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Human institutions’ are collectives (groups of people) that have come together (literally or virtually) often in large numbers for a common social purpose and maintained a collective focus with a goal of improving human existence. For example, marriage is considered a human institution. Religion is an institution. Law, Medicine, Education are all institutions.
General Examples and Functions of Human Institutions:
Family
Provide emotional, material, and physical support for the family
Regulation of procreation
Religion
Provide a forum for people to contemplate and address forces which they can experience but not fully understand like the divine and death
Provide a sense of community identity with common morals and values
Law
To create order and avoid chaos within a community
To carry out the rules set forth by community leaders
Politics
To provide an organized system of decision making
To create laws
Economics
To regulate the distribution of goods and services
Education
To pass knowledge from one generation to the next
Science
To understand our environment so that humans can have mastery over it
Medicine
To heal illness and injury
To minimize suffering
Military
To protect community borders and assets
To expand community borders and assets
Mass Media
To provide information to a community which will enable the members to make informed decisions
Some additional, more specific examples of institutions may be: the Courts; the Correctional (penal) system; Law Enforcement; Healthcare; Mental Healthcare; Government; Education; Finance.
These institutions are often interconnected, sometimes having the same goals based on their own perspective on how to better humanity, sometimes having opposing goals, or ways they go about achieving them. For example, the penal system and the mental health system.
Choose one of the following issues
Mental illness and Crime
Poverty and Crime
Juvenile Crime
Choose 3 different human institutions that have attempted to address / improve the issue you chose.
Research HOW each of those institutions have attempted to address the issue.
Generate a thorough but concise paper covering:
The chosen issue (what makes it a special issue, describe/explain the issue and why it’s something human institutions should focus on)
How each of the three institutions you selected have attempted to address the issue
Historically (for example, people with what we now recognize are mental health problems used to be considered possessed… we used to drill holes in their heads to let the evil spirits escape) AND
Contemporarily (how does the institution attempt to address the problem now?)
The interconnectedness of the institutions, including
How are they interconnected around this issue?
Are they always working for the same goal or might they sometimes have competing goals?
Might they literally work together or, perhaps, consecutively, to address a problem or are they completely separate in their approaches to the topic?
General:
YOU MUST USE AND CITE (in text and in a reference list) SOURCES; this is not an opinion piece. You’re not being asked to critique the institutions; you’re being asked to demonstrate your understanding and your ability to articulate it in writing.
You may use footnotes (my preference) MLA, APA… whatever you’re comfortable with as long as you are attributing any information you got from a source to that source specifically. This is not a paper you want to accidentally plagiarize in.
PROOFREAD your paper (out loud to someone preferably) and edit it prior to submitting it.
A top-scoring paper will probably be somewhere around 2000 words (between 5 and 8 pages), but don’t fill it with extra fluff if you can say it in less. Be direct, plainspoken and concise. Be sure to:
Describe the issue and why it’s one ‘we’ should focus on.
Describe how institution one has addressed the issue, both historically and currently… briefly comparing and contrasting the approaches.
Describe how institution two has addressed the issue, both historically and currently… briefly comparing and contrasting the approaches.
Describe how institution three has addressed the issue, both historically and currently… briefly comparing and contrasting the approaches.
Address the interconnectedness of the institutions, the goals of each one and the cooperation or conflict, how they fit together, any historic versus contemporary changes in interconnectedness, etc.
Provide a conclusion… what is our take-away to be from all of this?
Don’t include the instructions on the paper you turn in, but do include headers and sub-headers.

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