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The changing role of social institutions Essay

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Updated: Apr 15th, 2019


Human beings are social beings; hence the reason they find themselves involved in social institutions in the society. Civil society arises from this set up of social institutions. By definition, civil society is a social realm that consists of actual institutions with moral substance and functions. Above all, civil society denotes that sector of the society that nonpolitical institutions operate.

These social institutions include family, churches, schools, community groups, neighborhoods, and any other form of voluntary association imaginable. The civil society arose due to the spontaneous aspiration and desires of the free people. They take part as people desire to join voluntarily, to serve larger social purposes. Social institutions promote the social society through performing various functions (Eberly, 2000).

How social institutions help to promote civil society

To start with, social institutions form part of the civil society and through this, the essential habits of collaboration of ways define trust. Further, the freedom held by these institutions gives each and every one of them a right and a chance to define the habits that they would like be incorporated in, in the civil society. In addition, the desire to achieve a common purpose and meet the needs of individuals helps to have an association needed in the civil association.

Social institutions such as churches teach good morals. Having these social bonds does not only generate virtues like trust, self-sacrifice and submission to the authority, but also helps to shape communities have a capacity to share virtuous characters. The above-mentioned virtues are developed through having these institutions by having citizens who develop moral obligations to each other (Eberly, 2000).

Social institutions build the morals of individuals who later take in the civil society. They do this by binding people; not to law but to other people. Social organizations help people avoid having private interest, but also develop interest of the other people around them, which shapes the life of civil society.

By building social ties and a sense of mutual obligation of weaving together isolated individuals into the fabric of a larger group, socials institutions ensure that there is the development of a body that has an interest of the community at heart (Foley, 2003).

Individualism is fought against in the social institutions, and association for serving the larger society is encouraged. The principle of democracy is formed from these bases, as each person is treated as equal to the other. Civil societies usually have a public philosophy that emphasizes on the need to elevate the common good over private interest, renewing social values over the institutions, encouraging wider civil participation, and encouraging citizen involvement in community problem-solving (Foley, 2003).

The impact of modern social networks in replacing the traditional forms of social institutions and the related associations

The development of modern social networks such as blogs, Facebook, twitters and email and replacing the social institutions has enhanced the values of people globally.

Geographical boundaries have been overcome through the development of the new technologies, which previously were done through physical meeting. For example, making friends has been greatly substituted by the new inventions. Ultimately, family ties have been weakened as people spend most of their time chatting with online friends, in expense of taking the time with their families.

Education has been changed in that students do not have to attend classes as they can get the information needed online. Subsequently, exams are also been done online, hence the relationship between the young children which is well developed in schools, is reduced. In the case of children, they do not get to grow together and at some point, they are socially inactive because of spending most of their time engaging with friends they get online.

The neighborhood has also adversely changed the interaction between the children and the other children have decreased. The fact they don’t find time to associate with the other children in the neighborhood has made them to be socially handicapped occasionally, many neighborhoods used to have welcoming parties for the new people in the neighborhood.

The same used to apply in case there were holidays where these neighbor hoods would organize parties or reunion so as to orient each other: this tread is on the decline as the method of association has changed and with time the neighborhood traditions’ may decrease or even become extinct.

The scope of sharing information has been changed from being local to international, and be communicated at a faster rate. Introduction of blogs or twitter has made sure that many people can access certain information in great numbers at a faster rate. People are able to get information even from far places they may not be able to go physically.

Moreover, research in different areas in learning institutions has become more easy. Submission of the research and the results can also posted online; hence the need to travel to do the research is avoided, which in turn reduces the cost needed. The presence of the option of having the information online has transformed the schooling set up to being optional for a student to study online, with no need of attending classes (Henderson, 2009).

On the other hand, community groups have been promoted to be more diverse, as many people of different communities can join them. Modern networks can be given credit to these changes because they offer a chance of forming an online group and enrolling to join these groups. Using the high-volume blogs, the movements have been more radical in spreading their ideologies than in the traditional times. They go on to get much attention due to the presence of the network all over the world (Henderson, 2009).

The culture of people has changed and is being replaced by sub cultures such as Cyber punk and test speaks. The new cultures have their bases set by the various provisions given in the Internet, which are integrations of various cultures. The culture, initially instilled by the family and society is largely dependent on the behaviors of the famous in the worldwide society, for example, celebrities such as actors, singers to mention but a few.

