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BSOC-108: Economic Sociology

BSOC-108: Economic Sociology

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2021-22

If you are looking for BSOC-108 IGNOU Solved Assignment solution for the subject Economic Sociology, you have come to the right place. BSOC-108 solution on this page applies to 2021-22 session students studying in BASOH courses of IGNOU.

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

Course Code: BSOC-108

Assignment Name: Economic Sociology

Year: 2021-2022

Verification Status: Verified by Professor

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

Assignment - I

Answer the following in about 500 words each.

Q1) Describe the relation between society, culture and economy using the ideas of Marx, Weber, and Durkheim. (20)

Ans) Economic sociology, as we know it, is a specialised paradigm for understanding human actors in their social contexts as well as critically responding to neoclassical economic theory's taken-for-granted assumptions. Economic sociology is a branch of sociology that studies and researches the connections between economic and social events. Classical economic theory, which was influenced by Adam Smith, was based on assumptions that were taken for granted, such as the stability of human nature and behaviour. Individuals are also believed to be rational actors, and what they buy in the market is based on the product's utility functions.

Sociologists then respond to these assumptions by stating that individuals act in social and cultural contexts, and that their activities thus constitute a social activity that varies between cultures. However, this does not rule out the possibility of comparing individual activities. According to Max Weber, any social activity can be impacted by three social factors: tradition, affect, and rational-legal considerations. Individual taste, according to Pierre Bourdieu, is not merely a reflection of moral aesthetics, as Kant predicted, but is also heavily influenced by social class settings.

Karl Marx (1818 – 1883)

He believes that labour is the most important existential condition of human civilization, and that all other activities revolve around it. Marx chastised classical economists in his famous treatise Capital for failing to effectively define the antagonism between capitalists and workers that characterises capitalist systems. Marx sought to underline the existence of social restrictions inherent in capitalism economies' core institutions. In other words, he concentrated on the issue of ownership of the means of production and waged labour as mechanisms for regulating the production of products and income distribution. Capitalism would result in a growing division of social classes, which would lead to a progressive increase of conflict, which would eventually lead to the destruction of old economic structures.

His negative outlook on capitalist economies' ability to continue producing and distributing wealth stems in part from his focus on the exploitation of the working class as the economy's driving force through the development of surplus value and profit. Marx articulated the presuppositions that underpin his criticisms of political economy in Capital. When a single worker is used in the production process, he adds value above and beyond what is required to pay his wages. This disparity creates a labour surplus, which becomes the source of surplus value, which then becomes the source of profit. Individual capitalist entrepreneurs, on the other hand, have an incentive in (and are obliged to) introducing new equipment in a competitive environment, thereby expanding fixed capital at the expense of labour.

They lower labour costs and increase profits in this way until other capitalists are forced to adopt the same advances. This, on the other hand, has two major consequences: First, it causes unemployment and reduces working-class living conditions; second, it causes the rate of profit to decline, diminishing the impulse to production. Profit, according to Marx, is solely dependent on labour exploitation. Marx also highlighted the rising differentiations in the class structure and the autonomous influence of culture and politics on the consciousness and activity of the social classes in his historical works. Following in the footsteps of classical economics, he also believed that the competitive market's dynamics would eventually lead to the extension of the capitalist mode of production, eliminating disparities across countries.

Max Weber (1864 – 1920)

During the first half of the 1890s, Weber's research highlighted major theoretical questions concerning economic sociology, as well as highlighting the critical role that non-economic cultural and institutional circumstances must be attributed to in explaining economic behaviour. His work The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism is widely regarded as the foundational articulation of his theory of modern capitalism's origins. He raised the simple question, "Why did capitalism arise where it did?" in this study. Many economists at the time, according to Weber, misread the social and cultural framework in which capitalism arose. He looked into the cultural values of numerous civilizations and discovered that the protestant morality, which was influenced by Calvinism, played a significant part in the development of capitalism concepts.

According to him, the notion of predestination has conditioned many individuals to interpret 'being chosen' as a sign of material wealth. Furthermore, many people began to regard their employment as a primary determinant of their fate. People began to develop their own standards of'success' and invented means to become the 'selected ones', based on Calvinistic values of hard effort, investment, and saving. Those who work hard, are religious, and honest, for example, are frequently regarded as recipients of God's favour. As a result, work became a calling, and being frugal improved people's financial condition. The spirit of capitalism, on the other hand, included not only a commitment to the productive use of capital and a condemnation of luxury goods and pleasures as an ethical duty, but also a dedication to the productive use of capital and a condemnation of luxury goods and pleasures.

