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MANE-006: Social Stratification

MANE-006: Social Stratification

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2022-23

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Assignment Code: MANE-006/ASST/TMA/2022-23

Course Code: MANE-006

Assignment Name: Social Stratification

Year: 2022-2023

Verification Status: Verified by Professor


Attempt a total of five questions. All questions carry equal marks. Attempt at least two questions from each section. 20x5




Q1) Discuss structured inequalities that exist in society.

Ans) The values and opinions we have covered thus far are related to the theoretical aspects of inequality. Again, there are significant differences from one community and time period to the next in terms of how these principles may be operationalized and integrated into social institutions, their formal laws, and their administration. Power can be ritualised and found in the shaman's body, whether he or she is a male or a woman, in the most egalitarian of all civilizations. They are viewed as the vehicle of the supernatural rather than possessing any supernatural power themselves in a more egalitarian culture, such as that of the Bhotiyas.


The kin group functions as a jural-political unit in the segmental societies recognised by anthropologists, also known as the Lineage Mode of Production in Marxist terminology. The elders of the kin group exercise administrative authority and are largely in charge of controlling intra and inter-tribal warfare, food production, and trade, as well as crucially, setting up bride-price to procure spouses for the community's young males. On contrast, their strength is in giving the members the products in order to sustain both their allegiance and the internal harmony of the kin group. They must plan the group rites, prepare for sacrifices and offerings, and make any appropriate financial arrangements.


The segmentary lineage groups may develop into true chiefdoms, where the authority of the chief and his lineage may be established as a privilege accorded by inheritance. Considerations for how seemingly egalitarian systems become stratified vary. Once a chiefdom is established, it has the potential to develop into a centralised state, again assuming certain favourable historical and environmental circumstances. The following elements are heavily emphasised in the various state formation theories:

  1. Increasing craft specialisation and the division of labour ultimately result in the rise of privileged specialists who are subsequently supported by the surplus the community produces. Such specialisation and unique abilities develop a class of elite throughout time who may constitute the ruling core and absorb the surplus of the producers. Since there is no concept of secular power and all power is considered to come from divine sources in egalitarian cultures, it is also possible that the top individuals or even their entire blood lineage may take on a divine image. It is common knowledge that the majority of the earliest states were the so-called Theological States.

  2. Another way that stratification is thought to have happened is through warfare. When one tribe overcame another, they would either make the conquered people their slaves or create a tiered society with the conquering tribe at the top and the vanquished tribe at the bottom.

  3. Warfare now has an ecological component thanks to Robert Carneiro. He claims that if the defeated people are physically unable to flee, the odds of genuine stratification occurring increase.

  4. It's also possible that a previously segmented society progressively became stratified if one of the segments rose to power through some combination of economic or demographic factors and was able to maintain that power, evolving into a mainly lineage. Its status and rank could eventually translate into actual power depending on the historical context.


Q2) Discuss horticulture and foraging societies in the context of social differentiation.

Ans) In contrast to the South Indian hunters and gatherers, Godelier is struck by the hierarchy between men and women as well as amongst men when writing about the Baruya of Papua New Guinea. Whether it was because they were superior warriors or had greater authority, some men were always singled out as having more status than others. The Baryua cultivate gardens, which requires them to clear the forest with stone tools.


Because the types of stones needed to produce these tools are not found in every locale, they rely on other groups in other areas for many of their resources. The men's share of the work entails hunting because they own the land and are familiar with it. The ladies do the collecting and catch frogs and tadpoles with their own-made traps. In agricultural tasks, men carry out the felling, clearing, fence-building, tree-lopping, digging of irrigation channels, and construction of miniature terraces for cultivation.


They raise pigs, grow reeds for textiles, manufacture string tote bags for both them and the men, and assist in home construction. They transport building supplies for houses and fences, as well as food for guys going on long-distance hunting expeditions. The Baruya have a cultural view that women's jobs need fewer physical stamina, have fewer risks, including a lower risk of being killed, and necessitate less interpersonal cooperation. Men engage in more dangerous but adventurous pursuits like large game hunting, while women perform the more mundane, normal jobs.


