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BSOC-110: Social Stratification

BSOC-110: Social Stratification

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2023-24

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Assignment Code: BSOC-110/ASST/TMA/ 2023-24

Course Code: BSOC-110

Assignment Name: Social Stratification

Year: 2023-24

Verification Status: Verified by Professor

Assignment - I

Answer the following in about 500 words each.

Q1) Explain the Marxian theory of social stratification.

Ans) From Karl Marx's more comprehensive understanding of society, economics, and class struggle, the Marxian idea of social stratification may be traced back to its origins. Within the framework of a capitalist society, Marx's theory offers a critical look at the process by which social classes are formed and organised. The Marxian theory of social stratification is comprised of several key components, including the following:

In his study, Marx begins with historical materialism, which asserts that the economic structure of society is the primary factor that determines the entire development of society. Specifically, he contends that modalities of production and ownership relations are essential components in comprehending the dynamics of social organisation.

In his work, Marx presents the idea of the base-superstructure model, which states that the superstructure is determined by the economic basis, which includes the method of production and ownership relations (institutions, culture, ideology). It is generally accepted that social stratification is a consequence of the economic structure that lies behind it.

Marx defines capitalism as a system that is defined by the bourgeoisie (the capitalist class) owning the means of production and the proletariat (the working class) selling their labour power. Marx also identified class struggle as a major component of capitalism. Class warfare is a natural consequence of the exploitative nature of the connection that exists between these classes.

The concept of surplus value and its relationship to exploitation is central to Marx's argument that capitalists derive surplus value from the labour of workers. The bourgeoisie is able to amass capital through the process of exploitation, which takes place when the value of labour is greater than the wages that are paid.

Marx presents the idea of class consciousness, which is a state in which the proletariat becomes aware of the exploited position it has and the necessity of undertaking collective action. For the purpose of bringing about social change, this understanding is absolutely necessary.

Capitalism is responsible for the formation of a distinct class structure, which in turn leads to social stratification. First the bourgeoisie, next comes the proletariat, and finally comes the working class. The capitalist class exercises control over the apparatus of the state as well as the resources of the economy in order to preserve its position of supremacy.

Marx provides a discussion on the alienation that the working class goes through, which is characterised by a sense of disconnection from the results of their labour, the production process, and even oneself. Alienation serves to further entrench class distinctions.

The Overthrow of Capitalism Marx theorises that a proletariat revolution will be the means by which capitalism will be subverted. Class inequalities, private ownership of the means of production, and the oppression that is inherent in capitalism would all be eradicated if socialism were to be established.

The establishment of communism, which Marx defines as a society that is devoid of social classes and states, is the ultimate objective, according to Marx. People in communism make contributions based on their capabilities and receive benefits based on their requirements.

Q2) Discuss the bases of social stratification .

Ans) Social stratification refers to the hierarchical arrangement of individuals or groups in a society based on various criteria. The bases of social stratification are the factors or attributes that contribute to the unequal distribution of resources, opportunities, and privileges among different members of a society. Several bases of social stratification exist, and they often intersect and influence each other. The primary bases of social stratification include:

Social Class:

Class is one of the most important factors that contributes to the formation of social stratification. The wealth, income, and occupation of individuals or families are among the economic elements that have a role in determining those factors. There are typically three classes that exist in a capitalist society: the upper class, which consists of affluent capitalists; the middle class, which consists of white-collar professionals; and the lower class (working-class individuals).

Race and Ethnicity:

When it comes to social stratification, race and ethnicity are extremely important factors. Throughout the course of human history, some racial or ethnic groups have been disadvantaged and discriminated against, which has resulted in unequal access to resources and opportunities. The establishment of racial or ethnic hierarchy within a society is a potential consequence of this phenomenon.


The unequal distribution of power and resources between men and women is the fundamental cause of gender-based disparities in social stratification. Women are frequently subjected to restrictions in terms of economic prospects, educational opportunities, and access to positions of decision-making whenever patriarchal systems are in place.


Educational attainment serves as a basis for social stratification. Individuals with higher levels of education often have better access to well-paying jobs and social mobility. Educational systems can either reinforce or challenge existing social hierarchies.

Occupation and Status:

The type of occupation an individual holds and their occupational status contribute to social stratification. Professions that require specialized skills and education often enjoy higher social status and greater rewards.

