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Category: Sociology (Page 1 of 2)

Sociology optional – Interview questions

Interview questions for candidates with sociology optionals:
1. Sociology relevance in public services
2. “sabka saath sabka vikas”
3. Caste based conflicts in maharastra
4. Social movements like jal satyagraha, recent protest against land ordinance
5. Pervasive nature of caste in minorities and its repurcussions
6. gharwapsi and conversion issues
7. Senowned sociologists statements or opinions regarding govt policies, communal incidents, caste and class and others social divisions
8. Violence against women
9. Common civil code
10. Secularism, pseudo secularism, communalism , ghettoisation of religious and linguistic minorities
11. Racism and racial abuses increasing incidence and reflection on tolerance of society
12. Swacch bharat abhiyaan, manual scavenging
13. Growing underclass and their aspirations in post LPG era and their increasing say in democracy ( an important factor in delhi elections)
14. Reluctance of indian muslims in joining ISIS
15. Decrease in ( or stagnant) spending in social sectors like health, education,food etc.

Candidate 1:

  1. Women (gender discrimination, rapes, low representation in jobs and politics, women empowerment, education, female infanticide and low sex ratio) – 80% questions relate to women issues
  2. Impact of social media on Indian society
  3. Impact of TV serials, movies and news media
  4. Socialism
  5. Corruption
  6. India’s poverty and social indices

Candidate 2:

  1. Reason for growing intolerance in youth, Indian in particular
  2. How to explain the rape of children below 5 in schools?and what can be done?
  3. How to strengthen the moral fabric of Indian society in today’s age?
  4. What changes you see in society when you was in school say in early 2000 to what the students see now?
  5. Do you think sometimes in emotions and flow of events we loose sense of what is the real issues at hand?(say Anna’s andolan or the recent documentary)
  6. Hence, women is by far the most important topic.

Candidate 3:

  1. You have opted for Sociology. Tell me what do we study in the discipline as such?
    Very good. Can you think of any prominent Indian sociologists?
  2. Can you think of some predominant theory of M.N.Srinivas?
    Can you explain.
  3. Do you think the concept of Sankritization holds much importance in the contemporary world?
  4.  You have taken sociology and you have been a technical person otherwise. Man’s life is increasingly becoming privatised, what is the role of technology in it, the access to all sort of information etc.?
  5. What I meant was the effect on children with access to information of all types?So, how will you monitor that? Are there any laws around the same? Any other laws?

Some of the questions look very simple but they are not – like what do we study in sociology. We need to frame good answers to these or else we will give very vague answers

Candidate 4:

  1. Conflict leads to cooperation (with respect to developing countries). How?
  2. You did Engineering and took Sociology as an optional. Why?
  3. What is online culture?
  4. Why is the condition of women better in NE? Socioeconomic Reasons?
  5. What is the socio-political influence of media on society?
  6. What is your opinion on one of the famous sociologists saying something about the relation between corruption and caste?
  7. Tell me what is the major problem, why arab spring didn’t succeeded?

Candidate 6:

  1. Do you think women should get reservation in Civil services?
  2. Why they should not get? women have reservation in Panchayats?
  3. What is women empowerment?
  4. How SHG helps in women empowerment?
  5. Tell me what are the major social issues in the country?
  6. What is the relationship between education and poverty?
  7. What do you suggest women should do for their empowerment?
  8. Being a woman, what would you do to empower yourself?

Candidate 7:

  1. Tell me your favourite thinker from Sociology. Why?
  2. Do you think India is a socialist state?
  3. Where is socialism in the constitution?
  4. China also claims to be socialist. What’s the difference between them and us (on socialism)?
  5. What about Russia during cold war? What was is called then? Its present system?
  6. Define sovereign social secular republic democracy?
  7. How social media impacts people?
  8. Tell me influence of daily serials on family relations & social structure?

Candidate 8:

  1. You are from UP, you must know what is social engineering?
  2. What was India’s HDI ranking as per last HDI report?
  3. What is HDI, Its components, why India’s ranking so low?
  4. What is virtual organization?
  5. Why is the situation of India’s higher education so grim?
  6. How should a leader lead, in your opinion?
  7. What can you tell me about India’s demography?

Some sample Interview Questions and answers

Let’s start with relevance of sociology in public service

According to me:
1. Sociology helps give an insight into different dynamics in the society. Especially for multi-cultural Indian society – ethnic, caste, regional dynamics.

2. It gives an insight into various parameters of poverty, deprivation, population dynamics and helps a public servant forum opinions about the same.

3. In a multi – religious society, it gives a perspective about different religious groups and their relative deprivation with respect to national standards and with each other. For an administrator this is particularly insightful.

4. Development paradigms can be understood from a global and national perspective.

Of course, there will be followup questions on each and could be asked to explain what do we mean by any of these statements with examples.

Tell me what do we study in the discipline as such?
In sociology, we study human social behaviour and social institutions like religion, stratification, marriage etc.

Can you think of some predominant theory of M.N.Srinivas?
Important theories by him include sanskritization, dominant caste and vote bank.

Explain sanskritization
It is a process of upward mobility wherby a caste lower in hierarchy adopts rituals and behaviours identified with the higher castes.

Do you think the concept of Sankritization holds much importance in the contemporary world?
In urban centers, the practice has seen declined due to westernization and weakening down of caste hierarchy itself. Though in traditional rural pockets, it still hold much importance. For ex – In Bihar, there are many castes like Dusadh, koeri etc that are lower in the hierarchy but still aspiring for upward mobility through sanskritization. They identify themselves with being Kshatriya and have started wearing the sacred thread. This process is still ongoing.

Man’s life is increasingly becoming privatized, what is the role of technology in it, the access to all sort of information etc.?
I think it is definitely true and the impact of it is clearly visible on children and young populations who spent a lot of time on social media and gaming. Actual physical interaction is getting lesser and lesser. At the macro level, we are becoming more globalized and at the micro level more private, all thanks to technology.

What I meant was the effect on children with access to information of all types?
Sir there are positives as well as negative impacts.
Positive as in it helps in gaining knowledge or skills. Even skills like cooking or guitar playing can be learnt on internet. negatives are risks involved as to what kind of information the child is exposed to. Pornography, violence etc are easily available on the internet and it is becoming very difficult for parents to filter such contents. More so when in many cases the child is better adapted to technology than her parents.

So, how will you monitor that? Are there any laws around the same?
There are 2 broad methods. One is content filtering through parental control systems or softwares. The other is through education of child as well as parents on the beneficial usage of internet.
There are laws that restrict adult content on websites and define minimum age to join social media. Though I am not aware of the exact names of such laws.

What is your opinion regarding ban on “India’s daughter”, both from general and sociological point of view.
There are 2 broad angles to it. one whether the ban was required and second whether the ban served its purpose. For the later, I would say that it did just the opposite and increased the viewership. So it certainly did not serve the purpose.
For the former I would say that banning a documentary sends the signal that we want to curb the truth. It would have been better to let the people and media respond to it on its merit and if there is indeed some merit, it would only have acted as a mirror to out society.

The recent case in Nagaland what does it reflect about the changes taking place in Indian society
Its the coming together of 2 phenomenons. One is the old fault line between the natives and the perceived immigrants and second is the new role of social media in strengthening such fault lines. As of now we have only got a hazy picture of what has happened there, coupled with the fact that there is general lack of awareness about the society there. As for mob lynching it seems to be a small part of a bigger problem.

The sociological reason behind the change from coalition era to mandate politics
One there is general sense of antipathy towards coalition politics as seen in most of the elections in the last 1 year. Second, there has been a tectonic shift in the Indian polity towards the right. Also, there has been fragmentation of center left votes. And a new group of rational voters has emerged that is aspirational and ready to give the mandate to someone who shows hope and promise. This phenomenon was clearly seen in delhi elections.

 

Why focus on India when gender discrimination and rape is a global issue?
It was not the horrific rape that made me come to India. The extraordinary, courageous and unprecedented protests that followed made me think: “My God, they are fighting for my rights in India.” I was so grateful. I have myself been raped. It is not surprising — one in five women globally have been raped. So I am one of the 20 per cent.”
-Leslee Udwin,

1. Rape is there in every society, so its not just the patriarchal bias in Indian society in particular, as USA and UK France are among leaders in rape(atleast the reported ones), though even if we talk about reported ones then we can compare with metro cities and still we may not top
So the point comes that its not just so called Indian men’s mentality, that’s just common sense bias(that’s why I said leave emotions to Mr. Holmes) so sociologically its patriarchal in broad spectrum not just Indian society, as well as a bigger moral issue
2. What about the boys that get raped?They can’t even complain and live with torture and trauma
3. Sensationalize the rape rather than really solving the issue, will never stop rapes
4. A wider issue I asked in bakar forum, that if boy and girl are in live-in and then boy leaves say any reason like compatibility then girl can file case of rape saying he promised to marry But if girl leaves a guy has no recourse to law.same in the case of property
5.Drama like the one in parliament “zinda laash”, that’s the choice of the person to live like zinda laash or to live life. why she has to be zinda laash because some people say so. Read about madonna and many more. So rather than rapist its the so called society which tortures a person(HE/SHE)more and reminds of that incidence and do not let them forget
7 There is another aspect which I won’t discuss but that shows girls in bad light and how they use law to take revenge or benefits
8. In offices people don’t dare to drop female employ because they are afraid
9.Few years back few companies accepted that male staff requested not to have females in the group because they are afraid that few females can put allegations
10. There was a video by Kalki Koechlin “its our fault”, yeah its creative and will get many claps. But just ask yourself who will feel bad after watching that video, a person who is genuine has not done anything wrong but had one or two points against that video and then he is labelled, or a person who is rapist or uses girls ? the second category will clap and support gal that time and will laugh at it.It won’t affect them.But think about the genuine one,he was labelled for no reason and what will be his future course of action and his response towards society.

Conflict leads to cooperation (with respect to developing countries). How?
(a wild guess) when there is a conflict, points of difference becomes clearer, making it easier for resolving the conflict through cooperation (??)

You did Engineering and took Sociology as an optional. Why?
The main reason I did Engineering was that I felt it had more employment chances. Havig graduated and even found a good job, I realized that I don’t have the aptitude or the feel of the subject. When it came to sociology, my choice was natural as I found it very interesting and suiting to my taste.
What is online culture?
it is the culture that is developed through interaction in the online world. For example, online language and online etiquette are part of this culture.

Why is the condition of women better in NE? Socioeconomic Reasons?
Many NE socities followed matrilineal system where women would own the family property. This helped them maintain a high status. Also, the work of Christian missionaries made education accessible to them. Education and economic independence combined, has elevated their condition.

What is the socio-political influence of media on society?
Media plays a very important role in shaping public opinion on social and political issues. For example, on the documentary India’s daughter, two rival media houses are holding two diametrically opposite views on whether people should watch it. By this, the viewer’s interpretation of the contents of the documentary is influenced. Similarly, media can create a negative or positive image of a particular political party by selectively highlighting certain events.

What is your opinion on one of the famous sociologists saying something about the relation between corruption and caste?
I cant recall this controversy but I can remember reading that he was quoted out of context.

Do you think women are the most exploited class in the society
Unfortunately, it is true that women are amongst the most exploited class in society. Certain sociological studies have shown how gender is a big factor of discrimination. For instance Dalit women are considered to be amongst the most exploited, having to bear the triple burden of class, caste and gender. However, I also feel that we are at the cusp of change. Not just women, but the society as a whole is coming together to establish women’s rights slowly but surely.

What specific trait of Indian Society is responsible for scams in India, especially, arms procurement
Sir I do not think there is any trait that is specific to the Indian society that makes us susceptible to such scams. Such scams are a result of certain lacunae in our governance systems that have allowed private-profit minded individuals to have their way. I must also add that we are well on our way to close these gaps.

India should have military rule instead of Democracy for 2 years to discipline society. your opinion?
The sense of discipline that seems to be lacking in us will not come when imposed from above as in a military rule. Instead it has to come spontaneously and I believe that it can be ingrained without compromising on our democratic principles. Democracy and discipline are not mutually exclusive. Besides, democracy is India’s biggest strength, and under no circumstances must we compromise on it.

b>We intended to create an economy driven by market, but we ended up creating a society driven by economy.” Explain it in Indian context.
Sir, I would like to use an illustration of the Green Revolution to explain this statement. With the adoption of GR, not only did our agricultural systems changed but various scholars have also shown how a consumerist ethos came about and emphasis on conspicuous consumption increased in society. A similar trait is seen today specifically in prosperous urban areas as well.

