Macro Social Institution

Economic Institution

Economic institution is a macro social institution. The economy is the social institution that organizes a society’s production, distribution, exchange, and consumption of goods and services. Economic activities at household, community, and state level determine social and cultural system at different levels and shape social and cultural life accordingly. In technologically simple societies, economy activity is simply part of family life. The agricultural revolution made the economy a distinct social institution based on agricultural technology, specialized work, permanent settlements and trade. The industrial revolution expanded the economy based on new sources of energy, centralization of work in factories, specialization and mass production and wage labor. The postindustrial economy, propelled by the information revolution is based on a shift from industrial work to service work and computer technology.

Three sectors of economy

  • The primary sector: Draw raw materials from the natural environment such as agriculture, fishing etc.
  • The secondary sector: Transforms raw materials into manufactured goods such as automobile and clothing manufacturing etc.
  • The tertiary sector: Production services rather than goods such as teaching, sales etc.

Economic system

  • Capitalism
  • Socialism
  • Communism


Capitalism is an economy in which the means of producing are largely in private hands and the main incentives for economic activity is the accumulation of profits. In practice, capitalist systems vary in the degree to which private ownership and economic activity are regulated by government. Capitalism is an economic system in which natural resources and the means of producing goods and services are privately owned. Examples: The United States has a mostly capitalist economy. An ideal capitalist economy has three distinctive features:

  1. Private ownership of property.
  2. Pursuit of personal profit.
  3. Competition and consumer choice.


Socialism is an economic system in which natural resources and the means of producing goods and services are collectively owned. Examples: The People’s Republic of China and Venezuela has most socialist economies. In its ideal form, a socialist economy rejects each of the three characteristics of capitalism just described in favor of three opposites:

  1. Collective ownership of property.
  2. Pursuit of collective goals.
  3. Government control of the economy.


Communism is a hypothetical economic and political system in which all members of a society are socially equal. Karl Marx viewed socialism as one important step on the path toward the ideal of a communist society that abolishes all class divisions.

Economic system in Nepal

  • Agricultural system ( Cash crops and Food crops)
  • Non-agricultural System (Business, Civil services, Remittances etc.)

Political Institution

Political institutions are concerned with the distribution of power in society. Politics is the major social institution by which a society distributes power and organizes decision making. The sociologist Max Weber claimed that every society is based on power, which he defined as the ability to achieve desired ends despite resistance from others. The use of power is the business of government, a formal organization that directs the political life of a society. Weber’s concept of Authority, power that people perceive as legitimate rather than coercive. Weber’s pointed to three ways:

  1. Traditional authority.( Power legitimized by respect for long-established cultural patterns. Such as monarchy system))
  2. Rational-legal authority.(Power legitimized by legally enacted rules and regulations such as bureaucratic authority.)
  3. Charismatic authority.( Power legitimized by extraordinary personal abilities that inspire devotion and obedience)
  • Monarchy:

It is a political system in which single family rules from generation to generation. Monarchy is commonly found in the ancient agrarian societies. Leadership is based on kinship. In Weber’s term Monarchy is legitimized by tradition.

  • Democracy:

It is a political system that gives power to people as a whole. Democracy is commonly found in the modern industrial societies. Abraham Lincoln has said that democracy is a “government of the people by the people and for the people”.

  • Authoritarianism:

It is a political system that denies the people participation in government. The absolute monarchies in Saudi Arabia and Oman are authoritarian.

  • Political parties:

According to Robertson, “Political parties are collectivities of people organized for the specific purpose of joining legitimate control of government”.

  • Political System of Nepal:

Nepal is a federal democratic republic.

Religious Institution

Religion is a social institution involving beliefs and practices based on recognizing the sacred. It is a major social institution based on setting the sacred apart from the profane. Religion is a matter of belief. It is a grounded in faith rather than scientific evidence, and people express their religious beliefs through various rituals.

The French sociologist Emile Durkheim in his book “,The Elementary Forms Of the Religious Life 1912”.defines religion as a “ Unified system of beliefs and practices relatives to sacred things, that is to say, things set apart and forbidden

Sociologist applies the major theoretical approaches to the study of religion just as they do to any other topic. Each approach provides distinctive insights into the way religion shape social life.

