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BSOC-101: Introduction to Sociology I

BSOC-101: Introduction to Sociology I

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Assignment Code: BSOC–101/ASST /TMA /2021-22

Course Code: BSOC–101

Assignment Name: Introduction To Sociology-I

Year: 2020-2021

Verification Status: Verified by Professor

Assignment - I

Answer the following Descriptive Category questions in about 500 words each. Each question carries 20 marks. 2 x20=40


1. Discuss the emergence of social anthropology.

Ans) The subject matter of anthropology and its academic profession began as an intersection of natural science and humanities. Social anthropology being part of anthropology, its emergence has been historically linked with the development of other components of anthropology. The emergence of social anthropology has also been closely linked with other disciplines of the social sciences, such as sociology, philosophy, ethno-history, history, psychology, political science, and economics. But the closest discipline of social anthropology is sociology.

The emergence of social anthropology:

First Phase of Development

By 18th century A.D. after the experience and influence of the renaissance in Europe, there were many eminent philosophers who have made immense contributions to the understanding of society, who dealt with the social phenomena of the time. These earlier works certainly laid the philosophical foundation for the development of the social sciences and the science of human society including sociology and anthropology. The contribution of the earlier philosophers and scholars has certainly contributed to the emergence and development of anthropology although they cannot be called anthropology per se. The development of anthropology and social science which makes departure to the earlier philosophical and historical studies came in two phases. The first phase “philosopher scientists succeeded in separating the study of man, society, and civilization from history and thereby formulated a general social science”.

Second Phase of Development

In the second phase there was “transition in the natural sciences from a static equilibrium model to a dynamic model. Its culmination came with the introduction of thermodynamic and Darwinian evolutionary theory”. With such a diverse field as anthropology, an attempt was made in the 1860s for integrating into a general anthropological discipline that would engage on the early history of man. By 1870 onward, “a distinctive character of anthropology began to manifest itself” by unifying physical anthropology, prehistory, and ethnology. This period marks the emergence of anthropology into an academic discipline. It is through the inspiration of the “triumphs of the scientific method in the physical and organic domain, nineteenth century anthropologists believed that socio-cultural phenomena were discoverable lawful principles. This conviction joined their interests with the aspiration of a still earlier period, extending back before the social sciences had been named, to the epochal stirrings of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment and the vision of a universal history of mankind”. However, it emerged as an academic discipline only in the nineteenth century. The significant factors for the emergence of the discipline is however attributed to the various intellectual and socio-political changes taking place in the 18th and 19th centuries in Europe. Some of the important influences include the French Revolution and the Industrial Revolution in Europe.

Fred W. Voget situates the emergence of social/cultural anthropology from the route of the emergence of social science. He states:

“There can be little doubt that eighteenth-century progressivists laid the foundations for a new discipline - a generalized social science. The fact that their general outline for a natural history of mankind was expanded and refined during the nineteenth century and served as a model for an anthropological science of culture, testifies to the remarkable breakthrough achieved by progressivist social philosopher-scientists and historians”. Voget, however, points out the caveat that after considering the eminence of the eighteenth-century progressivists as the forerunners of anthropology, the progressivists themselves ignored the “collection of specialized facts”, but “elevated themselves to the rank of social and cultural theorists. In consequence, they did not have any direct connection with developments that would lead into prehistory, physical anthropology, linguistics, and other anthropological specialties.


2. Discuss the relationship between sociology and political science.

Ans) The relationship between sociology and political science is as follows:

Sociology and political science are closely related to each other in many respects. It is said that the disciplines of sociology and political science are closely interwoven in their analysis of power, authority structures, administration, and governance. Similarities between sociology and political science are many. Firstly, political science relies heavily upon sociology for its basic theories and methods. For example, in mid-20th century Michigan social psychologists and Parsonians at Harvard significantly shaped political science agendas in political behaviour and political development respectively. Secondly, focal specialities in both the discipline borrowed from similar third-party disciplines such as economics, history, anthropology, and psychology. Thirdly, many scholars such as Marx, Weber, Gramsci, Pareto, Parsons and Mosca, etc. equally have contributed to the growth and development of both the disciplines.

In the same vein, Harol Laswell’s treatise, ‘Politics: Who Gets what, When and How’ was an important work from which both sociologist and political scientist get inspired and take lead to work in an interdisciplinary framework. It may be noted that given the changing societal need and aspirations in contemporary globalised world an interdisciplinary approach is necessary to understand social problems and find answers to the problems of modern society.

Sociology is often defined as scientific study of society. We may also note that society is nothing but a complex network of various groups, institutions, communities, associations, people, and their everyday life activities. Politics and power dynamics forms integral to all these conceptions of human lives. Notably, polity or political formations has always been the essential components of any human society. In modern times, no society can be imagined without polity, political institutions or, so to say, any form of political life. State and governance are basic to any society both in terms of its function, development and meeting essential needs of social life such as law and order, security, and development. Sociology too essentially reflects on status of social world with a focus on social issues and on the condition of human society, the network of social relationships in an increasingly globalised interconnected world, the growing variety of political traditions, caste and politics, ethnicity, cultural background, economic conditions, and linguistic affiliations. Sociology examines various aspects of political behaviour with special focus on their social implications. This in fact indicates deeper intersection between sociology and political science. However, both the disciplines differ in their approach.

Political scientists investigate into rise, fall and changes of governments and their leaders whereas sociologists see governments as social institutions, political behaviour as outcome of social dynamics and leadership as social phenomena having multifarious implications for social developments. Both sociology and political science intersect at multitude of points and provide a broader analysis of the social reality. Thus, the similarities, between the two, are well appreciated by scholars. However, both the disciplines have differences too which also need to be critically assessed. Sociologist most importantly talk of interaction system, be it within groups, institutions, or organisations, whereas political science talk about control mechanism within such groups or organisations. Hence, the frame of reference or perspectives of sociology and political science differ. The former primarily concerned about interactionist views, whereas later focuses on power structure, order, and control mechanisms. Scholars argued that when sociological perspective of interaction system is applied to the analysis of political phenomena it tends to become political sociology.



Assignment - II

Answer the following Middle Category questions in about 250 words each. Each question carries 10 marks. 3 X 10 = 30


3. Discuss the impact of industrial revolution.

Ans) The Industrial Revolution marked a period of development in the latter half of the 18th century that transformed largely rural, agrarian societies in Europe and America into industrialized, urban ones. The Industrial Revolution brought about sweeping changes in economic and social organization. These changes included a wider distribution of wealth and increased international trade. Managerial hierarchies also developed to oversee the division of labour. With the change in the economy, several changes in the society followed. As capitalism became more and more complex, the developments of banks, insurance companies, and finance corporations took place. New class of industrial workers, managers, capitalists emerged. The peasants in the new industrial society found themselves with thousands of other people like themselves, winding cotton in a textile mill. Instead of the open and bright countryside, they were now living in dirt and squalor.

With the increase in production, population started increasing. Rise of population accompanied by massive rural to urban migration led to urbanisation. The industrial cities grew rapidly. These industrial cities were marked by huge socioeconomic disparities. These changes concerned both conservative and radical thinkers. The conservatives feared that such conditions would lead to chaos and disorder, while radicals like Friedrich Engels felt that the factory workers would initiate the working-class revolution leading to social transformation. Though the concerns were very different from one another, yet social thinkers of that time were united in the impact the Industrial Revolution would possibly cause. They also agreed upon the importance of the new working class. Thus, important themes of the Industrial Revolution, which concerned the early sociologists were the condition of the labour, transformation of property, urbanization, and technology.


4.Explain the link between sociology and Psychology.

Ans) Sociology and psychology together form the core of the social sciences. Right from their inception as separate academic disciplines, sociology and psychology have studied different aspects of human life. Most of the other species, work on instincts in the physical environment for their survival. While the survival of humans depends upon the learned behaviour patterns. An instinct involves a genetically programmed directive which informs behaviour in a particular way. It also involves specific instruction to perform a particular action. For instance, birds have instincts to build nests and members of species are programmed to build a nest in a particular style and pattern. Unlike this, the human mind is influenced by the social culture, customs, norms, and values. It through socialization that humans learn specific behaviour patterns to suit them best in the physical environment. Humans process the information provided by the social context to make sense of their living conditions. Sociology’s basic unit of analysis is the social system such as family, social groups, cultures etc.

The main subject matter of psychology is to study human mind to analyses attitude, behaviour emotions, perceptions and values which lead to the formation of individual personality living in the social environment. While sociology deals with the study of the social environment, social collectives which include family, communities and other social institutions psychology deals with the individual. For instance, while studying group dynamism, sociologist and psychologist initially share common interests in various types of groups, and their structures which are affected by the degree of cooperation, cohesion, conflict, information flow, the power of decision making and status hierarchies. This initial similarity of interest takes on different focus, both the disciplines use different theoretical positions to explain the group phenomena.

5. Explain the evolutionary theories of social change.

Ans) Evolutionary theories of social change are conglomeration of many but interrelated theories of change. The main notion of the evolutionary theory of change is that there is a consistent direction of social change of all societies in a similar sequence of stages from the original to the final stage of development, or from a simple and ‘primitive’ to the more complex and advanced state. Evolutionary theory also implies that evolutionary change will culminate at reaching the final stage of development. Evolutionary theorists consider change as progress and growth. The theory can be classified into two main categories- Classical evolutionary theories and Neo-evolutionary theories.

The classical evolutionary theories have been developed by the 19th century anthropologists and sociologists. Although, approaches differ among them, there is an underlying principle of convergence of ideas that evolutionary change takes place in a unilinear and similar direction. They largely draw an analogy of the progress of animal life from the simple uni-celled organisms to the most complex animal- the human being. They believe that as societies evolve and grow, the functions of its members would also become more specialized just as the development of millions of body cells to perform specific functions within an interrelated system. The Neo-Evolutionary theories were introduced in the 20th century by V. Gordon Childe, Julian Steward and Leslie White. Their formulations of evolutionary theories are characterized by scrutiny of evidence, systematic analysis, and rigorous reasoning. To distinguish them from the classical evolutionary theorists, they have also been labelled as neo-evolutionists. The main claim of these theories was that evolution moved simultaneously in two directions in both the biological and cultural aspects. This evolutionary process then led to progress and made new ones emerge out of the old ones. They considered these two processes as interconnected in its totality.



Assignment - III

Answer the following Short Category questions in about 100 words each. Each question carries 6 marks. 5 X 6 = 30


6. Distinguish between in-group and out-group.

Ans) An individual is the product of contribution many people, known and unknown whose influence go in the making of the person. With some people we interact, communicate with whom we share a bond, an intimacy, but there are others with whom we rarely meet. With the latter we have a functional relation and anything more than that with them would be an intrusion into private space. Thus, the introduction of maintaining distance emerges –one with whom a person is close, known and the other with whom a person has only have a specific functional relation. Even in the groups it depends as to the range of proximity — mental and physical. The sense of fellow feeling depends on individuals to perceive others like themselves who have their own respective objectives and goals. This we-feeling come with empathy and commiseration which brings fellow humans together. What then can bring the distinct difference in the ‘we’ feeling? The difference in the attitude between ‘us’ and ‘them-, ‘we’ and ‘they’.


7. What is ‘informal control?

Ans) Informal control is mainly exercised by unwritten rules and regulations characterised by informal agents like folkways, traditional beliefs and customs, rituals, gossip, public opinion etc. Informal means of social control evolve on their own and are an integral and accepted part of life over a period. They become more established with practice. Though no specific punishment is given to persons in case of violation yet, informal controls are more effective in their influence than even formal control. They are more effective in simple or rural society where members of society are more tradition oriented, and the community is more tightly knit. They are also more effective in primary groups like family where interaction takes place more at personal ground. In informal control, the control is either through internalized values or through feelings of shame, honour, and ridicule.

8. What is ‘primary socialisation’?

Ans) Primary socialisation is the most important feature in the process of socialisation. It happens during infancy and childhood. The primary stage basically, takes shape during infancy and childhood where basic knowledge and language or behaviour is taught. This phase of socialisation usually takes place within the family. During this phase infants learn language and certain basic Socialisation behaviour forms of the family and the society in which she/he lives. It is through primary socialisation that the foundations for later learning are laid. As Frønesargues, “Primary socialisation refers to the internalization of the fundamental culture and ideas of a society; it shapes the norms, values and beliefs of the child at a time when it has little understood of the world and its different phenomena, and the basic socialisation agent moulding the child is the family”


9. What is role learning?

Ans) From the time an individual is born, role learning begins which is a part of what we know as socialization. These roles pertain to one’s sex (gender), age, kinship, caste, class, and so on. Role learning begins at a young age when children start observing how people in their surroundings behave with them and toward each other. In fact, children often engage in role playing games where they enact the role of a mother, father, or teacher. Individuals also have role models in their lives whose certain pattern/ s of behaviour is incorporated in one’s own behaviour. A role model can be a Basic Concepts person in the family, neighbourhood, school or even some distant, unrelated person whom we have seen in the social media.

10. What is gemeinschaft?

Ans) Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft, developed by Ferdinand Tonnies. These two terms translate roughly as ‘Community’ and ‘Society’. The Gemeinschaft is a social system in which most relationships are personal or traditional and often both. A good example is the feudal manor, a small community held together by a combination of personal relationships and status obligation. Although great inequality existed, the lord of the manor was personally known to his subjects, while their duties to him were balanced by his obligation for their welfare. In the Gemeinschaft, primary-group relationships were dominant, while in the Gesellschafts, secondary-group relationships gained in importance.

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