BA LLB sociology sample question answer first semester social system

BA LLB sociology sample question answer first semester social system
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BA LLB sociology sample question answer first semester social system: In this post you will read about social system , function of social system,social system theory, What is meant by social system? Discuss its main characteristics. What are the essential elements of social system? , Define social structure. Discuss its general characteristics as analysed by Radcliffe-Brown, Discuss the importance of the concept of social structure in sociological studies, Trace the evolution of the concept of social structure, Has religion any social functions ? Discuss, STRUCTURE AND SOCIAL FUNCTION


Q.1. What is meant by social system? Discuss its main characteristics. What are the essential elements of social system?

Ans. Meaning of Social System. A social system represents one of the three aspects of social action. It consists of plurality individual actors who in a given situation interact with each other. According to Parsons, “A social system is a made of organization of action elements relative to the persistence or ordered processes of change of the interactive. patterns of a plurality of individual actor.” It is therefore, constituted by the actions of individuals. Its elementary unit is act, in so far as it is connected with the process of interaction.

Similar, according to MacIver and Page, “In every society there are two forces that bring about disorganisation and organization. Both these forces are kept in balance. This keeping in balance is known as social system.” In other words, social system is that state in which different constituent units of the society are inter-related with one another. They remain active and function in accordance to definite aims and objects.

Characteristics of Social System. Social system has certain characteristics. These characteristics have become quite clear, on the basic of the definitions of social studied above. In spite of it, for the proper undemanding of social system, it would be wise to study this characteristics-one by one in detail :

1. Social System is connected with the plurality of individual actors. It means that a social system can not be borned as a result of a the activity of one individual. It is the result of the activity of various in individuals. For system, of social system, interaction of several individuals has to be there.

2. Aims and Objectives. Human interactions or activities of the Individuals actors should not be aimless or without object. These activities have to be according to certain aims and objects. The expression of

different” social relations borned as a result of human interaction is

known as social system. It is according to customs, traditions, controlling factors etc.

3. Order and pattern amongst various constituent units. Mere coming together of various constituent units that from social system does not necessarily create a social system. It has to be according to a pattern, arrangement and order. The underline unity amongst various constituent units brings about ‘social system.

4. Functional relationship is the basis of unity. We have already seen that different constituent units have a units, in order to form a system. This unity is based on functional relations. As a result of functional relationship between different constituent units as integrated. … Whole is created and this is known as social system. In other words it means that every social system is a functional aspect as well. Social system is not something static. It is dynamic and moves according to definite objectives and for achievement of certain aims.

5. Physical or environment aspect of social system. It means that every social system is connected with a definite geographical arca, or place, time, society etc. In other words it means that social system is not the same at different times, at different place and under different circumstances. This characteristics of he social system again point out towards its dynamic or changeable nature. It is another point that the spod of change or dynamic is faster in certain conditions and no so. fast under other conditions.

6. Linked with cultural system. Social system is also linked with cultural system. It means that cultural system bring about unity amongst . different members of the society on the basis of cultures, traditions,

religions etc. Thus the balanced and ordered relationship that exists between different units of the society due to cultural pattern is known as ‘Social System’. 

7. Express and implied aims and objects. Social System is also linked with express and implied aims. In other words, it means that social system is the coming together of different individual actors who are motivated by their aims and objectives and their needs. Human.. nceds form the motive powers that lead to interaction. It means that the aims and objects influence each social behaviour. 

8. Characteristics of adjustment. Social system has the characteristics of adjustment. It is a dynamic phenomena which is influenced by the changes caused in the social form. We have also seen that the social system is influenced by the aims, objects and the needs

of the society. It means that the social system shall be relevant only if it changes itself according to the changed objects and needs. It has been seen that change takes place in the social system due to human needs, environments and historical conditions, and phenomena. This change does not take place ali of a student. The process of adjustment works and brings about the change. The quality of adjustment has an important character of social system. and 9. Order, Pattern and Balance. Social system has the characteristics of pattern, order the balance. Social system is not an integrated while but is nothing together of different units. This coming together does not take place in a random and haphazard manner. There is an order and balance. It is so because different units of the society do not work as independent units but they do not exist in a vacuum but in a socio-culture pattern. In the pattern different units have different functions and rolls. It means that there is a pattern and order in the social system.