Wealth and Income:

Differences in wealth (accumulated assets) and income (regular earnings) contribute significantly to social stratification. Wealthy individuals have greater financial security, access to better healthcare, and the ability to invest in opportunities that can further enhance their status.

Power and Authority:

Social hierarchies are influenced by power and authority. Those who hold positions of power, whether in government, corporations, or other institutions, often have the ability to shape policies and influence social structures.

Age and Generational Differences:

There is a possibility that social stratification can be based on age. It is possible that older people have more resources and authority to make decisions, but younger generations may have a more difficult time establishing themselves economically and socially.


A person's religious membership can play a role in the social stratification that occurs in some countries. Because of their views, certain religious groups might have greater power than others, or they might be subject to prejudice.


Additionally, social stratification can be influenced by a person's geographical location. There are a number of factors that might contribute to social inequality, including urban-rural divisions, regional inequities, and access to resources based on geography.

Assignment - II

Answer the following in about 250 words each.

Q3) Explain caste as a form of stratification.

Ans) Many societies, especially in South Asia, have a hereditary caste system, especially India. Caste divides society into castes with specific responsibilities, occupations, and social rank. The caste system has these traits:

Hereditary Nature:

Caste is inherited through birth, and individuals are born into a particular caste. One's caste is determined by the caste of their parents, and social mobility between castes is historically challenging.

Occupational Specialization:

Each caste is associated with specific occupations and duties. The occupations are often hereditary, and individuals are expected to follow the traditional occupation of their caste.

Social Hierarchy:

The caste system creates a tight social hierarchy with upper and lower castes. Brahmins (priests and academics) are the highest caste, followed by Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, and Shudras (labourers and service providers). This order excludes Dalits, the "untouchables."


Caste endogamy refers to the practice of marrying within one's caste. Marrying outside one's caste has traditionally been frowned upon and, in some cases, strictly prohibited.

Ritual Purity and Pollution:

The caste system enforces notions of ritual purity and pollution. Higher castes often avoid physical contact or sharing resources with lower castes to maintain their perceived purity.

Social Exclusion:

Dalits, considered the lowest caste, have historically faced severe social discrimination and exclusion. They were often subjected to social and economic marginalization, denied access to education and other opportunities, and relegated to menial and degrading tasks.

Religious Justification:

Hinduism legitimises caste through sacred writings. Varna (four primary classes) and Jati (sub-castes) are religious concepts that underpin society's hierarchical structure.

Challenges and Reforms:

Caste-based inequality and prejudice have been addressed over time. Legislation, affirmative action, and social organisations have worked to empower underprivileged castes and end untouchability.

Q4) Discuss the political perspective on ethnicity.

Ans) The political perspective on ethnicity involves examining how ethnic identity intersects with political structures, power dynamics, and governance.

Identity and Representation:

Political identities are shaped by ethnicity. People's political views are typically shaped by their ethnicity. To promote fairness and inclusivity, political institutions must represent diverse ethnic groups.

Power Dynamics:

Political power and marginalisation can be ethnic. Political power by dominant ethnic groups may marginalise minorities. This can cause resource, representation, and opportunity inequities.

Ethnic Conflict and Nationalism:

Ethnicity affects politics, resources, and autonomy. Ethnic groups may want autonomy, representation, or independence. Ethnic nationalism can fuel political and self-determination movements.

Political Mobilization:

Politically mobilising ethnic communities can advance their interests and redress past grievances. Political parties and movements use ethnicity to win support. This mobilisation can enhance political participation and cause inter-ethnic conflict.

Institutional Design:

In varied societies, political institution design matters. Power-sharing, proportional representation, and federal arrangements can accommodate various ethnic groups and prevent one group from dominating.

Multicultural Policies:

Some countries adopt multicultural policies aimed at recognizing and accommodating diverse ethnic identities. These policies may include affirmative action, language rights, and cultural preservation measures to promote inclusivity and address historical inequalities.

Human Rights and Ethnic Minorities:

Ethnic minority rights are also addressed in ethnicity politics. A just and inclusive political system requires minority rights, discrimination prevention, and equal political participation.

Global Dimensions:

Ethnicity has global implications, as diaspora communities often engage in transnational politics. Ethnic identity can influence foreign policy, diaspora voting patterns, and international relations.

Q5) How are gender identities constructed?

Ans) Gender identities are socially constructed through a complex interplay of cultural, societal, and individual factors.

Cultural Norms and Expectations:

Cultural conventions, traditions, and societal expectations shape gender identity. Based on birth gender, these norms govern behaviour, attire, and expression.

