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BANC-108: Theories of Culture and Society

BANC-108: Theories of Culture and Society

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2021-22

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Assignment Code: BANC-108/ASST/TMA/2021-22

Course Code: BANC-108

Assignment Name: Theories of Culture and Society

Year: 2021-2022

Verification Status: Verified by Professor


There are three Sections in the Assignment. You have to answer all questions in all the Sections.


Section – I


Answer the following in about 500 words each. 20X2= 40


Q1) Discuss the basic premises of evolutionism and critically assess the demerits of the theory.

Ans) Evolutionism's fundamental premises are as follows:


Population Divergence

Every species has its own distinct traits. Even within the same family, there is a lot of variation. Siblings differ in terms of colour, height, weight, and other characteristics. Other characteristics, such as the number of limbs or eyes, vary a lot. When making broad generalisations about a population, the observer must be cautious. In geographically isolated areas like Australia, the Galapagos Islands, and Madagascar, some populations are more diverse than others. These organisms may be related to others found around the world. These species have evolved very distinct characteristics as a result of very specific environmental conditions.


Inherited Characteristics

The traits of each species are determined by genetics. The characteristics of offspring are determined by inherited traits passed down from parents to offspring. Inherited survival traits are more likely to be passed down through the generations. Of course, environmental factors such as food availability influence some characteristics, such as weight and muscle mass. Environmentally influenced characteristics, on the other hand, will not be passed down to future generations. Only traits passed down through the generations will be passed on to future generations. If an organism inherits the genes for a larger skeletal mass but lacks the nutrition to reach that size, the genes for the larger skeleton will be passed down if the individual survives and reproduces.


Children Compete

Every year, most species produce more offspring than the environment can sustain. Due to the high birth rate, members of the species compete for the limited natural resources available. The struggle for resources determines a species' mortality rate. Only the survivors are able to reproduce and pass on their genes to future generations.


The Fittest Survive

In their search for resources, some people are successful. These people reproduce and pass on their genes to the next generation. These organisms' survival traits will be passed down to their descendants. Natural selection is the term for this process. Individuals with specific traits can survive in certain environments, and these traits are passed down through the generations via heredity. The term "survival of the fittest" has been coined to describe this phenomenon. This phrase was coined by Darwin, but he credited it to Herbert Spencer, a fellow biologist.


Demerits of the Evolutionism Theory

  1. The theory of evolution is criticised for a lack of evidence including missing links and inconsistencies

  2. It is a theory and not a fact

  3. The history of science shows how theories can change and in some cases be discarded altogether

  4. Creationists also argue that science has limitations and that it has been very wrong in the past

  5. Science is unable to provide a complete account of the origin of life. There is still a lack of comprehensive agreement on how natural selection began

  6. The human brain, which greatly exceeds the demands required by the evolutionary process, gives credence to the idea that human beings were made special by God

  7. It only tells us how life originated; it doesn't tell us why. It offers nothing for the greater understanding about the purpose of life.


Q2) Describe the symbolic approach.

Ans) Mary Douglas has dedicated her life to determining whether symbols are simply expressive in a neutral sense or whether they act on the social situation to produce effects that differ from society to society. Ritualism is defined as a meaningless symbol that is only enacted as a routine, a habit by people who have no inner connection to what they are doing. For example, many people follow a daily worship ritual out of habit and respect for established traditions. They follow the ritual's established rules and regulations, concentrating on the details rather than their emotional reactions or the concept of divinity or another entity for whom the ritual is being performed. In other words, the seemingly pointless ritual is considered efficacious in and of itself if performed correctly, and thus serves as a powerful symbol in and of itself.