How are you going to counter illegal immigration? How do you plan to make sure that bonafide citizens are not harassed in such an operation?
There are 2 dimensions about the solutions. One, that already settled immigrants who have got ration cards need to be identified. Second, we need to stop further immigration. I think the first options is administratively and legally very very difficult and is fraught with political risks as well. I personally would advice rehabilitating the already setteled population and stop further migration.

What was the issue regarding ILP implementation in Meghalaya? Is it justified? Why?
It is to restrict the entry of non native population from settling in Meghalaya as the local population feels threatened that their share over resources will be taken away by the settlers. I think such laws are extreme steps as they are against the constitutional provisions that grantee rights to all the citizens to settle anywhere in India. Also, from my knowledge, the population of natives in Meghalaya has not seen major decreases in percentage terms to enact such laws. The government needs to convey this point.

Do you think women should get reservation in Civil services?
No sir. To increase their representation in civil services I think it is better to give them a more enabling environment such as access to quality education, health facilities etc. instead of just carving out reserved seats. (women in IAS is less than 10% 0f total- I found a nice report here: http://isidev.nic.in/pdf/santosh1.PDF
)

Tell me what is the major problem, why arab spring didn’t succeeded?
Lack of a unifying leadership, and interference by international third-parties. (Screwed if there are follow ups  )

Do you think women should get reservation in Civil services?
Sir I don’t think gender-based reservation is required in the Civil Services, especially when affirmative action in the form of fee waiver is given. It will instead be more effective if we work towards ensuring that women can reach the graduation level in education- which is the basic requirement to appear in this exam.

Why they should not get? women have reservation in Panchayats?
Sir, reservation in governance bodies is a different thing as there the aim is to elect people’s representatives. Women being 50% of the population should be adequately represented in executive bodies.
Follow up – So you feel that women are essential in temporary executive but not in permanent executive?
Another F/U – so don’t you think women are one of the most exploited sections of society. They are married of really young, but if they have reservation in civil services – parents might let them study and appear for the exam.

What is women empowerment? 
Sir, if I may quote Sri Rabindranath Tagore, though a tad bit out of context, empowerment to me is when “the mind is without fear, and the head is held high”. It is a multidimensional concept involving economic, political, social and psychological freedoms.
Very nice.! F/U on Rabindranath Tagore detected  but, I am seriously impressed by this.!

How SHG helps in women empowerment?
Sir, SHGs have been one of the most successful initiatives in empowering women primarily in rural areas. It has helped them gain financial independence by supporting small scale entrepreneurial activities, skilling, etc. But the benefits go much beyond this. I remember reading a report where it was shown how SHG activities had also brought about social empowerment in the women as they come together as a cohesive group to make their voices heard and tackle social issues.

Tell me what are the major social issues in the country?
Major social issues being faced in the country include cultural nationalism that is threatening the social fabric, gender discrimination and crime, access to health and education opportunities for children and economic inequality.
might go towards communalism and right wing politics. And if a right winger is by chance in the board- it will be very hard to salvage the situation.

What is the relationship between education and poverty?
Sir I feel that while one is the problem, the other is the solution. Poverty traps individuals and prevents them from gaining education and consequent better livelihood opportunities. However if we can provide adequate support for access to education, the individual and break out of the vicious circle of poverty.
Very rational and logical answer. Problem – solution approach is pretty nice.

What do you suggest women should do for their empowerment?
I think women have to learn to be independent and self-reliant, not just economically and politically, but also socially. They (/we) also have to stop this automatic internalization of patriarchy that leads to self-imposed curbs on freedom.

Being a woman, what would you do to empower yourself?
Sir as I have been fortunate to have had a good education, the next step for me is to become financially independent. As I have had the opportunity to work before this, I do know how economic self reliance can be a liberating factor. (Bleh answer I feel)

Tell me your favourite thinker from Sociology. Why?
Marx – with widening social disparities on regional and global levels I feel his theories are very elucidating about the feeling of relative deprivation that leads to social revolutions.

Do you think India is a socialist state?
Yes, I agree.

Where is socialism in the constitution?
Explicitly in the Preamble. Implicitly it is all over the constitution where rights of the common man, and downtrodden are talked about.

China also claims to be socialist. What’s the difference between them and us (on socialism)?
Our socialism works within the ambit of a democratic state, where people’s mandate is supreme. While Chinese socialism is guided by the politburo and large scale violation of human rights are committed under the garb of redistribution of wealth. However, China has moved towards state led capitalism since the 1970s.

What about Russia during cold war? What was is called then? Its present system?
Russia was a communist state during the cold war. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republic. Now it has a Presidential system of government.

Define sovereign social secular republic democracy?
Sovereign – Indian people are free to choose the destiny of our country without any external interference.
Socialist – The aim of the state is to uplift the poorest of the poor out of the poverty cycle.
Secular – all religions are given equal respect in India.
Republlic – people choose the government through adult representation
Democracy – the government of the people, by the people for the people. Any adult citizen can contest elections.

How social media impacts people?
Social media impacts people in a lot of ways. It helps people forge friendships, opinions on social issues, be more aware of the world around them. The negatives have also been observed as it has led to virtual relationships, and people have lost the social one-on-one touch with reality.

Tell me influence of daily serials on family relations & social structure?
Daily serials have had a dramatic influence on family relations. They have acted as an ideal type which the families, especially women that watch the shows regularly try to emulate. The have become a benchmark for behaviour, fashion, expectations, etc.

For social structure, it has made people more aware of our regional diversities, different social and cultural norms in different parts of the country. I think, that had made our society at some levels more appreciative of the rich cultural heritage we harbour in India.

For higher education situation being so grim in the country:
1. There is no talks of translational research- so not enough incentive to undertake cutting edge research in Indian academia.

2. Funds are often not sufficient – so lack of labs, softwares, etc – results in not enough practical knowledge even after a masters degree.

3. Not enough collaboration between universities, departments and industry – for research as well as for employment opportunities.

4. Higher education, in case of PhD, is paid peanuts as stipend. Really not worth it for many,

5. Lack of peer reviewed promotions. In the US, the idea is of “publish or perish” – if a professor goes without cutting edge publications for a while he is bound to lose his tenure. In India, once you have a government job no incentive.

6. Higher education is often theoretical, rote learning – not enough hands on experience.

There will be many more reasons, please add to this list.

 Do you think incidences of communal violence have increased in the country? if yes, why and how can we fix it. If no, why not.?

Let the games begin!!  </p>

Yes, in past some time, we had seen many communal clashes, like muzzafarnagar riots in western UP, clashes in mangalore, incidents of attacking book author and TV channel offices.
There are varied reasons for this. Some clashes had political reasons and backing due to proximity of elections. Some clashes are due to hidden agendas where the issues of honour of women & incidents of eve teasing were given a communal colour, some have growing intolerance as a reason.

For short term solutions, we have to make strict laws and officials should be punished who failed to control such incidents. Politicians should not be allowed to address people in affected areas without permission and scrutiny of speeches.

For long term and permanent solutions, education is the key. Educated people are less likely to be swayed by speeches of communal leaders and take more objective and rational decisions. Education is also a key in bringing tolerance among masses.

yes sir…i think incidences of cmmunal violence has increased in recent years.for eg mujaffarnagar riots,nawada riots(bihar),clashes in rajasthan etc.
sir i think two theories are well applicable here…one is real conflict theory where there is fight for limited reasources and oopportunities which breeds frustration and frustration-agression hypotheses which says that frustration leads to agression…there is frustratiion and discontent amon the masses and soome trigger events like eve teasing,hate speeches etc give fuel to the fire resulting in communal clashes.sometimes they r promoted by politicians to polarise the voters for electoral gains.
We can fix it by providing education which will result in ideological change and impart secular outlook among radical elements and providing opportunities to everyone so that discontent does not creep in society.strict and vigilante law and order can also prevent communal clashes.

What are the problems faced by Transgenders? What measures would to suggest to solve these?

The Problems faced by transgenders are:
1. discrimination – social, cultural, and economic.
2. they are looked down upon as someone who is not normal
3. It is difficult for them to find a means of livelihood and often they live in utter poverty.
4. Often families abandon transgender babies who land up with goons, who use them for begging.
5. human trafficking is another problem they face
6. They find it difficult to get education due to poverty, lack of social support, no help from government.

Yes, I think t/gs should have reservation. They are some of the highly discriminated sections of society.

Other measures are:
1. Awareness in the society that they are normal and should be socially accepted. this is a long term plan of action.
2. they should get psychological healthcare as a form of government support, along with regular healthcare.
3. The local police stations should take special note of the fact they are not discriminated against.
4. government should provide schemes for them to get industrial skills and they should be absorbed into the workforce.
5. Easy loans should be extended to them, and all formal documentations should have the option of 3rd gender so they don’t feel left out or discriminated against.

Transgenders face considerable social stigma which limits their access to public goods and have an adverse effect on the quality of life. Due to the stigma and poverty, they find it difficult to acquire an education or get treatment in hospitals. They are forced to indulge in prostitution and drug trafficking for the lack of other means due to which they become extremely vulnerable to diseases especially HIV.
Reservation:
Trasgenders have been suffering extreme discrimination since colonial era. Even post independence era could not give sufficient attention to their problems. Therefore, it is necessary to give them benefit of reservation now to help them tackle their social disadvantages.
How else can we improve their status?
There must be awareness programs to change the attitude of general public towards transgenders. Efforts must also be taken to remove misconceptions among people about transgenders, for ex- some believe it is a mental illness. Also, Livelihood means must be secured for them and administration must ensure that they are not denied education and health, or any other public service just because of their gender status.

Summary of Max Weber: The city

Summary of Max Weber: The city

City consists of collection of relatively closed settlement of one or more separate dwellings. In modern times, in city personal acquaintance of inhabitants is less and there is high degree of impersonality. City has high density and large population. But size of population alone can be sufficient to define a city.

In city, inhabitants primarily live trade and commerce i.e. non agricultural, as a result a market exists. Market settlement should be regular rather than occasional exchange of goods. Urban markets satisfy the needs of local population, non urban people and sometime even foreign market. The market is medieval times was controlled by prince or lord, but in now it need not have any physical attachment to prince. City can also be an intersection point where transportation and exchange of goods takes place and thus encourages entrepreneurs and thus city could be a pure market place with a few highly specialized entrepreneurs. Elites depend on market for more want of goods and thus lead to growth of markets and thus city has presence of large consumers who have special economic interests. A city can also have large industries, factories etc which can produce goods at a very large scale. Urban markets supply a normal flow of goods, but they need not be sole providers of goods. In today’s times, most of earnings of an organization flow to places other than place of earning due to globalization. Thus it is difficult to classify a place solely based on economic condition.

In modern times, occupation of habitants in city is non agricultural and they get food from outside of city in general. In general, habitants of city also don’t own a large acre of land for cultivation of food. City has its own regulatory system i.e. landed property and a budget of receipt and expenditure. Due to presence of dynamic market condition, government makes ‘urban economic policies’ in order to stabilize conditions of market by means of regulation and standardization. This leads to better economic opportunities and occurs in certain political conditions. Thus a need for political-administrative arrangements arises. Regulation of economy thus becomes counterpart of organization of urban city and sometimes leads to friction between inhabitants. Urban regulations of land ownership, taxes etc are quite different from rural and thus become an important criteria to classify a place as urban city.

Due to presence of market, city has to be guarded by fortress, military or defense system to protect from external aggression. These were closely located to places of market in olden times. But they need not be spatially separated. In modern times, electronic/IT world, where transaction of money occurs online, need have to inbuilt security mechanism and software for defense against external attack. Therefore because of increased security of a city attracts traders, entrepreneurs, investors etc and thus increases economic conditions. Thus both are interrelated.

