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BSOC-110: Social Stratification

BSOC-110: Social Stratification

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2022-23

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Assignment Code: BSOC-110/ASST/TMA/ 2022-23

Course Code: BSOE-110

Assignment Name: Social Stratification

Year: 2022-2023

Verification Status: Verified by Professor

Assignment – I


Q1) Answer the following in about 500 words each. 2×


1. Explain the Weberian theory of social stratification.

Ans) As was indicated at the outset, Marx Weber is regarded as one of the fathers of sociology. In addition, he is the creator of the strongest refutation of the Marxist theory of society. In this section, we'll talk about his opinions on social class and various forms of stratification. Weber shared Marx's view that one of the fundamental forms of social stratification was class. According to the Marxist standard, he defined "class" in connection to property ownership. He believed that the fundamental characteristics of all class situations were possessions and a lack of possessions. The two categories of property ownership and non-ownership of commodities and services were further distinguished by him. In contrast to those who lacked property, those who did had only their labour or abilities to offer.


Class and Life – Chances

'Life-chances' was a subject Weber emphasised in his lectures. This phrase referred to the chances a person had throughout the different phases of his or her life. A person who is born into a family of workers obtains a particular kind of education, which in turn prepares him or her for particular jobs. The education won't be as expensive or as rigorous as one received by a child from a wealthy family. Both provide unique employment prospects. They belong to various classes as a result of their varied family histories. Marriage and social contact follow the same pattern. A person from the lower middle class will have acquaintances mostly outside of his or her class, whereas a person from the working class will engage principally with people from his or her class. Weber concluded that one crucial factor in the establishment of classes was life opportunities.


Due to his skills or other factors, the industrialist's son can end up working. However, Weber emphasised that they were the exceptions, not the rule. He emphasised that what was more significant was that members of a class had comparable life chances. This is what gave the class longevity because the following generation also joined that class. Therefore, sharing of economic and cultural benefits that are available in diverse ways to different groups is how Weber defines life chances.



Weber made a similar distinction between class and class awareness as Marx. Marx emphasised the need of class consciousness as we covered before. If a class was aware that it was a unique group, it may express its interests. Although Weber discussed class awareness as well, he did not believe that it was essential for the development of a class. Instead, he sought out status as a substitute for class consciousness. Although a person's class situation need not cause him to become class conscious, Weber observed that he was always aware of his rank.



Power is the third structuring concept in social stratification. The concept of power is a distributed property because it is not exclusive in nature, unlike status and wealth, which may be clearly related to group characteristics of rank-high societies. There is always a chance that a group with more social standing or riches will also have more influence in society. However, one may draw a contrast between, say, the principle of privileges and the latter, which is often predicated on a group's capacity to utilise coercive tactics to force another group to comply to its predetermined actions, values, and beliefs. The idea of power, as Max Weber articulated in his analysis of social stratification, is based on the idea that it gives people or groups the ability to legitimately utilise coercive methods to impose their will on other groups.


2. Discuss the bases of social stratification .

Ans) A system of social ranking that involves relations of superiority and inferiority is called stratification. A set of standards govern the relationships between the units of rank. Analytically, stratification is thought of as a social unit's evaluation and ranking. It specifically relates to how advantages and benefits are distributed in society on an empirical basis. It can be viewed as a procedure that is constrained by a set of rules. The distribution of social advantages in society is based on these concepts.


Dimensions or Bases of Social Stratification

Sociologists provide three pillars of stratification—wealth, power, and prestige, or class, power, and status—on the basis of specific empirical results. The following is a list of these:


Class: It alludes to wealth-level differentiation. It can be referred to as economic divergence in this sense. Only when technology advance and the manner of production changes can societies start to become wealthy. Examples include the transition from a hunting and gathering economy to one based on settled agriculture and the shift from an economy based primarily on agriculture to one based primarily on manufacturing and industry. In addition to creating the social stratification institution, these modifications also gradually changed how social stratification is organised.


Economic development resulted in the accumulation of additional wealth markers in society, such as food grains, cattle, metals, and minerals, or money. At this point, groups with greater control over economic resources and wealth or with greater wealth were ranked higher in society than groups with less influence over it or with little to no access to wealth, such as landless workers or factory employees. Its most prominent example is social stratification based on class.


Power: It alludes to varying levels of societal access to power. Political, social, and other forms of power are included. There is always a chance that a group with more social standing or riches will also have more influence in society. The idea of power, as Max Weber articulated in his analysis of social stratification, is based on the idea that it gives people or groups the ability to legitimately utilise coercive methods to impose their will on other groups. In this regard, the state serves as an excellent illustration of an institution with the most power. This is best illustrated by the government's practise of positively discriminating against castes and tribes that are currently classified as "scheduled" or "other backward classes" by reserving jobs, political office, and admission to educational institutions in our nation.


