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BSOC-103: Introduction to Sociology II

BSOC-103: Introduction to Sociology II

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2022-23

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Assignment Code: BSOC-103/ASST/TMA/2022-23

Course Code: BSOC-103

Assignment Name: Introduction to Sociology II

Year: 2022-2023

Verification Status: Verified by Professor


There are three sections in the assignment. You have to answer all questions in the sections.


Assignment A


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


1. Explain the Neo-Evolutionary theories.

Ans) Leslie White, Marshall Sahlins, and Elman Service, along with Julian Steward, were the main proponents of the key neo-evolutionary theories for culture. The three theories shared the methodological premise that they all attempted to interpret evolution as an inductive process rather than a purely deductive one, contrary to the classical evolutionists' methodology, which proceeded solely on logical grounds. They made use of factual information and empirically gathered data to attempt to connect the growth of society to its historical and environmental setting. Each of them also had a unique understanding of how to define and reconstruct culture in accordance with their underlying theoretical presuppositions.


The cultural ecology hypothesis, commonly known as Julian Steward's theory of culture transformation, has been described as both a theory and a practise. He had a core and a peripheral to his understanding of culture. Techno-economic factors that interacted with certain elements of the environment depending on the nature of that particular society's subsistence activities made constituted the core of the culture. This core culture has a dialectical relationship with the environment in which the techno-economic system interacts with the environment and transforms it, and then transforms the techno-economic system once more in order to interact with the transformed environment. This gradual, long-term process results in the evolution of the social system.


Leslie White supported Edward B. Tylor's Unilineal Evolution theory. He concurred with the most of Tylor's theories and felt that the criticism of Tylor sprang from a misperception of how history and evolution work. He contends that although history is ideographic and situation-specific, evolution is nomothetic, independent of context, and has its own generalised laws. He also thought that because people are constantly looking for methods to improve their life, evolution is progressive.


Without assuming that any of these changes are accompanied by any value judgments such as progress or improvement of human life, Sahlins and Service proposed a dual scheme of evolution based on the widely accepted premise that human society has evolved from simple to more complex states marked by increased population density and more complex organisational structures. A generalised and comprehensive understanding of culture, according to Sahlins, is the greater human culture that has evolved through significant stages of development including agriculture, urbanisation, industrialization, literacy, and technology. However, the term "cultures" in the plural refers to those particular local environmental adaptations that delineate the functional characteristics, identities, and boundaries of individual cultures.


Parsons and Lenski

Despite their much later arrival in the late 20th century, these two sociologists provided explanations of social development that were comparable to those of the traditional evolutionists. Being a sociologist as opposed to an anthropological, Parsons focused exclusively on the development of western society. Similar to Spencer, he presented a stage-by-stage evolutionary theory, but his focus was on the nature of the societies rather than on the precise timing of each stage.


To Spencer's stage of Historic Intermediate Empires, which included China, India, Rome, and the Islamic world, he added a stage of Archaic societies, symbolised by ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. Since the two civilizations designated as archaic share characteristics with the societies designated as historic intermediary, it does not make much sense to use evolution to represent a stage of development rather than an actual historical time scale.


2. Explain the interpretive approach of Max Weber.

Ans) The contributions of German sociologist Max Weber from the first half of the 20th century are where this strategy got its start. Sociological essays by Weber on topics including society, economics, politics, and government are among his extensive body of work. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, The Religion of India: the Sociology of Hinduism and Buddhism, and Economy and Society are a few of the noteworthy ones. He published extensively on a wide range of topics, but he concentrated on creating an interpretive sociology of social action and of dominance and power.


The development of modern society's rationalisation and how different global faiths relate to it were two additional important concerns of Weber's. His method of studying society might be interpreted as an effort to reach a compromise with positivism and its goals of producing a scientific sociology. Sociology, according to Weber, is a field of study that aims to interpretively grasp social action in order to provide a causal explanation for its causes and outcomes. Here, social activity must be viewed as purposeful, meaningful, and symbolic action that is reciprocally directed. We can say that the phrase alludes to interaction in modern sociology.


Understanding on a meaning-level is the essence of Weber's central methodological principle, verstehen. This feature, in Weber's opinion, gave the social sciences an edge over the natural sciences. In contrast to the natural sciences, where we can simply observe and make generalisations, social sciences allow us to comprehend both the acts and the actors' subjective goals.


