How did you get on? Here are some definitions of an ‘institution’
- ‘A custom or practice that has existed for a long time and is accepted as an important part of a society.’ For example, the institution of marriage1
- ‘An organization, establishment, foundation, society, or similar, devoted to the promotion of a particular cause or programme, especially one of a public, educational, or charitable character’2 – NHS, UNICEF, Oxford University, FIFA
- Extending to a building, practice or even a person!
What is the purpose of an institution? What do they look like? Here are some characteristics:
- They are a means of controlling individuals.
- They regulate the conduct of people in society.
- Rules which must be compulsory obeyed by individuals. Institutions like religion, law, legislation control the behaviour of people.
- Procedures and customs that prescribe the way of doing things.
- They are rigid and are unlikely to be subject to rapid change.
- They often last a long time.
- They exist in all societies and are embedded in human history.
- They are dependent upon the collective activities of the people.