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Culture and Social Institutions

Cultureand Social Institutions


Cultureand Social Institutions

Thetheory of functionalism depicts that a society is a complex systemwhose parts tend to work together to achieve and promote stabilityand solidarity. The illustration of the complexity of the society isclearly illustrated in the article on scientific review of marijuana(Bamler, 2016). At the same time, the article elucidates theprinciples of conflict theory and this illustrated by the differentviews exhibited by various groups. Some groups argue thatlegalization of marijuana should be based on the medicinal purposesof the drug, while others assert that it is not proper to legalize adrug that has been illegal in the country for more than threedecades.

Culturetakes into consideration a wide range of factors that include values,traditions, symbols, beliefs, rules and behaviors of the people inthe society. Thus, it is imperative to note that civilization takes awider scope as it incorporates both the physical and non-physicalelements (Carter &amp Fuller, 2016). The difference between cultureand civilization cannot be clearly illustrated because of theconnections of various elements in the society. Culture is what bindspeople together and provides continuity from one generation toanother. People from the same tribe or community are mainly connectedtogether by culture, and this explains why they share the samelanguage, symbols or religion (Conley, 2016).

Languageis an integral aspect in everyday life since it offers a mechanismthrough which people interact or communicate, and it symbolizesshared meaning or values. Each culture has a unique way of expressionmeant to establish a link between the people involved. Through suchaspects as tone, voice, body language, and inflections, people areable to pass across a message or illustrate a certain behavior withan intention of conveying a particular meaning (Bamler, 2016). In herpresentation Michelle, the administrator of the Drug EnforcementAgency, appeared to use an assertive tone to discourage againstlegalizing marijuana in the country. The administrator explains thatall drugs in the world are harmful to people’s health (Carter &ampFuller, 2016). The case shows that language is an essential tool inthe expression of emotions or emphasis of a specific subject.

Accordingto Martin (2014) values can be argued to be the standards ofjudgments of a particular group touching on specific issues. Moreprecisely, values aid the determination of what is wrong or right inthe society. An example of values includes shared beliefs indifferent aspects in life. Martin goes further to illustrate thatabout 40% of the people believe that the use of drugs is harmful andit should be discouraged. The arguments form the basis of theirbeliefs to the extent that they do not coincide with the scientificevidence provided on the same. According to scientists, some of thelegal drugs like tobacco and alcohol impact humans to a larger extentas compared to marijuana (Repeal Prohibition, Again, 2014)

Normsalso act as yardsticks in the society. When people subscribe tonorms, they tend to stick to the standards and guidelines, and thisis to the extent that anything that contradicts the norms is immoralor unacceptable. Norms are parts of cultural values, and they governthe behavior of people in the society. In the process ofsocialization, norms can be said to be factors that harness socialcontrol and regulation of behaviors. For example, it is againstsocietal norms to use illegal drugs such as marijuana. The mainreason for such negativity is hinged on the fact that the society hasa negative perception towards such drugs. However, this does not meanthat there are no people who will go against societal norms (Conley,2016). Despite the fact that norms are not a list of written andclearly elaborated laws or rules that govern the way people behave inthe society.

Symbolsare used to express specific social structures and ideologies in thesociety. The role of social institutions cannot be forfeited as theyrepresent significant structures in the society. The role of theseinstitutions is cemented by the fact that human activities arestructured implicitly. The rules are adopted as a measure of guardingthe society and ensuring that people carry out their activities fromwithin the confinement of the law. For example, legislationsprohibiting marijuana are generally aimed at protecting the socialfabric, and more especially among the minors (Hoffmann, 2014).

Thestructure and the duration of an institution can impact its overallperformance. Those institutions that have properly rooted theiroperations are more likely to succeed in their mandate as opposed tonew institutions. Consistency is a crucial if positive results shouldbe achieved. For example, a person addicted with the use of marijuanacan only stop using the drug if strict and tighter laws andregulations are continuously enforced. The enforcement period must bea long duration of time and it needs to be structured in a moresupportive way. The laws must not only be focusing on punishments,but also in positive sanctions (Conley, 2016). The role ofindividuals in making laws and regulations is immense owing to thefact that laws and rules depend on individual activities. Rules andlaws enable actions or activities that would not exist. For example,the law provides that everyone has a right to personal safety, healthand wellbeing. Unfortunately, institutions that enforce such rulesand regulations tend to be seen as antithesis which is an entirelywrong perception instead they should be treated as allies (Martin,2014).

Theinteraction of people to a large extent is impacted by culture.Social interaction is illustrated by the way people value andappreciates laws and regulations and rely on structures that shapethe society on the premise of the functions and constituent elementsthat include the norms and values of the society. It is important tonote that for laws to be effective, they have to be customary. Lawsmust cut across all segments of the society, all races, gender orcolor. All people black or white, old or young and female or malemust be governed by the same laws and regulations in as long as theyare within the same jurisdiction.

