India vs. the United States: Social Institutions/Family Patterns
The culture of a society influences social structures and family patterns. Since various types of literature interpret the term social institutions differently, there is no single definition. It is described as the complex social forms that replicate themselves, such as legal systems, business corporations, educational institutions, human languages, family, and government, in contemporary sociology (SEP 1). Others see it as a set of tasks, places, norms, and values engraved in social structures that organize solid patterns of human activity around issues like procreation, resource development, and the viability of societal systems in the environment (SEP). Economy, Marriage, and Family
India can be said to have an open market economy, and as an emerging economy, India is on the brink of joining the elite league of economically stable nations. In the early 1990s, the Indian government started to undertake economic liberalization measures such as being flexible to foreign trade and investment in the country, privatized of government owned enterprises, and industrial deregulation (NM 1).
In terms of family, Indian families can be said to be matrilineal and patrilineal on the account of decent of father or mother or lineage. Family in this country is perceived as a homogenous unit. It varies in terms of individual choices, ethnicity and class. Normally, members of Indian families tend to be bound together by interpersonal relations (Sonawat 177). Traditional Indian families tend to live together as one large group comprising members of the same family. Marriages are conducted in a traditional Indian culture spearheaded by the clan/ethnic elders or heads of the two families involved. Marriage and family are strongly associated with the religion they belong to.
On the contrary, the USA is the world’s number economy and can be termed to be a market oriented economy. Corporations and individuals make most of the decisions in this economy. In addition, the state and federal governments purchase most of their goods from the private sector. Conduction of business in the USA is freer than in India. Average annual family earnings in the USA are higher than those of Indian families (NM 1).
In terms of family and marriage, the USA is more flexible than India and people have the ability to make independent decisions unlike in India where the family has a huge say on whom one should marry (Sonawat 177). In the USA, families are mostly nuclear comprising of father, mother, and kids and they live separately from their parents and siblings although, in some families, one kid may decide to live with the parents. In India, families are extended living together in the same compound.
India’s religion is characterized by a diverse set of beliefs and practices. Hinduism is by far the largest religion in the country followed by Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhism and Jainism in that order (Charlton 1). Religion is at the heart of the country’s culture because it shapes the social institutions in the country. In India, the constitution guarantees the right of choosing a religion. Similarly, in the USA, there is the freedom to choose a religion. Having one of the strongest legal systems and democracies in the world, the USA has well established government institutions that define the manner in which things are run in the country. In the USA, Christianity is by far the largest religion. There is also a growing percentage of Americans who are Muslims. We also have a small percentage of Jews and Buddhists.
On the other hand, the USA has a federal system of government with a national government led by the President who is elected by the electorate after every four years. The government is put in check by the judiciary and the Senate. The Senate and House of Representatives play a crucial role in the formulation of laws that govern the country. The USA has a two level system of government with a national, federal government and state-based governments. Similarly, India has a federal system of government. It has a national government that brings together 29 states and 7 territories. The country also has a bicameral parliament with both houses taking part in the formation of laws. The government is headed by an elected prime minister. The country’s Presidency is ceremonial because the President is elected by the bicameral parliament. Executive powers of the country are vested in the government and judicial and parliamentary branches.
Education, Law, and Science
India has shown a significant improvement in its education subsystem. The education system in the country is provided between public and private sectors although the public sector is largest one. Funding, as well as control, is manifested at three levels: local, state and national. Kids under the age of 14 years receive a free education which has been made a fundamental right (Dubey 45). Almost 96% of kids aged 6and 14 years attend school meaning that the literacy level in the country has significantly increased (Dubey 23). The country has a strong education system of at the higher level of learning, and this has greatly contributed to the improvement in scientific research and technological. India has established itself as a medical research and service production center.
