A Social Institution

A social institution is a group, organization, or concept that makes and enforces social rules and ideologies. A gendered institution is the massage parlor that is owned by a man and buys and sells women in addition to the massage services it advertises. Two things happen when we name social identities “social constructs”: first, it distinguishes talking about identity in a social way from how identity is personally experienced; second, it indicates that as members of society, individuals and groups participate in constructing the meaning of social identities.

If we say people agree to meanings of social constructs—both events and identities—we can also argue that they disagree. The meanings of these categories are not fixed because they are based on the perceptions and experiences of individuals and groups. Social practices and ideas change over time and these changes affect how meanings of events change. In other words, sometimes you know a social, cultural, political, or economic idea is socially constructed because it changes over time and by geographic region.

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