Sometimes, it is not the right way to go since some of the famous people involve themselves with activities considered bad behaviors in their cultures. For instance, the issue of being gay was not welcome among many societies in the past. The family has suffered greatly due to the new developments. The parent’s obligation of teaching their children various things has been replaced by the presence of much information in the social networks.

The set-up has changed, and children are more aware of their rights. The family formation has also changed, and there are more divorces, and part of the reasons they are happening is because of the some of the spouses met online, and probably did not get to know each other well. The issue of early pregnancy is also an indication of the deteriorating family values. Young teenagers are more likely to get sexual partners, and because of the decline in the family values, they get to a step of doing it.

An institution like the church has suffered both positively and negatively. Positively, religion is in such a way that it can be spread to more people at a given time, but also negatively because there has been numerous group that have risen to criticize the churches through anti religion campaigns. Areas where certain religions had not reached have a chance of getting to them due to online social networks. Generally, religion is losing its popularity and many people are turning to different activities, even on days considered holy days.

However, the impact of the social networks has not only been negative, as there is also the positive side of it. The rights of the people in the society have greatly been enhanced due to the ability to pressure political leaders through the social networks. A good example is the recent demonstration against president Mubarak of Egypt.

Through these social networks, the demonstrators were able to fight any incidences of humiliation from the government forces that were opposed to the move. However, the social network sites also pose a problem as leaders can use them to fracture resisting groups. In a greater scale, this may be viewed as factionalization (Foley, 2003)

The changing face and redefining of these social institutions

Social institutions have undergone several changes that have changed the way they look, and how they are being defined. Due to the impact of social networks, they have gone through a transformation that has a good and a bad side. To start with, there is no limit geographically as to how much one can relate with other people; people from all regions and walks of life have a chance to participate actively in the modern-day activities, which is far much better as the traditional set up only involved a smaller group of people.

The definition of the virtues has been left to the global community, changing the previous responsibility of the social institutions to define them and incorporating other cultures. The changes will ensure that diversity will be more upheld within these institutions as many of their values will need to incorporate views of many different people.

How social institutions might change in future

The institutions are likely to change to a state that they will not be much of an influence to the people. Transpired by the fact that people’s way of life is changing dramatically, they will tend to demand less since they will not have the great control of the people’s minds like the past. There is also the risk that more people have a tendency to value social institutions lesser and lesser, and it may get to a point that they become extinct or less influential to the people.

It may also be possible that there will not be much of a change in the social institutions as some people will tend to cling on the past as they view the past being more fun than the present day, as well as being more enjoyable as one is relating with real people rather than a computer. The importance of the social institutions towards the people might also change to a state that even the children who are born nowadays do not get to know even there extended families.

Churches on the other hand, may transform to be achieves and it is evident in some countries that they are now becoming clubs as lesser and lesser people show up to attend them. Associations and reunions of these institutions may also turn out to a lower lever such that the coming generations may no have no idea they even existed and individualism be the order of the day. Technology might also build social institutions that people meet online and with time a tradition of the same might come up.


New developments and technologies are good since they make life more fun. However the society should not forget the past and the benefits accrued through having it.

New social networks can be considered as necessary social evils because, however much they are destroying our social institutions in a big scale, they are also providing us other benefits that we cannot live without, once they are introduced to us. A good example is the education that children are learning; it is more explosive and with more content, which is opening up their mind to a greater knowledge of the world around them.

We cannot also forget the fact that the world has been unified to one global village where people are sharing and receiving information in a matter of a short time. On the other hand, social institutions that have been in existence are the source of our identity, and people should strive to have a healthy relationship with their families, as well as the community. It is, therefore, our responsibility to strike a balance where we have balance relations in the social relations as well as healthy social institutions.

List of References

Eberly, D. E. (2000). The essential civil society reader: classic essays in the American civil society debate. Mary Land: Rowman & Littlefield.

Foley, W. M, Hodgkinson V. A. (2003). The civil society reader. Lafayette: University press of New England.

Henderson, P. (2009). Supervisor Training: Issues and Approaches. London: Karnac Books.

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