and libraries.