Elements of Social System, According to Charles Loomis the social system has the following elements :

1. Faith and Knowledge. The faith and knowledge brings about the uniformity in the behaviour. They act a controlling agency of different types of human societies. The faiths or the faith is the result of the prevalent customs and beliefs. They enjoy the force of the social sanction. Because of the social sanction, the internal beliefs and the behaviour of the individual are guided towards a particular direction.

Because of this importance, the faiths and the beliefs, they occupied important place in the primitive as well as in the modern society in one way or the other. They are related with one or the other type of human behaviour. For example the doctrine of Karma of the Hindu society guides and directs the behaviour of the members of Hindu society. If we know that a bad duty brings about a bad result we shall desist from doing wrong things. Individuals because of this realization and faith shall do good things. These faiths are based of human experience. As the knowledge advances, there is change in the nature and form the social system of structure. •

2. Sentiments. When the emotions of tire individuals, centre round

certain activities, we call them sentiments. They develop in an over manner and influence the social system. That is why they occupy an

important place in the field of social system. According to Ginsberg wyral customs and traditions grow as a result of sentiments. The

methods of the working of the groups, as a result of which the social system, gets stability and uniformity are very much influenced by sentiments. It is on account of sentiments that man gives greater importance to collective interests than his personal interests. It is on account of sentiments that the follows the rules and regulations prescribed by the community of the society. All these things brings about uniformity and stability and also unite in the society or social system.

3. Necessities, Aims and Goals. Every society has certain necessities, aims and goals. They have a vital link with the stage of cultural and economic development. It is also the object of the society to fullill the needs of the members of the society. The society laid down certain objectives and the means for achievement of the goals. All this goes to prove that necessities, aims and goals are an important elements of the social system.

4. Ideals and Norms. Social system consist of several units that are linked on functional basis. The society lays down certain norms and ideals for keeping the society system intact and for determining the various functions of different units. These norms prescribe the rules arid regulations on the basis of which individuals or persons may acquire their cultural goals and aims. In other words ideals and norms are responsible for an ideal structure or system of the society. Due to them the human behaviour does not become deviant and they act according to the norms of the society. This leads to organization and stability. These norms and ideals include solkways, customs, traditions, fashions, morality, religion etc. According to Emile Durkheim, these ideals and norms represent the collective consciousness which enjoy social sanction. That is why they are very important sor social system.

5. Statuses. Every social system whether it is primilive or modern has prescribed certain status for its member. The status is either acquired

by a hereditary manner or as a result of the actions of the society. There are certain facilities, power and prestige attached with the status. The arrangements of the status provides under strength and stability to the social system. Every individual has many statuses in a society viz. the head of the family, the father husband and so on. Statuses in normally of two types namely (a) ascribed, and (b) achieved. Ascribed status is the result of birth, traditions, customs, etc. and the achieved status is acquired by the individual as a result of his ability, efficiency, capacity etc.


Q. 1. What do you mean by law? What is a its nature? What are various types and sources of law?

Ans. Meaning and Concept of Law, Law is in fact a social inevitability. It is found in various societies. Even primitive and undeveloped society have a law. It is said that it is the result of the State. Through these institution, the State exercises it control over the society. In fact, every society is a political organization and in every political organization law is inevitable. Normally the true law includes al rules and regulations. Normally the true law includes all rules and regulations, directions and orders of established authority. It is not possible to violate them, and those who violate them have faced consequences. It has been looked as an institution from disferent angles by social as well as political thinkers.

Maclver and Page have defined it in the following words :

“Law is body of the rules which are recognized interpreted and applied to a particular situation by the courts of the State. It derives from various sources including customs but it becomes law without the State, which means in the last resort, the courts, is prepared to enforce il as a rule binding on the citizens and residents within its jurisdiction.”

Hobel has defined it as given below :

“The law is a social norm, infraction of which is sanctioned in thereat or in fact by the application of physical force by a party possessing the socially recognized privilege of so acting.”

Max Weber has declined it as given below :

“Law is an order, the validity of which is guaranteed by the probability that deviation will be met by a physical or psychic sanction by a stall.” Especially empowered to carry out these functions. This staff must have power and power is the probability that an actor can impose, within a social group, his will even against resistance.

