Sociological Theories and Concepts
MSO 01 Free Solved Assignment
MSO 01 Free Solved Assignment July 2021 & Jan 2022
Q 1. Discuss the contribution of Levi-Strauss and Edmund Leach to the understanding of social structure.
ANS: Levi-Strauss conceived of social structure as the logic behind reality. He insisted that the term social structure has nothing to do with empirical reality but with models which are built up after it.
While social relations constitute the raw materials out of which the models making up the social structure are built, the structure itself cannot be reduced to an ensemble of social relations rather such relations themselves result from such re-existing structures.
The structures exhibit the characteristics of a system and are made up of several elements none of which can undergo change without effecting changes in all other elements.
Strauss pioneered a branch of anthropology called cultural anthropology.
According to this, a culture, which can be viewed as a society, can be better understood in terms of relations within the structure. In this case, i.e., society.
Therefore, one should look at the elements making this society to understand it. Some of these elements could be viewed in light with reference to the contours of kinships, patterns in mythology, art, etc. MSO 01 Free Solved Assignment
The study that brought prominence to him as mentioned earlier was regarding Kinship.
Strauss elucidated on the fact that the essential structure of kinship, on which all the systems are discovered are the set of four types of organically linked relationships: brother-sister, husband-wife, father-son, and mother’s brother-sister’s son.
According to him, it was not decency or empathy which formed these elements but mere consciousness. Hence, human nature forces us to take the actions we do.
He believed that all societies followed these structures but his sighting his work is less empirical than critics never agreed with him required.
Edmund Leach on Social Structure: The British anthropologist, Edmund Leach (1954, 1961), also made a significant contribution to the idea of social structure as a model, although there are many significant differences between the approaches of Lévi?Strauss and Leach to structuralism.
For instance, whereas Lévi-Strauss is interested in unearthing the ‘universal structures’ – structures applicable to all human societies at all point of time – Leach applies the method of structuralism to understand the local (or regional) structures.
Because of this, some term Leach’s approach ‘neo-structural. Leach has formulated a conception of social structure that is essentially the same as Lévi-Strauss’s” (Nutini 1970: 76). MSO 01 Free Solved Assignment
Like Lévi-Strauss, Leach divides the ‘social universe’ into different epistemological categories: the raw data of social experience (i.e., social relations) and the models that are built from it.
Models are not empirical; they are the ‘logical constructions’ in the mind of the anthropologist.
Like Lévi-Strauss, Leach also arrives at the distinction between the mechanical and statistical models, i.e., models built respectively on ‘what people say’ and ‘what people do’, but he calls mechanical models “jural rules and statistical models ‘statistical norms’.
The meaning Leach gives to “jural rules’ and ‘statistical nørms’ is essentially the same which LéviStrauss gives to mechanical and statistical models.
But two important differences stand out. First, for Lévi-Strauss, both mechanical and statistical models are of roughly equal analytical value and they complement each other.
For Leach, jural rules and statistical norms should be treated as separate frames of reference. In an analysis, the statistical norms should have priority over the jural rules.
We should begin our study with the actual behaviour of people, the deviations that occur and the conformity they achieve. Second, Leach points out that mechanical models or jural rules are qualitative rules of behaviour. MSO 01 Free Solved Assignment
Q 4. What is power? Discuss the instruments of power
In sociology power is defined as the ability of an individual or group to fulfil its desires and implement its decisions and ideas.
It involves the ability to influence as well control the behaviour of others even against their will.According to Giddens power must be recognized as a primary concept in sociological analysis.
It is potentially an aspect of all relationships.Power is an aspect of all areas of society and all institutions.Talcott Parsons defines power as a systems property a capcity to achieve ends whereas Mills viewed power as a relationship in which one side prevailed over the other.
According to Max Weber power is a chance of man or men to realize their own will in a communal action even against the resistance of others who are participating in the action.
Marxian analysis rejects the view that power is societal resource held in trust and directed by those in authority for the benefit of all. MSO 01 Free Solved Assignment
Instead power is seen to be held by a particular group in society at the expense of rest of the society.
The source of power in society lies in the economic infrastructure and gradually the power of the ruling class extends beyond specific economic relations and prevades the entire superstructure.
INSTRUMENTS OF POWER:
There are three main institutions or traits that accord the right to use of power. In other words, there are three instruments for wielding or enforcing of power.
They are coercive or condign, compensatory and conditioned power. These three instruments need not be strictly compartmentalized.
They overlap each other at one point of time or another. Coercive or condign power wins acceptance by threatening, intimidating and/or inflicting on others with dire consequences.
It includes power exercised by any form of adverse action or its threat in the form of fines, resource or property expropriation, rebuke, and condemnation by any individuals or the community concerned.
