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Chapter 2

  1. 1. 24 INTRODUCING SOCIOLOGY CHAPTER 2 TERMS, CONCEPTS AND THEIR USE IN SOCIOLOGY terms and concepts to understand this. I Why does sociology need to have a special set of terms when we use termsINTRODUCTION like status and roles or social controlThe previous chapter introduced us to anyway in our everyday life?an idea both about society as well as For a discipline such as, say,sociology. We saw that a central task of nuclear physics that deals with matterssociology is to explore the interplay of unknown to most people and for whichsociety and the individual. We also saw no word exists in common speech, itthat individuals do not float freely in seems obvious that a discipline mustsociety but are part of collective bodies develop a terminology. However,like the family, tribe, caste, class, clan, terminology is possibly even morenation. In this chapter, we move further important for sociology, just because its subject matter is familiar and justto understand the kinds of groups because words do exist to denote it. Weindividuals form, the kinds of unequal are so well acquainted with the socialorders, stratification systems within institutions that surround us that wewhich, individuals and groups are cannot see them clearly and preciselyplaced, the way social control operates, (Berger 1976:25).the roles that individuals have and play, For example we may feel that sinceand the status they occupy. we live in families we know all about In other words we start exploring families. This would be conflating orhow society itself functions. Is it equating sociological knowledgeharmonious or conflict ridden? Are with common sense knowledge orstatus and roles fixed? How is social naturalistic explanation, which we havecontrol exercised? What kinds of discussed in Chapter 1.inequalities exist? The question however We also found in the previousremains as to why do we need specific chapter how sociology as a discipline
  2. 2. TERMS, CONCEPTS AND THEIR USE IN SOCIOLOGY 25has a biography or history. We saw how essentially harmonious. They found itcertain material and intellectual useful to compare society to andevelopments shaped the sociological organism where different parts have aperspective as well as its concerns. function to play for the maintenance ofLikewise sociological concepts too have the whole. Others, in particular thea story to tell. Many of the concepts conflict theorists influenced by Marxismreflect the concern of social thinkers to saw society as essentially conflictunderstand and map the social ridden.changes that the shift from pre-modern Within sociology some tried toto modern entailed. For instance understand human behaviour bysociologists observed that simple, small starting with the individual, i.e. microscale and traditional societies were interaction. Others began with macromore marked by close, often face-to- structures such as class, caste, market,face interaction. And modern, large state or even community. Conceptsscale societies by formal interaction. such as status and role begin with theThey therefore distinguished primary individual. Concepts such as socialfrom secondary groups, community control or stratification begin from afrom society or association. Other larger context within which individualsconcepts like stratification reflect the are already placed.concern that sociologists had in The important point is that theseunderstanding the structured classifications and types that weinequalities between groups in society. discuss in sociology help us and are the Concepts arise in society. However tools through which we canjust as there are different kinds of understand reality. They are keys toindividuals and groups in society so open locks to understand society. Theythere are different kinds of concepts and are entry points in our understanding,ideas. And sociology itself is marked by not the final answer. But what if the keydifferent ways of understanding society becomes rusted or bent or does not fitand looking at dramatic social changes the lock, or fits in with effort? In suchthat the modern period brought about. situations we need to change or modify We have seen how even in the early the key. In sociology we both use andstage of sociology’s emergence there also constantly interrogate or questionwere contrary and contesting the concepts and categories.understandings of society. If for Karl Very often there is considerableMarx class and conflict were key unease about the coexistence ofconcepts to understand society, social different kinds of definitions or conceptssolidarity and collective conscience or even just different views about thewere key terms for Emile Durkheim. In same social entity. For example conflictthe Post-World War II period sociology theory versus the functionalist theory.was greatly influenced by the structural This multiplicity of approaches isfunctionalists who found society particularly acute in sociology. And it
  3. 3. 26 INTRODUCING SOCIOLOGYcannot but be otherwise. For society IIitself is diverse. SOCIAL GROUPS AND SOCIETY Activity 1 Sociology is the study of human social Choose any one of the following life. A defining feature of human life is topics for class discussion : that humans interact, communicate ´ democracy is a help or hind- and construct social collectivities. The rance to development comparative and historical perspective of sociology brings home two appa- ´ gender equality makes for a rently innocuous facts. The first that in more harmonious or more divisive society every society whether ancient or feudal or modern, Asian or European or ´ punishments or greater dis- African human groups and collectivities cussion are the best way to exist. The second that the types of resolve conflicts. groups and collectivities are different in Think of other topics. different societies. What kind of differences emerged? Any gathering of people does not Do they reflect different visions of necessarily constitute a social group. what a good society ought to be like? Aggregates are simply collections of Do they reflect different notions of people who are in the same place at the the human being? same time, but share no definite connection with one another. In our discussion on the various Passengers waiting at a railway stationterms you will notice how there is or airport or bus stop or a cinemadivergence of views. And how this very audience are examples of aggregates.debate and discussion of differences Such aggregates are often termed ashelps us understand society. quasi groups. What kind of groups are these?
