IGNOU BSOC 105 Solved Free Assignment
BSOC 105 Solved Free Assignment July 2023 & January 2024
Q. 1. Describe the emergence of political sociology.
Ans. The word ‘Politics’ is derived from Greek word ‘Polis’, which means the city-states. It is connected with the affairs of state, government and administration.
The political science was actually political philosophy, which was based on theoretical interpretations, descriptive ideas, speculative options, abstract and value laden thoughts, or in other words, a ‘normative study’.
The origin of Political sociology goes to the writings of Alexis de Tocqueville, Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim, and Max Weber, among others.
The field emerged as a separate subfield within sociology after World War I. In the beginning, the political sociologists were focused on the 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.
But in current scenario political socio-logy consists of both micro and macro scholarship.
The political sociology continues to be an important subfield in sociology, because a number of themes consistently explored by political sociologists are particularly rele-vant to the development of a sociological perspective.
There are four trends that characterize the history and development of political sociology. The first one is the classical period, which emerged during Greek and Roman times when man was viewed as primarily a political animal.
During the Holy Roman Empire, he was redefined in purely ecclesiastic terms and consi-dered an extention of God.
The representatives of the classical period of political sociology are political philosophers like Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas,etc.
The second trend was seen in the Enlightenment period, which consisted of a great debate between the political philosophers of two distinct schools.
The first school included Locke, Montesquieu, Rousseau and later followed by Saint-Simon, Comte and Karl Marx.
All these philosophers made an important distinction between society and the state. The other school includes philosophers like Macheiavelli, Hobbs, Burke, Hegel, Bonald and Maistre, who did not differentiate between society and politics, and were in favour of the hegemony and legitimacy of the traditional monarchy and Church. Max Weber, MacIver and other philosophers also gave their unique contribution towards the emergence of political sociology.
The third trend in the emergence of political sociology is connected with the role of elites in society.
The term elite was introduced in the seventeenth century to describe standards of excellence, but was later extended to refer to superior social groups like the highly successful military units and upper ranks of the aristocracy.
The elite theorists proclaimed that history was not created by ideas or by the masses or by silently working forces, but was created by small groups of individual, who exerted themselves from time to time.
The fourth trend in the emergence of political sociology is the contemporary period, which is more empirical and analytical.
The focus of the period is on developing empirically verifiable generalisations linking society and politics, with theory building as the central focus of development.
There are many famous practitioners of contemporary political theory, who are leading political sociologists like Lipset, Greer, Inkles, Moore, Korhauser, Mills, Hunter, Janowitz, Lazarfield, Eisenstadt, Selnick, Rokkan, Gusfield, Macrae, etc.
Q. 2. Discuss totalitarian as a form of government.
Ans. In the Totalitarianism form of government, the government takes the total, centralised, state control and regulates every aspect of public and private life. Whereas, in democratic government, the people have complete control and erases the line between the government and society.
There is a defined ideology, a set of beliefs, that should be approved by all the citizens. There is a dynamic leader and a single political party to rule the government.
The mass communication technology aids the totalitarian government in spreading its aims and supporting the policies and the surveillance technology keeps the track of the activities of many people.
Totalitarianism questions the most values prized by Western democracies: reason, freedom, human dignity and the worth of the individual.
The totalitarian leaders devise methods of control and persuasion in order to dominate the entire nation.
Some of these methods are the use of terror, indoctrination, propa-ganda, censorship, and religious or ethnic persuasion.
The first totalitarian state was built by Mussolini in which a one party dictatorship make an effort to control every aspect of the lives of its citizens.
Some other dictators like Stalin and Hitler also followed Mussolini lead. The rule of Mussolini was fascist in nature and also of Hitler.
