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[Peer Review] Sociology | Answer Writing | Mains 2013 Discussion



  • 25 Write Short note on Historic Materialism

    Ans: Historic materialism was a term given by Plekhanov (the political guru of lenin). Although, it is generally associated with Karl Marx , but he never really used the term , but used instead materialist interpretation of history- his perspective and methodology in the interpretation of society. It can be seen as the foundation in all his theories e.g. Stratification of society, religion etc. Engels has defined the term in his work “Sociolism:Utopia and scientific”

    Historic materialism may be defined as the view of the course of society which seeks the ultimate cause and the great moving power of all the important events in the economic or materialistic development of society, in the changes in the mode of production & exchange, in the consequent division of society of society into distinct classes and struggle of these classes against each other.

    It was historic in the sense that Marx has viewed tried to trace the evolution of human society from one stage to another and even in terms of future of humankind. Contextually, Materialism simply means that it is matter or material reality, which is the basis of any change in the society. Here, Marx has deferred from the view of Hegel, who had posited idea as the basic causal factor in the change in society. Instead, Marx views idea as a result of matter not vice-versa.

  • Q1. Sometimes workers do not feel attachment for their work. Marx formed a theory for this situation, discuss that theory.
    Marx coined “theory of alienation” for a situation when workers get detached from their own work. Alienation is a situation in which the creations of man appear alien to him.

    Marx viewed productive labour as the primary human activity. In the creation of objects man objectifies himself, expresses and externalizes his being. When objects created by men try to control his being and man loses himself in the object.

    According to Marx, the human history has progressed through development of force of production and steady increase in man’s control over nature. This has also resulted in man’s alienation from his creation and which reaches its climax in capitalist society.

    In a capitalist society, dead labour (capital) dominates live labour (worker). Creation of object is subjected to impersonal forces of law of supply and demand. The demand for profit determines the levels of employment, wages, nature of goods, its quantities and methods of manufacturing. The result is, man has no control over the production and the process simply becomes a means to an end (wage here) from an end in itself earlier (fulfilling his being).

    Unable to put his creativity in the mechanical production process and not owing produced goods creates alienation from the objects. Therefore the more the worker produces the more he loses himself. This alienation is always self-alienation, one’s separation from his own activity.

    Marx believed that capitalism is the prime reason for alienation where capitalist owns and controls the production and products of labour and appropriates it for profit. Marx advocated, only a radical change in economic infrastructure i.e. replacement of capitalism by communism can end this alienation. In communist society, worker will produce for himself and community at the one and the same time and so will be able to objectify himself. This would result in conscious return of man himself as a social being and elimination of self-alienation.
  • Q NO 12 “It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but on the contrary it is their social being that determines their consciousness”. Examine Karl Marx’s notion of mode of production in the light of this statement.

    Marx believed in the idea of Dialectical Materialism and analyzed society in the light of dialectics. The idea of Dialectics owe it’s origin to Hegel who saw social reality getting shaped through the process of thesis, antithesis and synthesis. In his views it is idea or consciousness of men that determines material reality .Marx adopted his idea of Dialectics but he refused that idea can shape material reality and thus put forward his notion of Material reality determining the human consciousness thus he put Hegel on his head as popularly observed.

    The idea of Dialectical Materialism was further used by Marx in analyzing social change .He saw society moving through phases as the mode of production shifted from labour to land to capital. Again he explained the shift in mode of production happening because of the dialectics between coming social order and old social order and the rise of new social order. The analysis of Marx is popularly known as Historical Materialism and can be represented in the following diagram

    Primitive communism …...>Ancient society…...>Feudalism……>Capitalism…TP……..Communism
    MOP ………..> Labour…….>Land……..>Capital………..
    RELATIONSHIP ………..>Master/Slave…..>Lord/Serf……>Have/Have not’s…………

    Marx saw capitalism as only the transitory phase and said that as the system is based on inequality and exploitation it will come to an end by a violent revolution and communism will be establish. Thus the notion of mode of production is the basis of Marx theory of social change which establish Marx as a realist as oppose to the prevailing notion of idealism at that point of time. It established him as a distinguish social thinker and the ideas given by him become so popular that even though Marx is dead but Marxism is still alive.
  • Find attachment for the next assignment which will be given by M 2.
    Also members please buy the question bank in order the reduce this unnecessary step in answer writing

    Thank you
    009_Top.pdf 80.6K
  • Assignment of Durkheim (4b) -

    M1 - Q1, Q4 & Q18
    M2 - Q2 & Q13
    M3 - Q6 & Q12(in one of his contributions, can you please give example of suicide as there's no question on it)
    M4 - Q5 & Q20
    M5 - Q9 & Q14(I don't know if it belongs here, it's of Weber, so we shouldn't leave this concept)
    M6 - Q11 & Q17