  4. 4. TERMS, CONCEPTS AND THEIR USE IN SOCIOLOGY 27 A quasi group is an aggregate or attention to how social groups emerge,combination, which lacks structure or change and get modified.organisation, and whose members A social group can be said to havemay be unaware, or less aware, of the at least the following characteristics :existence of groupings. Social classes, (i) persistent interaction to providestatus groups, age and gender groups, continuity;crowds can be seen as examples of (ii) a stable pattern of these inter-quasi groups. As these examples actions;suggest quasi groups may well (iii) a sense of belonging to identifybecome social groups in time and in with other members, i.e. eachspecific circumstances. For example, individual is conscious of theindividuals belonging to a particular group itself and its own set ofsocial class or caste or community may rules, rituals and symbols;not be organised as a collective body.They may be yet to be infused with a (iv) shared interest;sense of “we” feeling. But class and (v) acceptance of common norms andcaste have over a period of time given values;rise to political parties. Likewise (vi) a definable structure.people of different communities in Social structure here refers toIndia have over the long anti-colonial patterns of regular and repetitivestruggle developed an identity as a interaction between individuals orcollectivity and group — a nation with groups. A social group thus refers to aa shared past and a common future. collection of continuously interactingThe women’s movement brought about persons who share common interest,the idea of women’s groups and culture, values and norms within aorganisation. All these examples draw given society. Activity 2 Find out a name that is relevant under each heading. Caste An anti caste movement A caste based political party Class A class based movement A class based political party Women A women’s movement A women’s organisation Tribe A tribal movement A tribe/tribes based political party Villagers An environmental movement An environmental organisation Discuss whether they were all social groups to start with and if some were not, then at what point can one apply the term social group to them, using the term as sociologically understood.
  5. 5. 28 INTRODUCING SOCIOLOGY Activity 3 Discuss the age group of teenagers. Is it a quasi group or social group? Were ideas about ‘teenage’ and ‘teenagers’ as a special phase in life always there? In traditional societies how was the entry of children into adulthood marked? In contemporary times do marketing strategies and advertisement have anything to do with the strengthening or weakening of this group/quasi group? Identify an advertisement that targets teenagers or pre-teens? Read the section on stratification and discuss how teenage may mean very different life experiences for the poor and rich, for the upper and lower class, for the discriminated and privileged caste.TYPES OF GROUPS However a complete contrast isAs you read through this section on probably not an accurate description of reality.groups you will find that differentsociologists and social anthropologists Primary and Secondaryhave categorised groups into different Social Groupstypes. What you will be struck withhowever is that there is a pattern in the The groups to which we belong are nottypology. In most cases they contrast all of equal importance to us. Somethe manner in which people form groups tend to influence many aspectsgroups in traditional and small scale of our lives and bring us into personalsocieties to that of modern and large association with others. The termscale societies. As mentioned earlier, primary group is used to refer to athey were struck by the difference small group of people connected bybetween close, intimate, face-to-face intimate and face-to-face associationinteraction in traditional societies and and co-operation. The members ofimpersonal, detached, distant primary groups have a sense ofinteraction in modern societies. belonging. Family, village and groups Contrast the two types of group
  6. 6. TERMS, CONCEPTS AND THEIR USE IN SOCIOLOGY 29of friends are examples of primarygroups. Activity 4 Secondary groups are relatively Collect a copy of a memorandum oflarge in size, maintain formal and any association that you know of orimpersonal relationships. The primary can find out about for example agroups are person-oriented, whereas Resident Welfare Association, athe secondary groups are goal oriented. women’s association (MahilaSchools, government offices, hospitals, Samiti), a Sports Club. You will findstudents’ association etc. are examplesof secondary groups. clear information about its goals, objectives, membership and otherCommunity and Society rules that govern it. Contrast thisor Association with a large family gathering.The idea of comparing and contrasting You may find that many a timesthe old traditional and agrarian way of that interaction among members oflife with the new modern and urban one a formal group over time becomesin terms of their different and more close and ‘just like family andcontrasting social relationships and friends.’ This brings home the pointlifestyles, dates back to the writings of that concepts are not fixed, frozenclassical sociologists. entities. They are indeed keys or The term ‘community’ refers to tools for understanding society andhuman relationships that are highly its changes.personal, intimate and enduring, thosewhere a person’s involvement isconsiderable if not total, as in thefamily, with real friends or a close-knit In-Groups and Out-Groupsgroup. A sense of belonging marks an in- ‘Society’ or ‘association’ refers to group. This feeling separates ‘us’ or ‘we’everything opposite of ‘community’, in from ‘them’ or ‘they’. Childrenparticular the apparently impersonal, belonging to a particular school maysuperficial and transitory relationships form an ‘in-group’ as against those whoof modern urban life. Commerce and do not belong to the school. Can youindustry require a more calculating, think of other such groups?rational and self-interesting approach An out-group on the other hand isto one’s dealings with others. We make one to which the members of an in-contracts or agreements rather than group do not belong. The members ofgetting to know one another. You may an out-group can face hostile reactionsdraw a parallel between the community from the members of the in-group.with the primary group and the Migrants are often considered as anassociation with the secondary group. out-group. However, even here the
  7. 7. 30 INTRODUCING SOCIOLOGYactual definition of who belongs and but we do identify ourselves with thatwho does not, changes with time and group. Reference groups aresocial contexts. important sources of information The well known sociologist M.N. about culture, life style, aspirationSrinivas observed while he was carrying and goal attainments.out a census in Rampura in 1948 how In the colonial period many middledistinctions were made between recent class Indians aspired to behave likeand later migrants. He writes: proper Englishman. In that sense they could be seen as a reference group for I heard villagers use two expressions the aspiring section. But this process which I came to realise were was gendered, i.e. it had different significant: the recent immigrants implications for men and women. Often were almost contemptuously des- Indian men wanted to dress and dine cribed as nenne monne’ bandavartu (‘came yesterday or the day before;) like the British men but wanted the while old immigrants were des- Indian women to remain ‘Indian’ in cribed as arsheyinda bandavaru their ways. Or aspire to be a bit like the (‘came long ago’) or khadeem proper English woman but also not kulagalu (‘old lineages’), (Srinivas quite like her. Do you still find this valid 1996:33). today? Activity 5 Peer Groups This is a kind of primary group, Find out about the experience of usually formed between individuals immigrants in other countries. Or who are either of similar age or who are may be even from different parts of in a common professional group. Peer our own country. pressure refers to the social pressure You will find that relationships exerted by one’s peers on what one between groups change and modify. ought to do or not. People once considered members of an out-group become in-group members. Can you find out about Activity 6 such processes in history? Do your friends or others of your age group influence you? Are youReference Group concerned with their approval or disapproval about the way youFor any group of people there are dress, behave, the kind of musicalways other groups whom they look you like to listen to or the kind ofup to and aspire to be like. Thegroups whose life styles are emulated films you prefer? Do you considerare known as reference groups. We do it to be social pressure? Discuss.not belong to our reference groups
  8. 8. TERMS, CONCEPTS AND THEIR USE IN SOCIOLOGY 31SOCIAL STRATIFICATION enter into details about estates here but very briefly touch upon caste and classSocial stratification refers to the as systems of social stratification. Weexistence of structured inequalities shall be dealing in greater detail withbetween groups in society, in terms of class, caste, gender as bases of socialtheir access to material or symbolic stratification in the book, Under-rewards. Thus stratification can most standing Society (NCERT, 2006).simply be defined as structuralinequalities between different Castegroupings of people. Often socialstratification is compared to the In a caste stratification system angeological layering of rock in the earth’s individual’s position totally depends onsurface. Society can be seen as the status attributes ascribed by birthconsisting of ‘strata’ in a hierarchy, with rather than on any which are achievedthe more favoured at the top and the during the course of one’s life. This isless privileged near the bottom. not to say that in a class society there Inequality of power and advantage is no systematic constraint onis central for sociology, because of the achievement imposed by statuscrucial place of stratification in the attributes such as race and gender.organisation of society. Every aspect of However, status attributes ascribed bythe life of every individual and house- birth in a caste society define anhold is affected by stratification. individual’s position more completelyOpportunities for health, longevity, than they do in class, educational success, fulfillment In traditional India different castesin work and political influence are all formed a hierarchy of social precedence.unequally distributed in systematic ways. Each position in the caste structure was Historically four basic systems of defined in terms of its purity orstratification have existed in human pollution relative to others. Thesocieties: slavery, caste, estate and underlying belief was that those whoclass. Slavery is an extreme form of are most pure, the Brahmin priestlyinequality in which some individuals castes, are superior to all others andare literally owned by others. It has the Panchamas, sometimes called theexisted sporadically at many times and ‘outcastes’ are inferior to all otherplaces, but there are two major castes. The traditional system isexamples of a system of slavery; ancient generally conceptualised in terms of theGreece and Rome and the Southern four fold varna of Brahmins, Kshatriyas,States of the USA in the 18th and 19th Vaishyas and Shudras. In reality there arecenturies. As a formal institution, innumerable occupation-based casteslavery has gradually been eradicated. groups, called jatis.But we do continue to have bonded The caste system in India haslabour, often even of children. Estates undergone considerable changes overcharacterised feudal Europe. We do not the years. Endogamy and ritual