According to Michael Halberstam, the two different approaches to the idea of totalitarianism are as follows:
- Liberal Approach sees totalitarianism as its own anti-thesis. According to the definition given by Carl Friedrich, it assumes this kind of perspective in Totalitarian Dictatorship and Autocracy. The approach believes that:
(a) Totalitarianism is ruled by force and not by consent and removes all the political freedom, democratic process and legality as such and set up the pronouncements of the ruler and the party as an omnipotent force with unchecked powers to have control over the institutions of the state and of the other social institutions.
(b) Totalitarianism tends to break the freedom of conscience and forcibly distributes the ideology that is total and claims to be authoritative for all the areas of individual consciousness.
(c) Totalitarianism also breaks the boundaries between the public and the private boundaries by politicizing all the areas of the life of the community.
(d) Totalitarian rule is both irrational and overly rational rule. It is irrational in the sense that it appeals to quasi-religious sentiment to rouse mass support for policies, which are in contrast to the considered interests of the individuals as well as to the interests of the community as a whole.
It is rational in the sense that both the scientific methods of propaganda and population control, it establishes in its efforts to maintain power and the logicality and internal coherence of its doctrines.
According to the second theoretical approach, the totalitarianism is seen as an outgrowth and a peak of a crisis of modernity. The best example of this position is Hannah Arendt.
Totalitarianism refers to the consequence of a ‘loss of world’ that is prompted by the critical project of emancipation, modern rationali-sation, secularisation of life and democratic massifi-cation of the society.
The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt is an analysis of the historical circumstances that led to the rise of the totalitarianism in the 20th century, there are three sections in which it is divided:
⚫ Antisemitism, Imperialism, and
Arendt probed into why and how the Jews played an important role in Nazi and totalitarian propaganda. It also looked into the disintegration of the nation-states and how it coincided with imperialism in the late 19th century.
Arendt proclaimed that the new political formation of the bourgeois class which is features by the ongoing movement and accumulation, gave rise to racism and bureaucracy as major ideologies of the modem society.
Arendt says that the essence of totalitarianism is terror and its objective is to stamp out the spontaneity of the human spirit totally.
Arendt is optimistic that humanity will overcome such horror with the help of spontaneity of the political action contained in the birth of a new generation.
Totalitarianism: An Agency of De-civilization
Eric Hobsbawm made a comparison between civilization (enlightenment) with barbarism (darkness) and stated that the civilization in the modern times is mainly a matter of ‘the system of rules and moral behaviour’ and rationality.
The First World War saw the withering away of the civilization started and continued the rise of Fascism and Nazism.
There was not much recovery in the 19th century civilization because of the Bolshevik seizure of power in Russia and the spread of Leninist- Marxism. This led to the beginning of the age of totalitarianism of, which Fascism and Nazism were alternate expressions.
Therefore, it can be said that totalitarianism did not begin of its own, but was an accident of history. The two biggest casualties of the war were truth and reason, and also the victims of totalitarianism.
According to Norman Davies, “despite the victory of the Western democracies, the most dynamic political product of the Great War lay in the anti-Western, anti-liberal and anti- democratic monster of totalitarianism”.
Hobsbawm stated that with the destruction of civilization we landed up in the renewed state of barbarism. In other words, totalitarianism also became an important agency of de-civilization, besides the other two, the globalization and colonialism.
Q. 3. Describe the various types of authority.
Ans. The different types of authority are:
Traditional Authority: According to Weber, the power of traditional authority is accepted because that has traditionally been the case; its legitimacy exists because it has been accepted for a long time.
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, for instance, occupies a position that she inherited based on the traditional rules of succession for the monarchy.
People adhere to traditional authority because they are invested in the past and feel obligated to perpetuate it.
In this type of authority, a ruler typically has no real force to carry out his will or maintain his position but depends primarily on a group’s respect.
A more modern form of traditional authority is patrimonialism, which is traditional domination facilitated by an administration and military that are purely personal instruments of the master (Eisenberg 1998).
In this form of authority, all officials are personal favorites appointed by the ruler. These officials have no rights, and their privileges can be increased or withdrawn based on the caprices of the leader.
