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BSOC-131: Introduction to Sociology

BSOC-131: Introduction to Sociology

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2021-22

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Assignment Code: BSOC–131/ASST /TMA /2021-22

Course Code: BSOC –131

Assignment Name: Introduction To Sociology

Year: 2021-2022

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 emergence of modern social anthropology.

Ans) The modern social anthropology emerged mainly with the contribution of Bronislaw Malinowski and A.R. Radcliff-Brown. Marcel Mauss is also generally considered as the pioneer of modern social anthropology in France. Bronislaw Malinowski is one of the most well-known social anthropologists. In fact, he is generally regarded as the founder of modern social anthropology. His main contributions to modern social anthropology were the introduction of ethnographic method with participant method and/or technique and founding of the theory of functionalism departing from the earlier approaches, particularly, evolutionary, and historical approaches. His significant works include Argonauts of the Western Pacific, Crime and Custom in Savage Society, A Scientific Theory of Culture and Other Essays. A.R. Radcliff-Brown is also one of the founders of modern anthropology along with Bronislaw Malinowski. He is well-known for his theoretical approach, generally called structural functionalism.

His theory was developed with the conceptual ideas of Emile Durkheim and his ethnographic field data and experience. His significant works include The Andaman Islanders: A Study in Social Anthropology, and Structure and Function in Primitive Society. Marcel Mauss is regarded as both sociologist and anthropologist. He is well-known for his comparative study of the relation between forms of exchange and social structure. This is how he is also considered as the founder of modern social anthropology in France. His most significant work is The Gift. Along these pioneers in social anthropology in varied areas, one can include Levi Strauss into the list for founding the theory of structuralism and structural anthropology. He is also regarded as one of the most influential thinkers of the 20th century about myth, culture, religion, and social organization. His significant works include The Elementary Structures of Kinship, Tristes Tropiques, and Structural Anthropology. There are also many anthropologists who contributed to the development of modern social anthropology, but they come either later or of lower stature.

The emergence of anthropology as a discipline can also be reckoned through the formation of professional associations. The aborigines Protection Society formed in 1837 was the first anthropological association to be established. The American Anthropological Association was established in 1902. The American Association for the Advancement of Science recognized ethnology in 1851 and assigned a separate section for anthropology in 1882. Anthropology was recognized by the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1846 and was accorded a separate department in 1884. The Anthropological Society of London came into being in 1863. This and other the Ethnological Society of London were merged to form the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland in 1871… In India, the Asiatic Society of Bengal was founded in the latter half of the 18th century.

The Anthropological Society of Bombay was established in 1886. In the Indian context, there is no consensus that the emergence of anthropology coincides with the formation of Asiatic Society of Bengal as some would claim. Sarana is of the view that Indian anthropology did not emerge in the 18th century. He opines that the establishment of Associations and writings till the mid-19th century “were only stray attempts. The generally recognized anthropological works in India were written by the British administrators like Blunt, Crook, Dalton, Grierson, Ibbetson, Mills, Nesfield, O’Malley, Risley, Russel, Senart and Thurston and the administrator-turned academician, J. H. Hutton, in the latter half of the 19th century… In this century, Sarat Chandra Roy added to this corpus of anthropological material [with] his monographs on the tribes of Chotanagpur”. Nevertheless, the formation of these associations indicates an emergent situation of anthropology in different countries and at different periods.


2. Examine the linkages between sociology and history.

Ans) Sociology and History are closely and intimately related to each other. Sociology cannot be separated from History and History cannot be isolated from sociology. That is why Professor G.E. Howard remarked “History is the past Sociology and Sociology is the present History”, John Seely says that” History without Sociology has no fruit, Sociology without History has no root”. History is mainly concerned with past events. It is systematic record of the story of mankind. History presents a chronological account of past events of the human society. It is the social science, which deals with past events and studies the past social, political, and economic aspects of the country, According to Gettle “History is the record of the past events and movements, their causes and inter-relations”. It includes a survey of conditions, or developments in economic, religious, and social affairs as well as the study of states, their growth and organization and their relationship with one another.

Both Sociology and History depend upon each other and can influence one another. Sociology depends upon History in order to study past events and situations. History of cultures and institutions is helpful in the understanding of sociology and on the collections of materials. In order to understand the past society and activities, we have to take the help of History. Sociology concerned with the study of the historical development of human society. It studies ancient customs, modes of living, various stages of life and past social institutions through the historical analysis. This information about the past is of great importance to sociologists.