Status: It speaks about the dispersion of social honour or respect. Status refers to the ranking of social groupings in a society according to their relative standing in terms of honour or esteem. Members of a status group are born with the qualitative quality of honour. Any such quality passed down through birth is assigned and cannot be gained through effort. As a result, the principle of ascription is also known as the status principle of social stratification. Caste is a very suitable example of a status group in our nation. The characteristics that define status groups have less to do with principles that can be achieved by efforts, whether economic, political, or cultural, and more to do with values and beliefs, tales, and myths that have been passed down through communities over time.


Assignment – II


Answer the following in about 250 words each. 3×10


3. Explain class as a form of stratification.

Ans) In the United States, opportunity is not really created equally. People don't have access to the same resources, such as the best school or neighbourhoods, and life chances are not the same for everyone. Social stratification is a process by which a society is divided into different layers, or strata, based on factors like level of education, occupation, income, and wealth.


People who live within the same strata are members of the same social class. Class refers to the level of financial resources, education, and power people have. In the U.S., we generally talk about three classes: working class, middle class, and upper class. People in the same class have similar levels of access to resources, education, and power.


For example, those in the same social class tend to have the same types of jobs and similar levels of income. Here's a useful metaphor for thinking about stratification. Think about a sedimentary rock. The rocks with different layers of colour that look like someone poured slightly different-coloured layers on top of one another That's sort of how stratification works.


In the United States, it's very difficult to experience social mobility between strata, particularly moving upwards, also called 'upward mobility. In other words, the strata you are born into is likely the one you'll stay in. It's difficult to access the opportunities you would need in order to experience upward social mobility. Let's look at some examples of class stratification.


Examples of Class Stratification

Wesley's parents are both highly educated and have high-paying jobs. Wesley's father is a cardiologist, and his mother is a lawyer. They enrol Wesley in extracurricular activities, like soccer and piano lessons. Wesley's parents pay tuition at a private school to ensure that he receives the highest quality education possible. Twice a week, he meets a private tutor who helps him study and get the best grades possible. Wesley lives in an affluent suburban community in a nice house with plenty of room.


4. Discuss the political perspective on ethnicity.

Ans) However, the political perspective on ethnicity is increasingly prevalent today. It focuses on the political consciousness and mobilisation of a group based on ethnicity, as a result of which certain groups consciously try to establish their ethnicity and even exaggerate their ethnic qualities in order to achieve political autonomy or sovereignty. The underlying assumption is that as capitalism has expanded, unequal growth has boosted racial and ethnic identities as well as regional ties. The majority of research on ethnicity emphasises prejudice and how disadvantaged groups' perceptions of unfair resource allocation cause them to become more aware of their ethnic heritage.


When pushed to the limit by the dominant group, which frequently acts oppressively to protect its privileges, a minority group in a multi-ethnic society may decide to identify as a political ethnicity. In an effort to combat discrimination, minority groups may band together in such a circumstance or even forge an ethnic identity. Groups may also capitalise on illogical allegiances to promote their political objectives and broaden their influence. Politics is a great illustration of how race is utilised to represent and advance a group's interests. Politics is a tool that ethnic groups use to push for changes in their position, economic prosperity, educational opportunities, civil rights, and other areas. Ethnic groups are simply interests, and ethnicity is formed on interests.


Sharma refers to these two groupings as generic mid-emerging ethnicity. In its broadest definition, it refers to an individual's identity that is based on a collection of objective cultural characteristics that allow members of one group to set themselves apart from members of other groups and from members of other, more unique groups. In this sense, my ethnic group is a recognised cultural entity with traits that make it unique from other groups. This emphasises how diverse ethnic groups are conscious of cultural diversity. Despite this, the birth of emerging ethnicity is accompanied by a period of power struggles as this awareness grows into a political differentiating consciousness.


5. How socialization affects gender identities? Discuss.

Ans) Socialization Process: How people behave as males and females in society is influenced by socialisation, or the process of internalising society's ideals in order to fit to one's culture. On a basic level, women do things like have babies, give birth, nurse them, and go through menopause that males cannot.

  1. Gender Socialization: Gender socialisation is a part of the social learning process that helps people learn about the numerous facets of their culture.

  2. Agents of Gender Socialization: Parents, siblings, peers, schools, society, religion, and several other institutions are among them.


Culture: Woman is characterised as an equivocal identity in the Indian culture. In myth and popular culture, woman is positioned as both a goddess and a potentially destructive force, as a good wife and a potentially dangerous evil, as both pure and impure in her embodiment. Women were directly regulated in terms of their sexuality in addition to being respected and worshipped.


Religion: Religion is not always experienced by men and women in the same manner. Religions are significant social institutions that influence how people perceive gender in society. There are places that are considered sacrosanct, and women are not permitted there.


Education: Gender roles are ingrained in formal education, which gradually shapes the "person" and affects gender identity. The main factors influencing the development of gender identities are the countless role models and examples presented in schools, colleges, and universities.