Because of this, it contributes to the scientific study of social behaviour in two ways. First, it enables us to directly witness and comprehend the significance of acts. On the other side, it makes it easier to comprehend the underlying motivation. Chemists examine a substance's qualities from the outside when researching it. A sociologist approaches human society and culture from the inside, or as a participant, in order to better comprehend it. The social scientist can understand the motivations and emotions of his or her subject since they are human. By examining the subjective meanings that actors give to their own and others' behaviour, social scientists can better comprehend human behaviour. Thus, sociological comprehension differs qualitatively from that of other sciences.


A natural scientist views natural events from the outside, according to Weber. However, by employing the verstehen technique, the sociologist need to be able to and ought to visualise the actor's intentions by attempting to interpret feelings through a comprehension of the circumstance. We can see that Weber's contribution to this strategy was of the utmost importance since he tried to combine the idea of social activity with empirical sociological explanation. And comprehend was the one tool that made this feasible. This is how the sociologist makes an effort to understand what an action means to the performer. Action, according to Weber, is a subjectively significant human behaviour. He also places emphasis on the actor's "motivation," which he refers to as the "cause" of the act.


Assignment B


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


3. What is phenomenology? Explain.

Ans) Alfred Schutz, best known for The Phenomenology of the Social World, is significantly responsible for the development of phenomenological sociology. Schutz contends that while acting, we make assumptions about society and how it functions and utilise crude interpretations of verstehen to foretell others' behaviour. As a result, our actions have "meaning" not because we have a specific aim or motivation but rather because other actors perceive them to have symbolic value. The interpretive approach, first proposed by Max Weber and afterwards refined by other thinkers, is claimed to be taken to its logical conclusion by the phenomenological perspective.


According to this viewpoint, our reality is made up solely of meanings; as a result, the only task for a sociologist is to ascertain the meanings of people's acts and behaviours. Schutz popularises this strategy while criticising Max Weber's methods by drawing on Edmund Husserl's philosophy. In order to create a radical explanation of the nature of social action, he does this. According to Schutz, Weber was unable to adequately explain how actions can only be created by referring to a common set of social concepts, symbols, and meanings.


The study of formal social structures in concrete society as they are made available by and through the analytical description of intentional conscious activities is known as phenomenological sociology. The subject of such an investigation is the "life-world," which is the meaningful lived world of daily existence. According to Bilton et al., symbolic interactionists highlighted the importance of symbolic communication through language while acknowledging shared definitions. Schutz created this viewpoint in order to essentially argue that we only behave successfully as individuals when we all have the same set of meanings. As a result, this method might be seen as a divergence from the traditional model of interpretive sociology.


4. Discuss the field view of Dalit perspective.

Ans) The book view Dalit perspective also aims to evaluate how and why their beliefs, world views, icons, movements, etc. have been blacked out in the "field view" of the Indian society, in addition to stressing the current situation of Dalits in the Hindu social order. It highlights the fact that even in studies of Indian Village, their daily struggles, scorn, filth, and poverty were never brought up. To paraphrase Metcalf, Indian communities were praised as "Little Republics." The unity and interdependence axis served as the foundation for Srinivas and Beteille's studies on Indian villages. According to the Dalit perspective, this viewpoint held by the mainstream sociologists is incorrect. For instance, Ambedkar, who had witnessed his family living in the villages, claims that "democracy has no place in this republic." Equality, liberty, and fraternity have no place. Indian villages are the antithesis of a republic.


Parvathamma emphasises that Srinivas, however, "seems to be fully devoted to the equilibrium model of Radcliffe Brown and Durkheim... the notion of village solidarity... Daily life is frequently influenced by competing interests, so both inter- and intra-caste relationships are subject to change. Solidarity is, at best, situational and transient. Arun also shows that there is still a physical divide between Cheri and Ur, and that Dalits and members of the so-called upper castes have different cemeteries. Arun laments that "They still do not wear shirts and when they encounter the higher caste of the village they remove their towel from their shoulder out of respect," when describing the continued dominance of the so-called upper caste in the area. Similar to how elder Paraiyar women avoid dressing in blouses and sandals in front of higher castes. In addition, Ramaiah paints a completely different picture of the Indian hamlet than do traditional sociologists.

5. Describe the key concepts used by Durkheim to understand religion.

Ans) Durkheim believed that all societies divide the universe into two basic categories: the sacred and the profane, in The Elementary Forms of Religious Life:


The term "profane" alludes to banal, everyday life, such as our daily grind of waking up, performing our rituals, attending college, eating our daily Nachos, and cleaning the dishes.