Socialization Process:

People learn gender norms from a young age through socialisation. Family, school, media, and religion influence boys' and girls' conduct.

Media and Popular Culture:

Advertisements, movies, TV, and other popular culture reinforce gender stereotypes. The representation of "masculine" and "feminine" behaviours, positions, and appearances affects how people view their gender identities.

Peer Influence:

Interactions with peers and peer groups also impact the construction of gender identities. Conforming to peer expectations and seeking social acceptance can contribute to the adoption of specific gender roles and behaviours.

Language and Discourse:

The language used in society, including pronouns and gendered terms, reinforces and reflects cultural attitudes toward gender. The way people talk about and categorize gender shapes perceptions and expectations.

Institutional Practices:

Institutional structures, including legal, educational, and religious institutions, often reinforce binary gender norms. Policies related to dress codes, restroom facilities, and gender segregation contribute to the construction of gender identities.


Intersectionality recognizes that gender identities are constructed in tandem with other social categories, such as race, ethnicity, sexuality, and socioeconomic status. The intersections of these identities influence individuals' experiences and expressions of gender.

Individual Agency:

While societal influences are powerful, individuals also exercise agency in the construction of their gender identities. Some individuals may challenge or resist societal norms and expectations, leading to diverse expressions of gender.

Assignment - III

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

Q6) Power.

Ans) Power is the ability to influence or control the behaviour of others and the course of events. It can manifest in various forms, including political, social, economic, and interpersonal power. Political power involves governance and decision-making authority, while social power relates to influence within communities. Economic power stems from control over resources and wealth. Interpersonal power operates in personal relationships, relying on persuasion or coercion. Power dynamics often create hierarchies, with some individuals or groups exerting more influence than others. Understanding power structures is crucial in analysing social systems, politics, and relationships, as it shapes interactions and determines access to resources and opportunities.

Q7) Social mobility.

Ans) Social mobility refers to the movement of individuals or groups within the social hierarchy, usually in terms of economic or occupational status. It involves the ability of people to move up or down the social ladder, impacting their access to opportunities and resources. Upward mobility occurs when individuals improve their social and economic standing, while downward mobility involves a decline in status. Societies with high social mobility offer greater chances for individuals to achieve success regardless of their background, fostering a more equitable and dynamic social structure. In contrast, low social mobility can lead to entrenched inequalities and limited opportunities for advancement.

Q8) Features of caste.

Ans) Caste is a rigid social hierarchy characterized by several distinctive features:

a) Hereditary Membership: Caste is typically determined by birth, with individuals inheriting their caste from their parents.

b) Occupational Specialization: Each caste is traditionally associated with specific occupations, and individuals are expected to work within the confines of their caste-based professions.

c) Social Endogamy: Caste often involves strict rules of endogamy, limiting marriage within one's caste to maintain social purity.

d) Rituals and Customs: Rites, conventions, and traditions govern social interactions, religion, and daily life, reinforcing caste.

e) Social Hierarchy: Social stratification results from caste hierarchy.

f) Discrimination and Untouchability: Low caste "Dalits" and "Untouchables" were discriminated against and forced to do menial work.

Q9) Ethno-nationalism.

Ans) An ideology that advocates for a nation-state that is based on a certain ethnic group is known as ethno-nationalism. This ideology places an emphasis on the connection between ethnicity and national identity. A separate nation, which frequently seeks autonomy or sovereignty, is said to have its foundation in a shared cultural, linguistic, or historical history, according to this theory. Ethno-nationalist movements have the potential to have a negative impact on minority groups by causing them to be excluded and may also contribute to ethnic tensions or wars. Movements that advocate for the establishment of a nation-state based on the dominant ethnicity are one example. These movements frequently challenge governmental structures that are perceived as being multicultural or inclusive.

Q10) Slavery system .

Ans) Individuals are regarded as property by the historical institution of slavery, which also deprives them of their freedom and compels them to gain employment. Over the course of history, slavery has surfaced in a variety of ways. In many cases, slaves were either born, bought, or sold. The transatlantic slave trade is a noteworthy example of this phenomenon, as it resulted in the forced labour of millions of Africans in South America. The institution of slavery has been widely denounced due to the moral and humanitarian consequences it entails, and abolitionist movements have worked to put an end to it. Despite the fact that slavery was abolished, its repercussions continue to have an impact on social and economic institutions.

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