The process of such power takes place in a situation where power is gained by attaining submission from others to abandon their preferences or desires through the capacity to impose an alternative to those preferences of the individual or group that are unpleasant or painful. MSO 01 Free Solved Assignment
Two levels: First, a situation where a person or a group who undergo a very
painful experience would still opt for the defacto condition as the alternative provided appear to be either no better or even worse than what they have been experiencing at a given point of time;
Second, a situation where the individual or group withdraws from acting against certain impositions or refrains from speaking his/her mind and opts to submit to the view of others in order to avoid unpleasant implications.
In other words, the person or group just accepts the dictat of others and would not speak up because of the impending rebuke and harsh consequences that would come upon him/her or them.
Compensatory power attains submission from others by offering affirmative action in the form of rewards to the individual or group who submits to the coercion.
In economic terms, compensation in rural areas could be in various forms, such as, payments in kind or cash for services rendered, the right to work a plot of land, or sharing the product of the landlord’s fields.
In socio-economic and political sense, the affirmative rewards, be it, economic package for development inter alia provided to certain communities or regions infested with socio-political unrest could be another example of compensatory power in the modern situation.
The third instrument of power conditioned power in contrast to condign and compensatory power (which is visible and objective) is subjective. MSO 01 Free Solved Assignment
In this case, neither those exercising the power nor those who are subject to it, need not necessarily be aware of its exertion.
This kind of power is achieved by changing the attitude and belief of the individual or group. In this situation, a person or group accepts the will of another or others because they feel that the initiative taken seems to be right, by way of persuasion, education, social commitment, or promises.
They submit to the initiative because they feel that it is in a preferred course or track. In such situation, submission is not necessarily acknowledged.
Conditioned power is, in fact, the most crucial and pervasive kind of power to the functioning of modern society, whether it be in the aspects of economy and polity, and in capitalist and socialist countries as well.
Q 7 What is citizenship? Discuss its various types.
ANS: Citizenship is a relationship between an individual and a state to which the individual owes allegiance and in turn is entitled to its protection.
Each state determines the conditions under which it will recognize persons as its citizens, and the conditions under which that status will be withdrawn.
Recognition by a state as a citizen generally carries with it recognition of civil, political, and social rights which are not afforded to non-citizens.
Family Citizenship: Jus Sanguinis One of the most common paths to citizenship is jus sanguinis, which is a Latin phrase which translates into English as “right of blood”.
This describes an individual whose parent, grandparent, or other family member is already a citizen of a different specific state from the country in which the individual was born.
Countries which offer this citizenship outright include France, Greece, Italy, Japan, Romania, Thailand, and Turkey.MSO 01 Free Solved Assignment
Rules surrounding jus sanguinis vary depending on the nation in question, particularly with regards to whether an individual can apply for citizenship to their mother’s state of origin.
Citizenship by Birth: Jus Soli Jus soli, another Latin term meaning “right of soil” generally refers to the rule granting citizenship to an individual who is born in a country.
However this does not apply in every country, and certain legal regulations may restrict individuals in some nations, under what is known as lex soli law.
Some of these countries include Australia, Egypt, New Zealand, and South Africa.
The jus soli law originated in the United Kingdom, entitling those born in the nation to be ‘subjects of the Monarch’.
In the United States, this is known as ‘birthright citizenship’ Contrary to popular belief, there are currently only over 30 nations in the world that grant citizenship for this reason, including many Caribbean islands such as Dominica, Jamaica, and St. Kitts & Nevis
In many jurisdictions such as Canada, Israel, or Greece, jus sanguinis and jus soli are combined into one model. This offers individual citizenship to their birth country, as well as that of one or both parents. MSO 01 Free Solved Assignment
Naturalisation is another common route to citizenship and usually applies to those who have entered the country through legal means, such as political asylum or having lawfully lived there for a mandated period.
For those becoming new citizens, it is customary to take a test which demonstrates an understanding of the nation’s laws, culture, tradition, and language.
In countries which do not offer dual citizenship, new citizens are also required to renounce their old citizenship. For example, in Indonesia, individuals with multiple citizenships must give one of them up by the age of 18.
Citizenship by Marriage:
Known legally as jus matrimonii, becoming a naturalised citizen by marrying an individual with citizenship has become common practice since it was introduced in the wake of the Second World War. MSO 01 Free Solved Assignment
Rules differ across the world with regards to how long a couple will need to be married before citizenship will be granted, and other nations also extend this right to couples in civil partnerships.
Economic Citizenship :
Lastly, for those unable to acquire citizenship in more traditional ways, economic citizenship can be a viable path.
Citizenship by investment (CBI) programmes give investors a means of gaining citizenship through making a meaningful monetary contribution to a country’s economy.
There are currently over a dozen active CBI programmes in existence, the first being for St Kitts and Nevis Citizenship, which dates back to 1984.
The initiative permits countries to channel the generated funds into developing sectors such as healthcare, education, infrastructure, and more. In exchange, investors will be granted citizenship, alongside that of their home nation.
