Social Institutions II
Terms in this set (51)
unified system of beliefs
and practices aligned with a society's sacred elements.
All current societies have a ________________ system. All types of human societies across time
have had some sort of ________________
__________ _________________ revealed that all societies divide social realms into the sacred (holy) and the profane (secular); discovered the origins of religious life when he studied Aboriginal populations of Australia.
~discovered that Aboriginal religion was born from the collective effervescence that emerged during group activities.
~During social gatherings sacred qualities were applied to
people and things; these sacred qualities represented the
ideals of society.
1. Reinforce institutional norms
2. Regulate socialization and social placement
3. Legitimate tension-producing inequalities
4. Alleviate personal anxiety and tension
Religion is a evolutionary product that was selected as a solution to problems of social organization; religion operates to:
1. A concern with the sacred and supernatural
3. Beliefs about the nature of the supernatural
4. Cult structures
All religions involve the following four elements:
The ___________ represents special qualities imputed to objects and events that have been touched
by supernatural forces or that symbolize the supernatural; arouses intense emotions, allowing religion tremendous influence in mobilizing and
controlling human action; Supernatural forces are believed to affect natural events.
stereotyped sequences of behavior directed to evoke the powers of the supernatural; they link the natural and supernatural worlds by activating emotions
toward the sacredness of the supernatural.
1. Calendrical rituals
▪ Rituals based on regular schedules, e.g. birthdates of Gods.
2. Non-calendrical rituals
▪ Rituals performed sporadically or in times of crisis.
There are two types of rituals:
Religious beliefs consist of two components:
a set of beliefs concerning the nature of the universe; often include a pantheon (group of
supernatural beings who alter events in the natural world).
religious ____________ indicate what is right/wrong, and are often
codified into a religious code (e.g. Ten Commandments,
Ethics of Confucius).
a corporate unit where rituals
made meaningful by supernatural beliefs are enacted; represent the level of social organization
where beliefs and rituals become integrated.
▪ Degree of bureaucratization
▪ Existence of professional clergy and reliance on lay clergy
▪ Degree of centralization
▪ Stability of membership and exclusiveness of membership
Cult structures vary in terms of...
There are four types of cult structures (religious groups):
a new religion with few followers,
whose teachings and practices are at odds with the dominant culture and prevailing religion; All religions begin as these.
a loosely organized religious group that is similar to but larger than a cult; often feel substantial hostility from and toward society; emphasize evangelism (active
recruiting of new members).
a bureaucratized organization with
structured rules and some sort of hierarchy of authority; Worship in these tends to be formalized and
less emotionally driven than worship in cults and sects; membership not evangelical, but internal (new members are children of existing members).
(or state religion) is a religious group that is integrated into the dominant culture to such a degree that it is difficult to differentiate
where one begins and the other ends; provide cultural identities more than concern the supernatural; Examples include the Church of England, the
Lutheran church in Norway, Islam in Iran and Iraq.
Answers questions about ultimate meaning.
Creates social solidarity.
Provides guidelines for everyday life.
Serves as an agent of social control.
Helps people adapt to new environments.
Supports a society's government.
The functionalist perspective on
religion states that religion...
Religion as justification for persecution.
Religion used by nations to justify war.
Terrorism associated with religion.
Functionalists also cite elements of religion that are dysfunctional,
_________________ theorists are critical of religion, emphasizing that it supports the status quo of a society and maintains social
___________ ___________ claimed that religion was "the opium of
the people." Religion is an escape for the lower class who hope for a better life in the afterlife; it therefore blinds the lower class to their worldly misery and allows social inequality to perpetuate unabated.
___________________ ________________________ perspectives on religion focus on how religion provides values and meaning in people's lives.
Sacred ______________ assist in communication and
creating shared realities.
_______________ provides the basis for mutual group identities and establishes norms that govern
the behavior of individuals.
Kinship systems emerged in human societies because they facilitated _______________.
Humans have strong sex drives and are promiscuous by nature; ____________ structures serve to regulate sex drives so that social organization is possible.
Kinship (or family)
____________________________ represents people who consider themselves related by blood, marriage, or adoption.
1. Nuclear (husband, wife, and children)
2. Extended (nuclear family + grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins)
3. Polygamous (multiple husbands/wives)
Families can be characterized in three ways...