As a result, according to Weber, this reasoning became the core of capitalism's birth. Weber's thesis is intriguing because it knits together the historical intricacy of Europe's cultural backdrop with the structural evolution of capitalist industry. Entrepreneurial activity, he argued, should not be viewed as a constant, but as a variable that varies depending on the institutional context in which actors operate. As a result, he argued that a proper institutional structure was required for the production sector, as well as labour and finance. Economic progress could only be achieved if these conditions allowed for the expansion of entrepreneurship. Weber's finding of entrepreneurship during his study of German society prompted him to investigate the macrosociological issues of capitalism's roots and geographical growth, which he would ponder for many years. Weber's class formula was also applied to economic sociology. One of the most prominent characteristics of his concept of sociology is his idea of rubbing 'ideal types' against empirical realities to obtain actual experiences.

Emile Durkheim (1858 – 1917)

The economic element is dependent on social phenomena, according to Durkheim, because it is embedded in social institutions, norms, and values, i.e. the social embeddedness principle. Durkheim investigated the emergence of industrial societies with the goal of providing sociological explanations for changes in community life. He examined variations in what he refers to as'social density,' in keeping with his sociologism, which views'society' as a unique entity. This had an impact on how they interacted with others. People began to learn specific skills when it became impossible to perform all types of work, as it had been in the pre-industrial age. People got absorbed in specific types of work as a result of the processes of industrialization and urbanisation, which strengthened their interdependence on one another. As a result, social distinction has increased, resulting in the creation of 'organic solidarity' in modern society.

The larger shift had far-reaching implications for society, as new types of labour division evolved and the social fabric became even more intricate. Durkheim was also criticising utilitarian economists who preached rational conduct as the universal character of human society in this way. In terms of laws, modern industrial society has also changed. Instead of the repressive laws of the past, it demanded flexible punishments such as fines, referred to as restitutive laws. In terms of consumption, thinking, beliefs, and so on, society has become more individualistic. As a result, his first significant contribution was to challenge economists' theories of action and propose an institutional theory. His most essential point, in terms of substance, was that the arrangement of economic activity in modern civilizations was socially disruptive due to "abnormal forms" of labour division. However, after that, he broadened his intellectual horizons to include new subjects.

Moral norms and rules influenced people's actual economic conduct, which evolved as society changed. These institutional factors influenced and were influenced by economic growth. According to the classic theory, which is widely accepted among economists, the division of labour arose as a result of individual acts, which increased their advantages. This reasoning was implausible to Durkheim since single people could not easily forecast or comprehend the benefits of increased productivity and well-being. The causes for the division of work, according to Durkheim, must be found in a different, social source. Its key sites are variations in social morphology and the type of social relationships. These were represented in acts of solidarity and shared moral rules that bound people together and regulated their interactions.

Q2) Define the meaning of economic sociology and discuss the views of Karl Polanyi. (20)

Ans) The study of the social causes and effects of diverse economic phenomena is known as economic sociology. The field can be separated into two periods: classical and contemporary (known as 'New economic sociology'). Modernity and its constituent characteristics, such as rationalisation, secularisation, urbanisation, and social stratification, were particularly important throughout the classical period. Economics plays a role in much traditional sociological study since sociology emerged primarily as a reaction to capitalist modernity. William Stanley Jevons developed the phrase 'economic sociology' in 1879, and it was later utilised in the writings of Emile Durkheim, Max Weber, and George Simmel between 1890 and 1920.

Weber's work on the relationship between economics and religion, as well as the modern West's cultural 'disenchantment,' is perhaps the most emblematic of the classical approach to economic sociology. Economic sociology, as a topic at the junction of economics and sociology, may involve studies of all current social aspects of economic phenomena. The social repercussions of economic exchanges, the social meanings they entail, and the social relationships they enable or impede are all common topics of study in contemporary economic sociology.

Views of Karl Polanyi on Economic Sociology

Karl Polanyi outlines how such theoretical paradigms arose during the major shift of European civilisation from the preindustrial to the industrial age in his significant book, 'The Great Shift.' Significant changes in manufacturing methods, as well as movements in ideas, ideologies, and social and economic policies, were all brought about by the Industrial Revolution. He examined the impacts of market capitalism in early nineteenth-century England and the rest of the industrialising globe in his book Great Transformation.

Capitalism, according to Polanyi, has prioritised profits and the market over society and human values, turning everything (even land and labour) into a commodity that can be bought and sold. Market economy, according to him, is "an economic system controlled, regulated, and directed solely by markets," and is based on the "fictitious commodification" of land labour and money. In a market economy, society is subordinate to market laws. He believed that economics, which arose alongside market capitalism, serves as its servant and is merely a component of the system that keeps capitalism afloat by making it appear normal. Polanyi delved further into history to study prior civilizations in order to comprehend alternatives to market capitalism. He claims that the nineteenth-century industrial revolution generated academics who formulated the market liberalism thesis, which is based on the premise that all economies should be subjected to self-regulating markets.