The benefits of dual citizenship include visa-free travel to a huge variety of countries, business opportunities, and the chance to pass their citizenship down to future generations.
Q 8 Explain the roles and functions of civil society in a democracy
Ans: Civil society can be understood as the “third sector” of society, distinct from government and business, and including the family and the private sphere.
By other authors, civil society is used in the sense of 1) the aggregate of non-governmental organizations and institutions that manifest interests and will of citizens or 2) individuals and organizations in a society which are independent of the government.
Civil society plays an important role in building and maintaining the democracy. Civil society movements can significantly influences the government policies as well as social attitude. MSO 01 Free Solved Assignment
It must perform some roles to maintain and strengthen the democracy.
They are : To empower citizens :- Civil society empowers the citizens about their rights and duties and the necessity of them.
It also encourages the traditionally excluded groups such as women, dalits and minorities to utilize their rights and the access to power.
To keep state power in check :- Civil society checks the political abuses and violations of law. An empowered civil society will be able to held the state accountable in case of abuse of political power. MSO 01 Free Solved Assignment
To mitigate political conflicts :- Conflicts are not very uncommon in the
democratic institutions constituting wide range of interests.
A well-established civil society mitigates the main differences and will help state in ensuring that the best interests are addressed.
To promote the democratic attributes :- Civil society promotes the democratic attributes amongst its citizens such as tolerance, willingness to compromise and respect for the conflicting views.
To provide opportunities for political parties :- It allows political parties and other organizations to represent their interests. This improves the quality of democracy.
To support political & economic reforms :- Without the support of public and the legislature, political and economic reforms cannot succeed. Civil society performs this role and paves way for reforms.
To train new political leaders :- If the state fails to represent the society’s best interests and if its interests are narrow and stagnant, civil society helps in identifying and training the new political leaders to revitalize their government. MSO 01 Free Solved Assignment
Election monitoring:- In many states, non-partisan volunteer organisations
monitor elections to check the legitimacy of the process and the result. This enhances public trust in the government.
By doing its duties, civil society can represent citizen interests while forming policies and can make their society more democratic.
However, state should give fundamental liberties to its citizens, because civil society can function well in the democratic institutions rather than in dictatorial countries.
Q 9 Compare and contrast post-structuralism and post-modernism.
Ans: Postmodernism and poststructuralism both describe theoretical movements in the late 20th century that focused on ideological structures of society and personal identity.
Postmodernism is more associated with art and literature, such as Terry Gilliams’ postmodern film “Brazil” or Don DeLillo’s postmodern novel “White Noise.”
Poststructuralism, on the other hand, is more associated with theory and philosophy, specifically the works of French theorists Michael Foucault and Jacques Derrida.
Post structuralism is based on the critical evaluation of texts, otherwise known as deconstructive theory, to expose cultural biases in the structure of language.
There is no one view on these approaches and both post structuralism and post modernism are blanket terms containing many strands of thought. Let us turn now to post structuralism first. MSO 01 Free Solved Assignment
What does the term indicate? As is clear from the word “post structuralism”, these approaches are those that came after ‘structuralism’.
These theories and approaches sought to seek insights into society by critiquing and deconstructing social and cultural processes.
The post modernism break with structuralism was the fact that structuralism reduced everything into binary oppositions and the interrelations between them.
The structuralists held they could analyse any phenomena with the help of their methodology.
We must emphasise that post structuralism is a number of approaches and not one monolithic theory. However, these approaches have in common their point of departure a critique of “structuralism”.
Post structuralists often point out in their various writings that meaning in language is diverse and open to many different interpretations.
Yet to get to the meaning of a text it can be deconstructed and is different from its apparent or surface meaning. MSO 01 Free Solved Assignment
That is different meanings can be assigned to a single text depending upon the perspective taken.
As would be clear by now that post structuralism proceeds as a critique of structuralism which is itself bounded by its own linguistic boundaries.
Structuralism, however, was found to be inadequate as an explanation of social process and phenomena.
Thus we find that structuralism did not pay heed to historical processes and is a-historical applied the rules of linguistics to societal processes which is a questionable procedure it is assumed that a work has meaning in itself and this persists even before it is discovered and the text is only a conduit between the subject and the structure of
Thus post structuralism began with Derrida’s critique of structuralism or rather this ‘deconstruction’ of language society and culture. The structuralists felt that man was chained to structures which controlled him.
In contrast, however, Derrida feels that language can be reduced to writing which does not control the subjects. MSO 01 Free Solved Assignment
According to him all institutions and structures are nothing but writing and incapable of controlling the individual.
The structuralists saw order and stability in language, hence in all structures; the post structuralists on the other hand saw language as essentially changing and quite unstable.
This means that the language structure being itself in flux cannot create structures that constrain, restrain, or punish people, because language itself is disorderly, and the underlying laws of language cannot be discovered