  9. 9. 32 INTRODUCING SOCIOLOGYavoidance of contact with members of with us. This is because they feelso-called lower castes were considered and believe they are superior. It hascritical for maintaining purity by the so- been like that for years. No mattercalled upper castes. Changes brought how well we dress they are notin by urbanisation inevitably prepared to accept certain thingschallenged this. Read well known (Franco et. al. 2004:150).sociologist A.R. Desai’s observationsbelow. Even today acute caste Other social consequences of discrimination exists. At the same timeurbanisation in India are commented the working of democracy has affectedupon by sociologist A.R. Desai as: the caste system. Castes as interest groups have gained strength. We have Modern industries brought into also seen discriminated castes asserting b e i n g modern cities honey- their democratic rights in society. combed with cosmopolitan hotels, restaurants, theatres, trams, Class buses, railways. The modest hotels There have been many attempts to and restaurants catered for the explain class. We mention here, very workers and middle classes became briefly just the central ideas of Marx, crowded in cities with persons Weber and that of, functionalism. In belonging to all castes and even the Marxist theory social classes are creeds... In trains and buses one defined by what relation they have to occasionally rubbed shoulders with the means of production. Questions members of the depressed classes... could be asked as to whether groups should not, however be supposed are owners of means of production such that caste had vanished (Desai as land or factories? Or whether they 1975:248). are owners of nothing but their own labour? Weber used the term life-While change did take place, chances, which refers to the rewardsdiscrimination was not so easy to do and advantages afforded by marketaway with, as a first person narrative capacity. Inequality, Weber arguedsuggests. might be based on economic relations. In the mill there may be no open But it could also be based on prestigediscrimination of the kind that exists or on political the villages, but experience of private The functionalist theory of socialinteractions tells another story. Parmar stratification begins from the generalobserved… presupposition or belief of function- alism that no society is “classless” or They will not even drink water from unstratified. The main functional our hands and they sometimes use necessity explains the universal abusive language when dealing presence of social stratification in
  10. 10. TERMS, CONCEPTS AND THEIR USE IN SOCIOLOGY 33requirements faced by a society Tribes population lives below theof placing and motivating individuals poverty line. This proportion is onlyin the social structure. Social slightly less for the Schedule Castes atinequality or stratification is thus an about 43 per cent, and lesser still forunconsciously evolved device by which the Other Backward Classes at aboutsocieties ensure that the most 34 per cent (Deshpande 2003:114).important positions are deliberatelyfilled by the most qualified persons. Is Status and Rolethis true? The two concepts ‘status’ and ‘role’ are In a traditional caste system social often seen as twin concepts. A status ishierarchy is fixed, rigid and transmitted simply a position in society or in aacross generations in these societies. group. Every society and every groupModern class system in contrast is has many such positions and everyopen and achievement based. In individual occupies many suchdemocratic societies there is nothing to positions.legally stop a person from the most Status thus refers to the socialdeprived class and caste from reaching position with defined rights and dutiesthe highest position. assigned to these positions. To illustrate, the mother occupies a status, Activity 7 which has many norms of conduct as well as certain responsibilities and Find out more about the life of prerogatives. the late President K. R. Naraynan. A role is the dynamic or the Discuss the concept of ascription behavioural aspect of status. Status is and achieved status, caste and occupied, but roles are played. We may class in this context. say that a status is an institutionalised role. It is a role that has become Such stories of achievement do exist regularised, standardised and forma-and are sources of immense inspiration. lised in the society at large or in any ofYet for the most part the structure of the specific associations of society.the class system persists. Sociological It must be apparent that eachstudies of social mobility, even in individual in a modern, complex societywestern societies are far removed from such as ours occupies many differentthe ideal model of perfect mobility. kinds of status during the course ofSociology has to be sensitive to both the his/her life. You as a school studentchallenges to the caste system as well may be a student to your teacher, aas the persistence of discrimination. customer to your grocer, a passengerSignificantly those, at the lower levels to the bus driver, a brother or sister toof the system are not just disadvantaged your sibling, a patient to the doctor.socially but also economically. In rural Needless to say we could keep addingIndia, more than half of the Schedule to the list. The smaller and simpler the