Sociology and history are interrelated to each other. Sociology study society and focuses on current issues by looking their historical background. Both present and past come closer in such analysis. Sociologists often refer to history to explain social changes, developments and changing face of society over period. Similarly, history also needs social aspects to explain past. The boundaries between the two disciplines get blurred and entangled which do entails a context to explain complex webs of social reality. These blurring of boundaries between the two disciplines are seen by many scholars as opportunity for productive research endeavours. E. H. Carr, who wrote a book titled ‘What is History’, argued that the more sociological history becomes, and the more historical sociology becomes, the better for both. Let the frontier between them be kept open for two-way traffic. Many sociologists have also advocated this proposition of transaction between the two disciplines to enrich the inter-disciplinarily and knowledge generation.

Social change is a reality. It must happen.

History shows mirror or truer way to analyse it with respect to time and space. History, in fact, said to be the constant reminder of the fact that change, even though permanent, is irregular and unpredictable. History thus provides a frame of reference and contextual tool to examine and analyse change carefully. Both sociology and history thus depend on each other to take complete stoke of reality. Sociology depends on history to understand past events, movements, and social institutions. That sociology is also concerned with the study of historical developments of society. Sociologist studies ancients or old traditions, culture, growth of civilisations, groups and institutions through historical analysis and interpretations. Notably, John Seely rightly said that history without sociology has no fruits and sociology without history has no roots. Both past and presents are equally important to understand any social issue in totality and in-depth.

Assignment - II


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


3. Is political sociology a sub-field of sociology? Discuss.

Ans) Political sociology is the study of power and the relationship between societies, states, and political conflict. It is a broad subfield that straddles political science and sociology, with “macro” and “micro” components. The macro focus has centred on questions about nation-states, political institutions and their development, and the sources of social and political change (especially those involving large-scale social movements and other forms of collective action). Here, researchers have asked “big” questions about how and why political institutions take the form that they do, and how and when they undergo significant change. The micro-orientation, by contrast, examines how social identities and groups influence individual political behaviour, such as voting, attitudes, and political participation.

While both the macro- and micro-areas of political sociology overlap with political science, the distinctive focus of political sociologists is less on the internal workings or mechanics of the political system and more on the underlying social forces that shape the political system. Political sociology can trace its origins to the writings of Alexis de Tocqueville, Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim, and Max Weber, among others, but it only emerged as a separate subfield within sociology after World War II. Many of the landmark works of the 1950s and 1960s centred on micro questions about the impact of class, religion, race/ethnicity, or education on individual and group-based political behaviour. Beginning in the 1970s, political sociologists increasingly turned toward macro topics, such as understanding the sources and consequences of revolutions, the role of political institutions in shaping political outcomes, and large-scale comparative-historical studies of state development. Today both micro- and macro scholarship can be found in political sociology.


4. Examine the sociological concepts and methods used in social psychology.

Ans) Social psychology draws on many concepts and methods of sociology to study the reciprocal relationship between human and social environment. In sociology, Max Weber emphasized that influence of culture on human behaviour had to be considered. He introduced the concept of verstehen, a German word that means “to understand in a deep way “In verstehen, the researcher attempts to understand the social process or the cultural activities of the small social group from an insider’s point of view. This approach led to the development of methods, where the sociologists strive to capture the subjectivity involved in the social processes, cultural norms, and societal values. The aim of the researcher is to systematically gain an in-depth understanding of the social worlds he is observing rather than draw board generalizations. This is seen as the fundamental difference between the qualitative and quantitative research methods in sociology.

Research methods in social psychology could be qualitative or quantitative. The different methods used in social psychology are:

  1. Quantitative research in social psychology uses large-scale surveys (which involves many participants).

  2. Experiments (including two different groups),

  3. Statistical techniques are used to analyses the data which leads to predict general patterns of human behaviour.

  4. Qualitative research method seeks to understand the human behaviour using in-depth interviews, focus group discussions, and analysis of content sources.

  5. With the expansion of social psychology, it is adopting methods such ethnography and qualitative approach which are the core methods in the domain of sociology.

Topics examined in social psychology include: the self-concept, social cognition, attribution theory, social influence, group processes, prejudice and discrimination, interpersonal processes, aggression, attitudes, and stereotypes.


5. What is gender socialisation? Explain.

Ans) Gender socialization is the process by which individuals are taught how to socially behave in accordance with their assigned gender, which is assigned at birth based on their biological sex.