Due to above various criteria to define city it becomes necessary to standardize the definition. Weber did this for 1st time and gave the following criteria to define a place as city. To constitute a full urban community a settlement must have trade and commercial relations with a) Fortification b) market c) a court of its own ,autonomous law d) related form of association e) At least partial autonomy of government, also administration by authorities.

In city, market may often lead to conflicts and to regulate these we need political-administrative authorities and courts to enforce the autonomous laws related to market defined for a particular urban city and fort or defense system to avoid any attacks. City has administrative boundaries, city wards, streets etc. City has different kinds of land use pattern and segregation of people based on region, language, caste, culture, income, occupation etc leads to formation of association. Therefore all these 5 criteria are logically connected.

Sociology Notes

Conflicts

According to Karl Marx in all stratified societies there are two major social groups: a ruling class and a subject class. The ruling class derives its power from its ownership and control of the forces of production. The ruling class exploits and oppresses the subject class. As a result there is a basic conflict of interest between the two classes. The various institutions of society such as the legal and political system are instruments of ruling class domination and serve to further its interests. Marx believed that western society developed through four main epochs-primitive communism, ancient society, feudal society and capitalist society. Primitive communism is represented by the societies of pre-history and provides the only example of the classless society. From then all societies are divided into two major classes – master and slaves in ancient society, lords and serfs in feudal society and capitalist and wage labourers in capitalist society. Weber sees class in economic terms. He argues that classes develop in market economies in which individuals compete for economic gain. He defines a class as a group of individuals who share a similar position in market economy and by virtue of that fact receive similar economic rewards. Thus a person’s class situation is basically his market situation. Those who share a similar class situation also share similar life chances. Their economic position will directly affect their chances of obtaining those things defined as desirable in their society. Weber argues that the major class division is between those who own the forces of production and those who do not. He distinguished the following class grouping in capitalist society:

The propertied upper class
The property less white collar workers
The petty bourgeoisie
The manual working class.

Functionalist

Talcott Parsons believe that order, stability and cooperation in society are based on value consensus that is a general agreement by members of society concerning what is good and worthwhile. Stratification system derives from common values it follows from the existence of values that individuals will be evaluated and therefore placed in some form of rank order. Stratification is the ranking of units in a social system in accordance with the common value system. Those who perform successfully in terms of society’s values will be ranked highly and they will be likely to receive a variety of rewards and will be accorded high prestige since they exemplify and personify common values. According to Kingsley Davis and Moore stratification exists in every known human society. All social system shares certain functional prerequisites which must be met if the system is to survive and operate efficiently. One such prerequisite is role allocation and performance. This means that all roles must be filled. They will be filled by those best able to perform them. The necessary training for them is undertaken and that the roles are performed conscientiously. Davis and Moore argue that all societies need some mechanism for insuring effective role allocation and performance. This mechanism is social stratification which they see as a system which attaches unequal rewards and privileges to the positions in society. They concluded that social stratification is a device by which societies insure that the most important positions are conscientiously filled by the most qualified persons.

CASTE

Caste is closely connected with the Hindu philosophy and religion, custom and tradition .It is believed to have had a divine origin and sanction. It is deeply rooted social institution in India. There are more than 2800 castes and sub-castes with all their peculiarities. The term caste is derived from the Spanish word caste meaning breed or lineage. The word caste also signifies race or kind. The Sanskrit word for caste is varna which means colour.The caste stratification of the Indian society had its origin in the chaturvarna system. According to this doctrine the Hindu society was divided into four main varnas – Brahmins, Kashtriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras.The Varna system prevalent during the Vedic period was mainly based on division of labour and occupation. The caste system owns its origin to the Varna system. Ghurye says any attempt to define caste is bound to fail because of the complexity of the phenomenon. According to Risely caste is a collection of families bearing a common name claiming a common descent from a mythical ancestor professing to follow the same hereditary calling and regarded by those who are competent to give an opinion as forming a single homogeneous community. According to Maclver and Page when status is wholly predetermined so that men are born to their lot without any hope of changing it, then the class takes the extreme form of caste. Cooley says that when a class is somewhat strictly hereditary we may call it caste.M.N Srinivas sees caste as a segmentary system. Every caste for him divided into sub castes which are the units of endogamy whose members follow a common occupation, social and ritual life and common culture and whose members are governed by the same authoritative body viz the panchayat.According to Bailey caste groups are united into a system through two principles of segregation and hierarchy. For Dumont caste is not a form of stratification but as a special form of inequality. The major attributes of caste are the hierarchy, the separation and the division of labour.Weber sees caste as the enhancement and transformation of social distance into religious or strictly a magical principle. For Adrian Mayer caste hierarchy is not just determined by economic and political factors although these are important.

  • Main features of caste system

  • Functions of the caste system

  • Dominant caste

  • Purity and Pollution

  • Sanskritization

  • Main features of caste system

  • Caste system hierarchically divides the society. A sense of highness and lowness or superiority and inferiority is associated with this gradation or ranking. The Brahmins are placed at the top of the hierarchy and are regarded as pure or supreme. The degraded caste or the untouchables have occupied the other end of the hierarchy. The status of an individual is determined by his birth and not by selection nor by accomplishments. Each caste has its own customs, traditions practices and rituals.It has its own informal rules, regulations and procedures. The caste panchayats or the caste councils regulate the conduct of members. The caste system has imposed certain restrictions on the food habitats of the members these differ from caste to caste. In North India Brahmin would accept pakka food only from some castes lower than his own. But he would not accept kachcha food prepared with the use of water at the hands of no other caste except his own. As a matter of rule and practice no individual would accept kachcha food prepared by an inferior casteman.The caste system put restriction on the range of social relations also. The idea of pollution means a touch of lower caste man would pollute or defile a man of higher caste. Even his shadow is considered enough to pollute a higher caste man. The lower caste people suffered from certain socio-religious disabilities. The impure castes are made to live on the outskirts of the city and they are not allowed to draw water from the public wells. In earlier times entrance to temples and other places of religious importance were forbidden to them. Educational facilities, legal rights and political representation were denied to them for a very long time. If the lower castes suffer from certain disabilities some higher caste like the Brahmins enjoy certain privileges like conducting prayers in the temples etc.There is gradation of occupations also. Some occupations are considered superior and sacred while certain others degrading and inferior. For a long time occupations were very much associated with the caste system. Each caste had its own specific occupations which were almost hereditary. There was no scope for individual talent, aptitude, enterprise or abilities. The caste system imposes restrictions on marriage also. Caste is an endogamous group. Each caste is subdivided into certain sub castes which are again endogamous.Intercaste marriages are still looked down upon in the traditional Indian society.

Functions of the caste system

The caste system is credited to ensure the continuity of the traditional social organization of India. It has accommodated multiple communities including invading tribes in the Indian society. The knowledge and skills of the occupations have passed down from one generation to the next. Through subsystems like Jajmani system the caste system promoted interdependent interaction between various castes and communities with in a village. The rituals and traditions promoted cooperation and unity between members of the different castes.

The dysfunctions

Caste system promoted untouchability and discrimination against certain members of the society. It hindered both horizontal and vertical social mobility forcing an individual to carry on the traditional occupation against his or her will and capacity. The status of women was affected and they were relegated to the background. The caste system divided the society into mutually hostile and conflicting groups and subgroups.

Dominant caste

This concept given by M.N Srinivas holds that a caste is dominant when it is numerically higher than the other castes. In the Mysore village he described the peasant Okkalinga composed of nearly half of the population made up of nineteenth jati group. The Okkalinga were the biggest land owner. The chief criteria of domination of a caste are

  1. Economic strength

  2. Political power

  3. Ritual purity

  4. Numerical strength

The dominant caste also wields economic and political power over the other caste groups. It also enjoys a high ritual status in the local caste hierarchy. The dominant caste may not be ritually high but enjoy high status because of wealth, political power and numerical strength. The presence of educated persons and high occupation rate also play an important role in deciding its dominance over other caste groupings. Sometimes a single clan of dominant caste controls a number of villages in areas. The dominant caste settle dispute between persons belonging to their own and other jati.The power of the dominant caste is supported by a norm discouraging village from seeking justice from area,govt official, court or police located outside the village. The members of the dominant caste particularly those from the wealthy and powerful families are representative of this village in dealing with the officials.

Purity and Pollution

The notions of purity and pollution are critical for defining and understanding caste hierarchy. According to these concepts, Brahmins hold the highest rank and Shudras the lowest in the caste hierarchy. The Varna System represents a social stratification which includes four varnas namely- Brahmans, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas and Shudras.The Shudras were allocated the lowest rank of social ladder and their responsibilities included service of the three Varnas. The superior castes tried to maintain their ceremonial purity

Dumont holds the notion of purity and pollution interlinked with the caste system and untouchability.The hierarchy of caste is decided according to the degree of purity and pollution. It plays a very crucial role in maintaining the required distance between different castes. But the pollution distance varies from caste to caste and from place to place.

Dipankar Gupta observes that the notion of purity and pollution as Dumont observed is integrally linked with the institution of untouchability .But unlike untouchability the notion of purity and pollution is also a historical accretion. Over time this notion freed itself from its specific and original task of separating untouchables from the others and began to be operative at different planes of the caste system.

The concept of purity and pollution plays a very crucial role in maintaining the required distance between different castes. But the pollution distance varies from caste to caste and from place to place.

Sanskritization

Prof M.N Srinivas introduced the term sanskritization to Indian Sociology. The term refers to a process whereby people of lower castes collectively try to adopt upper caste practices and beliefs to acquire higher status. It indicates a process of cultural mobility that is taking place in the traditional social system of India.M.N Srinivas in his study of the Coorg in Karnataka found that lower castes in order to raise their position in the caste hierarchy adopted some customs and practices of the Brahmins and gave up some of their own which were considered to be impure by the higher castes. For example they gave up meat eating, drinking liquor and animal sacrifice to their deities. They imitiated Brahmins in matters of dress, food and rituals. By this they could claim higher positions in the hierarchy of castes within a generation. The reference group in this process is not always Brahmins but may be the dominant caste of the locality.Sanskritization has occurred usually in groups who have enjoyed political and economic power but were not ranked high in ritual ranking. According to Yogendra Singh the process of sanskritization is an endogenous source of social change .Mackim Marriot observes that sanskritic rites are often added on to non-sanskritic rites without replacing them. Harold Gould writes, often the motive force behind sanskritisation is not of cultural imitation per se but an expression of challenge and revolt against the socioeconomic deprivations.

CLASS SYSTEM

Class System

The class system is universal phenomenon denoting a category or group of persons having a definite status in society which permanently determines their relation to other groups. The social classes are de facto groups (not legally or religiously defined and sanctioned) they are relatively open not closed. Their basis is indisputably economic but they are more than economic groups. They are characteristic groups of the industrial societies which have developed since 17th century. The relative importance and definition of membership in a particular class differs greatly over time and between societies, particularly in societies that have a legal differentiation of groups of people by birth or occupation. In the well-known example of socioeconomic class, many scholars view societies as stratifying into a hierarchical system based on occupation,economic status, wealth, or income.According to Ogburn and Nimkoff a social class is the aggregate of persons having essentially the same social status in a given society. Marx defined class in terms of the extent to which an individual or social group has control over the means of production.In Marxist terms a class is a group of people defined by their relationship to the means of production.Classes are seen to have their origin in the division of the social product into a necessary product and a surplus product. Marxists explain history in terms of a war of classes between those who control production and those who actually produce the goods or services in society (and also developments in technology and the like). In the Marxist view of capitalism this is a conflict between capitalists (bourgeoisie) and wage workers (proletariat). Class antagonism is rooted in the situation that control over social production necessarily entails control over the class which produces goods — in capitalism this is the exploitation of workers by the bourgeoisie. Marx saw class categories as defined by continuing historical processes. Classes, in Marxism, are not static entities, but are regenerated daily through the productive process. Marxism views classes as human social relationships which change over time, with historical commonality created through shared productive processes. A 17th-century farm labourer who worked for day wages shares a similar relationship to production as an average office worker of the 21st century. In this example it is the shared structure of wage labour that makes both of these individuals “working class.”Maclver and Page defines social class as any portion of the community marked off from the rest by social status.Max Weber suggest that social classes are aggregates of individuals who have the same opportunities of acquiring goods, the same exhibited standard of living. He formulated a three component theory of stratification with social, status and party classes (or politics) as conceptually distinct elements.