For example, Adam Smith, the pioneer of classical political economy, proposed that the forces of supply and demand would act as an invisible hand in regulating markets. The beliefs of self-regulating markets or free markets became the organising basis for the entire economy as a result of England's leadership role as the "workshop of the world." The core theses of self-regulating markets were rejected by Polanyi. He claimed that the self-regulating market is a fallacy since it has flaws in its internal workings as well as its results, necessitating government involvement. Capitalists are particularly interested in the concept of the free market or self-regulating market, according to him. As a result, free-market ideology is unmistakably associated with capitalism. In this way, he debunks the basic tenet of formal economics: the self-regulating market.

Assignment – II

Answer the following questions in about 250 words each.

Q3) What do you understand by the term embeddedness? (10)

Ans) The degree to which economic activity is restricted by non-economic institutions is referred to as embeddedness in economics and economic sociology. Karl Polanyi, an economic historian, coined the word as part of his substantivist methodology. Polanyi maintained that there are no pure economic institutions in non-market societies to which formal economic theories can be applied. In these circumstances, non-economic kinship, religious, and political institutions are "embedded" in economic operations such as "provisioning."

Economic activities have been rationalised in market societies, and economic behaviour is "disembedded" from society and allowed to follow its own independent logic, as described in economic modelling. In what has come to be known as the formalist–substantivist controversy, Polanyi's views were widely accepted and contested in anthropology. [1] Following that, economic sociologist Mark Granovetter expanded on the word "embeddedness," arguing that, even in market societies, economic activity is not as disembedded from society as economic models would suggest.

The term 'embeddedness' emphasises the idea that, contrary to what traditional economists would have us believe, the economy is not separate from society. Politics, religion, and social interactions always take precedence over the economy. He emphasises the classical economics' significant departure with prior ideas, particularly Malthus and Ricardo. Instead of the historically common pattern of subordinating the economy to society, their self-regulating market system demanded that society be subordinated to market logic.

"Ultimately that is why the management of the economic system the market is of overwhelming relevance to the whole structure of society: it entails no less than the administration of society as an adjunct to the market," he writes in part one of The Great Transformation. Rather than the economy being embedded in social interactions, the economic system is embedded in social relations.

Q4) Who influenced Karl Polanyi in his theory of Economic Sociology? Discuss. (10)

Ans) Through his comparative study of economic institutions as articulated in his 'Trade and Market in Early Empires,' Polanyi's viewpoint influenced economic anthropology and the economic history of the ancient world. His notion that the economy in pre-capitalist societies is enmeshed in social interactions governed by values other than profit has clear affinities with Malinowski and Talcott Parsons' functionalism. He classified exchange systems according to Weberian principles: reciprocity, home holding, redistribution, and market trade. As a utilitarian theorist, he saw modern society's primary issue as combining socialist economic planning with individual liberty. According to Polanyi, the concept of economic rationality is a very specific historical construct that relates only to the early modern forms of market society that arose in Western Europe.

Thus, according to Polanyi, "socially driven behaviour" — "activity directed toward the interests of one's family, clan, or village" — rather than "self-interested behaviour" is "natural" for humans; rational self-interest is a trait of a highly particular civilization: market society. By proposing the concept of embeddedness, Polanyi broadens the scope of substantive economics. The concept of embeddedness is his most important contribution to social theory. His concept of embeddedness is essentially a critique of the capitalism system, in which society and economy appear to exist in distinct realms.

Q5) Discuss the major features of Hunting and Gathering economy. (10)

Ans) The major features of Hunting and Gathering economy are as follows:

The Primary Unit is the Family

The most fundamental component of a society is a group of people who live together in tiny groups inside a single family. In a culture, different groups have shared kinship links. Among the different social groups that exist in the immediate vicinity, these societies predominate. Only hunters and gatherers had this type of social organisation, and it lasted until the emergence of agricultural cultures.

Territories of Greater Size

Hunting and gathering communities tend to be dispersed over greater distances. In a hunting and gathering civilization, each unit sets up camp at a distance from the others. Each society's total population is significantly lower than that of the preceding society. Hunters and gatherers rely on natural resources such as wild animals and plants for food, and the territory they colonised is the primary source of these resources.

The Head of State as a Legal Authority

In hunting and gathering communities, no one unit had any formal laws. In each hunting and gathering group, however, there are two collectively elected headmen who hold the role and control them. The headmen have a higher level of authority than other men. Headmen, on the other hand, cannot order members of his band to carry out his wishes. Each group has its own set of rules, which can sometimes be applied to the entire hunting and gathering society.

Natural Resources as a Food Source

When dealing with hunting and gathering societies, food is at the forefront of debate because it determines their way of life. The natural environment where hunters and gatherers gather or hunt is the primary source of sustenance for them. These societies do not cultivate or grow it. However, there are a few hunters and gatherers in nations other than India who engage in crop farming as well, although hunting and gathering is their major mode of livelihood.