Max Radien has defined law as quoted below :

“After all law is merely a small part of the mechanism of the social management, closely connected with the mechanism of political administration. Not justice or good society, but convenience of commercial practice, appeasement of individual quarrels and increase of goodwill among the competitors are the purpose of law.”

Nature of Law – From the definitions given above we get an idea

about the functions and the nature of law. Various social thinkers have analysed the nature of law in various ways, important amongst these include the following:

(1) Analytical School – According to this school, the law is to be analysed and it has to be classified on the basis of its implementation, This school does not recognize the dynamic nature of law. Members of this school include the historical development of law. Important members of this school include Bodin, Hobbes, Bentham, Augustine. According to these thinkers law is the result of the definite orders of The State and according to Barker It is connected and framed by the highest authority or the sovereign body. All others that emanate other sources are not to be recognized as law because only the orders of the sovereign are treated as law.

(2) Historical School – According to this school law is a thoughtful order of the sovereign but it is the result of the customs and traditions prevalent in the society. This school does not recognize State as the source of law or the framer of law but says that it main job is to understand it and implement it. Savcigny has clarified the attitude of this school regarding the nature of law in the following words:

“Law is the organ of the folk right. It moves and grows like every other expression of life of the people; It s formed by customs and popular feeling through the operation of silent forces not by the arbitrary will of a legislature.”

(3) Philosophical School and the Nature of Law – Joseph Koheler is recognized as one of the chief exponent of this school of thought. According to Koheler law is based on the feeling of justice and it has nothing to do with the historical development. Its importance lies only so far as its basic intent is unsound. According to Koheler law is the gist of the culture and that is why it has a cultural bias in it. It is responsible for the transmission and diffusion of culture.

. (4) Sociological School and the Nature of Law-Gumplowis, . Crabbe, Roscbepound, Holemel etc. are the main exponent of this school which says law is the gift of the social forces and so it should be interpreted and analysed only in the relevance to the social conditions and the social forces. Every society has certain definite need and law develop according to these needs. Law, therefore, should ard law develops according to these needs, Law, therefore, should be considered as an object for meeting the social needs. The rules and regulation that are framed for meeting the needs of the society are recognized as law

Law by the State. According to this School, the origin and development of law does not depends upon the State but on Social need and social conditions. Law is only an agency that grants recognition to this agency created for meeting the needs of the society.

Sources of Law – Having seen and studied the nature of the law II would be proper to have a look at the sources from which the law develops. Theses sources are as follows:

(1) Customs and Traditions – Every society has certain customs and traditions which regulate the behavior and life of the members of the society. On the basis of these customs and traditions, the laws are framed by the Slate. That is why Maclverhas said that the most of the laws codified by the State are not its gist. They are already present in the society and the State only deletes some and codifies others.

(2) Religion – Religion is another source that guides and regulates the behaviour of the individuals. It s recognised not only by the society but also State. The provisions of the religions have to be obeyed by people as duty. On the basis of this religion, law are framed and enacted by Slate. Typical example of the religion acting as a strong source of law is Muslim Personal Law.

(3) Judicial Decisions – Law codes another agency of the State in the interest of equity and proper justice takes justice takes certain decisions that serve as law. These decisions are helpful in solving the problem of future. Many of the decisions of higher court to day such as High Court and Supreme Court etc. become laws not only for lower court but also for other members of the society. Sometimes on the basis of these decisions laws are enacted and framed by Government and other agencies.

(4) Scientific Commentaries – Jurists and other scholars write certain commentaries on certain laws. In these commentaries that bring out the fact. Inherent in the law to light in the beginning lawyers and 7 other persons interested in law use them for their own purposes but later on when they are accepted by courts they become law. The scientific commentaries relate to certain principles and that is why they serve as an important source of law.

(5) Equity – Principle of Equity laws down that decisions that are made by the courts in a worth while manner. These principles are already present in the society. Laws courts pronounce decisions on the basis of equity particularly in the case where no laws is existent or present. Such decisions serve as an important source of the origin and development of law.

