Systems and Structures

The way people organize their societies so that needs are met. For example, young people need to learn how to function as adults, so, in western society, a system of public education was established in the nineteenth century. Systems often operate to support the dominant groups in society and to increase their power over others (for example, the children of the upper classes go to better schools than the children of working class communities). All societies have some type of system for educating children; the form that system takes depends on that society’s structure. Social structures are the arrangements in a society which emerge from and often determine the actions of individuals. For example, perhaps in one society children start school at 4 years old, and in another, they begin at 7 years old; both societies have an education system in place, but they have different structures.