  11. 11. 34 INTRODUCING SOCIOLOGYsociety, the fewer the kinds of status position, rather than to the person whothat an individual can have. occupies it or to his/her performance In a modern society an individual or to his/her actions. The kind of valueas we saw occupies multiple status attached to the status or to the office iswhich is sociologically termed as status called prestige. People can rank statusset. Individuals acquire different status in terms of their high or low various stages of life. A son becomes The prestige of a doctor may be high ina father, father becomes a grandfather comparison to a shopkeeper, even if theand then great grandfather and so on. doctor may earn less. It is importantThis is called a status sequence for it to keep in mind that ideas of whatrefers to the status, which is attained occupation is considered prestigiousin succession or sequence at the varies across societies and acrossvarious stages of life. periods. An ascribed status is a socialposition, which a person occupiesbecause of birth, or assumes Activity 8involuntarily. The most common bases What kinds of jobs are consi-for ascribed status are age, caste, race dered prestigious in your society?and kinship. Simple and traditional Compare these with your friends.societies are marked by ascribed status. Discuss the similarities andAn achieved status on the other hand differences. Try and understand therefers to a social position that a person causes for the same.occupies voluntarily by personalability, achievements, virtues andchoices. The most common bases for People perform their roles accordingachieved status are educational to social expectations, i.e. role takingqualifications, income, and professional and role playing. A child learns toexpertise. Modern societies are behave in accordance with how hercharacterised by achievements. Its behaviour will be seen and judged bymembers are accorded prestige on the others.basis of their achievements. How often Role conflict is the incompatibilityyou would have heard the phrase “you among roles corresponding to one orhave to prove yourself”. In traditional more status. It occurs when contrarysocieties your status was defined and expectations arise from two or moreascribed at birth. However, as roles. A common example is that of thediscussed above, even in modernachievement based societies, ascribed Activity 9status matters. Status and prestige are Find out how a domestic worker orinterconnected terms. Every status is a construction labourer faces roleaccorded certain rights and values. conflict.Values are attached to the social
  12. 12. TERMS, CONCEPTS AND THEIR USE IN SOCIOLOGY 35middle class working woman who has is mistaken. It suggests thatto juggle her role as mother and wife individuals simply take on roles, ratherat home and that of a professional at than creating or negotiating them. Inwork. fact, socialisation is a process in which It is a common place assumption humans can exercise agency; they arethat men do not face role conflict. not simply passive subjects waiting toSociology being both an empirical and be instructed or programmed.comparative discipline suggests Individuals come to understand andotherwise. assume social roles through an ongoing process of social interaction. This Khasi matriliny generates intense discussion perhaps will make you role conflict for men. They are torn reflect upon the relationship between between their responsibilities to the individual and society, which we their natal house on the one hand had studied in Chapter 1. and to their wife and children on Roles and status are not given and the other. T hey feel deprived of sufficient authority to command fixed. People make efforts to fight their children’s loyalty and lack the against discrimination roles and status freedom to pass on after death, even for example those based on caste or their self-acquired property to their race or gender. At the same time there children… are sections in society who oppose such The strain affects Khasi women, in changes. Likewise individual violation a way more intensely. A woman can of roles are often punished. Society thus never be fully assured that her functions not just with roles and status husband does not find his sister’s but also with social control. house more congenial place than her own house (Nongbri 2003:190). Activity 10 Role stereotyping is a process of Collect newspaper reports wherereinforcing some specific role for somemember of the society. For example dominant sections of society seek tomen and women are often socialised in impose control and punish thosestereotypical roles, as breadwinner and whom they consider to havehomemaker respectively. Social roles transgressed or violated sociallyand status are often wrongly seen as prescribed roles.fixed and unchanging. It is felt thatindividuals learn the expectations that SOCIETY AND SOCIAL CONTROLsurround social positions in theirparticular culture and perform these Social control is one of the mostroles largely as they have been defined. generally used concepts in sociology.Through socialisation, individuals It refers to the various means used byinternalise social roles and learn how a society to bring its recalcitrant orto carry them out. This view, however, unruly members back into line.