  • Social class is based on economic relationship to the market (owner, renter, employee, etc.)

  • Status class has to do with non-economic qualities such as education, honour and prestige

  • Party class refers to factors having to do with affiliations in the political domain

According to Weber a more complex division of labour made the class more heterogeneous.In contrast to simple income–property hierarchies, and to structural class schemes like Weber’s or Marx’s, there are theories of class based on other distinctions, such as culture or educational attainment. At times, social class can be related to elitism and those in the higher class are usually known as the “social elite”.For example, Bourdieu seems to have a notion of high and low classes comparable to that of Marxism, insofar as their conditions are defined by different habitus, which is in turn defined by different objectively classifiable conditions of existence. In fact, one of the principal distinctions Bourdieu makes is a distinction between bourgeoisie taste and the working class taste.Social class is a segment of society with all the members of all ages and both the sexes who share the same general status.Maclver says whenever social intercourse is limited by the consideration of social status by distinctions between higher and lower there exists a social class.

Characteristics of Social Class

A social class is essentially a status group. Class is related to status. Different statuses arise in a society as people do different things, engage in different activities and pursue different vocations. Status in the case of class system is achieved and not ascribed. Birth is not the criterion of status. Achievements of an individual mostly decide his status. Class is almost universal phenomenon. It occurs in all the modern complex societies of the world. Each social class has its own status in the society. Status is associated with prestige. The relative position of the class in the social set up arises from the degree of prestige attached to the status. A social class is relatively a stable group. A social class is distinguished from other classes by its customary modes of behaviour.This is often referred to as the life-styles of a particular class. It includes mode of dress, kind of living the means of recreation and cultural products one is able to enjoy, the relationship between parent and children. Life-styles reflect the specialty in preferences, tastes and values of a class. Social classes are open- groups. They represent an open social system. An open class system is one in which vertical social mobility is possible. The basis of social classes is mostly economic but they are not mere economic groups or divisions. Subjective criteria such as class- consciousness, class solidarity and class identification on the on hand and the objective criteria such as wealth, property, income, education and occupation on the other hand are equally important in the class system. Class system is associated with class consciousness. It is a sentiment that characterizes the relations of men towards the members of their own and other classes. It consists in the realization of a similarity of attitude and behavior with members of other classes.

Sociologists have given three-fold classification of classes which consists of – upper class, middle class and lower class.Sorokin has spoken of three major types of class stratification -they are economic, political and occupational classes. Lloyd Warner shows how class distinctions contribute to social stability.Veblen analyzed the consumption pattern of the rich class by the concept of conspicuous consumption. Warner has classified classes into six types- upper-upper class, upper-middle class, upper-lower class, lower-upper class, the lower middle class and lower class. Anthony Giddens’s three class model is the upper, middle and lower (working) class.

Jajmani system

William H Wiser introduced the term Jajmani system in the vocabulary of Indian sociology through his book The Hindu Jajmani system where he described in detail how different caste group interact with each other in the production and exchange of goods and services. In different parts of India different terms are used to describe this economic interaction among the castes for example in Maharashtra the term Balutadar is used. However in sociological literature jajmani system has come to be accepted as a general term to describe the economic interaction between the castes at the village level. This system is also a ritual system concerned with the aspects of purity and pollution as with economic aspects. It functions so that the highest caste remains pure while the lowest castes absorb pollution from them. Villages are composed of number of jatis each having its occupational speciality.Jajmani system is essentially an agriculture based system of production and distribution of goods and services. Through jajmani relations these occupational jatis get linked with the land owning dominant caste. The jajmani system operates around the families belonging to the land owning dominant caste the numbers of which are called jajmans.The land owning caste occupy a privileged position in the jajmani relations. The interaction between occupational castes and the land owning castes take place within the framework of non-reciprocal and asymmetrical type of relations. The land owning castes maintain a paternalistic attitude of superiority towards their occupational castes that are called Kamins in North India. The term Kamin means one who works for somebody or serves him.

In terms of Karl Polanyi’s classification of exchange system -Jajmani exchange can be termed as redistributive system of exchange. The Functionalist view of jajmani system regards it as the basis of self-sufficiency, unity, harmony and stability in the village community. However the Marxist scholars hold a very different opinion. They regard the jajmani system as essentially exploitative, characterized by a latent conflict of interest which could not crystallize due to the prevalent social setup. Thus if in future the conditions of the lower caste improve an open conflict between the lower and upper caste is inevitable. Oscar Lewis who studied Rampur village near Delhi and Biedelmn has been critical of the Jajmani system which they regard as exploitative. According to them the members of occupational jatis are largely landless labourers and have no resources to wage a struggle against the dominant caste out of the compulsion of the need for survival. They succumb to all injustice perpetuated by the landowning dominant caste who enjoy both economic and political power. Scholars like Berreman, Harold Gould and Pauline Kolenda etc accept that there is an element of truth in both the functionalist and Marxist views of the jajmani system. They believe that consensus and harmony as well as conflict and exploitation are prevalent in the village society. According to Dumont jajmani system makes use of hereditary personal relationships to express the division of labour.This system is a ritual expression rather than just an economic arrangement.S.C Dube refers to the system as corresponding to the presentation and counter presentation by which castes as a whole are bound together in a village which is more or less universal in nature. Leach believes that the system maintains and regulates the division of labour and economic interdependence of castes.

Karl Marx

Karl Marx’s (1818- 1883) thought was strongly influenced by:

The dialectical method and historical orientation of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel;

The classical political economy of Adam Smith and David Ricardo;

French socialist and sociological thought, in particular the thought of Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

The most important concepts of Karl Marx

The following concepts of Marx have aided sociological thought significantly;

Dialectical Materialism

Materialistic Interpretation of History i.e Historical Materialism

Class and Class conflict

Alienation

Marx believed that he could study history and society scientifically and discern tendencies of history and the resulting outcome of social conflicts. Some followers of Marx concluded, therefore, that a communist revolution is inevitable. However, Marx famously asserted in the eleventh of his Theses on Feuerbach that “philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point however is to change it”, and he clearly dedicated himself to trying to alter the world. Consequently, most followers of Marx are not fatalists, but activists who believe that revolutionaries must organize social change.

Marx’s view of history, which came to be called the materialist conception of history (and which was developed further as the philosophy of dialectical materialism) is certainly influenced by Hegel’s claim that reality (and history) should be viewed dialectically. Hegel believed that the direction of human history is characterized in the movement from the fragmentary toward the complete and the real (which was also a movement towards greater and greater rationality). Sometimes, Hegel explained, this progressive unfolding of the Absolute involves gradual, evolutionary accretion but at other times requires discontinuous, revolutionary leaps – episodal upheavals against the existing status quo. For example, Hegel strongly opposed the ancient institution of legal slavery that was practiced in the United States during his lifetime, and he envisioned a time when Christian nations would radically eliminate it from their civilization. While Marx accepted this broad conception of history, Hegel was an idealist, and Marx sought to rewrite dialectics in materialist terms. He wrote that Hegelianism stood the movement of reality on its head, and that it was necessary to set it upon its feet. (Hegel’s philosophy remained and remains in direct opposition to Marxism on this key point.)

Marx’s acceptance of this notion of materialist dialectics which rejected Hegel’s idealism was greatly influenced by Ludwig Feuerbach. In The Essence of Christianity, Feuerbach argued that God is really a creation of man and that the qualities people attribute to God are really qualities of humanity. Accordingly, Marx argued that it is the material world that is real and that our ideas of it are consequences, not causes, of the world. Thus, like Hegel and other philosophers, Marx distinguished between appearances and reality. But he did not believe that the material world hides from us the “real” world of the ideal; on the contrary, he thought that historically and socially specific ideologies prevented people from seeing the material conditions of their lives clearly.

The other important contribution to Marx’s revision of Hegelianism was Engels’ book, The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844, which led Marx to conceive of the historical dialectic in terms of class conflict and to see the modern working class as the most progressive force for revolution.The notion of labour is fundamental in Marx’s thought. Basically, Marx argued that it is human nature to transform nature, and he calls this process of transformation “labour” and the capacity to transform nature labour power. For Marx, this is a natural capacity for a physical activity, but it is intimately tied to the human mind and human imagination:A spider conducts operations that resemble those of a weaver, and a bee puts to shame many an architect in the construction of her cells. But what distinguishes the worst architect from the best of bees is this, that the architect raises his structure in imagination before he erects it in reality. (Capital, Vol. I, Chap. 7, Pt. 1) Karl Marx inherits that Hegelian dialectic and, with it, a disdain for the notion of an underlying invariant human nature. Sometimes Marxists express their views by contrasting “nature” with “history”. Sometimes they use the phrase “existence precedes consciousness”. The point, in either case, is that who a person is, is determined by where and when he is – social context takes precedence over innate behavior; or, in other words, one of the main features of human nature is adaptability. Marx did not believe that all people worked the same way, or that how one works is entirely personal and individual. Instead, he argued that work is a social activity and that the conditions and forms under and through which people work are socially determined and change over time.Marx’s analysis of history is based on his distinction between the means / forces of production, literally those things, such as land, natural resources, and technology, that are necessary for the production of material goods, and the relations of production, in other words, the social and technical relationships people enter into as they acquire and use the means of production. Together these comprise the mode of production; Marx observed that within any given society the mode of production changes, and that European societies had progressed from a feudal mode of production to a capitalist mode of production. In general, Marx believed that the means of production change more rapidly than the relations of production (for example, we develop a new technology, such as the Internet, and only later do we develop laws to regulate that technology). For Marx this mismatch between (economic) base and (social) superstructure is a major source of social disruption and conflict. Marx understood the “social relations of production” to comprise not only relations among individuals, but between or among groups of people, or classes. As a scientist and materialist, Marx did not understand classes as purely subjective (in other words, groups of people who consciously identified with one another). He sought to define classes in terms of objective criteria, such as their access to resources. For Marx, different classes have divergent interests, which is another source of social disruption and conflict. Conflict between social classes being something which is inherent in all human history:The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles. (The Communist Manifesto, Chap. 1)

Marx was especially concerned with how people relate to that most fundamental resource of all, their own labour-power. Marx wrote extensively about this in terms of the problem of alienation. As with the dialectic, Marx began with a Hegelian notion of alienation but developed a more materialist conception. For Marx, the possibility that one may give up ownership of one’s own labour – one’s capacity to transform the world – is tantamount to being alienated from one’s own nature; it is a spiritual loss. Marx described this loss in terms of commodity fetishism, in which the things that people produce, commodities, appear to have a life and movement of their own to which humans and their behavior merely adapt. This disguises the fact that the exchange and circulation of commodities really are the product and reflection of social relationships among people. Under capitalism, social relationships of production, such as among workers or between workers and capitalists, are mediated through commodities, including labor, that are bought and sold on the market.

Commodity fetishism is an example of what Engels called false consciousness, which is closely related to the understanding of ideology. By ideology they meant ideas that reflect the interests of a particular class at a particular time in history, but which are presented as universal and eternal. Marx and Engels’ point was not only that such beliefs are at best half-truths; they serve an important political function. Put another way, the control that one class exercises over the means of production includes not only the production of food or manufactured goods; it includes the production of ideas as well (this provides one possible explanation for why members of a subordinate class may hold ideas contrary to their own interests). Thus, while such ideas may be false, they also reveal in coded form some truth about political relations. For example, although the belief that the things people produce are actually more productive than the people who produce them is literally absurd, it does reflect the fact (according to Marx and Engels) that people under capitalism are alienated from their own labour-power. Another example of this sort of analysis is Marx’s understanding of religion, summed up in a passage from the preface to his 1843 Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right: Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people. Whereas his Gymnasium senior thesis argued that the primary social function of religion was to promote solidarity, here Marx sees the social function as a way of expressing and coping with social inequality, thereby maintaining the status quo. Marx argued that this alienation of human work (and resulting commodity fetishism) is precisely the defining feature of capitalism. Prior to capitalism, markets existed in Europe where producers and merchants bought and sold commodities. According to Marx, a capitalist mode of production developed in Europe when labor itself became a commodity – when peasants became free to sell their own labor-power, and needed to do so because they no longer possessed their own land or tools necessary to produce. People sell their labor-power when they accept compensation in return for whatever work they do in a given period of time (in other words, they are not selling the product of their labor, but their capacity to work). In return for selling their labor power they receive money, which allows them to survive. Those who must sell their labor power to live are “proletarians.” The person who buys the labor power, generally someone who does own the land and technology to produce, is a “capitalist” or “bourgeois.” (Marx considered this an objective description of capitalism, distinct from any one of a variety of ideological claims of or about capitalism). The proletarians inevitably outnumber the capitalists.