The Kubu have a nomadic, foraging lifestyle throughout southcentral Sumatra. These forest inhabitants were required to pay tribute through a middleman known as jenang who belonged to the Malay community around the Kubu since they were recognised subjects of the sultanate. The Kubu believed that this world was extremely hazardous and that only men could communicate with it; women and children would be extremely frightened to do so.


The men alone are acknowledged as fully social people, but the women among them are perceived as judicially and legally non-persons. The Kubu men are also in charge of choosing and installing the jenang, to whom they pay respect and receive presents that are far less valuable than those from the Kubu. The patriarchal adat laws have jurisdiction over the Kubu, but when these rules are really put into action, things turn out very differently.


In place of bride price, men are frequently forced to do bride price by the Kubu. They are also uxorilocal, which means that while women stay near to their relatives after marriage, men scatter. Rarely do the Kubu parents accept the entire bride price; instead, they would rather dominate their son-in-law and make him do their bidding. The daughters also get the majority of the immovable property, such as fruit trees that their brothers are required to look after for them.


However, the women are entitled to much more precious items like meat that the men have obtained and exchange products. Being scattered and divided in their responsibilities as brothers/protectors and husbands/providers, the males are much more disadvantaged. They are in their ancestral houses, where women actually have a lot more real power.


Q3) Examine two commonly known forms of inequality and hierarchy in the world.

Ans) The commonly known forms of inequality are as follows:


Gender inequality is another global concern. Consider the controversy surrounding female circumcision (also known as female genital mutilation or FGM). Nations favouring this practice, often through systems of patriarchal authority, defend it as a longstanding cultural tradition among certain tribes and argue that the West shouldn’t interfere. Western nations, however, decry the practice and are working to expose and stop it.


Inequalities based on sexual orientation and gender identity exist around the globe. According to Amnesty International, a range of crimes are commonly committed against individuals who do not conform to traditional gender roles or sexual orientations (however those are culturally defined). From culturally sanctioned rape to state-sanctioned executions, the abuses are serious.


The following are examples of hierarchy that are well-known:


Class: In Weber's definition, a class is a group of people who are in similar economic situations but do not necessarily know one another or even acknowledge that they are in the same situation. Classes just serve as the foundation for collective activity; they are not communities. A class is a collection of individuals whose interests are primarily economic in nature and who share a common casual component of life chances. Under the terms of the labour market's commodity, the economic interest in owning products and having prospects for income is expressed. Class situation is influenced by the availability of goods and services, external living conditions, and individual life experiences, which are further influenced by the degree of control one has over the ability to dispose of goods and skills for the purpose of generating income in a particular economic system. Thus, any group of individuals who are in the same class condition are referred to as a class in Weber's theory. All class circumstances can be divided into two main categories: possessions and lack thereof. Class situations are further divided into these groups based on the types of services that may be sold on the open market and the types of property that can be used for a profit.


Status Group: Social status is referred to as having power in the social sphere. All individuals who share the same standards of social honour or prestige and who lead similar lifestyles typically belong to the same status group and position. Communities typically make up status groups, which are established by how highly people value honour in society. Class distinction and status qualification are linked; therefore, status honour can be connected to a given class circumstance. Status honour, however, need not be connected to a class situation since people with and without property can share the same status group. A status group is made up of people who receive comparable amounts of social honour and, as a result, have the same status condition and are aware of it. Weber contends that status groups are more significant because, in some circumstances, they serve as the foundation for the establishment of social groups, whose members identify with one another and share interests.




Q1) Define and discuss the concept of stratification and marginalisation.

Ans) Stratification is defined as the act of sorting data, people, and objects into distinct groups or layers. It is a technique used in combination with other data analysis tools. When data from a variety of sources or categories have been lumped together, the meaning of the data can be difficult to see. This data collection and analysis technique separates the data so that patterns can be seen and is considered one of the seven basic quality tools.


The idea of strata, or layers, is the foundation of stratification. When used to describe a society, it indicates that its constituents are grouped in higher or lower ranks according to the preexisting social structure. In a society, strata are predetermined positions that provide access to resources like authority, wealth, food, coercive tools, or anything else that may be valuable in that specific social formation. Strata can be either open or closed.


Closed strata typically relate to ascriptive statuses such as rank, caste, ethnic group, and others into which one is born. Open stratum can include positions that are filled over time by experience, such as ranks in professional employment, or positions that are filled by natural moving strata, such as age grades. In a closed stratum, no one can enter or even leave; for example, in a feudal society, if one was born into a noble family, they remained there. If you were a commoner by birth, you stayed one.