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  • Scanned copy of today's assignment -
    Durkhein Scanned.pdf

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  • @Shkk
    The way you have given assignment seems that you don't want to leave anything in Durkheim. So do you have any kind of personal enmity with Durkheim that you want to hit him in left ,right and centre ? :)
    Any way thanks for scanned copy of Assignment should i assume that everybody has the copy of question bank?
  • @Shkk
    The way you have given assignment seems that you don't want to leave anything in Durkheim. So do you have any kind of personal enmity with Durkheim that you want to hit him in left ,right and centre ? :)
    Any way thanks for scanned copy of Assignment should i assume that everybody has the copy of question bank?
    As for the social thinkers, the more we hit them the better; In fact, Marx should have been hit equally hard :D

    And the question bank, I still have not received it #:-S
  • Distinguish between probability and nonprobability sampling methods. How many types of sampling designs are there ?

    A sample is a subset of the population being studied.It is a research technique widely used in the social sciences as a way to gather information about a population without having to measure the entire population.

    Probability Sampling: If the purpose of the research is to draw conclusions or make predictions affecting the population as a whole ,it is called probability sampling.The key point here is random selection.Different types include:

    1)Random Sampling- each member has an equal chance of getting selected.Selection is done in a random manner using random number table.

    2)Systematic Sampling- After the target population is found, every Nth record is selected from the list.Its advantage over random samling is its simplicity.

    3)Stratified Random Sampling- involves division of sampling frame into groups in order to ensure that sample is representative.Sampling units will be allocated to different groups depending on variables like gender,age,religion etc

    Non-probabilty Sampling: Non-probability sampling is a sampling technique where the samples are gathered in a process that does not give all the individuals in the population equal chances of being selected.It is used when the researcher is interested only in exploring how a small group(a representative group) is doing for the purpose of illustration or explanation.Types are:

    1)Quota Sampling- A quota sample is one in which units are selected into a sample on the basis of pre-specified characteristics so that the total sample has the same distribution of characteristics assumed to exist in the population being studied.

    2)Snowballing: A snowball sample is one in which the researcher collects data on the few members of the target population he or she can locate, then asks those individuals to provide information needed to locate other members of that population whom they know. For example, if a researcher wishes to interview undocumented immigrants from Mexico, he or she might interview a few undocumented individuals that he or she knows or can locate and would then rely on those subjects to help locate more undocumented individuals.

    3)Non-representative Sampling: This sample is taken for a certain purpose like to falsify theories,bring out untypical examples etc.

  • 5)Write a short note on subject matter of sociology according to Emile Durkhem.

    According to Durkheim,the subject matter of sociology should be study of social facts.They are facts or realities present in social life.They are the outcome of collective thinking and collective feeling .They have both materialistic and non-materialistic dimension.
    Eg: Legal code,customs,moral rules,religion,beliefs etc

    The main characteristics of social facts are:
    1)External to the individual
    2)Constraint on individual
    3)Moral and binding on the individual

    According to Durkheim ,there are 3 kinds of social facts:
    1)Morphological or structural social facts: this is the elementary part of the society.
    Eg:distribution of population on earth,nature of communication systems etc

    2)Institutionalised form: They represent the collective nature of society as a whole.
    Eg:legal and moral rules,religious dogmas etc

    3)Non-institutionalised social facts: not yet aquired cystalised forms.
    Eg: enthusiasm generated in crowd

    Apart from these,Durkheim also talked of Normal social fact(approved by collective conscience) and Pathological Social fact(not normal). When normal is accepted to many,pathological may be acceptable to a few.So both mutually co-exist in social life.Their mutual co-existence,their negotiation with each other ,contradiction between both and the superimposition of normal over pathological could be considered as the subject matter of sociology.

  • 20)Write a short note :Pathological form of Division of Labour

    According to Durkhem,DOL means the hierarchial gradation of occupations,which is concrete and visible.But the occupational gradation present in a given society is guided by size of population,Nature of the needs of the individual,Role of society,Functions of institutions present in the society,ROle of law etc. He considers DOL is a social fact.

    Though DOL stimulates a sense of integration between man and society, there are present in every society a handful of people who love to differ,disagree and manifest deviance. Eg:conflict between capital and labor. Durkhem explains their course of action as abnormal or pathological, but mutually coexistent with normal DOL. Pathology induces strains.It is unwanted yet unavoidable.So every society tolerates to certian elements of pathological strains in the routinised and regularised manner.He believes that no society is threatened by the presence of deviation or violation because every society has effective mechanisms within its own control to repair the injuries done by the pathologists on the beliefs of the collectivity. This mechanism is known as Rule of Law.
    As DOL is universal, law is also universal but the structure of law is greatly dependent on the structural character of the society.
    Eg: Repressive law in simple society and Restitutive law in complex societies.
  • @all i was not able to answer the following question allotted to me

    "Subjective perception of the objective reality prepares the context for the articulation of class antagonism." Evaluate this statement with reference of Karl Marx's contribution.