Marx distinguished industrial capitalists from merchant capitalists. Merchants buy goods in one place and sell them in another; more precisely, they buy things in one market and sell them in another. Since the laws of supply and demand operate within given markets, there is often a difference between the price of a commodity in one market and another. Merchants, then, practice arbitrage, and hope to capture the difference between these two markets. According to Marx, capitalists, on the other hand, take advantage of the difference between the labor market and the market for whatever commodity is produced by the capitalist. Marx observed that in practically every successful industry input unit-costs are lower than output unit-prices. Marx called the difference “surplus value” and argued that this surplus value had its source in surplus labour.

The capitalist mode of production is capable of tremendous growth because the capitalist can, and has an incentive to, reinvest profits in new technologies. Marx considered the capitalist class to be the most revolutionary in history, because it constantly revolutionized the means of production. But Marx argued that capitalism was prone to periodic crises. He suggested that over time, capitalists would invest more and more in new technologies, and less and less in labor. Since Marx believed that surplus value appropriated from labor is the source of profits, he concluded that the rate of profit would fall even as the economy grew. When the rate of profit falls below a certain point, the result would be a recession or depression in which certain sectors of the economy would collapse. Marx understood that during such a crisis the price of labor would also fall, and eventually make possible the investment in new technologies and the growth of new sectors of the economy.

Marx believed that this cycle of growth, collapse, and growth would be punctuated by increasingly severe crises. Moreover, he believed that the long-term consequence of this process was necessarily the enrichment and empowerment of the capitalist class and the impoverishment of the proletariat. He believed that were the proletariat to seize the means of production, they would encourage social relations that would benefit everyone equally, and a system of production less vulnerable to periodic crises. In general, Marx thought that peaceful negotiation of this problem was impracticable, and that a massive, well-organized and violent revolution would in general be required, because the ruling class would not give up power without violence. He theorized that to establish the socialist system, a dictatorship of the proletariat – a period where the needs of the working-class, not of capital, will be the common deciding factor – must be created on a temporary basis. As he wrote in his “Critique of the Gotha Program”, “between capitalist and communist society there lies the period of the revolutionary transformation of the one into the other. Corresponding to this is also a political transition period in which the state can be nothing but the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat.”

In the 1920s and ’30s, a group of dissident Marxists founded the Institute for Social Research in Germany, among them Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno, Erich Fromm, and Herbert Marcuse. As a group, these authors are often called the Frankfurt School. Their work is known as Critical Theory, a type of Marxist philosophy and cultural criticism heavily influenced by Hegel, Freud, Nietzsche, and Max Weber.The Frankfurt School broke with earlier Marxists, including Lenin and Bolshevism in several key ways. First, writing at the time of the ascendance of Stalinism and Fascism, they had grave doubts as to the traditional Marxist concept of proletarian class consciousness. Second, unlike earlier Marxists, especially Lenin, they rejected economic determinism. While highly influential, their work has been criticized by both orthodox Marxists and some Marxists involved in political practice for divorcing Marxist theory from practical struggle and turning Marxism into a purely academic enterprise.Other influential non-Bolshevik Marxists at that time include Georg Lukacs, Walter Benjamin and Antonio Gramsci, who along with the Frankfurt School are often known by the term Western Marxism. Henryk Grossman, who elaborated the mathematical basis of Marx’s ‘law of capitalist breakdown’, was another affiliate of the Frankfurt School. Also prominent during this period was the Polish revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg.In 1949 Paul Sweezy and Leo Huberman founded Monthly Review, a journal and press, to provide an outlet for Marxist thought in the United States independent of the Communist Party.In 1978, G. A. Cohen attempted to defend Marx’s thought as a coherent and scientific theory of history by reconstructing it through the lens of analytic philosophy. This gave birth to Analytical Marxism, an academic movement which also included Jon Elster, Adam Przeworski and John Roemer. Bertell Ollman is another Anglophone champion of Marx within the academy

 

How to use Current Affairs in Sociology

Credit goes to my group of online friends

 

  • Marx’s alienation –  It is true, however, that some young workers have bought into this rhetoric of “freedom” and “liberation” peddled by the capitalists at the head of the on-demand economy. But this does not prove the strength of bourgeois libertarian ideas. Rather, the embracement of the freelance lifestyle reflects the opposite: the alienation from work that many experience as a result of their experiences toiling away in mind-numbing jobs within giant, faceless capitalist corporations.

  • How thin political markets undermine democracy in Capitalist society – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/fixcapitalism/how-thin-political-market_b_8278358.html?ir=India&amp;adsSiteOverride=in

  • Class struggle  – Workers’ strike in Munnar tea plantation, Maruti, Toyota, Air France worker’s strike as 2900 jobs to go. Women sidelined the trade unions, which are male dominated, to get their demands sanctioned.  Dalit women breaking away from their trade unions, joining the struggle, and representing themselves in a bold rebellion against capitalism and patriarchy, including a male-dominated trade union structure.  The ‘Pompilai Orumai,’ in protest against the system of gender segregation practised in the plantations, kept at bay not only the male trade union leaders, but also the men in their own family during the struggle. ‘Pombilai Orumai’ is now busy building its own union on its own terms; it has also fielded candidates in the local government elections to be held in early November. The struggle also reminds us that even within the laudable Kerala model of social development, the Dalit experience leaves much to be desired. Dalit families have lived in two-room tenements (layams) for generations and their conditions do not reflect the much-applauded social welfare indicators of the State.

  • Durkheim Suicide –

    • Altruistic suicide – Suicide bomber,

    • Fatalistic suicide – farmers’s suicide in Marathwada, suicide by a couple in Delhi after their kid died of dengue.

    • Anomic suicide – During 2008 recession, after stocks tumbled.

    • Egoistic suicide –

  • In Jharkhand’s Singhbhum, religion census deepens divide among tribals- hindus and non hindus

 

  • Merton

    • Deviance – drug addiction in Punjab,

    • Reference groups –

    • Latent functions –

    • Manifest functions –

  • Deprivation -The common thread linking pervasive violence in sub saharan Africa is not just a shared religious ideology characterised by extreme violence and intolerance. The appeal of Islamist militancy to populations in the Sahel, northern Nigeria and the Horn of Africa is underpinned by a lack of inclusive political systems or credible attempts by central governments to address the needs of alienated minorities. Naxal problem,

  • Gender stratification –   Female workers in California will get new tools to challenge gender-based wage gaps under legislation signed into law Tuesday that supporters say offers the strongest equal-pay protection in the nation.  “The stratification and the pay disparities in California and in America, probably in the world, are something that really eats away at our whole society,” Brown said. He called the legislation a “milestone.”  It also protects workers from discrimination and retaliation if they ask questions about how much other people earn, though it doesn’t require that employers provide that information. Workers also will gain the right to sue if they are paid less than someone with a different job title who does “substantially similar” work.

  • Social mobility -Working-class graduates will be given special consideration for jobs at leading firms above affluent applicants.The move aims to improve social mobility in professions dominated by privately educated graduates, such as law and accountancy.

        More young graduates in London now live with their parents than on their own because they are unable to afford the cost of renting or buying a home, while those from outside the capital are finding themselves locked out of the city altogether.   London School of Economics

  • Power Elite –  A study in the psychology of why the average Nigerian wants to be president or governor should be interesting and revealing but one can make an educated guess here that the power and prestige the position confers would be right at the top. Such power and prestige, of course, include predominantly economic advantages. Such economic advantages, the looting of the treasuries as we know it to be, are essentially about the greed of the power elite and the empowering of family members and cronies. In some societies where people are quite capable of linking their collective poverty to the corruption and greed of the power elite, and they resent it, the fight against corruption cannot be the fight of President Muhammadu Buhari, but that of ordinary Nigerians.

  • Power Elite –  Intimately linked to the power elite within the US government, United Fruit extracted huge profits and rejected any reforms that challenged its control of the land. It was the largest landholder and employer in Guatemala. It owned railroads and discouraged the building of highways. It had long controlled Guatemala’s politicians. It’s power was so extensive that one historian compares it to the Dutch East India Company in its influence. It’s shareholders and supporters were amply distributed throughout the foreign policy establishment in the US.

    • How power elites in villages of Bihar remove posters aimed at spreading awareness among the underprivileged.

    • How village elites allocated land to the poor to escape land reform laws.

  • Pressure groups –  The National People’s Party (NPP) which had been formed to look after the interest of the tribals has earned the wrath of several pressure groups from Garo Hills for deciding to field a non-tribal candidate in the upcoming GHADC polls.

    • On whether India should have formed a pressure group of Germany, Japan, Brazil and India to put up a united front for each of the four countries to get permanent seats on the Security Council there are two opinions. Only time will tell whether that was a good move. The detractors contend that by doing that we have endangered the support of Russia which has been a bulwark of support to India in the UN for decades. The Chinese too could shy away from supporting India for working in tandem with Japan with which the Chinese have major differences.

  • Political parties-

    • RTI No doubt, there are already provisions under the Representation of the People’s Act and the Income Tax Act to bring transparency in the financial aspects of political parties yet the excuse of being kept out of the purview of RTI speaks of their double standards. What is the harm if the political parties too are brought under the provisions of the RTI Act to ensure more transparency? Everybody is equal before law and political parties are no exception. There are numerous organizations and agencies which don’t hesitate to be accountable before the people. Therefore, on priority political parties should be brought under the ambit of the provision of RTI Act.The Central Information Commission (CIC) in 2013 had declared all the six parties (BJP, Congress, CPM, BSP, CPI & NCP) as public authorities.There are certain organizations like Hurriyat Conference in Jammu and Kashmir which indulge in anti-national activities. No doubt, existing laws deal with such criminals who work against the country and indulge in other unlawful activities but the outreach of RTI Act will empower the people to know real faces of those who flourish on their miseries.The Law Commission in its 170th report had also made recommendation for transparency in functioning of political parties, especially on internal democracy, financial transparency and accountability in their working.Apprehension that political rivals might file RTI application with malicious intentions should not come in the way of politicians being made liable to scrutiny.http://www.dailyexcelsior.com/why-political-parties-shy-to-come-under-rti/

    • Govt. decision to grant citizenship to Hindu refugees from Pakistan and Bangladesh

  • Civil Society –

    • Namma Bengaluru Foundation-Citizen Partnership (NBF-CP), a citizen and civil society led partnership have launched Citizens Charter for Bangalore to rid the city of corruption, vested interests and to ensure that the recently formed Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Council delivers on its promises to the citizens.

    • Terming Civil society as oxygen of democracy, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in his message for International Day of Democracy to be observed on September 15, said that the Civil society acted as a catalyst for social progress and economic growth by keeping Governments accountable by representing the diverse interests of the population, including its most vulnerable groups

    •  Civil society groups from Nagaland and Assam have decided to come together for thrashing out solution to the festering disputes and help building trust between communities in the two states.Christened as ” Naga-Assamese Round Table Talk”, representatives from both the states will take part in a dialogue here on October 9.

  • Protest –

    • Kurds protested and went on strike in northern Iraq on Wednesday in a show of growing discontent that threatens to further undermine stability at a time when their region is at war with ISIS.Teachers, hospital workers and other public sector employees have taken to the streets for nearly a week demanding their wages from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), which is three months in arrears. The demonstrations are the most sustained unrest in the autonomous region of Kurdistan since the start of an economic crisis compounded by the conflict with ISIS and a drop in oil prices that has pushed the region to the verge of bankruptcy.

  • Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) took out a rally here on Tuesday seeking regularisation of their services and increased wages.Their demands include setting up of a corpus fund of Rs. 5 crore for their welfare, immediate release of matching incentive from the State government, online payment, health and life insurance facilities with the government paying half the premium amount, and additional payment when workers provide extra services.ASHA Workers Union, led the protest.

