What are some examples of social structure?  

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Social structure is the underlying organization of society, including the ideological apparatus that supports the organization into the institutions by which the structure is made operational. The overall social structure is an abstraction that is distinct from any given institution and from the functioning of any of those institutions. That is, social structure includes such institutions as the family, the educational system, and the penal system. It also includes the behaviors of individuals and groups within those institutions, but it is not the same as those individuals and groups.

The structures within any given society may include particular variants of those institutions. For example, the institution called “the family” may take any number of different forms, even within the same society. In Western societies, the nuclear family has become the norm, and typically has been headed by a heterosexual couple; the composition of any given family is distinct from one of its...

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