Inaddressing the problem of marijuana, it is crucial to carry out anexploration of the social institutions that impact the use of thedrug. At the top of the list is the legislature that is tasked withthe mandate of coming forth with rules and laws. The legislature hasthe objective of developing rules on the usage of the drug. There arethose who assert that there is a need to give a leeway on the use ofthe drug, however, there are those who depict the contrary. However,it is up to the legislature to develop better policies that mirrorthe values and virtues of the American society (Carter &amp Fuller,2016). There is no doubt that there are some states in the countrythat have legalized the use of marijuana.

Thearticle shows that the government introduced restrictive rules andregulations on the use of bhang as opposed to other drugs likealcohol and tobacco that have adverse effects on the population.There are some players in the society who feel that the executive andthe congress have more important tasks to accomplish other thanfighting on whether to legalize a drug or not. The opposing group ofmarijuana bill says that it is critical for congress and thelegislature to dwell on racial and gender discrimination menace thatneeds urgent redress. The proponents of the bill on the other endargue that marijuana is equally a significant drug and needs to beintroduced to curb illegal activities associated with the drug.

Accordingto Martin(2014), marijuana is a drug that has impacted both genders (female ormale). However, unlike female who are perceived as the end users,male youths take the front in the distribution of the drug. This ismajorly illustrated in the large number of arrests made over the lastfew years. The use of the drug in the society has also led to highcases of prostitution, sexual violence and human trafficking in majorcities. Moreover, the use of the drug has been associated with highrates of gun violence in the country.

Theminorities in the country are mainly linked to the use of the drug.African Americans and Hispanics have been termed distributors of thedrug in the region. Over the last five years, there have beenincidences related to gun violence and drug addiction in minorityoccupied regions (African Americans and Hispanics) as opposed toother regions in the country. Studies conducted by human rights lobbygroups illustrate that the police tend to use excessive force on theminorities owing to their historical link. These groups have beenlinked different criminal activities and at the top of the list isdrug trade.

Inaddition, the law enforcement agencies have published and forwardedreliable statistics that they feel will suffice in repealing theprovisions of marijuana in the society. According to the FBI, thenumber of arrests made on possession of marijuana is almost doublethat of cocaine. The agency goes further and publishes that there areimmense societal effects associated with the use of marijuana.Moreover, there is increasing usage of the drug among the youths.Further, the article shows that the sale and marketing of marijuanais not easy despite the relaxation of laws governing the use of thedrug (Repeal Prohibition, Again, 2014).

Inthe course of the semester and more especially after interacting withdifferent people and reviewing different articles, my perspective haschanged towards the topic. Initially I thought that the argumentagainst legalization of marijuana was strong and offered a viablebasis to permanently illegalize the drug. However, I have realizedthat there are a wide range of issues that impact the decisions onwhether the drug should be legalized or not. In my view the mainfactor is the medicinal value of the drug, and if it can becommercialized the better it will be to the people. Thus, I no longerhold the hard liner stand as before since I have acknowledged thatfact that change is important in the society.

Inconclusion, culture is a collective behavior exhibited by people. Ittakes into perspective policies and regulations, and behaviors upheldby people. Furthermore, the use of language is crucial infacilitating communication between different generations. Norms alsoform part of traditions of a society that may help in the definitionof what is wrong or right. There is a need for the different socialinstitutions to recognize the significance of repealing the marijuanarestrictive laws. The federal government and other supporting bodiesshould ensure that it develops laws and regulations that control theusage of the drug.


Bamler,R. (2016). Structure theory of singular spaces.&nbspJournalof Functional Analysis.http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jfa.2016.10.020

Carter,M. &amp Fuller, C. (2016). Symbols, meaning, and action: The past,present, and future of symbolic interactionism.&nbspCurrentSociology,&nbsp64(6),931-961. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0011392116638396

Conley,D. (2016).&nbspYouMay Ask Yourself: An Introduction to Thinking Like a Sociologist&nbsp(4thed.). W W Norton &amp Company Incorporated.

Hoffmann,J. (2014). Religiousness, Social Networks, Moral Schemas, andMarijuana Use: A Dynamic Dual-Process Model of Culture andBehavior.&nbspSocialForces,&nbsp93(1),181-208. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/sf/sou053

Martin,E. (2014). Creating traditions.&nbspCurrentSociology,&nbsp63(1),3-4. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0011392114564117

RepealProhibition, Again,. (2014).&nbsptheNew York Times Calls for Marijuana Legalization.Nytimes.com.Retrieved 22 November 2016, fromhttp://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/07/27/opinion/sunday/high-time-marijuana-legalization.html?_r=0