    • FTII protest declared unwarranted by Khan committee

    • Tea plantation workers

    • Lala lajpat rai died during lathi charge while protesting against Simon commission

    • OROP protests

    • protest against app based cabs

    • protest against walmart

    • Protest held over proposed hike in Delhi MLAs’ salaries

  • Agitation-

    • Agitation by rain hit farmers in Punjab

    • Agitation by Gujjars for reservation on train tracks

    • Quota agitation by Patidars

  • Collective action-

    •  He observed that the main limitation of rural producers in villages was lack of access to markets. He also noticed the positive role co-operatives played in rural economies through collective action. “Besides lack of access to markets, another issue weavers faced was managing the supply chain which was quite complex considering that most of these producers are quite small and are in rural parts of the country,” says the founder and MD GoCoop.

    • Surendra Manan’s film The Battle Begins highlights this collective action to stop pollution of river and water bodies.\

  • Revolution –

    • Arab spring

  • Religion and science –

    • Vegetarian and non vegetarian debate

    • Religion inspires science – space craft, guided missiles in hindu mythology

    • Science inspires religion – online puja, sms, online arti, online darshan

  • Secularization –

    • Growing secularization has only enhanced our obsession with money and toys. Even honestly pursuing the American Dream (however that is defined) throws us into an endless cycle of competition, consumption, comparison and stress. Social media, despite its benefits, keeps us ever aware of what others have that we don’t.- USA

    • There is a unique type of secularization at the core of the Islamic segment of society’s adventure of change in Turkey. People personalized their religiosity while they protected it. Thus, different religiosities had a chance to coexist in the Islamic community. While pluralism created the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), it was also naturally encouraged by the party. Thanks to this, the AK Party’s voter base expanded and many different Islamic groups came to be represented under the umbrella of the AK Party.  Secularization was needed to protect the religion.

  • Religious revivalism-

    • The evidence would pretty much demonstrate that this was wrong. Religion seems in the 21st century to be enjoying a global revival that was absent in the 20th and downplayed in the 19th.

    • More broadly, as an agnostic and a sceptic, I would be suspicious of the phenomenon of religious revival per se. Having said that, the force and beauty of spirituality must be welcome in an otherwise excessively materialist world.

    • Religious revivalism in China is by no means limited to Christianity; there have been considerable developments in Taoism and Buddhism, some approved, some forcefully disapproved and persecuted, notably the Falun Gong.

  • Fundamentalism

    • Fundamentalist beliefs have driven countless beheadings, bombings, and execution-style murders by terrorist groups like ISIS and al Qaeda in the last year alone.

    • At age 78, writer M.M. Kalburgi remained hard at work at his home in southern India. He was putting the final touches on a lengthy introduction to a volume of ancient Kannada-language verse, which was due to be translated into Mandarin, Japanese, French and Spanish.But one morning late last month, two young men knocked at his door and introduced themselves to his wife as his students. Without warning, they shot Kalburgi twice in the forehead and fled on a motorbike.

    • Attacks on bloggers in Bangladesh

  • Family

    • Single parent and dual-income families have become the norm, and now are more common than the once prevalent two-parent, single-earner households of the mid-20th century.

  • As male involvement in family life increases, now younger men are expected to share in the care and raising of children, often creating dissonance between work expectations and family life.

    • Creating even more pressure on families is the fact that in an increasingly globalized world, many working women and men are continually at risk of losing their jobs to downsizing, or to individuals in other countries where labor is cheaper.

  • we must alter the fundamental assumption that employee and employer interests are mutually exclusive, and in opposition to one another.

    • This scenario becomes even more complex when we factor in social class. Frequently in the U.S., the highest-paid workers tend to receive the best benefits packages (for instance, increased workplace flexibility and paid family leave) while the employees who may have the greatest need for family-support assistance from their employers, may be the least likely to receive them.

  • Patriarchy-

    • Decades ago, feminist philosopher Mary Daly claimed that patriarchy is the religion of the planet.

    • the Church still forbids the ordination of women to the priesthood. Catholic women are still not allowed control of their own reproductive lives. Same with other religions.

    • Hindu women are subject to dowries that amount to extortion payments to take women off of families’ hands;

    • We know that ISIS kidnaps and rapes women–with a ready religious justification built from their misreadings of the Qur’an and some Islamic scholars, while Boko Haram kidnaps and rapes girls in Nigeria.

    • The recently released documentary, The Hunting Ground, documents the epidemic of sexual assault on college campuses

    • An important message Kangana delivers while talking about gender-discrimination, sexism and patriarchy is that women should stop seeking other people’s approval or caring about what the society expects them to be. She says that she never does films for anybody’s approval as people’s opinion of her always shifts and keeps changing. She says ,”you got to be confident” and “as women we can’t hope to get our due. We need to get up and get it ourselves!”

    • Kangana’s sister is an acid attack victim.

    • I believe in addition to religious and traditional patriarchy, there is now capitalist patriarchy like pornography, and cosmetics. This thing of women to look pretty, is another patriarchy, item numbers in movies, toy industry — guns for boys and Barbie for girls. Today Teej for me is a form of patriarchy happening in five star hotels, it is the same with Karva Chaudh in India.”

    • One Billion Rising or OBR is a global campaigning against violence against women and girls, started three-four years ago.

  • In the 1980s a new approach, gender and development (GAD), was introduced. GAD focused on gendered division of labour within the home and in waged work, access to and control over resources and benefits, and the material and social position of women and men in different developmental contexts. GAD advocates argued that empowering women and transforming unequal relationships were the solution to gender inequality both within and outside of the family.

  • Sexual division of labour

    • Hollywood’s gender bias is a subject that has been gaining conversational momentum in recent years.  And, as proof that someone is actually listening to this important dialogue, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has taken steps to interview female filmmakers

    • The technology giant is being sued by a former female employee for alleged gender bias that resulted in lower salaries and lack of promotions for women at the company.

  • Family –

    • Single parent family

    • Family trends in US http://dailysignal.com/2015/01/19/whats-real-story-marriage-family-trends-heres-11-findings/

    • October 12 marks the fourth anniversary of when the United States became a “no-fault nation.” On that date in 2010, New York, the last holdout, finally joined the 49 other states in eliminating the need for divorcing couples to state that the dissolution of their marriage was the “fault” of one or the other.“no-fault divorce has been a disaster,” leading to record numbers of divorces and plummeting rates ofmany researchers have found that although every state that adopted no-fault divorce saw a burst of pent-up divorces in the first few years after passage, divorce rates leveled off thereafter and have actually fallen since no-fault became the norm.Many studies have shown that job loss and financial strain raise the risk of divorce. But divorce rates fell during the Great Depression of the 1930s, and some observers have claimed that “the silver lining” of this more recent economic crisis has been a similar dip in divorce.Regardless of educational attainment, the divorce rate for couples aged 50 and older has doubled since 1990, and it has more than doubled for married individuals aged 65 and older.the recession inhibited many couples from divorcing, leading to about 150,000 fewer divorces between 2009 and 2011 than might have been expected in view of previous trends.However, the divorce rate has ticked up again since then.

    • shift from consanguine to conjugal family.There is a decline in social roles in families with socialisation roles being shared by other agencies such as peer groups, schools and media.There are changes in the internal structure of families too. The relationships among the family members have also changed with changes in family obligations, decision-making power, socialisation practices and child-rearing practices. The central authority of the eldest male is weakening and there is a reworking of power and authority among family members.he wife now has a greater power in affairs of her home and in decision-making. Parental authority over children has reduced. Children enjoy more freedom to choose their lives, and are consulted in decision-making process. The change is vivid in urban areas. There are simultaneous changes in the traditional value system too.Values like respect for the old and the elderly, care and concern for the weak and the needy, co-operation, service etc, are being replaced by modern values of individual freedom, personal lives, non­-interference and so on.

  • Social change

    • Preethi Herman, country lead of Change.org India’s, said: “Launching Change.org Hindi on Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary is the biggest tribute to the concept that every person can create positive social change.

    • The Ferguson Commission won’t bring social change. Black Lives Matter will

  • Universities should serve as agents of social change and development

    • SSA

    • Cycle distribution in Bihar among girls

    • Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed inaugurated two J&K Bank-developed model schools equipped with state-of-the art Smart Class facilities in South Kashmir on Tuesday, an official spokesman said.

    • Science Express begins 7-month journey to ignite minds

    • Oregon gun menace – volunteers to keep an eye on emotionally unstable students, metal detectors,  reduce access to gun, why only campuses targetted? India – unlicensed arms with robbers, police verification perfunctory, US – misuse of licence

  • Women empowerment – Siswa village in Anand district. All women panchayat elected through consensus.

  • Women MPs refused to go out for a walk with Smriti Irani

  • Mumbai – minority lady in borivali went to hospital to deliver – her husband was in office – hospital turned her away – she tried going to other side of borivalli – delivered on railway track – the infant died

Sociology Mind Maps

Sociology Mind Maps

Sociology optionals in mains is a scoring subject if one

writes answers in sociological perspective.

Best suggestion is to make mind maps for each topic and

use as many thinkers as possible in answers.

Some of the mind maps for reference

CULTURE OF OPEN DEFECATION

Social Justice and Empowerment: “Public Health”
CULTURE OF OPEN DEFECATION

In India, Open defecation is a traditional practice from early childhood.

Social Aspect: Sanitation is not a socially acceptable topic, and people do not like to discuss it.

Consequence: Open Defecation has persisted as a norm for many Indians
Reasons for Open Defecation:
Poverty
No priority for toilets
Rented houses without toilets @ slums in towns and cities
Society point of view:

Society does not view lack of a toilet as unacceptable. Building and Owning a toilet is not perceived as aspirational.

Govt Responsibility or Individual Responsibility??
Construction of toilets is still seen as the Govt’s responsibility rather than a priority that individual households should take responsibility for.

CHALLENGE:
Motivate people to see toilet as fundamental to their social standing, status and well-being

AWARENESS:
People are aware of health risks related to poor sanitation – specifically of not using a toilet and practising good hygeine but they continue with unhealthy practices

Rural vs Urban:
The practice of open defecation is not limited to rural India. it is found in urban areas too where the percentage of people who defecate in the open is 12% while in rural is 65%

Reasons for Open defecation in urban areas:
lack of space to build in high density settlements
tenants unwilling to invest in toilets where landlords do not provide them
Traditional practice in rural areas:
Open defecation is prevalent among all socio-economic groups although the bottom two wealth quintiles practice it most

Main Challenge to eliminate Open defecation:

Inadequate Human Resource base for sanitation
No dedicated frontline workers to promote and implement sanitation strategies.
No mechanism for their training, management and supervision
Key Requirement:
Integration of Social Behaviour Change Communication (SBCC) elements into Swatchh Bharat Mission (SBM)
Gram Panchayats who receive resources frpm SBM do not benefit from SBCC drive to stimulate demand for toilets.
Elements not integrated in SBM:

Systematic and Structured Information, Education and Communication (IEC) and Inter-Personal Communication (IPC)

The absence of SBCC activities means that many households that receive toilets have not demanded them.

As a result, not all members of the household use the toilets they do not know their benefits. In a small number of cases, no members of the household use the toilets, illustrating the need for more community-level information about sanitation.

Basis and Significance of Reservation

Basis and Significance of Reservation
Prof. Vivek Kumar, JNU

In the recent debates on reservation some people have suggested that let us now give reservation to so-called upper castes according to percentage of their population. I do not agree with this argument. I think those who are mooting this idea are doing in frustration or out of their ignorance about the logic and basis of reservation. By even mooting this idea we dilute the principles of reservation and spread the idea that reservation can be granted to anyone. One should not forget and misunderstand the logic of reservation. There are very significant, fundamental and structural principles on the basis of which this reservation was conceded to SC, STs and to some OBCs after intense debates in the constituent assembly and centuries of movements by SCs, STs, and OBCs. Few of them were:

1. They have faced thousands of years of exclusion and discrimination and were not accepted as even human beings.

2. This exclusion and discrimination of thousands of years was cumulative in nature, that is, it was not in one aspect of life but it was in most of the spheres, for instance in social, economic, political, educational, religious, residential, occupational, etc.