Today it is largely believed that most gender differences are attributed to differences in socialization, rather than genetic and biological factors. Gender stereotypes can be a result of gender socialization: girls and boys are expected to act in certain ways that are socialized from birth. Children and adults who do not conform to gender stereotypes are often ostracized by peers for being different. While individuals are typically socialized into viewing gender as a masculine-feminine binary, there are individuals who challenge and complicate this notion. These individuals believe that gender is fluid and not a rigid binary.

  1. Gender Socialization: The process of educating and instructing males and females as to the norms, behaviours, values, and beliefs of group membership as men or women.

  2. Gender: The socio-cultural phenomenon of the division of people into various categories such as male and female, with each having associated roles, expectations, stereotypes, etc.

  3. Sex: Either of two main divisions (female or male) into which many organisms can be placed, according to reproductive function or organs.

Sociologists and other social scientists generally attribute many of the behavioural differences between genders to socialization. Socialization is the process of transferring norms, values, beliefs, and behaviours to group members. The most intense period of socialization is during childhood, when adults who are members of a particular cultural group instruct young children on how to behave in order to comply with social norms. Gender is included in this process; individuals are taught how to socially behave in accordance with their assigned gender, which is assigned at birth based on their biological sex. Gender socialization is thus the process of educating and instructing males and females as to the norms, behaviours, values, and beliefs of group membership.

Assignment - III


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


6. Discuss the difference between political sociology and sociology of politics.

Ans) The difference between political sociology and sociology of politics are as follows:

  1. Sociology is the science of political science; on the other hand, it is the science of state and government.

  2. Sociology has wider scope than that of political science. Sociology deals with social, political, economic, cultural, and other aspects of society and studies will be the social institutions such as family, marriage, religion, kinship, caste and so on.

  3. Sociology studies forms of associations and institutions whereas political science deals with the state and government which are known as specific forms of association.

  4. Sociology studies all kinds of social relationship in a general way. But political science studies only the political aspect of social relationship in a particular way.

  5. Sociology studies both organized and disorganized societies. But political science studies only the politically organized societies.

  6. Sociology deals with both formal as well as informal relations of the society, which are based on customs, traditions, folkways, mores, norms etc. But political science deals only with formal relations based on laws and order of the state.

  7. Sociology is the study of all means of social control. Political science, on the other hand, is the study of only government-recognized means of control.


7. Distinguish between primary and secondary socialization.

Ans) Primary socialization refers to the process where the child becomes socialized through the family in the early childhood years. This highlights that the key agent in the process of primary socialization is the family. Let us comprehend this through a simple example. A very young child in a family has little knowledge of his culture. He is unaware of the values, social norms, practices, etc. It is through the family that the child gets to know what is accepted and what is not in a particular society. Secondary socialization refers to the process that begins in the later years through agencies such as education and peer groups. This highlights that the time period in which primary socialization and secondary socialization occur differs from one another.

8. What is social institution?

Ans) Social institutions are systematic beliefs and norms that are centred on fulfilment of basic social needs. These social needs pertain to replacement of members of the society and preserving order. Social institutions provide insights into the structure of the society. For instance, the norms and beliefs surrounding kinship and incest help understand the structure of a society. The structure of the society becomes apparent through the constraints that these norms mandate as well as their adaptive feature to serve the interest of the members of the society. Social institutions have been studied by sociologists in varied ways. While some perceive social institutions to be critical parts that must function well for the overall society to function well, others may look at social institutions as establishing a status quo that under optimum conditions causes friction.


9. What is status?

Ans) Status is a position occupied by a person in the society. In a lifetime an individual occupies different statuses on the lines of age, gender, class, occupation, and education. A person can have several statuses at a point of time such as being a daughter, social worker, member of a book-reading club, guitarist, and a manager in a company. A combination of all the statuses that a person holds is called status set. Linton defines status as “a collection of rights and duties”. Each status has certain behavioural expectations attached to it which we call social roles. Drawing the relationship between status and role, Linton writes: “a role represents the dynamic aspect of status…when he puts the rights and duties which constitute a status into effect, he is performing a role”. Therefore, statuses are occupied, and roles are played.

10. Differentiate between culture and civilization.

Ans) Culture is often contrasted with civilization. For Ogburn and Nimkoff, civilization is the latter phase of culture. It is a highly developed organization, a complex and more evolved form of culture. When the human society develops certain social and political organization, it is called a civilization. Cultural is internal but civilization is external as it is the external manifestation or the material aspect of culture such as the scientific and technological achievements. Civilization is a much broader concept as compared to culture as it is spread beyond boundaries. Although civilization is a broader concept than culture, but culture is often seen superior to civilization.

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