Institution: Sociological Concepts: Definitions and Characteristics of Institution

Get top class preparation for UGC right from your home: Get detailed illustrated notes covering entire syllabus: point-by-point for high retention.

Loading video

Sociological Concepts: Definitions and Characteristics of Institution (Sociology)


  • Durkheim said that sociology is the science of social institutions.

  • McIver and Page define institution as established forms or conditions of procedure characteristic of group activity.


  • Institutions are social in nature

  • A result of collective activities of the people

  • Product of repetitive form of social relationships

  • They prescribe how to do things

  • Established by humans

  • Preserve social order

Characteristics of Institution

  • Universality

  • Standardized Norms

  • Means Of Satisfying Needs

  • Relatively Permanent

  • Abstract In Nature

  • Oral And Written Traditions

  • Social In Nature

  • Interrelated or interlinked

  • Synthesizes Symbols e.g. National Anthem


Primary Institutions

Basic institutions found in primitive societies like religion family marriage etc. are primary in character

Secondary Institutions

  • when the society is grown in size and becomes complex

  • institutions become progressive and are evolved to cater the secondary needs of people

  • E.g. live-in relationships, education, law, etc.

Sumner classified institutions as:

Enacted Institutions

institution set up consciously and purposefully in a planned way are enacted

Crescive Institutions

  • Like primary institutions

  • institutions which evolved and developed naturally and unconsciously

What Are the Functions of Social Institutions?

  • They cater to the satisfaction of needs

  • They provide the ways and also the means to fulfil fundamental

  • They control human behaviour

  • Institutions regulate the system of social behaviour

  • They tell members of the society what is allowed and what is not

  • They simplify actions for the individual


1. Marriage is a

(a) Folkway

(b) More

(c) Social institution

(d) Social norm

Ans. (c)

2. Which of the following is an institution?

(a) Family

(b) Leadership

(c) Social Movements

(d) Environment

Ans. (a)

#Sociological Concepts

#Basic Concepts