Communication and Media: The majority of our lives are affected by imagery in one way or another via communication and media. Women's perceptions are significantly influenced by the visual and print media's portrayal of the female body as the "ideal" or "perfect" physique.


Language: Both verbal and non-verbal cues are used to structure and communicate gender identity. The way that language's semantic structure affects gender classifications has garnered a lot of attention recently, among other things.


Assignment – III


Write a note on the following in about 100 words each. 5×6


6. Racism

Ans) As historians and other academics acknowledge, people travelled from Africa to many other continents at various points in history. People accepted the regional variations and the advantageous characteristics suited to their specific situations. Additionally, individuals mix so often that the biological category has already been destroyed.


Racism was a tool employed by colonial powers to cement their dominance during the 18th and 19th centuries throughout the world. They even used science and religion to support their claims about racial superiority. The colonial rulers utilised Darwin's "survival of the fittest" thesis to defend their racism and slaughter. According to this notion, the strong would prevail and the weak would perish. They justified their dominance of power and race because they believed they were stronger than others.


In order to maintain the subjection of Blacks and other colonised people, the colonised also rationalised slavery and other other myths. The act of "othering," or separating oneself from others in terms of superiority and inferiority, is a process of creating race. Some people are ostracised, dominated, and controlled through this method as well. Additionally, it fosters a variety of stereotypes in our culture.


7. Intergenerational mobility

Ans) Mobility across the generation is called Intergenerational mobility.


Example: Millie is a first-generation college student from Tennessee. Both Millie's parents were immigrants who worked hard labour jobs for most of their lives. Millie grew up in a poor urban community and her family often struggled to pay their bills. Once Millie enrolled in college, her situation changed.


Her parents paid for most of her education and Millie was able to work part-time as a writer while she was in school. Millie graduated college with no student loan debt and her first novel was published shortly after that. Millie continued to write short stories and children's novels even after she got married and had children of her own. Both of Millie's children were also writers. Millie's son eventually became a professor at a prestigious university, while her daughter became a well-known author and international best seller..


Intergenerational mobility refers to any change in the social position of family members that takes place from one generation to the next. Millie's parents started as immigrants, then the next generation progressed into first generation college student and writer, and the following generation progress further into world-famous authors. All these changes within the generations of Millie's family line show intergenerational mobility.


8. Features of caste

Ans) Caste can be defined as hereditary endogamous group, having a common name, common traditional occupation, common culture, relatively rigid in matters of mobility, distinctiveness of status and forming a single homogenous community.


  1. Segmental division of society: It means that social stratification is largely based on Membership to a caste group is acquired by birth, on the basis of which people are ranked in relative to other caste groups.

  2. Hierarchy: It indicates that various castes are categorized according to their purity and impurity of occupations. Just like a ladder, castes are ranked from higher to lower positions.

  3. Civil and religious disabilities: These comprise of restrictions based on contact, dress, speech, rituals etc. and are placed on every caste group. It was done in order to maintain purity of specific caste groups.

  4. Endogamy: Members of a particular caste have to marry within their caste only. Inter- caste marriages are prohibited.

  5. Untouchability: It is the practice of ostracizing a group by segregating them from the mainstream by social Untouchability was a corollary of the caste system, wherein the untouchables were deemed impure and polluted.


9. Ethno-nationalism

Ans) Ethnic nationalism, also known as ethnonationalism, is a form of nationalism wherein the nation and nationality are defined in terms of ethnicity, with emphasis on an ethnocentric and in some cases an ethnocratic approach to various political issues related to national affirmation of a particular ethnic group. The central reason of ethnic nationalists is that "nations are defined by a shared heritage, which usually includes a common language, a common faith, and a common ethnic ancestry".


Those of other ethnicities may be classified as second-class citizens. The Ottoman Empire and United States are examples of polyethnic states in which the nation is defined by its geographical territory. The theorist Anthony D. Smith uses the term "ethnic nationalism" in that sense. Diaspora studies scholars broaden the concept of "nation" to diasporic communities. The terms ethnonational and ethnonationalism are sometimes used to describe a conceptual collective of dispersed ethnics.


10. Estate system

Ans) The feudal societies of mediaeval Europe were characterised by this kind of social stratification. In this system, there is a hierarchy of social classes that are firmly segregated from one another by distinction and legislation. The estate system was distinguished by the fact that one's social standing was solely dependent on one's landholdings.


Even though this system was less rigorous than the caste system, social standing was nonetheless passed down through the family. Each estate was granted a certain set of legal powers. A royal family and a hereditary military aristocracy, who controlled the land, were at the apex of the social structure. The priesthood or clergy, who were associated with the nobles, were on level with this group in importance. The merchants and craftsmen, who first made up a minor fraction of the population but later served as the middle class's foundation, were situated below this. The Serfs and Free Peasants were at the bottom. A status existed for each estate.

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