Because symbolism underpins all human behaviour, no ethnographic study can be complete without mentioning some symbols or symbolic actions. Any ritual, life cycle ceremony, or religious structure, for example, cannot be described without describing its symbolic meaning, or what it means to the members of that culture. Edmund Leach's article 'Magical Hair' (1958), in which he attempted to combine psychoanalytical and anthropological theories about the body, received a lot of attention. Body symbolism is at the heart of symbolic theory, as we've seen. Body symbolism also serves as a common ground for explaining cross-cultural similarities in symbolic expression. Leach's article was written in response to Berg's (1951) publication, which linked male shaving and hair cutting to symbolic castration and the libidinous association of hair with sexuality as a recurring theme across cultures. Leach concludes in his article that long hair denotes uncontrolled sexuality, short, tightly bound hair denotes restricted sexuality, and shaved hair denotes celibacy. Monks shave their heads in many religions, but not all, men keep their hair short, and even if it is kept long, it is bound.


Leach (1976) went on to describe the ritual symbolisms of time, describing how certain annual rituals keep time and allow for cosmological reckonings of the universe's cycles. He proposed that time is measured in terms of intervals marked by symbolic inversions, reversals from everyday life, rather than as a continuous, irreversible linear phenomenon. Take, for example, water flowing from a tap; instead of seeing it as a continuous stream, one can imagine it as one drop after another, with the possibility of discontinuity between each drop. Masquerades, role reversals, and the defiance of social norms are common features of annual rituals. Such 'reversals' are actually interval markings, where one phase of time is separated from another to indicate that one phase has ended, and another is about to begin. It is frequently the same phase and not another, indicating that time can be both cyclical and reversible.


Section – II


Answer the following in about 250 words each. (Write Short Notes) 10X2=20


Q1) Write a note on conflict theories.

Ans) Conflict theories are perspectives in sociology and social psychology that emphasize a materialist interpretation of history, dialectical method of analysis, a critical stance toward existing social arrangements, and political program of revolution or, at least, reform. Conflict theories draw attention to power differentials, such as class conflict, and generally contrast historically dominant ideologies. It is therefore a macro-level analysis of society.


Karl Marx is regarded as the father of social conflict theory which is a component of the four major paradigms of sociology. Certain conflict theories set out to highlight the ideological aspects inherent in traditional thought. While many of these perspectives hold parallels, conflict theory does not refer to a unified school of thought, and should not be confused with, for instance, peace and conflict studies, or any other specific theory of social conflict.


According to Karl Marx's conflict theory, society is always in conflict over limited resources. Rather than consensus and conformity, dominance and power are said to maintain social order. According to conflict theory, those who have wealth and power try to keep it by oppressing the poor and powerless. War, revolution, poverty, discrimination, and domestic violence have all been explained by conflict theory. Attempts by capitalists to control the masses are blamed for the development of democracy and civil rights (as opposed to a desire for social order). Conflict theory is based on concepts of social inequality, resource division, and class conflict.


Conflict theory examines any social phenomenon through the lens that there is a natural human instinct towards conflict.  Marx is not saying that conflict is good or bad, but instead that it is an unavoidable aspect of human nature and helps explain why things are the way they are.


For example, conflict theory can be used to look at wars, violence, revolutions, and forms of injustice and discrimination by explaining that there is a natural disparity in society that causes these problems.


Q2) Evaluate the feminist approach in anthropology.

Ans) Feminist anthropology is a critique of male-cantered and biased anthropology, as well as a historical moment that marks the development of theoretical frames through which different ways of knowing are produced, and a vast body of literature that situates dynamic conversations about gender, race, sexuality, ability, and class, among other topics. As a result, with a few exceptions, the genealogy presented focuses primarily on the work of American or American-based feminist theorists/anthropologists, with a particular emphasis on cultural anthropologists. The realisation that anthropology operated within androcentric paradigms across all subdisciplines led to the birth of feminist anthropology. From identifying women in the anthropological record to explaining universal female subordination, the early inquiries covered a wide range of topics.


The underlying concerns with understanding the operation of power in various contexts have remained constant, despite many of the questions that animate feminist anthropological research changing. Gender and sex, as well as race and culture, influence the answers to far more questions than one can imagine. By considering how each of us is positioned in relation to various privileges and penalties, the importance of intersectionality as a theoretical framework and a methodology is highlighted. Concerns about how difference is constructed, performed, and reproduced, as well as the role of heteronormativity in the framing of questions and our analyses, are just a few of the issues that feminist anthropologists are still debating. Feminist anthropology has had and continues to have fruitful theoretical exchanges with a wide range of feminist theories, including Third World and postcolonial feminisms.