    Can someone throw light on to approach the question.
  • As the question asks a lot, I am attempting it as a 60 marker.

    Q5. Explain Karl Marx’s analysis of capitalistic mode of production and class struggle. What are the intellectual reactions to his views? (2007, 60 Marks)

    Answer –
    According to Marx, production is the first historical act and also a necessary condition of history. Production represents the material factor and the society changes with changing material factors. Marx conceptualizes 4 stages of the society in past and 2 in future.

    Stages –
    1) Primitive Communism
    2) Ancient Mode of production
    3) Feudalism
    4) Capitalism
    5) Socialism
    6) Communism

    Capitalism or capitalistic mode of production

    Relation and Forces of Production - Production is done by machines in the factories owned by capitalists. Workers are free to sell their labor and get wages in return.

    Alienation - Marx says that wages are only subsistence and are exploitative. The worker is extremely dependent on capitalist for his survival and has no alternative. The worker is alienated not from his surroundings but from himself as well. This is the peak of alienation.

    After Capitalism - The exploitation reaches its peak and when the “right conditions” appear the workers will revolt leading the establishment of the next stage of society termed as Socialism followed by Communism which according to Marx will be the end of history.

    Class Struggle

    Clearest exposition of class and class struggle in Marx’s works is found in his “Communist Manifesto” of 1848. According to Marx class is a group sharing the same position in the process of production. He majorly talked of two classes namely Haves and Have-nots but also acknowledge presence of other intermediate classes in his book “Revolution and Counter Revolution in Germany” where he talks of 8 classes. Here he warns that with time class polarization will take place and eventually only two classes will remain.
    Marx is of the view that “history of hitherto existing societies is the history of class struggle”. In this statement Marx considers class struggle as the basic motor which drives the history. The broad classes are in a state of struggle leading to a process of social change. Slaves are in conflict with masters, serfs with feudal lords and so on.

    Reasons of Class Struggle – Class struggle is a result of contradictions present in the society. These contradictions are in the form of property relation, ideologies, institutions etc. For example, a major contradiction in capitalism is division of benefits is not commensurate with the amount if work done. Marx also attributes alienation as a reason of class struggle, i.e. absence of conditions which help develop full potential of an individual.

    Mechanism of Class Struggle – Marx says that mechanism of class struggle is not same in every society. Marx says Slave and Serf revolutions were false revolutions as they were driven by false consciousness whereas the workers revolution will be a true revolution.
    Mature conditions for a revolution are i) emergence of a critical mass of workers, ii) network of communication among workers, iii) proper ideology given by leadership and iv) identification of a common enemy.

    Intellectual Reactions to Marx’s View

    * Marx was a determinist and thought of stripping people of their freedom and individuality – This reaction to Marx seems rather unfair. After all, Marx’s whole project was the liberation of the individual from the prison of wage slavery so they would be able to realise their full creative potential. No cause was dearer to Marx than the liberty of the individual.

    * Marxism is a Utopian dream that ignores human nature – It is strange that he is accused of both believing in peaceful humans and class conflicts at the same time.

    * Marxism reduces everything to economics – In fact Marx was a multifaceted thinker and not primarily an economist. It is true he believed economic relations were very fundamental.

    * Marxism is obsessed with notions of class – Some statistics on this in today’s financialised world are revealing. Globally, in terms of types of financial wealth, the top 10% have 80% to 90% of wealth (stocks, bonds, trust funds, and business equity and non-home real estate).

    * Marxism advocates violence – Marx was not opposed to reforms as such, he was sceptical about elites voluntarily and peacefully relinquishing their power.

    * Marxism failed in its predictions – He clearly indicates that the system will not change by itself without strong political organisation pushing it. True, he may have underestimated the ability of capitalism to adjust to the drawbacks pointed out by Marx. As it is a famous saying that “Marx saved capitalism” by pointing to its shortcomings.

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  • edited September 2013
    @all i was not able to answer the following question allotted to me

    "Subjective perception of the objective reality prepares the context for the articulation of class antagonism." Evaluate this statement with reference of Karl Marx's contribution.

    Can someone throw light on to approach the question.
    It has to do with the "false consciousness" prevaling amongst the masses (prolerariat in a capitalist soceity) with respect to the objective reality of the society,,which is their explotation by the capitalist class.

    So,you can proceed answering this question by explaining the transition of working class from "class in itself" to"class for itself".

    @all correct me if i am wrong
  • @ALL members of IR work group
    please check the group folder for some announcement.