Relations of Exchange

Certain food supplies are preserved in hunting and gathering societies, but there is a limit. At the same time, each hunting and gathering band has access to a specific type of natural resource that they use to feed themselves. As a result, they swap the food they have more access to with other bands who have access to various resources in order to acquire new sorts of food. This method of exchange is based on reciprocity and occurs in the form of gifts. This type of exchange relationship is significant since it is more of a commodity in exchange of commodity rather than a money exchange.

Workforce Distribution

There is a gendered division of labour among hunters and gatherers, i.e. between two sexes rather than within one sex. Aging, on the other hand, is occasionally a cause of unequal division of labour among them. Adult guys from various units perform very identically. Adult ladies from diverse units also do the same thing. The nature of performance, however, differs between male and female individuals. Plant collecting is usually done by women for food. Their children are well-cared for and nurtured by them. Men, on the other hand, go out into the woods to hunt large creatures. There are also elderly males who do not engage in any form of labour.

Assignment – III

Answer the following questions in about 100 words each.

Q6) Who are nomadic pastoralists? (6)

Ans) Nomads are nomadic communities that move from one region to the next and stop anywhere depending on the ecology of the area. However, nomadism is more than just a way of life. Pastoralism necessitates the mobility of these communities in order to pursue economic goals. These pastoralists and their livestock movements, on the other hand, are erratic, yet they follow a pre-determined itinerary and halt at pre-determined locations. Nomadic pastoralists are nomadic societies who move from place to place, camping wherever the environment, such as grasslands, and accessible food for their livestock, permits. Apart from rearing livestock, nomadic pastoralists also engage in hunting, basket weaving, and other activities, forming a symbolic bond with non-pastoralists.

Q7) Name four important peasant movements that occurred in India after Independence. (6)

Ans) The government failed to settle the difficulties of kisan peasants even after independence in 1947. It did, however, succeed in advancing the agrarian capitalists, who in turn incited the Kisans to escalate their resistance. After independence, agrarian policies did nothing to help the Kisans; instead, they exacerbated their suffering.

Peasant revolts erupted across the country, including the Indigo movement, Moplah revolt, Tebhaga movement, Telangana movement, and so on. The Congress-led Andhra Provincial Kisan Sabha tried to put a stop to the movement in Andhra Pradesh, but it failed since it mainly supported the interests of zamindars. The Communist Party, on the other hand, remained committed to uniting and promoting the interests of poor Kisans and labourers. However, overall welfarist policies aimed at the lower layers of the peasant structure were frequently insufficient.

Q8) What do you understand by capitalism? (6)

Ans) Capitalism is a type of economic system that consists of three components: labour (paying wages), private ownership of means (such as farmland, machines, and offices), and the production of products for exchange and interest. The capitalist class, often known as the bourgeoisie, is made up of individuals who own the means of production. The proletariats, on the other hand, are members of the working class who sell their labour for a wage. Karl Marx established this class distinction between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. Profit is one of capitalism's most essential characteristics. To put it another way, capitalism is simply the act of investing money in order to make more money.

Q9) What is socialism? (6)

Ans) Socialism is a doctrine that has its origins in socioeconomics. Although characteristics associated with socialism such as social collaboration, upliftment of society's weakest sectors, battle for social justice, and so on existed before the 19th century, experts contend that the modern understanding of the term socialism emerged only in the 19th century. In general, the term "socialism" is used in two meanings, both of which are interdependent. One is that socialism connotes this kind of imagination's values, ethics, and other principles. In this perspective, socialism is defined by ideals such as liberty, equality, fraternity, social justice, classlessness, cooperation, abundance, and peace.

In general, socialism refers to the production of things to meet people's needs rather than trading for profit, which is a characteristic of capitalism. As a result, there is a shift from competition to collaboration. The inequities that existed among various people in a given society are eradicated as a result of this transformation, and people are given equal opportunity.

Q10) How does the process of globalization impact the economy? Discuss briefly. (6)

Ans) Globalization is the process of bringing people from all around the world together. Globalization is defined in economics as the process by which firms, organisations, and countries begin to operate on a worldwide scale. Globalization is most commonly associated with economics, although it also influences and is influenced by politics and culture. Urbanisation and globalisation have had a significant impact on Indian society. Economic policies have had a direct impact on the formation of the economy's core foundation. The government's economic policies also played an important role in determining the levels of savings, employment, income, and investments in the society.

One of the most significant effects of globalisation on Indian society is cross-country culture. It has had a tremendous impact on the country's cultural, social, political, and economic dimensions. However, economic unification is the most important factor in transforming a country's economy into a global economy.

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