The political organization of ancient Egypt typified such a system, when the royal household decreed that a pyramid be built, every Egyptian was forced to work toward its construction.
Traditional authority can be intertwined with race, class and gender. In most societies, for instance, men are more likely to be privileged than women, and thus are more likely to hold roles of authority.
Similarly, members of dominant racial groups or upper-class families also win respect more readily. In the United States, the Kennedy family, which has produced many prominent politicians, exemplifies this model.
Charismatic Authority: Followers accept the power of charismatic authority because they are drawn to the leader’s personal qualities. The appeal of a charismatic leader can be extraordinary, and can inspire followers to make unusual sacrifices or to persevere in the midst of great hardship and persecution.
Charismatic leaders usually emerge in times of crisis and offer innovative or radical solutions. They may even offer a vision of a new world order. Hitler’s rise to power in the postwar economic depression of Germany is an example.
Charismatic leaders tend to hold power for short durations, and according to Weber, they are just as likely to be tyrannical as they are heroic.
Diverse male leaders such as Hitler, Napoleon, Jesus Christ, César Chávez, Malcolm X, and Winston Churchill are all considered charismatic leaders.
Because so few women have held dynamic positions of leadership throughout history, the list of charismatic female leaders is comparatively short.
Many historians consider figures such as Margaret Thatcher, and Mother Teresa to be charismatic leaders.
Rational-Legal Authority: Rational-legal authority is a form of leadership in which the authority of an organisation or a ruling regime is largely tied to legal rationality, legal legitimacy, and bureaucracy.
It is the second of Max Weber’s tripartite classification of authority. The majority of the modern states of the 20th century are rational-legal authorities, according to those who use this form of classification.
Unlike charismatic authority and traditional authority, rational-legal authority derives its powers from the system of bureaucracy and legality.
Weber defined legal order as a system, wherein the rules are enacted and obeyed as legitimate because they are in line with other laws on how they can be enacted and how they should be obeyed.
These rules are enforced by a government that monopolizes their enactment, while holding the legitimate use of physical force.
Weber wrote that the modern state based on rational-legal authority emerged from the patrimonial and feudal struggle for power uniquely in Western civilization.
The prerequisites for the modern Western state are the monopoly by a central authority of the means of administration and control; the monopoly of legislative authority; and the organisation of official-dom, dependent upon the central authority.
According to Max Weber, a modern state exists where a political community has three elements. First, an administrative and legal order that has been created and can be changed by legislation that also determines its role.
Second, it must have binding authority over citizens and actions in its jurisdiction. Lastly, it must possess the right to legitimately use the physical force in its jurisdiction.
Q. 4. Discuss different types of elites.
Ans. The three different types of elites are:
Ruling Elite: Pareto made popular the concept of elite (it is usually said that idea of elite was derived by Mosca), said, ‘so let us make a class of people who have the highest indices in their branch of activity and to that class give the name of elite’.
So, we get two strata in a population: (a) a lower stratum: the non-elite (common men), and (b) an upper stratum: the elite.
Thus, elite is the highest stratum within a society. This stratum is composed of those persons who are recognised outstanding and are considered the leaders in a given field of competence.
This class of elite (highest stratum) is further sub-divided into: (i) a governing elite or the rulin elite and
(ii) a non-governing elite.
The ‘governing or the ruling elite’ comprises of individuals who directly play some considerable part in government. They wear labels appro-priate to the particular political offices, namely, ministers, legislators, president, secretaries and so on.
The ‘non-governing elite’ are those people not connected with the governmental activities. Pareto takes existence of ruling class for granted and concentrated on the ‘circulation of elite’.
He was basically concerned with the consequences of ‘open’ and ‘closed’ elites. He argued that a closed aristocracy inevitably decays, producing cleavage and dissension within its own ranks.
When it happens new elites emerge from other classes to give leadership to revolutionary change.
Economic Elite: James Burnham used the economic approach to define elitism, in which power is seen as a means to identify who is elite, and who is not. He said that the elites draw their power in accordance to their degree of control over of the means of production and distribution.