Earnings from pharmaceutical products exports and income from foreigners seeking medical services are a significant part of India’s booming economy. Similarly, in the USA, education in the country is regulated at the national, state and local levels and has both private and public providers. At the lower levels up to high school, the private sector contributes a lot to the education system with many. However, at the college level, public colleges are the main providers of higher education although we have a considerable number of private institutions of higher learning. The education system in the USA is largely funded by the federal government especially at the college, and that has been a driver of innovation and scientific research. The scientific innovativeness in the USA is largely dependent on the quality of education the country. In terms of law, the USA has a remarkably solid legal system, and this is attributed to the superiority of the US Constitution. In India, the legal system has been shaped by the British and American constitutions. However, India’s legal system still an improvement. It can borrow a leaf from the strong legal institutions in the USA.
Dating and Courtship and Role of Men and Women
The USA has a liberal constitution that guarantees everyone their right to socialize with whomever they wish to, be it a person of the same or opposite sex. In the American culture, courting and dating are seen as a usual phenomenon with parents supporting their children on matters pertaining to dating and courtship. In most cases, such issues are discussed openly. In addition, although the man takes the leading role, the woman also has a say in the proceedings. There is openness, and consultations on matters affecting the relationship and the man and woman in question tend to have an equal say. On the contrary, in India, women have a limited say in matters to do with dating and courtship. Normally, the man is the man makes important decisions regarding the courtship. Unlike in the USA, families have a huge say on whom their daughter or son dates and they have to approve that relationship for it to hold (Sonawat 180). Similarly, in India, issues to do with courtship and dating are highly regulated, and children have to reach a certain age when they are seen mature enough for them to be allowed into dating unlike in the USA where parents are so liberal (Sonawat 180).
Structures of The Family and Remarriage and Socialization Practices Alternatives Forms of Marriage
In India, families are mostly extended where families live together in the same compound, and key decisions are made by elders of the family (Sonawat 180). Where there is breakage of marriage, women find hard to remarry, unlike their male counterparts. There are strong religious and cultural practices that govern the family structure, and remarriage and one party involved have to get approval from religious elders for them to annul a marriage. In the USA, most families are nuclear and live independently, and there is flexibility in terms for remarriage. When a marriage breaks up, the strong US Family Law constitution has well established protocols for filing divorce and compensation of offended parties. Also, couples in the USA have the freedom to remarry and are not subjected to stringent cultural practices like in India (Sonawat 180).
In the USA, there are some states that allow for same sex marriage. In addition, people from different cultures, ethnic and social classes intermarry. Conversely, in India, things like same sex marriage are unheard of and are unacceptable. Similarly, people in India socialize or intermarry on the ground of class, culture, and ethnicity. In fact, some classes or ethnicities cannot intermarry.
In conclusion, this paper has found several similarities as well as differences in social institutions found in the USA and India. There are differences in terms of economy, governance, religion, family and marriage, courtship and dating where the USA has a more liberal approach while India has a conserved view. In terms of education, both nations have made significant strides and have invested heavily into it and that has contributed immensely to the technological and scientific innovations and improvements in both countries. The family is an important social institution and there marked differences in the two countries. In India, families are mostly extended where families live together in the same compound, and key decisions are made by elders of the family. In the USA, most families are nuclear and live independently, and there is flexibility in terms for remarriage. It is easier for both men and women to remarry in the USA than in India. Unlike in India, some states in the USA have legalized same marriages, and people from different classes, ethnicities, and cultures can intermarry.
Charlton, Sue. Comparing Asian Politics: India, China, and Japan. Westview Press, 2004.
Duney, Akhilash. Commercialisation of Education in India. New Delhi: APH Publishing, 1997.
Sonawat, Reena. Understanding Families in India: A Reflection of Societal Changes. Bombay: SNDT Women’s University, 2001.
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SEP). Social Institutions, 2011. Accessed 23 April 2017 https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/social-institutions/
Nation Master (NM). Country vs. country: India, and United States compared: Economy stats, / 2017. Accessed 23 April 2017 http://www.nationmaster.com/country- info/compare/India/United-States/Economy