  13. 13. 36 INTRODUCING SOCIOLOGY You will recall how sociology has groups on the one hand, and on thedifferent perspectives and debates other, to mitigate tensions and conflictsabout the meaning of concepts. You among individuals and groups towill also recall how functionalist maintain social order and socialsociologists understood society as cohesion. In this way social control isessentially harmonious and conflict seen as necessary to stability in society.theorists saw society as essentially Conflict theorists usually would seeunequal, unjust and exploitative. We social control more as a mechanism toalso saw how some sociologists impose the social control of dominantfocussed more on the individual and social classes on the rest of society.society, others on collectivities like Stability would be seen as the writ ofclasses, races, castes. one section over the other. Likewise law For a functionalist perspective social would be seen as the formal writ of thecontrol refers to: (i) the use of force to powerful and their interests on society.regulate the behaviour of the individual Social control refers to the socialand groups and also refers to the (ii) process, techniques and strategies byenforcing of values and patterns for which the behaviours of individual ormaintaining order in society. Social a group are regulated. It refers both tocontrol here is directed to restrain the use of force to regulate thedeviant behaviour of individuals or behaviour of the individual and groups The ultimate and, no doubt, the oldest means of social control is physical violence... even in the politely operated societies of modern democracies the ultimate argument is violence. No state can exist without a police force or its equivalent in armed might... In any functioning society violence is used economically and as a last resort, with the mere threat of this ultimate violence sufficing for the day-to-day exercise of social control... Where human beings live or work in compact groups, in which they are personally known and to which they are tied by feelings of personal loyalty (the kind that sociologists call primary groups), very potent and simultaneously very subtle mechanisms of control are constantly brought to bear upon the actual or potent deviant... One aspect of social control that ought to be stressed is the fact that it is frequently based on fraudulent claims... A little boy can exercise considerable control over his peer group by having a big brother who, if need be, can be called upon to beat up any opponents. In the absence of such a brother, however it is possible to invent one. It will then be a question of the public-relations talents of the little boy as to whether he will succeed in translating his invention into actual control (Berger 84-90). Have you ever seen or heard a young child threaten another with “ I will tell my elder brother.” Can you think of other examples?
  14. 14. TERMS, CONCEPTS AND THEIR USE IN SOCIOLOGY 37and also refers to the enforcing of valuesand patterns for maintaining order in Activity 11society. Social control may be informal or Can you think of examples drawnformal. When the codified, systematic, from your life how this ‘unofficial’and other formal mechanism of control social control operates? Have you inis used, it is known as formal social class or in your peer group noticedcontrol. There are agencies and how a child who behaves a bitmechanism of formal social control, for differently from the rest is treated?example, law and state. In a modern Have you witnessed incidents wheresociety formal mechanisms and children are bullied by their peeragencies of social control are group to be more like the otheremphasised. children? In every society there is another typeof social control that is known asinformal social control. It is personal, newspaper report which is given belowunofficial and uncodified. They include and identify the different agencies ofsmiles, making faces, body language social control involved.frowns, criticism, ridicule, laughter etc. A sanction is a mode of reward orThere can be great variations in their punishment that reinforces sociallyuse within the same society. In day- expected forms of behaviour. Socialto-day life they are quite effective. control can be positive or negative. However, in some cases informal Members of societies can be rewardedmethods of social control may not be for good and expected behaviour. Onadequate in enforcing conformity or the other hand, negative sanctions areobedience. There are various agencies also used to enforce rules and toof informal social control e.g. family, restrain deviance.religion, kinship, etc. Have you heard Deviance refers to modes of action,about honour killing? Read the which do not conform to the norms or Man kills sister for marrying from outside the caste ... The elder brother of a 19-year-old girl here carried out an apparent ‘honour killing’ by allegedly beheading her while she was asleep at a hospital ... police said on Monday. The girl... was undergoing treatment at ... Hospital for stab wounds after her brother... attacked her on December 16 for marrying outside the caste, they said. She and her lover eloped on December 10 and returned to their houses here on December 16 after getting married, which was opposed by her parents, they said. The Panchayat also tried to pressurise the couple but they refused to be swayed.