The power help, these elites to get the influential positions in the society as compared to the ones at the other end of the social spectrum with no such access to the means of production or distribution.
The dominant elite or the ruling group of the society can be calculated with the group that gets the maximum income. It is important to possess the economic power first, as political power too flows from having economic control.
Power Elite: The elite occupy the key leadership positions within the bureaucracies that now dominate modern societies, the positions in which the effective means of power are now located.
Thus, their power is rooted in authority, an attribute of social organisations, not of individuals.
It is not a conspiracy of evil men, he argues, but a social structure that has enlarged and centralised the decision-making process, and then placed this authority in the hands of men of similar social background and outlook.
In Mills’ view, major national power now resides almost exclusively in the economic, political, and military domains.
All other institutions have diminished in scope and power and been either pushed to the side of modern history, or made subordinate to the big three.
It is their similar social backgrounds that provide one of the major sources of unity among the elite. The majority of the elite, Mills asserted, come from the upper third of the income and occupational pyramids.
They are born of the same upper class. They attend the same preparatory schools and Ivy League universities. They join the same exclusive gentleman’s clubs, belong to the same organisations. They are closely linked through intermarriage.
Q. 5. What do you mena by state? Discuss.
Ans. There are various understandings of the state as described in the above section. One of the important contributions was from Machiavelli, who was credited with the origin of the name.
State is derived from an Italian term, la stato, coined by Machiavelli. According to him, the state describes the whole of the social hierarchy that controls and rules a country.
The concept was then modernized by Machiavelli by secularising it, and vesting it with sovereignty.
He states that the co-ordination with the church was not required and the state contains within itself all the authority there is within the territory it embraces.
The family comes prior to the state and nothing else is superior to it. He believed that the state is an organized mass of power used by the ones who control it for the pursuit of whatever ends seem good to them.
The period to which he belonged meant that he was reconciled to the fact that the state could be repressive if required for the common good of all members of the state. He also believed in an ideal-popular or free government. Such government although never existed except in small republics.
According to Weber, a state is “the supreme legitimate authority assigned with the exercise of violent force over a group of people”.
Philippe points out that the modern state seems to be “an amorphous complex of agencies with ill-defined boundaries that performs a variety of not very distinctive functions”.
Nettl believed that the state is “essentially a socio-cultural phenomenon which happens because of the cultural disposition among people to recognise the conceptual existence of the state.
He proclaimed that the notions of the state are included in the thinking and actions of individual citizens”.
The extent of this conceptual variable could be shown to correlate to the empirical differences between societies, such as differences in legal structure or party system.”
Some of the important features of the state that could be identified are as follows:
. monopoly on exercise of power legitimacy as viewed by the governed.
. Institutional structures which established to handle governmental tasks.
Garner also gave a comprehensive definition of the state: “The state as a concept of Political Science and public law consists of a community of persons, more or less numerous that occupies a definite portion of the territory and is independent or merely so of external control and possessing an organized government to which greater body of inhabitants render habitual obedience”.
On the basis of the various definitions of the state, the four main elements of the state can be identified as follows:
There are big and small states in the modern world with different population size. An agency is needed to govern these and the government is the machinery, which helps the state to exercise power and control the population with the help of its various policies.
The state is supreme in nature over all its citizens internally and associations within its jurisdiction, which controls its internal sovereignty and externally the state claims independence of any foreign control.
Q. 6. Citizenship.
Ans. The concept of citizenship as we understand today has not always been the same, considering it existed even in the times of the Greeks and the Romans. Aristotle in his book ‘Politics’, said that man is a social animal and for the development of his personality he needs to participate in affairs of the polis.
By this he hinted at the need for a citizenship of man and various discourses have been made, since on the concept of citizenship. The Greeks saw citizenship as the enjoyment of the right.