The term "sacred" refers to anything that transcends the routine of daily life. The most prominent examples of "sacred" locations are religious buildings like cathedrals or mosques, which often take the form of collective representations that are separated from society.

Prayer is an obvious example of an "occasional ritual" that is marked out from everyday mundane life. According to Durkheim, religion is the collective practise of separating and keeping distance between the sacred and the profane. This is usually done through rituals, like those connected with daily or weekly visits to the church or mosque.


There is nothing about any object or activity that makes it fundamentally sacred: anything can be sacred. This is significant for Durkheim because not only can churches, mosques, and religious publications be considered sacred, but in some societies, even trees or even rocks may be.


According to Durkheim, it is necessary to identify the connection between sacred symbols and the meanings they convey in order to comprehend the place of religion in society. Totemism was one of the earliest and most basic forms of religious behaviour in Durkheim's opinion. It is most frequently observed among indigenous populations with clan-based systems, such as Australian aborigines and North West Native Americans. Durkheim developed his theory of religion on the totemic beliefs of the Australian aborigines. Aboriginal culture was divided into various clans, and members of each tribe had duties that needed to be carried out, such as mourning the loss of other clan members or assisting in the pursuit of retribution when another member was wronged by someone outside the clan.


Assignment C


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


6. What is mechanical solidarity?

Ans) A solidarity of similarity or likeness is referred to as mechanical solidarity. There is a lot of homogeneity and close-knit social ties that help to integrate the individual members of the community. There is a very strong sense of communal consciousness. By collective conscience, we mean the set of shared values and sentiments that determine how members of a society should interact with one another. Such societies are cohesive due to the strength of the collective conscience, which bonds individual members together via steadfast beliefs and ideals. The violation or departure from these principles is taken very seriously.


Offenders receive harsh or oppressive punishment. It must be emphasised once more that this is a unity or solidarity based on resemblance and homogeneity. The range of individual differences is quite small, and the division of labour is at a low level. In such civilizations, the individual conscience and the collective conscience are combined briefly.


7. What is alienation?

Ans) In social sciences, alienation is the sensation of estrangement or separation from one's environment, one's work, one's products of work, or oneself. The following variations are the most prevalent: powerlessness, the perception that one's destiny is not in one's own control but is determined by external agents, fate, luck, or institutional arrangements; meaninglessness, which can refer to either a lack of comprehensibility or consistent meaning in any domain of action or to a generalised sense of nothingness; and alienation.


8. What is social change?

Ans) Any major shift in cultural beliefs and standards through time, as well as in behaviour patterns, is referred to as social change. Sociologists define "major" change as a shift with considerable social repercussions. The industrial revolution, the abolition of slavery, and the feminist movement are a few examples of significant social transformations that had a lasting impact. Sociologists of today readily recognise the critical part social movements play in motivating society's disgruntled citizens to effect social change.


Sociologists have proposed the evolutionary, functionalist, and conflict theories of change as a result of their efforts to comprehend the nature of long-term social change, which includes looking for patterns and causes. All theories of social change acknowledge that opposition to change is likely, particularly when those with stakes in the status quo feel threatened and uneasy about anticipated changes.


9. What is phenomenology?

Ans) Sociology's study of the formal structures of actual social life as made possible by and through the analytical description of purposeful conscious acts is known as phenomenology phenomenological sociology. Such an analysis's subject is the meaningfully lived world of daily existence.


The goal of phenomenological sociology is to explain or give a description of the formal structures of the investigated object in terms of subjectivity, as an object created in and for consciousness. The use of phenomenological methodology distinguishes such a description from the "naive" subjective descriptions of the average person or traditional social scientists, both of whom operate in the natural attitude of everyday life.


10. What is structuralism?

Ans) Although there is a relationship between social structure and structuralism, which sounds a lot like it, structuralism differs significantly from structure and function theory in terms of its methodology, philosophical presumptions, and fundamental guiding principles. The idea of structuralism examines the relationships between concepts or the labels that different cultures assign to concepts, but the idea of social structure basically monitors and analyses the relationships between social individuals. In comparison to the idea of social structure, structuralism operates at a far higher degree of abstraction.


To put it another way, structuralism refers to the logical structures of the human mind, but social structure, as in the sociology of Durkheim and his student A.R. Radcliffe-Brown, refers to behaviour and processes of social connections. Since everyone has a mind, structural analysis is best performed in a context-free environment. A structural-functional analysis that is properly contextualised to the society and culture of the data being studied is significantly different from this. According to Levi-Strauss, any myth's structural analysis is entirely independent of the cultural context in which it is found.

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