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#Sample College Essay

Social Institutions


Films on Demand: Sociology Collection: Social Institutions


In overall growth of an individual, a number of social institutions are involved. Social institutions are a set of organized behaviors and beliefs that are centered on an individual’s basic social needs. Social institutions are social structures that administer the behaviors of its affiliates. The major social institutions that play a great role in development of a person include family, religion and education (Berger, 2006). These three institutions offer a basis for overall growth of a person. For a healthy human development from infancy to adulthood, family, religion and education must be involved. Social institutions are very important since they provide a basis for human reproduction through families, socialization, social order preservation, culture transmission and human development.

Description of each video and the social institution they represent.


Lessons from the real world film:  This film addresses the educational part of social institution. The film is not only highly informative, but it is also an entertaining documentary that is filled with engaging students, teachers, and lessons. The film has surely brought much needed concentration to a long deserted and serious aspect of the public education debate. Lessons from the Real World film contends just like many educators that putting a lot of effort on test scores to advance student achievement is wrong. The film further offers very many examples of the regenerative characteristics of schooling. Lessons from the Real World film shows clearly that there are many alternatives to the curriculum that is built majorly on abstractions and need for high test scores (Films On Demand. Films Media Group, 2011)

Families and social changes film: This is a film that addresses family as a social institution. For a very long time, theories concerning ‘the family' have been developed by varying sociologists. This film in details illustrates changes in the family organization, structure, and culture and how the changes can be connected to changes in the broader society. Families and social changes film also looks at the supposed sexualization of kids through investigating the idea that childhood could be disappearing. The film has further considered the effects of   new technologies of communications on family life. (Films On Demand. Films Media Group, 2014)

Nine years after 9/11 film: The film is representing religion, a part of social institution. In this film, NewsHour correspondent Jeffrey Brown controls and leads a conversation among four leaders of religion and experts on the lenience or prejudice of diverse religions in America, nine years after the attacks of September 11, 2001. Jeffrey seeks to find from the religious leaders if the fear, anxiety and suspicion currently experienced by the Americans has connection to the September 11 attacks. The leaders call for positive dealing of anger and loss, despite intolerance and fear being on rise.  Islam leaders also raise an issue that wrong groups of Islam are popularized by the media, something that can raise religious bigotry (Films On Demand. Films Media Group, 2010). Generally, the film is seeking to find if there is religious tolerance change in America after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

The functionalist, conflict, and interactions perspectives on family

According to the functionalist perspective, the family performs a number of essential functions in the society. It socializes children, offers its members emotional and practical support, regulates sexual activity and reproduction, and offers its members a social identity. Additionally, the sudden changes in the structure or processes of family threaten its stability and deteriorate society. From a conflict perspective, a family causes social inequality through reinforcing economic inequality and reinforcing patriarchy. The family also causes conflict like physical violence and cruelty to its own members. From interactions perspective, family members’ interactions and intimate couples involve mutual understandings. Wives and husbands with varying communication styles and social class get issues in their marriages and each other’s relation. In the family and social changes film, the interaction perspective has been used in discussion of the institution. For instance parents can follow up what their children are doing and interact with them through smart phones, a new communication technology. The author also says sexualization of girls can only be determined by the viewer and how he/she interacts with the girls.

The functionalist, conflict, and interactions perspectives on religion

Functionalist perspective assumes that Religion gives meaning and purpose to life, strengthens social stability and unity, Acts as a behavior social control agent, encourages physical and psychological wellbeing, and encourages people to work on a social change that is helpful.  The conflict theory assumes that Religion reinforces social inequality and conflict. It convinces the poor to accept their life, and it encourages hostility and violence as a result of religious differences. Interactions perspective focuses on how individuals understand their religious understandings. It highlights that beliefs are not sacred unless they are regarded as such by people (Kendall, 2009).  In the Nine years after 9/11 film the conflict perspective on religion was used. For instance Bishop Jackson believes that a mosque should not be built since it will raise anxiety among the Christians portraying conflict between Muslims and Christians.


The functionalist, conflict, and interactions perspectives on education

According to Functionalist perspective, education has several functions in the society. They include socialization, social integration, social placement, and cultural innovation. Problems in the educational system harm society since the above functions cannot be fulfilled properly. Conflict theory assumes education encourages social inequality by using tracking and standardized tests and application of “hidden curriculum.” Interactions perspective concentrates on classroom social interaction, among other school locations. Social interaction in schools affects the gender roles growth and that expectations of teachers on pupils’ intellectual strengths affect how they learn. The film of Lessons from the real world has used conflict theory of social institution. The film highly discourages application of tests and scores in schools.


In conclusion, Social institutions are an organized set of behaviors and beliefs that are centered on an individual’s basic social needs. They include family, education and religion. These social institutions are viewed differently by varying sociological perspectives that include functionalism, conflict and interactions.  The functionalist perspective mainly focuses on functional part of an institution; the conflict theory describes any dispute functions of the institution while the interactions perspective describes social interactions of an institution.  The above institutions have helped in governing my behaviors as well as understanding other people’s behaviors.

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Berger, P. (2006). The Social institutions Construction of Reality: a Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge, Anchor Books, Garden City

Films On Demand. Films Media Group. (2011). Lessons from the Real World: Social Issues and Student Involvement ., 2011. Web. 22 Dec. 2014. <>.

Films On Demand. Films Media Group. (2010). Nine Years After 9/11: Has Religious Tolerance Changed in America?. Web. 22 Dec. 2014. <>.

Films On Demand. Films Media Group. (2014). Family & Social Changes.. Web. 19 Dec. 2014. <>. (FIRST 15 MINUTES)

Kendall, D.  (2009).Sociology In Our Times. 6th edition. United States: Thomson Wadsworth


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