The Greeks saw citizenship as the enjoyment of the right of sharing in the deliberative or judicial office. The Romans citizenship guaranteed the right to vote, eligibility for public office, right to intermarriage, etc.
Bodin saw citizenship as the mutual obligation between subject and sovereign to obey and to protect.
With the moving to later periods, citizenship was discussed by thinkers like Mill, Bentham, who focussed mainly on individual liberty, political participation and property rights and Green, who focussed on the criterion of having a good life and social welfare.
T.H. Marshall viewed citizenship as different parts and how they were all intertwined.
In his famous book ‘Citizenship and Social Class’, he brings out this points and views citizenship as a dynamic idea.
Q. 7. Cultural Capital.
Ans. Cultural capital refers to assets, e.g., compete-ncies, skills, qualifications, which enable holders to mobilise cultural authority and can also be a source of misrecognition and symbolic violence.
For example, working class children can come to see the educational success of their middle-class peers as always legitimate, seeing what is often class-based inequality as instead the result of hard work or even ‘natural’ ability.
A key part of this process is the transformation of people’s symbolic or economic inheritance (e.g., accent or property) into cultural capital (e.g., university qualifications).
Bourdieu argues that cultural capital has developed in opposition to economic capital.
Moreover, the conflict between those who mostly hold cultural capital and those who mostly hold economic capital finds expression in the opposed social fields of art and business.
The field of art and related cultural fields are seen to have striven historically for autonomy, which in different times and places has been more or less achieved.
The autonomous field of art is summed up as “an economic world turned upside down,” highlighting the opposition between economic and cultural capital.
Q. 8. Stateless society.
Ans. A stateless society is a society that is not governed by a state, or, especially in common American English, has no government.
In stateless societies, there is little concentration of authority; most positions of authority that do exist are very limited in power and are generally not permanently-held positions; and social bodies that resolve disputes through predefined rules tend to be small.
Stateless societies are highly variable in economic organisation, and cultural practices.
While stateless societies were probably the norm in human prehistory, few stateless societies exist today; almost the entire global population resides within the jurisdiction of a sovereign state.
In some regions nominal state authorities may be very weak and wield little or no actual power.
A stateless society is one that has no specialised political roles, let alone institutionalised political structures composed of a plurality of roles.
By specialised, we mean formal, named, and recognised roles that are played by specialists, not by any or every full member of the society.
A specialist is also, properly speaking, full-time. However, this is ambiguous, since the conventional (though highly variable) full-time working day is specific only to industrial societies.
Stateless societies do not differentiate between working and leisure hours in this way. Specialization also implies special qualifications—training for achieved roles or inherent qualities for ascribed positions.
Specialists are at least mainly and most importantly involved in the concerns associated with their specialisation, and they are publicly held to be so.
Q. 9. Governmentality.
Ans. Governmentality is the approach to the study of power that emphasizes the governing of people’s conduct through positive means rather than the sovereign power to formulate the law.
In contrast to a disciplinarian form of power, governmentality is generally associated with the willing participation of the governed.
The concept of governmentality takes the definition of government as the exercise of organised political power by a nation or state and expands it to include the active consent and willingness of individuals to participate in their own governance.
It proposes that government by the state is only one form of governing, that the terms state and government are not synony-mous, and that actions taken by the state alone cannot bring about its desired ends.
Q. 10. Power.
Ans. Power can be defined as the ability of an individual, group, or institution to influence or exercise control over other people and achieve their goals despite possible opposition or resistance.
In other words, it can be defined as the possession of control, authority, or influence over others.
Power may comprise anything that establishes and maintains control of man over man (and it) covers all social relationships, which serve that end, from physical violence to the most subtle psycholo-gical ties by which one mind controls another.
Power is viewed both as a set of attributes of a given actor and a relationship between two actors. The simple way to understand the concept of power is to see it as a relationship of independent entities.
Similarly, the best way to operationalise and measure a state’s capacity to exercise power is to look at its Specific attributes and elements, which can be easily mea-sured.