  15. 15. 38 INTRODUCING SOCIOLOGYvalues held by most of the members of be considered deviant at one time, anda group or society. What is regarded as be applauded at another time even in‘deviant’ is as widely variable as the the same society. You are alreadynorms and values that distinguish familiar with how sociology is differentdifferent cultures and subcultures. from common sense. The specificLikewise ideas of deviance are terms and concepts discussed in thischallenged and change from one period chapter will help you further to moveto another. For example, a woman towards a sociological understandingchoosing to become an astronaut may of society. GLOSSARY Conflict Theories : A sociological perspective that focuses on the tensions, divisions and competing interests present in human societies. Conflict theorists believe that the scarcity and value of resources in society produces conflict as groups struggle to gain access to and control those resources. Many conflict theorists have been strongly influenced by the writings of Marx. Functionalism : A theoretical perspective based on the notion that social events can best be explained in terms of the function they perform — that is the contribution they make to the continuity of a society. And on a view of society as a complex system whose various parts work in relationship to each other in a way that needs to be understood. Identity : The distinctive characteristic of a person’s character or the character of a group which relate to who they are and what is meaningful to them. Some of the main sources of identity include gender, nationality or ethnicity, social class. Means of Production : The means whereby the production of material goods is carried on in a society, including not just technology but the social relations between producers. Microsociology and Macrosociology : The study of everyday behaviour in situations of face-to-face interaction is usually called microsociology. In microsociology, analysis occurs at the level of individuals or small groups. It differs from macrosociology, which concerns itself with large-scale social systems, like the political system or the economic order. Though they appear to be distinct, they are closely connected. Natal : It relates to the place or time of one’s birth. R Norms : Rules of behaviour which reflect or embody a culture’s values, either prescribing a given type of behaviour, or forbidding it. Norms are always
  16. 16. TERMS, CONCEPTS AND THEIR USE IN SOCIOLOGY 39 backed by sanctions of one kind or another, varying from informal disapproval to physical punishment or execution. Sanctions : A mode of reward or punishment that reinforce socially expected forms of behaviour. EXERCISES 1. Why do we need to use special terms and concepts in sociology? 2. As a member of society you must be interacting with and in different groups. How do you see these groups from a sociological perspective? 3. What have you observed about the stratification system existing in your society? How are individual lives affected by stratification? 4. What is social control? Do you think the modes of social control in different spheres of society are different? Discuss. 5. Identify the different roles and status that you play and are located in. Do you think roles and status change? Discuss when and how they change. READINGS BERGER, L. PETER. 1976. Invitation to Sociology : A Humanistic Perspective. Penguin, Harmondsworth. BOTTOMORE, TOM. and ROBER T, NISBET. 1978. A History of Sociological Analysis. Basic Books, New York. BOTTOMORE, TOM. 1972. Sociology. Vintage Books, New York. DESHPANDE, SATISH. 2003. Contemporary India : A Sociological View. Viking, Delhi. FERNANDO, FRANCO. MACWAN, JYOTSNA. and RAMANATHAN, SUGUNA. 2004. Journeys to Freedom Dalit Narratives. Samya, Kolkata. GIDDENS, ANTHONY. 2001. Sociology. Fourth Edition. Polity Press, Cambridge. JAYARAM, N. 1987. Introductory Sociology. Macmillan India Ltd, Delhi. NONGBRI, TIPLUT. 2003. ‘Gender and the Khasi Family Structure : The Meghalaya Succession to Self-Acquired Property Act’, 1984, in ed. REGE, SHARMILA. Sociology of Gender The Challenge of Feminist Sociological Knowledge, pp.182-194. Sage Publications, New Delhi. SRINIVAS, M.N. 1996. Village, Caste, Gender and Method. Oxford University Press, New Delhi.