Chapter II : Notes

Chapter 2


·        Sociology is the study of human social life.

·        A defining feature of human life is that
o   humans interact,
o   communicate and
o   construct social collectivities.

·        every society whether ancient or feudal or modern, Asian or European or African human groups and collectivities exist.

·        Types of groups and collectivities are different in different societies.

·        Any gathering of people does not necessarily constitute a social group.

·        Aggregates are simply collections of people who are in the same place at the same time, but share no definite connection with one another.

·        Such aggregates are often termed as quasi groups.

Quasi Group
·        A quasi group is an aggregate or combination,

·        which lacks structure or organisation
·        whose members may be unaware, or less aware, of the existence of groupings.
o   Example: Social classes, status groups, age and gender groups, crowds

Characteristics of GROUP
·        persistent interaction to provide continuity;
·        a stable pattern of these interactions;
·        a sense of belonging to identify with other members,
o   i.e. each individual is conscious of the group itself and its own set of rules, rituals and symbols;
·        shared interest;
·        acceptance of common norms and values;
·        a definable structure.

·        Primary and Secondary Social Groups
·        Community and Society or Association
·        In-Groups and Out-Groups
·        Peer Groups
·        Reference Group


Primary Groups
·        small group of people
·        connected by intimate
·        face-to-face association
·        co-operation.
·        The members of primary groups have a sense of belonging.
o   Example: Family, village and groups of friends

Secondary groups
·        Secondary groups are relatively large in size,
·        Limited responsibility
·        Maintain formal and impersonal relationships.
·        The primary groups are person-oriented, whereas the secondary groups are goal oriented.
o   Example:- Schools, government offices, hospitals, students association etc.

Community and Society or Association
·        Community is the living population within a limited geographical area carrying on a common interest.
·        The term ‘community’ refers to human relationships that are
o   highly personal,
o   intimate and
o   enduring,
§  Example: family, with real friends or a close-knit group.

·        ‘Society’ or ‘association’ refers to everything opposite of ‘community’,
o   Impersonal,
o   Superficial and
o   transitory relationships of modern urban life.

·        You may draw a parallel between the community with the primary group and the association with the secondary group.

In-groups and Out-groups
      We feeling exists (we)
      Lack of We feeling (their)
      Face to face relationship
      Far relationship
      Feeling sacrifice and cooperation among  members
      Lack of Feeling sacrifice and cooperation among  members
      Domestic and Perfect relationship
      Working relationship and imperfection of relationship
      Ex: Migrants

Reference Group
·        The groups whose life styles are imitated are known as reference groups.
o   a person copies the life style of any film actor or artist.
o   In colonial period, many middle class Indians tried to imitate  English man.
·        Reference groups are important sources of information about culture, life style, aspiration and goal attainments.

Peer Groups
·        A kind of primary group,
·        Usually formed between individuals
·        It is a group of people of the same age, status, interests, etc.
o   Example: classmates, school mates etc.
·        Often peer group influence on children is grater than parental influence.

·        Social stratification refers to structural inequalities between different groupings of people.

·        Society can be seen as consisting of ‘strata’ in a hierarchy,
o   more favoured at the top and
o   less privileged near the bottom.
·        Stratification plays a crucial role in the organization of the society
·        Every individual and every household in society are affected by stratification.
·        Four basic systems of stratification in the society.
o   Slavery
o   Caste
o   Estate and
o   Class

·        Slavery
·        Slavery is an extreme form of inequality in which some individuals are literally owned by others.
o   Ancient Greece and Rome
o   Southern States of the USA in the 18th and 19th centuries.

·        individual’s position totally depends on the status attributes ascribed by birth rather than achieved.
·        The traditional system is generally conceptualized in terms of the four fold varna or ‘jathi’ of
o   Brahmins
o   Kshathriyas
o   Vaishas and
o   Sudras
·        Jatis or Varnas in India

·        Each position in the caste structure was defined in terms of its purity or pollution relative to others.

·        the Brahmin priestly castes, are superior to all others and the Panchamas, sometimes called the ‘outcastes’ are inferior to all other castes.

·        Class is a typical social stratification found in Industrialized society.

·        Social Class is a stratum of people of similar social position with regard to
o   income,
o   occupation,
o   education and
o   wealth.

·        In a class, a person’s social status is based on his/her achievements.
·        Stratification on the basis of class is not dependent on birth, but it depends on
o   profession,
o   ability,
o   skill,
o   education,
o   science etc.
·        Class is an open institution.
·        An individual can change his/her class and acquire high status in social stratification.
·        Kind of class: Higher class, Middle class, lower class, Agricultural class.

Ø  It depends on Birth
Ø  Depends on social circumstances
Ø  Closed group
Ø  Open system
Ø  Rigid rules in marriage, eating- habits etc.
Ø  No rigidity
Ø  Permanent/ Stable organisation.
Ø  Less stable than caste system
Ø  Inherited Membership
Ø  Never inherited

·        Class system allow social mobility.
§  One may go to higher to better class or go down to a lower class.
·        According to Karl Marx, capitalist society consists of two classes.
o   The Bourgeois
o   The Proletariat
The Bourgeois
·        The owners of means of production: factories, business, equipment.
The Proletariat
·        Workers
·        According to Marx, Bourgeois in capitalist societies exploit workers.

Life chance – Max Weber.
·        Life chance is the social science theory of opportunities, each individual has to improve his quality of life.
·        It refers to the rewards and advantages afforded by market capacity

·        Inequality, Weber argued might be based on economic relations. But it could also be based on prestige or on the political power.

Status and Role
·        Twin concept
·        A position in a society or in a group.
·        It refers social position with defined rights and duties assigned to these positions.
·        Dynamic, Behavioral aspects of status.
·        Status is occupied, while role is played. 
·        In modern society an individual occupies different positions or status during life

Status set
·        Individual occupies multiple status in modern society…
o   Ex: Son-father-grandfather

Ascribed status and Achieved status

Ascribed status
·        Depends on birth
·        Granted without any struggle
·        Bases of ascribed status
·        Caste
·        Kinship
·        Birth
·        Gender discrimination
·        Age discrimination

Achieved status
·        Achieved by the person on the basis of personal merits or qualifications is called….
·        Bases of achieved status
·        Education
·        Training
·        Wealth
·        Occupation
·        Political power

Status and prestige

·        Status and prestige are inter connected.
·        Every status is accorded certain rights and values. Values are attached to social position.
o   Ex: Doctor (high value), shopkeeper
·        The value attached to the status is called prestige. 
·        People can rank status in terms of their high and low prestige.

·        Role conflict
o   It occurs when status and role do not agree

·        Role stereotyping
o   It is a process of fixing a particular role for a particular person- man and women.  

·        Role and status are not fixed. People fight against discrimination based on cast and gender.
·        Society and Social control
·        Formal and informal social control
·        Formal Social Control
o   It means official, codified and systematic means of social control.
it includes control by state, law, police, bureaucracy, army, political power, educate etc.

·        Informal Social Control

o   Personal, unofficial and un codified. 
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