Lesbians and feminists of colour have also contributed to the foundation of feminist anthropology theories. While the specifics of the questions have evolved as feminist anthropology has advanced, a few key elements have remained constant. Although cultural anthropologists are often associated with feminist anthropology, feminist archaeologists and biological anthropologists have also made contributions to the field.


Answer the following questions in about 75 words each. 2X5=10


Q1) Malinowski

Ans) A world-renowned social anthropologist, traveller, ethnologist, religion scholar, sociologist, and writer. He is the founder of the functionalism school, an advocate of extensive fieldwork, and an early adopter of new social theory methods. A good researcher, in his opinion, focuses on trying to see the world through the eyes of the locals and allowing this to pervade his thoughts and feelings until he fully comprehends these processes. An anthropologist should also figure out what constitutes the norm, custom, or rule of a community.


Q2) Radcliffe-Brown

Ans) An anthropologist named Alfred Reginald Radcliffe-Brown lived in the first half of the twentieth century. Through his example and teaching, he contributed to the development and establishment of modern "social" anthropology as a generalising, theoretical discipline. The most notable of his many important contributions was his application of some of the ideas of systems theory to primitive societies, which led to a revolution in the analysis and interpretation of social relations. In a nutshell, he shifted social anthropology's emphasis from historical development and psychological extrapolation to the comparative study of stable and changing social structures.


Q3) Culture area

Ans) Culture areas are geographical areas where distinct cultural patterns can be identified through repeated associations of specific traits and, in most cases, one or more subsistence modes linked to the local environment. The concept of culture area is one expression of the broader school of historical particularism that has emerged in American anthropology. It reflects the theoretical position that each culture must be examined in light of its own history as well as the general principles of independent invention, culture borrowing, and cultural appropriation, at whatever level it is studied.


Q4) Interpretative approach

Ans) Interpretive approaches embrace a view of reality as socially constructed or made meaningful through the interpretation of events by actors. The complexity of meaning as expressed through symbols, language, and social interactions is the focus of scholars studying organisational communication. Despite the fact that interpretive research methodologies and methods are not new, they are still uncommon in political science disciplinary training and mainstream journals. Over the last decade, there has been a growing interest in, recognition of, and support for "qualitative" methods in the social sciences in general, and in the discipline of political science in particular.


Q5) Autoethnography

b) Autoethnography is a type of qualitative research in which an author uses self-reflection and writing to explore anecdotal and personal experience, then connects this autobiographical storey to broader cultural, political, and social meanings and understandings. Autoethnography is used as a self-reflective form of writing in communication studies, performance studies, education, English literature, anthropology, social work, sociology, history, psychology, theology and religious studies, marketing, business and educational administration, arts education, nursing, and physiotherapy. Autoethnography is a method that combines autobiography and ethnography elements. When writing an autobiography, the author writes retrospectively and selectively about past events.


Section – III


NOTE: For question a. please DO NOT use Migration as a topic


Q1) Explain what is a theory? Examine its role in an ethnographic study. 10

Ans) We won't know what data we need unless we know which basic premises we're taking for granted and which ones we'll investigate and treat as variables, so a theory gives us the basic premises or paradigms we use before we even start collecting data. If we want to study society, for example, we must first establish some basic assumptions about society. A basic premise is a presumption we don't question about something. Because we already have some basic assumptions, notions of normalcy, and expectations when we arrive at a field site. Marriage and family are usually assumed to be a part of society when we study it. Our circumstances will change if we arrive in a place where people live in dormitories and have no marriage or family, such as the Israeli Kibbutz.