  • Emile Durkheim: “The Elementary Forms of religious life” Unity, Functional Role of Religion, Equality.
  • Karl Marx: Create Social Inequality, Opium
  • Max Weber: “Protestant Ethics and the Sprite of Capitalism” Interrelationship between Religion and Economy.

Structural-functional Theory: According to Durkheim, society has a life and power of its own beyond the life of any individual. Durkheim identified three major functions of religion that contribute to the operation of society:

  1. Establishing social cohesion.
  2. Promoting social control.
  3. Providing meaning and purpose.

Social- Conflict Theory: The social conflict approach high lights religion’s support of social inequality. Religion, proclaimed Karl Marx, serves ruling elites by legitimizing the status diverting people’s attention from social inequalities.

Functions of Religion

Religion as a basic social institution of human society has been fulfilling certain positive functions no doubt. Its role in promoting social solidarity, as Durkheim has pointed out, and its need in providing inner individual peace.

  • Religion provides religious experience.
  • Religion provides peace of mind.
  • Religion promotes social solidarity.
  • Religion conserves the value of life.
  • Religion-As an agent of social control.
  • Priestly function of religion.
  • Religion promotes welfare.
  • Religion provides recreation.
  • Religion explains individual suffering and helps to integrate personality.
  • Religion enhances self importance.

Dysfunctions of Religion

  • Religion inhibits protests and impedes social change.
  • Hampers the adaptation of society to changed condition.
  • Religion increases conflict and makes the evolution of realistic solutions more difficult.
  • Impedes the development of new identities.
  • Religion may foster dependence and irresponsibility.
  • Conservatives and retards progress.
  • Promotes evil practices.
  • Religion Undermine human potentiality.
  • Religion retards scientific achievements.                                                                            

Religion in Nepal

Religious structure of Nepal has a unique place in the world. Nepal is a multi religious country. According to the census 2011, there are 10 types religious groups exist in Nepal. Before 2063 B.S. Nepal was a Hindus country. After 2063 Interim-constitution, Nepal is a secular country.

Religion in Nepal( 2011):

  • Hinduism: 3%
  • Buddhism: 0%
  • Islam: 4%
  • Kiratism: 0%
  • Christianity: 4%
  • Sikhism: 2%
  • Jainism: 1%
  • Others : 6%

Educational Institution

Education is the social institution through which society provides its members with important knowledge, including basic facts, job skills, and cultural norms and values. In high- income nations such as the United States, education is largely a matter of schooling, formal instruction under the direction of specially trained teachers. It is one of the basic activities of people in all human societies. In preindustrial societies, education occurs informally within the family. Industrial societies develop formal systems of schooling to educate their children. Differences in schooling in societies around the world today reflect both cultural values and each country’s level of economic development.

According to Samuel Koening“ Education may also be defined as the process whereby the social heritage of a group is passed on from one generation to another as well as the process whereby the child becomes socialized”

Education, as a social institution has a great social importance especially in the modern complex industrialized societies. It is more regarded as an agent of social change than an instrument of social control. It has become increasingly secular.

The Structural- Functional approach focuses on the ways in which schooling contributions to the orderly operation of society. Key function of schooling includes: Socialization, Cultural innovation, Social integration, Social placement, and Latent Functions. The symbolic approach looks at how we build reality in our day-to-day interactions. The social –conflict approach links schooling to inequality involving class, race and gender.

Education as a social process

  • Firstly, education, viewed as socialization, is continuous.
  • Secondly, education, viewed as an agent of cultural transmission.
  • Thirdly, education, implied as an attempt to acquire knowledge

Social Functions of Education

  • To complete the socialization process.
  • To transmit the central heritage.
  • For the formation of social personality.
  • Reformation of attitudes.
  • Education for occupational placement.
  • Conferring of status.
  • Education encourages the spirit of competition.
  • Education imparts values.

Education and Society

  • Education and knowledge formation and transformation.
  • Education and social change.
  • Education and social justice.
  • Education and Nationalism.

Historical development of education in Nepal

  • Ancient education in Nepal.
  • Medieval education in Nepal.
  • Education after unification.
  • Education development after 2007 B. in Nepal.
  • Education in panchayet system.
  • Education after 2046 B.S. in Nepal.
  • According to census 2011: Total Literacy Rate: 65.9%, Male Literacy Rate: 75.1%,, Female Literacy Rate: 57.4%