    Thank you
  • Q. Give a critical review of Emile Durkheim Theory on Religion and Society.To what extent does it explain the contemporary scenario in Asia.(04/1/3/60)

    Durkheim considered religion as a reflection of an individual's relation with the society and nature.In his work "Totemism: The elementry form of the religion" he explored the true nature of the religion in its simplist and purest form.
    According to him,religion has a foothold in the reality of society. Religion is itself mainfestation of the society.The religious objects,belief ,practices,myths occupies the sphere of sacred which elicit reverence from the members of the society. These reverence to sacred thing are nothing but paying homage to the society itself.Thus it is the society which prescribes to the believer the beliefs and rites which he/she must observe.Hence the rites and beliefs are society creation.Therefore the determining causes of religioious phenomena lies in the nature of the society.
    By explaining the true nature of religion,Durkheim' theory demytified the relgion and through functional explanation of the Social fact it laid the foundation of the functionalist approach in sociology.Further his study not only opened new vista in sociology but also inluenced the structural approach in Anthrology which got reflected in works of Cloude Lewis Strauss.
    However,his theory was also critisided on various grounds,
    Firstly, the functional explanation of the relgion in social solidarity gets refuted in highly differential society where due to plurality of religion,it let to conflict and endangers solidarity.
    Secondly it was criticsed on the ground that it overemphasised social reality at the expense of the individual consciousness. Individual conscousness was relegated to subordinate position as compared to the collective conscience.
    Thirdly,the distinction between sacred and profane was considered faulty at empirical and conceptual level.It was not clear whether the relation between two is of total hostility or complementary.the distinction was considered faulty in the sense that it divided the whole social phenomena in two opposite category without taking account of a third category i.e mundane. Infact it was agrued that most of the social phenomena belongs to this category instead of scared or profane.
    Fouthly,Only the functional aspect of relgion was explored, its origin was not accounted in the theory

    Accordng to D's the change and evolution in religious beliefs and practices etc in different forms result due to transformation taking place in the social organisation of a society in the course of the history.Therefore with the development of science the sphere of the religion will shrink and the sphere of secular will increased Earlier morality was considered as religious duty.but in modern times the secular morality will provide the basis for the moral order of society.
    In the case of the contemporary Asian society,his theory provides only partial explanation. As contended by Durkheim ,religion premeated in every aspect of the social life of the earlier asian societies.But with modernisation the Asian societies are reflecting a peculiar characteristic which is far from what was envisioned by Durkheim.In Asian societies,with modernisation religion is not vanishing but reviving in the form of religious fundamentalism and revivialism reflected in proliferation of new sects and cults.Shrinked in societial domain it is acquiring new roles in identity politics and Ideology protest.Thus these apects of the contempory asian societies are new which does not find its place in the Durkheim's Theory of Religion.
  • @ M 4 and M 5
    Please post your answers for Karl Marx assignment

    Thank You
  • @aman8770
    The question which was assigned to me was of Stratification.So I was think of clubbing that question with the assignment of Stratification after covering that unit. Is it fine if I answer that question with stratification assignment.
  • Q1. Write a short note on sacred and profane (keeping sociological perspective in mind.

    Sacred and profane are central characteristic to Emile Durkheim’s interpretation of religion. Religion is the practice of maintaining distance between these two entities Sacred refers to those collective and unified representations, which are set apart, revered and are forbidden, whereas profane things are daily mundane chores and individual concerns.

    Sacred things are considered superior to profane things because they represent collective beliefs. Sacred things are represented by symbols. These symbols are acknowledged and worshiped.
    Durkheim said that these symbols actually represent society. Society is a complex realm and hence could not be visualized therefore they are represented by symbols. It is not the character, nature or quality of these symbols that make them sacred but the associated collective values that command reverence.
  • Q4. Compare Karl Marx with Emile Durkheim with reference to the framework of division of labour.

    Emile Durkheim and Marx had analysed division of labour in industrial societies and in doing so both have remained loyal to their functionalist and conflict perspectives respectively.

    Durkheim viewed division of labour as a source of maintaining organic solidarity in modern industrial societies. These specialized and differentiated divisions of labour reinforce solidarity as they negate competition in a resource scarce society. Division of labour is a process through which society moves from mechanical solidarity to organic solidarity. In mechanical societies collectivity is maintained through religious commitment but in organic society division of labour helps individuals to cooperate and coexist.

    As per Durkheim for division of labour to perform its integrative functions effectively, its pathological forms have to be removed. It is possible by making workers conscious of their role in society.

    Marx has viewed division of labour as the most appropriate tool in capitalistic societies to maximize profit. It is based on exploitation of worker by capitalist and not on cooperation. There is inherent conflict of interest between labourers and owners. Workers do not chose this but do this in return of minimal wage to earn their livelihood. The result of this is self-alienation of workers, a situation in which the creations of man appear alien to him and man loses himself in the object.

    According to Marx, solution to this oppressive structure is possible through radical revolution leading to replacement of capitalism by socialism that would liberate labourers from the shackles of alienation.
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