However, a person could ascend to the higher echelons by getting married or acquiring exceptional power. We have examined how even castes were not as rigid as they were once thought to be, and how having access to political and financial power may cause one's caste to alter. However, some strata naturally change with time, such as age-related grades or kin group positions. If someone is a youngster, they will ultimately grow up, become adults, get old, and pass away.


As a result, the daughter-in-law will eventually become a mother-in-law and rise to a higher position in society, and the child will develop into an adult. The positions on the social strata are different and involve different access to resources and inequality, but one human being has the opportunity to occupy all these positions in a normal life span. If one joins as a lower grade officer, they can rise through the ranks in other strata as well, however not everyone will advance at the same rate or to the same degree. All social organisations and institutions, including courts, universities, militaries, and even families, are arranged in a hierarchical system. However, people can climb the ladder. Open ranks refer to such attainable rankings.


Marginalization is the term used to describe circumstances that could cause an individual, group, or community to be shunned and susceptible to stigma or various forms of discrimination. In contrast to vertical stratification, it refers to a horizontal sort of exclusion from centres of power and resources. A conceptual framework with a centre and a peripheral is referred to as marginalisation. It comes into play when individuals, communities, and organisations are excluded from the centre of social power, wealth, and resources for any cause, which could also include a lower social status.


Q2) How is ethnicity understood from the perspective of inter-ethnic relations? Discuss particularly from the contexts of religion and tribe.

Ans) We can better grasp different types of ethnic relations because it has been stated that the idea of ethnicity is relational because it discusses relationships between distinct ethnic groups. This moves us closer to comprehending different ethnic groups based on definite criteria such language, tribe, religion, geography, and culture.


Ethnicity and Tribes

The distinction between the concepts of tribe and ethnicity has already been made, with the former referring to a fairly isolated whole and the latter to relationships between groups asserting different identities. Particularly among the tribes of North-East India, this has been the case. Numerous factors have contributed to the emergence of different ethnic groupings from the diverse tribes in the N-E. Several movements have taken place in the N-E that were primarily based on the assertion of ethnic identities and were led by diverse tribal groups.


Tribal movements in middle India were mostly agrarian movements, whilst movements in the N-E were primarily identity-based. This is a significant distinction between the two movements that has been made.

This is due to two extremely significant factors, namely:

  1. The British tactic of creating excluded and partially excluded zones resulted in the partial or complete isolation of the people of the N-E from outside influence.

  2. As a result of British influence, the effect of Christian missionaries.


Due to these two elements, western education has resulted in a rise in identity declarations and the development of distinct identities. Due to their distinctive identity and requirements that differ from what is considered to be mainstream India, the majority of the tribal communities in India feared that their interests would be harmed as soon as the country obtained independence. For instance, the Naga movement was motivated in part by a concern over the erosion of their ethnic or cultural identity. This served as a focal point for the Nagas' demands for a separate, independent Naga state within the Indian Union.


Ethnicity and Religion

Religion is described by anthropologists as "belief in spiritual being." Religion has to do with notions and actions connected to the supernatural. Dec 20 According to Durkheim, religion consists of rituals and ideas relating to sacred objects that unite people into a moral society known as the "church." These definitions have two aspects: the first is that they discuss religion in terms of specific doctrines and customs, and the second is crucial to us in the context of ethnicity since it implies that religion ties people together into some sort of moral society. This group is made up of adherents to a specific philosophy.


The adherents in this group could also attempt to identify themselves in contrast to or in reference to other such groups. We all reside in pluralistic society. Such civilizations are nation-states, yet inside these nation-states, there are various ethnic and religious groups with their own distinctive symbols, traditions, and beliefs. Almost often, social distinctions or differences result in some form of hierarchical structure. This occurs as a result of disparities in the allocation of power and authority among various groups, which causes unequal access to scarce resources.


This serves as the framework for classification. The fact that some groups make up the majority and then a number of other groups fall into the minority due to numerical dominance is another reality in today's plural society. There is often one majority group and multiple minorities. It is clear that the majority group holds political sway, and minorities frequently suffer prejudice and discrimination as a result.

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