3. The founding fathers of the Indian nation thought that even after these people were accorded human rights enshrined in the democratic constitution of India and there will be penal provisions according to Indian Penal Code one will not be able to obliterate this exclusion and discrimination against these people and there should be some special provisions for them in the realm of Politics, Bureaucracy, and Education.

4. There is an element of social justice in the reservation of SCs, STs, and OBCs. It involves historical corrective of injustices done to SCs and STS.

5. There was no time limit fixed for reservation for SC and STs in Bureaucratic Jobs and in Educational Institutions. Only political reservation under article 330 and 332 of Indian Constitution, which reserves seats in Lok Sabha and in Vidhan Sabhas of different States were for 10 years. However, these reservations have been given new life with different amendments.

6. The most important point is ‘Reservation for SCs and STs’ is directly connected with the issue of representation. It was because they did not have any representation in any sphere of life, that is, in social, economic, political, educational, etc. sphere for thousands of years and therefore they were supposed to get representation in these Institutions.

7. Therefore, reservation is not poverty alleviation programme. The founding fathers of nation did not think to remove poverty of scheduled caste persons through reservations. In fact there are so many poverty alleviation programmes begin run in India. One such programme is MNREGA, the other is Prime Minister’s Rojgar Yojna etc. They always thought to grant SCs and STs Self-representation through reservation.

In the light of the above we cannot concede reservation to Upper Castes. Second we cannot concede reservations on economic basis

Theoretical contribution of Karl Marx

Marx believed that he could study history and society scientifically and discern tendencies of history and the resulting outcome of social conflicts. Some followers of Marx concluded, therefore, that a communist revolution is inevitable. However, Marx famously asserted in the eleventh of his Theses on Feuerbach that “philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point however is to change it”, and he clearly dedicated himself to trying to alter the world. Consequently, most followers of Marx are not fatalists, but activists who believe that revolutionaries must organize social change.

Marx’s view of history, which came to be called the materialist conception of history (and which was developed further as the philosophy of dialectical materialism) is certainly influenced by Hegel’s claim that reality (and history) should be viewed dialectically. Hegel believed that the direction of human history is characterized in the movement from the fragmentary toward the complete and the real (which was also a movement towards greater and greater rationality). Sometimes, Hegel explained, this progressive unfolding of the Absolute involves gradual, evolutionary accretion but at other times requires discontinuous, revolutionary leaps – episodal upheavals against the existing status quo. For example, Hegel strongly opposed the ancient institution of legal slavery that was practiced in the United States during his lifetime, and he envisioned a time when Christian nations would radically eliminate it from their civilization. While Marx accepted this broad conception of history, Hegel was an idealist, and Marx sought to rewrite dialectics in materialist terms. He wrote that Hegelianism stood the movement of reality on its head, and that it was necessary to set it upon its feet. (Hegel’s philosophy remained and remains in direct opposition to Marxism on this key point.)

Marx’s acceptance of this notion of materialist dialectics which rejected Hegel’s idealism was greatly influenced by Ludwig Feuerbach. In The Essence of Christianity, Feuerbach argued that God is really a creation of man and that the qualities people attribute to God are really qualities of humanity. Accordingly, Marx argued that it is the material world that is real and that our ideas of it are consequences, not causes, of the world. Thus, like Hegel and other philosophers, Marx distinguished between appearances and reality. But he did not believe that the material world hides from us the “real” world of the ideal; on the contrary, he thought that historically and socially specific ideologies prevented people from seeing the material conditions of their lives clearly.

The other important contribution to Marx’s revision of Hegelianism was Engels’ book, The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844, which led Marx to conceive of the historical dialectic in terms of class conflict and to see the modern working class as the most progressive force for revolution.The notion of labour is fundamental in Marx’s thought. Basically, Marx argued that it is human nature to transform nature, and he calls this process of transformation “labour” and the capacity to transform nature labour power. For Marx, this is a natural capacity for a physical activity, but it is intimately tied to the human mind and human imagination:A spider conducts operations that resemble those of a weaver, and a bee puts to shame many an architect in the construction of her cells. But what distinguishes the worst architect from the best of bees is this, that the architect raises his structure in imagination before he erects it in reality. (Capital, Vol. I, Chap. 7, Pt. 1) Karl Marx inherits that Hegelian dialectic and, with it, a disdain for the notion of an underlying invariant human nature. Sometimes Marxists express their views by contrasting “nature” with “history”. Sometimes they use the phrase “existence precedes consciousness”. The point, in either case, is that who a person is, is determined by where and when he is – social context takes precedence over innate behavior; or, in other words, one of the main features of human nature is adaptability. Marx did not believe that all people worked the same way, or that how one works is entirely personal and individual. Instead, he argued that work is a social activity and that the conditions and forms under and through which people work are socially determined and change over time.Marx’s analysis of history is based on his distinction between the means / forces of production, literally those things, such as land, natural resources, and technology, that are necessary for the production of material goods, and the relations of production, in other words, the social and technical relationships people enter into as they acquire and use the means of production. Together these comprise the mode of production; Marx observed that within any given society the mode of production changes, and that European societies had progressed from a feudal mode of production to a capitalist mode of production. In general, Marx believed that the means of production change more rapidly than the relations of production (for example, we develop a new technology, such as the Internet, and only later do we develop laws to regulate that technology). For Marx this mismatch between (economic) base and (social) superstructure is a major source of social disruption and conflict. Marx understood the “social relations of production” to comprise not only relations among individuals, but between or among groups of people, or classes. As a scientist and materialist, Marx did not understand classes as purely subjective (in other words, groups of people who consciously identified with one another). He sought to define classes in terms of objective criteria, such as their access to resources. For Marx, different classes have divergent interests, which is another source of social disruption and conflict. Conflict between social classes being something which is inherent in all human history: The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles. (The Communist Manifesto, Chap. 1) Marx was especially concerned with how people relate to that most fundamental resource of all, their own labour-power. Marx wrote extensively about this in terms of the problem of alienation. As with the dialectic, Marx began with a Hegelian notion of alienation but developed a more materialist conception. For Marx, the possibility that one may give up ownership of one’s own labour – one’s capacity to transform the world – is tantamount to being alienated from one’s own nature; it is a spiritual loss. Marx described this loss in terms of commodity fetishism, in which the things that people produce, commodities, appear to have a life and movement of their own to which humans and their behavior merely adapt. This disguises the fact that the exchange and circulation of commodities really are the product and reflection of social relationships among people. Under capitalism, social relationships of production, such as among workers or between workers and capitalists, are mediated through commodities, including labor, that are bought and sold on the market.

Commodity fetishism is an example of what Engels called false consciousness, which is closely related to the understanding of ideology. By ideology they meant ideas that reflect the interests of a particular class at a particular time in history, but which are presented as universal and eternal. Marx and Engels’ point was not only that such beliefs are at best half-truths; they serve an important political function. Put another way, the control that one class exercises over the means of production includes not only the production of food or manufactured goods; it includes the production of ideas as well (this provides one possible explanation for why members of a subordinate class may hold ideas contrary to their own interests). Thus, while such ideas may be false, they also reveal in coded form some truth about political relations. For example, although the belief that the things people produce are actually more productive than the people who produce them is literally absurd, it does reflect the fact (according to Marx and Engels) that people under capitalism are alienated from their own labour-power. Another example of this sort of analysis is Marx’s understanding of religion, summed up in a passage from the preface to his 1843 Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right: Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people. Whereas his Gymnasium senior thesis argued that the primary social function of religion was to promote solidarity, here Marx sees the social function as a way of expressing and coping with social inequality, thereby maintaining the status quo. Marx argued that this alienation of human work (and resulting commodity fetishism) is precisely the defining feature of capitalism. Prior to capitalism, markets existed in Europe where producers and merchants bought and sold commodities. According to Marx, a capitalist mode of production developed in Europe when labor itself became a commodity – when peasants became free to sell their own labor-power, and needed to do so because they no longer possessed their own land or tools necessary to produce. People sell their labor-power when they accept compensation in return for whatever work they do in a given period of time (in other words, they are not selling the product of their labor, but their capacity to work). In return for selling their labor power they receive money, which allows them to survive. Those who must sell their labor power to live are “proletarians.” The person who buys the labor power, generally someone who does own the land and technology to produce, is a “capitalist” or “bourgeois.” (Marx considered this an objective description of capitalism, distinct from any one of a variety of ideological claims of or about capitalism). The proletarians inevitably outnumber the capitalists.

Marx distinguished industrial capitalists from merchant capitalists. Merchants buy goods in one place and sell them in another; more precisely, they buy things in one market and sell them in another. Since the laws of supply and demand operate within given markets, there is often a difference between the price of a commodity in one market and another. Merchants, then, practice arbitrage, and hope to capture the difference between these two markets. According to Marx, capitalists, on the other hand, take advantage of the difference between the labor market and the market for whatever commodity is produced by the capitalist. Marx observed that in practically every successful industry input unit-costs are lower than output unit-prices. Marx called the difference “surplus value” and argued that this surplus value had its source in surplus labour.

The capitalist mode of production is capable of tremendous growth because the capitalist can, and has an incentive to, reinvest profits in new technologies. Marx considered the capitalist class to be the most revolutionary in history, because it constantly revolutionized the means of production. But Marx argued that capitalism was prone to periodic crises. He suggested that over time, capitalists would invest more and more in new technologies, and less and less in labor. Since Marx believed that surplus value appropriated from labor is the source of profits, he concluded that the rate of profit would fall even as the economy grew. When the rate of profit falls below a certain point, the result would be a recession or depression in which certain sectors of the economy would collapse. Marx understood that during such a crisis the price of labor would also fall, and eventually make possible the investment in new technologies and the growth of new sectors of the economy.

M arx believed that this cycle of growth, collapse, and growth would be punctuated by increasingly severe crises. Moreover, he believed that the long-term consequence of this process was necessarily the enrichment and empowerment of the capitalist class and the impoverishment of the proletariat. He believed that were the proletariat to seize the means of production, they would encourage social relations that would benefit everyone equally, and a system of production less vulnerable to periodic crises. In general, Marx thought that peaceful negotiation of this problem was impracticable, and that a massive, well-organized and violent revolution would in general be required, because the ruling class would not give up power without violence. He theorized that to establish the socialist system, a dictatorship of the proletariat – a period where the needs of the working-class, not of capital, will be the common deciding factor – must be created on a temporary basis. As he wrote in his “Critique of the Gotha Program”, “between capitalist and communist society there lies the period of the revolutionary transformation of the one into the other. Corresponding to this is also a political transition period in which the state can be nothing but the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat.”

In the 1920s and ’30s, a group of dissident Marxists founded the Institute for Social Research in Germany, among them Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno, Erich Fromm, and Herbert Marcuse. As a group, these authors are often called the Frankfurt School. Their work is known as Critical Theory, a type of Marxist philosophy and cultural criticism heavily influenced by Hegel, Freud, Nietzsche, and Max Weber.The Frankfurt School broke with earlier Marxists, including Lenin and Bolshevism in several key ways. First, writing at the time of the ascendance of Stalinism and Fascism, they had grave doubts as to the traditional Marxist concept of proletarian class consciousness. Second, unlike earlier Marxists, especially Lenin, they rejected economic determinism. While highly influential, their work has been criticized by both orthodox Marxists and some Marxists involved in political practice for divorcing Marxist theory from practical struggle and turning Marxism into a purely academic enterprise.Other influential non-Bolshevik Marxists at that time include Georg Lukacs, Walter Benjamin and Antonio Gramsci, who along with the Frankfurt School are often known by the term Western Marxism. Henryk Grossman, who elaborated the mathematical basis of Marx’s ‘law of capitalist breakdown’, was another affiliate of the Frankfurt School. Also prominent during this period was the Polish revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg.In 1949 Paul Sweezy and Leo Huberman founded Monthly Review, a journal and press, to provide an outlet for Marxist thought in the United States independent of the Communist Party.In 1978, G. A. Cohen attempted to defend Marx’s thought as a coherent and scientific theory of history by reconstructing it through the lens of analytic philosophy. This gave birth to Analytical Marxism, an academic movement which also included Jon Elster, Adam Przeworski and John Roemer. Bertell Ollman is another Anglophone champion of Marx within the academ.

