The Meaning and Functions of Social Values in Sociology


Here, we are talking about the meaning and function of social values.

The Meaning of Values

Sociology uses a different meaning of value than philosophy or economics. In economics, values can be defined as price.

The culture of a society is shaped by social values. Social order is stable when values are in place. These values provide guidelines for social behavior. These values include patriotism and respect for human dignity. Many values can guide our behavior. Values are the criteria that people use to evaluate their lives and choose between different options.

Values Definition

Values can be defined as a person’s of societies beliefs about what is good and what is bad or what is right or what is wrong.

G.R. Leslie, R.F. Larson, H.L. Gorman says, “Values can be group conceptions about the relative desirability”

H.M. Johnson states that values are “general standards” and can be regarded as higher-order norms.

Young and Mack wrote, “Values can be assumed, largely unconscious of what is right or important.”

Michael Haralambos states, “A value is the belief that something is worthwhile and good.” It is a way to define what it is worth striving for and what it is worth having.

Peter Worsley says that values are “general conceptions of the good”, which refer to ideas about what kind of ends people should pursue in their lives and the various activities they participate in.

Values can be described as measures of goodness or desirability.

Values are social norms that are derived from social interaction. They are accepted as facts of the social structure. These are the objects that social conditions desire. These are culturally-defined goals that involve “sentiments, significance” and “aspirational references.”

For judging and evaluating social interaction goals, ideas, feelings, and expected conduct, values are to be observed. It would be difficult for individuals to evaluate their behaviour and social actions without a standard of evaluation. Values are intended to combine expected individual behavior and social action. It helps to prevent tension and plays a role in tension management.

Relationship between Values and Norms

Values and norms have a salient relationship. Values can be generalized, while norms can be more general. In some situations, norms may seem to be delusional, while values can be authoritative. Norms are guidelines for behavior. They specify more or less what actions should be taken in particular circumstances by certain actors. Values are standards of desirable behavior that are almost independent of particular situations.

A common value can be used as a reference point for many different norms. One norm could represent multiple separable values. The value premise of equality may be used to define norms regarding relationships between husband, wife, brother, teacher, student, and so forth.

The norm that a teacher should not show favoritism when grading may, on the other hand, include the values of equality, honesty and humanitarianism. As standards or criteria for establishing what should not be considered desirable, values provide grounds for accepting or rejecting a particular norm.

Meanwhile also learn about the basic Principles of Communication.

Functions of Values

  1. Values are the goals or ends that members should aim for.
  2. Values are a way to ensure stability and consistency in group interaction. Because they are shared, values hold society together. Sociologists argue that shared values are the foundation of social unity. Because they share similar values, members of society will likely see others as “people like them”. They will feel part of a group. They will feel part of the larger society.
  3. The rules that govern certain activities are made more legitimate by the inclusion of values. Because they reflect the values most people accept, rules are accepted and followed. For example, Americans believe that capitalist organizations are the best because they allow people to achieve success in their lives.
  4. Values can help bring about some sort of adjustment between different rules. People seek the same goals or ends in every area of their lives. It is possible to change the rules to achieve this end.

If the Indian people believe in the principle of equality, then they will need to change the rules that govern the relationship between husband and wife and man and women. People create rules based on their beliefs about what is “good” and “right”.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.