1. Monogamy (one spouse)
2. Polygyny (multiple wives)
3. Polyandry (multiple husbands)
Families can be defined by the
following types of marital bonds...
T or F?
Human groups establish norms to govern who marries whom.
the practice of marrying within
one's own group.
the practice of marrying outside
one's own group.
The ___________ taboo illustrates exogamy (the rule that
prohibits sex and marriage among designated
It acts as a form of selection to ensure fitness of the species.
It helps families avoid role confusion.
▪ E.g. if father/daughter incest were allowed, would
mother and daughter be 1
st & 2nd wives or rivals?
The incest taboo is universal across all cultures and provides the following functions:
Anthropologist Edvard Westermarck (1862-
1939) studied ____________ ______________ of human beings.
The Westermarck effect
describes the phenomenon
of adult sexual desensitization that occurs between males and females after they live in close proximity during early years of life; an evolutionary
mechanism that emerged to prevent inbreeding
1. Patrilineal systems ( trace descent on father's side only.)
2. Matrilineal systems
(trace descent on
mother's side only.)
3. Bilateral (or bilineal) systems
(trace descent on
father's and mother's side.)
Three systems of descent represent how people trace kinship across generations:
▪ In patriarchal authority systems men dominate women.
▪ In matriarchal authority systems women dominate men.
▪ There is no historical example of a true matriarchy.
▪ In egalitarian systems authority is shared between men and
A family can vary in terms of its authority structure. Types include...
Kinship ties in hunter/gatherer societies were vitally important. Kinship was the primary basis of __________ ____________________________.
Kin groups were defined by __________ and ________________ families. Polygyny was widespread.
Exogamy (marriage outside the group to another tribe) occurred and served to open territories available to a society. (Hunter/gatherer)
Kinship ties in horticultural societies were extremely important, providing the basic
framework of the social system. Extended kin groups (_________) were common. ____________ functioned as mutual aid associations, providing
economic support and protection against enemies. Lineage was often matrilineal (followed the mother's side).
▪ More horticultural societies were defined by matrilineal kin
groups than any other societal form.
For individuals in _____________ societies, kinship ties remained important; for societies in the _____________ period, kinship ceased to be the chief integrating force. Civil and military offices were so large in ______________ societies that extended families were not adequate to fill them.
Family continued to be the basic unit of _______________ ______________________.
Businesses were usually family enterprises.
Marriages were arranged.
Parents and marriage brokers arranged marriages based on economics and status.
Spouses sometimes did not meet until the wedding ceremony.
1. The average size of the family has declined.
(Average # of persons per household in 1940 = 3.76
Average # of persons per household in 2012 = 2.6)
2. The type of "family" has changed.
3. There is a growing difficulty for (or reluctance of) young adults in
forming their own families.
Families have changed during the industrial era, in three major ways:
an economic unit representing all
persons sharing a house or apartment. By 2012, non-family _________________ = 34% of all domiciles.
two or more people related by blood, marriage, or legal adoption. By 2012, families = 66% of all domiciles (down from 74% in
(1) the decline in wages for entry-level jobs
(2) growing costs of maintaining independent households
(3) extension of youth into the late 20s
(4) more people attending college
(5) changing attitudes about
(6) more opportunities for women.
The proportion of adults aged 25-34 with families has declined from 83% to 99% from 1960-2012. Causes for this include:
1. Americans continue to rate family life as the largest single source of life's satisfactions.
2. The decrease in average family size may have had a positive impact.
▪ Smaller families have less role-segregation, better interactions among husbands/wives, and more time spent with children.
3. Cultural value changes may have had a positive as well as negative impact on the
quality of family life.
▪ E.g. egalitarian values regarding household labor permeate the family more than ever.
Many claim the family is an institution in decline, but the following discount this idea:
2. Regulation of sexual activity through the incest
3. Care of the sick and aged.
4. Social placement.
5. Material and emotional security.
The functionalist perspective believes that the family provides the following functions:
1. Because property is inherited through the
family, it perpetuates class inequality.
2. The family is generally patriarchal,
perpetuating gender inequality.
3. Endogamous marriage perpetuates racial and
The conflict perspective sees the family promoting inequality in the following ways: