If you are looking for BSOC-103 IGNOU Solved Assignment solution for the subject Introduction to Sociology II, you have come to the right place. BSOC-103 solution on this page applies to 2021-22 session students studying in BASOH courses of IGNOU.
BSOC-103 Solved Assignment Solution by Gyaniversity
Assignment Code: BSOC –103/ASST /TMA /2021-22
Course Code: BSOC –103
Assignment Name: Introduction To Sociology-II
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 limitation of classical social evolution.
Ans) In summary, classical evolutionary theory had as its major premise, the postulate of one human society and one culture. The sociological theories that were foundational, were attempting to understand the past of the European societies of the nineteenth century and the scholars located in the time zone of the French and American Revolutions and other significant political upheavals of those times were trying to understand the process of social transformation and the possibility of regarding societies as objects of study. There was also the assumption that society was like a natural system subject to uniform laws like all natural systems. The flaw lay in the speculative nature of the stages of evolution that were put forward especially with reference to the logical future stages to which they pointed. According to Comte the industrial society of the future would be rational and peaceful, and spirituality of the philosophers and scientists would prevail. Thus, the belief that militarism was to be a thing of the past, was completely turned around by the two World Wars and Comte’s hope that Western civilization would rise above brute force was completely shattered.
The anthropological theories of cultural and social evolution on the other hand we’re trying to explain not just western societies but the ‘Others’. The stage-by-stage scheme of progress that they proposed had the additional demerit, apart Evolutionary Perspective from being speculative, of being Eurocentric as well. Thus, progress was measured simply by the distance or difference that any society had from early twentieth century Europe that provided the standard for measurement of progress. Thus, for example, in his schema for the evolution of religion, Tylor had put monotheism at the apex, implying that the Judeo-Christian religions were superior to the polytheistic or nature worshipping ones. A major flaw in all the schema was that they compounded technological progress or complexity with moral, social, and cultural evolution. Thus, the Australian Aborigines were deemed most ‘primitive’ just because they looked the most different from the Europeans and because they had stone tools.
Later scholars used ethnographic and field data to contest most of these speculations. It was realized that each culture was to be understood only contextually and that technology was not to be confused with values and moral systems. Knowledge existed in many forms and most importantly all people were rational in their own context. There were everywhere people driven by custom, people who just conformed to given norms and those that were seekers and creators. Malinowski showed how Primitive Magic, considered as superstition, was a functional system that assisted rational goals to be reached. There was also criticism of the idea that the non-western people were incapable of higher and esoteric thinking. In his study of Nuer Religion for example Evans-Pritchard has described their complex philosophy, capacity for esoteric thought and complex system of symbols. The ‘primitive’ Australian Aborigines had a complex system of marriage exchange that required expert mathematical abilities to decipher. Even the technological expertise of the so-called ‘primitives’ was exceptional. There were many instances of technological expertise that even the best of western people found difficult to duplicate and understand, like the boomerang and complex traps used by them.
There were many critiques of the concept of ‘good life’ and of ‘progress’ pointing to the obviously Eurocentric and capitalist nature of these postulates.
2. What is conflict theory? Discuss the recent trends of conflict theory.
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. In the more recent times, there has been a trend towards cultural construction of institutional structures more than on relational structures. One of the most influential thinkers of the twentieth century, Michel Foucault brought about a paradigm shift in the understanding of power. Unlike all conventional understandings of power, Foucault believed power is not concentrated in specific agents or strata but is diffused in all aspects of society. Power need not be always destructive but can be as aspect of collective effort towards improvement and production. Foucault used the concept of capillary power to describe power that is diffuse and can be used in any situation and by anyone. Even in a group of friends, a certain person can take control in a particular situation, like sudden crises; someone takes ill at a picnic, or a school bus goes into an accident and so on. According to Foucault, conflict, negotiation, and contradictions are part of every relationship.
John Scott explains that power can be broadly understood as having two kinds of influence. Corrective influence that operates through punishments and rewards and persuasive influence that operates through arguments, appeals and reasoning. The former can be divided into two types, use of force and manipulations and the second type also has two forms, signification, and legitimation. The latter becomes effective by a collective belief and operates through shared cognitive meanings and value commitments. This does not mean that the latter is less exploitative or does not actually support hierarchy, but that it makes people believe otherwise. The latter process can contain conflict and prevent any kind of dissent because it manages to hide the reality of the situation.
Foucault had throughout his works shown how the most effective modes of control are those that are least obvious. Randall Collins added a microlevel to the macro-level of conflict theory. Like Foucault, he too located conflict in the processes of day-to-day life. All relationships are based on some antagonism, domination, and conflict on the one hand and there are also patterns of solidarity on the other. Unlike the sweeping generalized metatheories of the classical conflict theorists, the more recent scholars like Collins, depended more on empirical data and more grounded theorisation. Collins made use of Goffman’s model of interaction rituals, using the concepts of front stage and backstage performance. These refer to the play-acting people resort to when putting up a front stage performance. Goffman had likened all social interaction to stage performances for most of us pretend and say and do things that we may not always mean. Thus, those who receive orders to obey may do so, overtly but keep resentment in their own minds. The backstage performance refers to those situations where we let down our guard and talk and perform freely. Thus, a man may take orders from his boss and be deferential to him overtly, even praise him to his face.
Assignment - II
Answer the following Middle Category questions in about 250 words each. Each question carries 10 marks. 3 X 10 = 30
3. Explain the elite theory of conflict.
Ans) Scholars like Lenski and Dahrendorf also brought in the concept of elites to explain social class and consequent conflict in society. The genesis of Elite theory is attributed to Vilfredo Pareto, an economist and political scientist whose academic life flourished in Florence was also a classical theorist who believed in societies and social systems whose natural state was one of equilibrium. He followed Adam Smith in advocating for a liberal doctrine and free exchange with an aversion for state control. He saw power as the manifestation of corruption and malice and all these manifested in the state.
According to John Scott, the classical elite theory is meaningless in terms of being too inclusive. Thus, when we are talking of broad categories like Dahrendorf and Pareto, the definition of power being too inclusive loses its meaning. He postulated that positional studies should be replaced by more dynamic categories. Also, that power should only be defined according to the effect that it has. Thus, real social power can be defined in terms of the power wielder’s conscious effort to affect the conduct of those who are subordinated. Thus, a real elite cannot be defined in terms of ability or status but should be confined to those who can exercise power or have the potential to exercise it. Since power cannot be exercised in a vacuum, elite theory or the concept of social power can only be visualized in terms of two parties to it; the one exercising and the other on whom it is being exercised. Thus, power relations are intrinsically asymmetrical and therefore involve at least two parties with conflicting interests and goals. Elite theory with its emphasis on hierarchy and exercise of social power thus is essentially a conflict theory.
4. Discuss the recent trends of symbolic interactionism.
Ans) Interpretive approach has given rise to diverse theoretical traditions of sociology under the general category of social constructionist approach. Some of the prominent ones are symbolic interactionism, dramaturgy, phenomenology, and ethnomethodology. The notion of the social construction of reality lies at the heart of symbolic interactionist perspective Anthony Giddens describes the study of everyday life as telling us how humans can act creatively to shape reality and that social behaviour is guided to some extent by forces such as roles, norms, and shared expectations. He further tells us that individuals perceive reality differently according to their backgrounds, interests, and motivations. In other words, reality is not fixed or static – it is created through human interactions.
Symbolic interactionism has been one of the most significant sociological perspectives from North America. It traces its roots to the philosopher George Herbert Mead. The sociologists who developed this perspective further include Herbert Blumer and Erving Goffman. George Herbert Mead is known as the founding father of this perspective; although the perspective was named and popularized by his student, Herbert Blumer. While the symbolic interaction perspective is generally associated with Mead, it was Herbert Blumer who took Mead’s ideas and developed them into a more systematic sociological approach. Blumer coined the term symbolic interactionism. Blumerian symbolic interactionism is often referred to as the ‘Chicago School of Symbolic Interactionism’. Some of the main features include study of interactions, interpretation of action and the social construction of the self. M Francis Abraham contends that Symbolic interactionism is a “social-psychological perspective that is particularly relevant to sociology. Instead of dealing with abstract social structures, or concrete forms of individual behaviour, symbolic interactionism focuses on the nature of interaction, the patterns of social action and social relationship”
5. Discuss the cyclical theories of social change.
Ans) Cyclical theories have been concerned with the repetitious change of conditions, events, forms and/or fashions over a long period of time, although the period of recurrent phases of change would vary. The cyclical theorists believe that societies pass through a series of stages. However, they do not consider the notion of ending in a stage of perfection but see them as a return to the stage where it began for further round in a cyclical manner. A.L. Kroeber provides classical analysis of cyclical patterns of clothing-style changes of Western women. Kroeber found that clothing styles in Western societies followed certain patterns over long periods of time, and even within these patterns were observed changes in regular cycles. Oswald Spengler opined those civilizations pass through successive stages of birth, growth, and decline.
For instance, the Roman Empire rose to power and then gradually declined, and so was the British Empire. Pitirim Sorokin believed that all great civilizations pass through three cultural systems in a cyclical way: (i) the ideational culture/society based on faith and revelation; (ii) the idealist culture/society guided by a ‘mixed’ notion of supernatural beliefs and empiricism; and (iii) the sensate culture/society, which are guided by empirical sense perceptions. He opined that that all societies need not necessarily decay but rather they go through various stages by shifting from one cycle to another as the needs of the society demand.
Arnold Toynbee after going through the trend of twenty-one great civilizations concluded that civilizations are born, grow, decay, and die. He believed that the surviving Western civilization is also moving into the later stages of decay. Vilfredo Pareto in his studies on political elites provides yet another classic cyclical theory of change of the circulation of elites. He classifies two kinds of political elites – the ‘foxes’ and the ‘lions’ whose strategies differ in the process of gaining political power and control. While the former gain political power by deceit, manipulation, shrewdness, and fraud, the latter gain power by direct use of force and military power. He opined that there was a cyclical pattern of government- lions replacing the foxes by military force, the foxes in turn displacing the lions through deals and political alliances, and again lions recapturing power from the foxes and the alternate process goes on in a cyclical pattern.
Assignment - III
Answer the following Short Category questions in about 100 words each. Each question carries 6 marks. 5 X 6 = 30
6. What according to Marx are the causes of division of labour?
Ans) The causes of division of labour according to Karl Marx are as follows:
Profits Accrue to the Capitalist
As earlier described, division of labour in manufacture help to generate more and more surplus value leading to capital accumulation. According to him, division of labour and the existence of private property together consolidate the power of the capitalist.
Workers Lose Control Over what they Produce
According to Marx with division of labour in manufacture workers tend to lose their status as the real creators of goods. Rather, they become mere links in a production chain designed and operated by the capitalists. Workers are separated from the products of their labour; in fact, they hardly ever see the result of their work. They have no control over its sale and purchase.
Dehumanisation of the Working Class
The capitalist system characterised by division of labour is one where workers stop being independent producers of goods. They become suppliers of labour-power, which is needed for production.
One of the important concepts developed by Marx in understanding the realities of the industrial world is that of alienation. The process of production and division of labour is one which forces the worker to do boring, tedious, repetitive work. The worker is robbed of all control over his/her work.
7. What is Dramaturgy?
Ans) Dramaturgy is the study of dramatic composition and the representation of the main elements of drama on the stage. The term first appears in the eponymous work Hamburg Dramaturgy by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing. Lessing composed this collection of essays on the principles of drama while working as the world's first dramaturge at the Hamburg National Theatre. Dramaturgy is distinct from play writing and directing, although the three may be practiced by one individual. Some dramatists combine writing and dramaturgy when creating a drama. Others work with a specialist, called a dramaturge, to adapt a work for the stage. Dramaturgy may also be broadly defined as "adapting a story to actable form." Dramaturgy gives a performance work foundation and structure. Often the dramaturge's strategy is to manipulate a narrative to reflect the current Zeitgeist through cross-cultural signs, theatre- and film-historical references to genre, ideology, questions of gender and racial representation, etc., in the dramatization.
8. Differentiate between mechanical and organic solidarity.
Ans) The differences between mechanical and organic solidarity are:
As you know, mechanical solidarity refers to a solidarity of resemblance or likeness. There exists a great deal of homogeneity and tightly knit social bonds which serve to make the individual members one with their society. The collective conscience is extremely strong. By collective conscience we mean the system of beliefs and sentiments held in common by members of a society which defines what their mutual relations ought to be. The strength of the collective conscience integrates such societies, binding together individual members through strong beliefs and values.
By organic solidarity, Durkheim means a solidarity based on difference and complementarity of differences. Take factory, for example. There is a great deal of difference in the work, social status, income, etc. of a worker and a manager. Yet, the two complement each other. Being a manager is meaningless without the cooperation of workers and workers need to be organised by managers. Thus, they are vital for each other’s survival. Societies based on organic solidarity are touched and transformed by the growth of industrialisation. Thus, division of labour is a very important aspect of such societies.
9. Distinguish between religion and science.
Ans) The differences between religion and science are:
Science is objective. It is derived from facts and logic. But religion is subjective since it is derived from beliefs that are not backed by any proof.
Scientists are of the view that science can help in decreasing the gap between the rich and the poor. But the people who are more inclined towards religion are pessimistic.
Science studies about the world as we know. But religion is a lot associated with the supernatural world that we aren’t aware of.
In science, people welcome new ideas and try experimenting with them. On the contrary, religion believes in certain ideas and doesn’t even accept trying new things.
Science is tested and is challenged. It is subject to incorrectness. This facilitates for science to evolve over time.
10. What is anomie?
Ans) Anomie means a state of normlessness. Material life changes rapidly, but rules norms and values do not keep pace with it. There seems to be a total breakdown of rules and norms. In the work sphere, this reflects in conflicts between labour and management, degrading and meaningless work and growing class conflict. To put it simply, individuals are working and producing but fail to see any meaning in what they are doing. For instance, in a factory assembly-line workers must spend the whole day doing boring, routine activities like fixing screws or nails to a piece of machinery. They fail to see any meaning in what they do. They are not made to feel that they are doing anything useful, they are not made to feel an important part of society.
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