Conflicts

According to Karl Marx in all stratified societies there are two major social groups: a ruling class and a subject class. The ruling class derives its power from its ownership and control of the forces of production. The ruling class exploits and oppresses the subject class. As a result there is a basic conflict of interest between the two classes. The various institutions of society such as the legal and political system are instruments of ruling class domination and serve to further its interests. Marx believed that western society developed through four main epochs-primitive communism, ancient society, feudal society and capitalist society. Primitive communism is represented by the societies of pre-history and provides the only example of the classless society. From then all societies are divided into two major classes – master and slaves in ancient society, lords and serfs in feudal society and capitalist and wage labourers in capitalist society. Weber sees class in economic terms. He argues that classes develop in market economies in which individuals compete for economic gain. He defines a class as a group of individuals who share a similar position in market economy and by virtue of that fact receive similar economic rewards. Thus a person’s class situation is basically his market situation. Those who share a similar class situation also share similar life chances. Their economic position will directly affect their chances of obtaining those things defined as desirable in their society. Weber argues that the major class division is between those who own the forces of production and those who do not. He distinguished the following class grouping in capitalist society:

The propertied upper class
The property less white collar workers
The petty bourgeoisie
The manual working class.

Functionalist

Talcott Parsons believe that order, stability and cooperation in society are based on value consensus that is a general agreement by members of society concerning what is good and worthwhile. Stratification system derives from common values it follows from the existence of values that individuals will be evaluated and therefore placed in some form of rank order. Stratification is the ranking of units in a social system in accordance with the common value system. Those who perform successfully in terms of society’s values will be ranked highly and they will be likely to receive a variety of rewards and will be accorded high prestige since they exemplify and personify common values. According to Kingsley Davis and Moore stratification exists in every known human society. All social system shares certain functional prerequisites which must be met if the system is to survive and operate efficiently. One such prerequisite is role allocation and performance. This means that all roles must be filled. They will be filled by those best able to perform them. The necessary training for them is undertaken and that the roles are performed conscientiously. Davis and Moore argue that all societies need some mechanism for insuring effective role allocation and performance. This mechanism is social stratification which they see as a system which attaches unequal rewards and privileges to the positions

Caste system in India

Main features of caste system

    • Functions of the caste system
    • Dominant caste
    • Purity and Pollution
    • Sanskritization

Caste is closely connected with the Hindu philosophy and religion, custom and tradition .It is believed to have had a divine origin and sanction. It is deeply rooted social institution in India. There are more than 2800 castes and sub-castes with all their peculiarities. The term caste is derived from the Spanish word caste meaning breed or lineage. The word caste also signifies race or kind. The Sanskrit word for caste is varna which means colour.The caste stratification of the Indian society had its origin in the chaturvarna system. According to this doctrine the Hindu society was divided into four main varnas – Brahmins, Kashtriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras.The Varna system prevalent during the Vedic period was mainly based on division of labour and occupation. The caste system owns its origin to the Varna system. Ghurye says any attempt to define caste is bound to fail because of the complexity of the phenomenon. According to Risely caste is a collection of families bearing a common name claiming a common descent from a mythical ancestor professing to follow the same hereditary calling and regarded by those who are competent to give an opinion as forming a single homogeneous community. According to Maclver and Page when status is wholly predetermined so that men are born to their lot without any hope of changing it, then the class takes the extreme form of caste. Cooley says that when a class is somewhat strictly hereditary we may call it caste.M.N Srinivas sees caste as a segmentary system. Every caste for him divided into sub castes which are the units of endogamy whose members follow a common occupation, social and ritual life and common culture and whose members are governed by the same authoritative body viz the panchayat.According to Bailey caste groups are united into a system through two principles of segregation and hierarchy. For Dumont caste is not a form of stratification but as a special form of inequality. The major attributes of caste are the hierarchy, the separation and the division of labour.Weber sees caste as the enhancement and transformation of social distance into religious or strictly a magical principle. For Adrian Mayer caste hierarchy is not just determined by economic and political factors although these are important.

Caste system hierarchically divides the society. A sense of highness and lowness or superiority and inferiority is associated with this gradation or ranking. The Brahmins are placed at the top of the hierarchy and are regarded as pure or supreme. The degraded caste or the untouchables have occupied the other end of the hierarchy. The status of an individual is determined by his birth and not by selection nor by accomplishments. Each caste has its own customs, traditions practices and rituals.It has its own informal rules, regulations and procedures. The caste panchayats or the caste councils regulate the conduct of members. The caste system has imposed certain restrictions on the food habitats of the members these differ from caste to caste. In North India Brahmin would accept pakka food only from some castes lower than his own. But he would not accept kachcha food prepared with the use of water at the hands of no other caste except his own. As a matter of rule and practice no individual would accept kachcha food prepared by an inferior casteman.The caste system put restriction on the range of social relations also. The idea of pollution means a touch of lower caste man would pollute or defile a man of higher caste. Even his shadow is considered enough to pollute a higher caste man. The lower caste people suffered from certain socio-religious disabilities. The impure castes are made to live on the outskirts of the city and they are not allowed to draw water from the public wells. In earlier times entrance to temples and other places of religious importance were forbidden to them. Educational facilities, legal rights and political representation were denied to them for a very long time. If the lower castes suffer from certain disabilities some higher caste like the Brahmins enjoy certain privileges like conducting prayers in the temples etc.There is gradation of occupations also. Some occupations are considered superior and sacred while certain others degrading and inferior. For a long time occupations were very much associated with the caste system. Each caste had its own specific occupations which were almost hereditary. There was no scope for individual talent, aptitude, enterprise or abilities. The caste system imposes restrictions on marriage also. Caste is an endogamous group. Each caste is subdivided into certain sub castes which are again endogamous.Intercaste marriages are still looked down upon in the traditional Indian society.

Functions of the caste system

The caste system is credited to ensure the continuity of the traditional social organization of India. It has accommodated multiple communities including invading tribes in the Indian society. The knowledge and skills of the occupations have passed down from one generation to the next. Through subsystems like Jajmani system the caste system promoted interdependent interaction between various castes and communities with in a village. The rituals and traditions promoted cooperation and unity between members of the different castes.Caste system promoted untouchability and discrimination against certain members of the society. It hindered both horizontal and vertical social mobility forcing an individual to carry on the traditional occupation against his or her will and capacity. The status of women was affected and they were relegated to the background. The caste system divided the society into mutually hostile and conflicting groups and subgroups.

Dominant caste

Purity and Pollution

The notions of purity and pollution are critical for defining and understanding caste hierarchy. According to these concepts, Brahmins hold the highest rank and Shudras the lowest in the caste hierarchy. The Varna System represents a social stratification which includes four varnas namely- Brahmans, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas and Shudras.The Shudras were allocated the lowest rank of social ladder and their responsibilities included service of the three Varnas. The superior castes tried to maintain their ceremonial purity. Dumont holds the notion of purity and pollution interlinked with the caste system and untouchability.The hierarchy of caste is decided according to the degree of purity and pollution. It plays a very crucial role in maintaining the required distance between different castes. But the pollution distance varies from caste to caste and from place to place.

Dipankar Gupta observes that the notion of purity and pollution as Dumont observed is integrally linked with the institution of untouchability .But unlike untouchability the notion of purity and pollution is also a historical accretion. Over time this notion freed itself from its specific and original task of separating untouchables from the others and began to be operative at different planes of the caste system.

The concept of purity and pollution plays a very crucial role in maintaining the required distance between different castes. But the pollution distance varies from caste to caste and from place to place.

Sanskritization

Prof M.N Srinivas introduced the term sanskritization to Indian Sociology. The term refers to a process whereby people of lower castes collectively try to adopt upper caste practices and beliefs to acquire higher status. It indicates a process of cultural mobility that is taking place in the traditional social system of India.M.N Srinivas in his study of the Coorg in Karnataka found that lower castes in order to raise their position in the caste hierarchy adopted some customs and practices of the Brahmins and gave up some of their own which were considered to be impure by the higher castes. For example they gave up meat eating, drinking liquor and animal sacrifice to their deities. They imitiated Brahmins in matters of dress, food and rituals. By this they could claim higher positions in the hierarchy of castes within a generation. The reference group in this process is not always Brahmins but may be the dominant caste of the locality.Sanskritization has occurred usually in groups who have enjoyed political and economic power but were not ranked high in ritual ranking. According to Yogendra Singh the process of sanskritization is an endogenous source of social change .Mackim Marriot observes that sanskritic rites are often added on to non-sanskritic rites without replacing them. Harold Gould writes, often the motive force behind sanskritisation is not of cultural imitation per se but an expression of challenge and revolt against the socioeconomic deprivations.

Indian Nationalism in Contemporary India

Institution of society preceded and limited the state authority in modern India. Explain Indian nationalism in the light of this statement.( Indian Nationalism in Contemporary India)

India proclaims itself to be a nation state were by every member of it is inculcated with the feeling of nationalism and stands as one body, India is a land of diversity be it in flora and fauna or geographical and the most vivid the ethnic and racial diversity. Nehru the first prime minister of the independent dreamt of an independent and united India in due course with the lack of unifying interest the term nationalism is being challenged. India though got her independence in the year 1947 it only can proclaimed itself as a nation state in the year 1950 after the enactment of the constitution which happens to be the fundamental law of the land which governs all relationships of the people and the state. The constitution is also said to be the manifestation of nehruvian vision.

But Nehru failed to see the forth coming differences as the power came into the people of the country as India is a land where the stratification in the social aspect is inherent and inalienable and the practices were of the ruling majority  may upset the ruled minority and discontent was seen rising rampantly therefore the catastrophic  demise of nehru’s vision when the legacy that had to be continued by his heir Mrs. Indira Gandhi imposed dictatorship to subjugated the federated nationalist feeling aroused out of the discontent with the whole idea of a centralized democratic nation state were the majority ruled but in due course the interest of the minorities interest were underpinned.  

India with its founding fathers ideology of secularism that was actually a manifestation of the one sections ideal was being challenged and critic went to the extent of calling India as a pseudo secular nation to stand up to the expectation of the international norms India adapted to a ‘layered ,plural political self definition’ this happened in the year 1964 , this then became difficult for the people to accept then the state was also accused of using secularism as an “instrumental  ideology” That legitimated the action of modernist and elites and camouflaged their ventures to power. The Hindu Nationalism which the Founding Father grounded on the soil and called it secular with these found serious discrepancies. Secularism as a doctrine of state slowly lost credibility and created distrust in the society. By the year 1970 the nationalist heritage created in the times of Nehru Was no longer historically viable.

At this point of crisis the nationalist epitome the congress party also could not cushion the discontent of the people and now the prominent differences of Caste / Class rose up and many regional parties rose with local solidarity and group we feeling which were the greatest threat to the Nationalist feeling then the problem got critical and the group demanded for separatism and therefore in the mid 1970’s the things went out of hand and emergency was imposed and the whole concept of democracy succumbed to the rule of a dictator then after thing got so called to normal. Congress as a national party had lost its ground therefore the party no more stood to the principle of “internal Federalism” and the vote bank politics and coalition rule concept was brought in as the state was such that no single ideology could cater to needs of the people. Therefore this time the Congress lost it majority.

Then on the later phases nationalism was no more on the bassis of being a part of the country  but being part of certain sect., region, race, gender etc. The concept of Hindutva , Ramjanma BHumi, Indian Mujhadeen all extremist and pro self came into being the pillars of nationalism were upturned, different states gave rise to various regional parties and today is a state were no govt. Is formed with th actual consent of people but it is a result of the foul play of the ruling.

Therefore the whole definition of Nationalism has changed from :

Common Interest to group interest

National solidarity to Regional solidarity

General interest to specific interest

National norms to Religious norms. Etc

The whole concept of national integration was succumbed to the foul play of ism’s there fore  today we stand as one nation and talk about nationalism and we feeling but are we really that united is some thing that corners every Indians hearts, if we are so united then why do we still have AFSPA in the North Eastern States and we scape saying there is fear sessceion if we r so united as the constitution proclaims why so many incidents such as the Babri Masjid, Kandhamal etc.

We Indian still stand as one nation and Indians proudly assert the they are the best example of unity in diversity.

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