As a result, a theory will give us some basic premises, expected entities, events, and implicit expectations about what we should look for. These can be preconceived notions, or they can be self-fulfilling prophecies, in which the researcher is more concerned with proving the theory than with actually finding out what is going on. So, even if starting with a theory, keep in mind that it may need to be modified and changed, or even rejected or replaced.


Role of Theory in role in ethnographic study.

The ethnographic method was developed as anthropology progressed and the focus shifted to understanding the function of each institution in context and relation to other institutions. To conduct such research, anthropologists began to observe societies from close quarters, by living among the people as a member of that society, which we refer to as fieldwork or ethnographic study. When the 'natives' began to study themselves, later anthropological theories shifted their focus. When the field was no longer the 'heaven' of white Europeans, the 'natives' began to graze on their own kind. The inclusion of reflexive and interpretive elements became the norm.


Q2) Select a topic and prepare a synopsis. Write a note on which theory you would apply to study the topic with relevant justifications. 20

Ans) Topic:

Arts and Social Cultural Centre.



In a society characterised by rapid social, economic, and technological change, it is inevitable that a complex and sophisticated urban pattern will emerge. These transformations have increased the amount of pressure that is placed on land to meet the various needs of society. The proper use of land is extremely important because it is extremely valuable, and provision should be made for a location within the confines of the city because of its high value.


When it comes to the development of any city, culture is critical to the success of the endeavour. Incorporates a set of values, attitudes, goals, and practises in order to achieve success. The international community has recognised that cultural diversity is just as important as biodiversity for the well-being of human beings. At the local level, the important issue receiving widespread attention from planners is the loss of local identity, cultural values, and social life, to the point where the popular remarks about cities are that they are places of work rather than places of residence. In recent years, this has become increasingly relevant, particularly in metropolitan areas.


Aim of the Project

  • The primary goal is to provide a platform for the display and demonstration of visual and performing arts in the form of production and display.

  • The socio-cultural centre fulfils its role as a cultural beacon for the community by providing a space that can be used as a focal point for the community's cultural life, as defined by the community.



  1. Designing the Center with all of its services, formal and informal spaces that are connected to one another should encourage users to use the services for a longer period of time is the goal.

  2. The goal is to consolidate all cultural activities in the capital into a single location and expand them into a single large unit for the development of the community, in order to discover valuable and practical ways to meet the needs of the general public in the process.

  3. To create a built form that is sensitive to the psychological and cultural diversity of a community is a difficult task.


Scope of the Project

  1. The role of promoting cultural activities and vocational arts is the primary focus of this project, and this is where the majority of the interest lies.

  2. Design Requirements: The Center must be able to accommodate a larger number of visitors. According to the DDA's finalised concept, 60 percent of the total floor area can be utilised for commercial, retail, hotel, and other remunerative uses in order to ensure that the centres are self-sufficient. The remaining 40% of the total floor area will be used for operational facilities such as a state-of-the-art auditorium, theatres, galleries, a museum, a recording studio, and other similar facilities, on which I would like to concentrate.

  3. These structures must be linked to people in order to connect culture with people.

  4. The culture must serve as a socio-cultural hub, with design parameters that may include, for example,

  5. 1. Lawns, pathways, water bodies, and landscaping can all play a role in the overall design of the area, as can lighting.



  1. Research work includes a study of the topic, the importance and necessity of the project, the collection of data, the formulation of goals and objectives, the scope of the project, and the limitations of the project.

  2. Environmental and climatic data collection, study of geographic and climatic data, study of the surrounding environment, study of regulations and norms are all examples of what is involved in site analysis.

  3. Studying the literature and conducting a background investigation

  4. Case studies are used to illustrate a point.

  5. Designing and planning stage – design demonstration and conceptualization, as well as area analysis and space planning – the layout of spaces


Aim & Objective

To create an environment that encourages outdoor comfort, security, and a sense of place in a particular region.

The goal is to improve the visual appearance of the campus while also utilising it for functional purposes, such as integrating it with storm water management, creating a barrier against noise pollution, screening and shade, and so on and so forth.



1. Academia.

2. Google Search.

3. Medcrave – Mojes.

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