(6) Legislation – In the modern society this is most important source of law. In democratic societies, it represents the will of the people. Legislators comprise of the representatives of the people and they in order to meet the needs of the society enacts various types of legislators. They draw up various sources enacts various types of legislators. They draw up various sources, enact legislations that may be useful for the society.

Theories regarding Origin and Development of Law-So far we have studied the nature and the sources of law. Out of these sources, law, the custodian of the human values, originates and develops. With the development of social structure man becomes conscious of its obligations for preserving those obligations the law originates. Various social thinkers have come out with various views regarding the origin of Law. Some of the important schools regarding the origin and development of law are as follows:

(1) The American Neo-positivistic School – As the name itself indicates the thinkers of this school law has a positive science. According to this school the human element is always present in the decisions of the court. Courts therefore, decisions and the laws are influenced by the socio-economic conditions and other conditions of the age. Law is, therefore, changing and dynamic. Their nature is more commercial than personal or historical. The main object of the law is to decide the personal disputes than create an ideal society. Jeromp Frank Karllewelyn, Max Radin etc., are the main exponent of this school.

(2) Upsala School – This schools says that those actions and behaviours that go against the social norms are illegal. Legal behaviour and action are those that are based on realism of duty, fear of almighty and consciousness about right and duties. This school does not recognize that there is any distinction between the rights and duties. According to this school, the rights and duties are one and and law itself is no force, it only symbolises the social forces. State according to these schools, the highest creation of the power and it regulates the behaviour of the members of the State. Hagerstrom Olevekrena Gigara etc., are the main exponents of this theory.

(3) The Philosophical School or Origin and Development of Law – According to this school, political power is the basis of law and it depends not on norms or ideals but on facts. According to Horbath laws forces with the object is the mechanism of law. Law infact is the acudsofthed social forces. It is responsible for the behaviour of the

individuals. State takes last decision in the matter. Sehinlor, Horbath, Huntington, Kelsen, Koying Hosartgen, Roscopound, Jeromehall, Julium sone etc., are the main exponents of this theory.

(4) Anthropological School of Law – According to the exponent of this school, there was law at every stage of socio-cultural development. Different societies have different laws according to the religious concepts. These religions concepts and the resultant laws controlled and directed human behaviour. Human ideas and behaviours get transmitted form one generation to the other and so they become the cultural patterns. In this manners, law resort themselves become inherent in the human behaviour and so observance of laws becomes their habit. These laws are responsible for the duties and they are also our custodians of fundamental rights.

(5) Emile Durkheim’s Theory about the Origin of Law, Emile Durkheim has also come out with his own theory about the origin and development of law. According to him laws are the result of social environment and social condition. They are part of the society which means that they have developed with the society. Durkheim has classified laws into two groups on the basis of the social unity or social integrity viz .: (1) Repressive Laws, (2) Restitutive Laws.

(1) Repressive Laws – Repressive laws are to be found in the society which has mechanical solidarity. In such a society these laws are inspired by collective ideals, collective consciousness. In such a society no importance is attached to the situation or conditions of man. Laws are to be applied to all the persons in general and those who break the laws are known as delinquents and they have suffered.

(2) Restitutive Law – Restitutive laws are to be found in the society that has organic solidarity. In such a society individual has the importance and placed according to his special status or situation. In such a society laws although based on equity or justice had taken into account the special circumstances for the individual. Such laws are more to be seen in the field of family, business and co-operative life.

(6) Max Weber’s Theory about the Origin of Law – Max Weber has made valuable contribution to the study of law from sociological angle. According to him laws is the basis of power and authority: This authority according to Weber is of three forms :

(a) Traditional (b) Charismatic, (c) Constitutional or legal.

Max Weber said that a particular action is performed according to certain norms and ideals, a system organization is automatically borned. This system or organization has two aspects.

(a) Customs and traditions. (b) Law is somebody acts in a manner which is deviant from the prevalent customs and traditions, his action or behavior is rejected. It means that his behaviour shall not get the social sanction. On the other hand, if any action deviates from the path of law, it is suppressed by power and authority. He has further said, that the present system of law in the various courts is the gift of modern society and civilization.

(7) Gurbitch’s Theory of the Origin of Law- According to Gurbitch law is nothing but result of interaction between philosophy and sociology. Al every stage of socialization there is a moral and factual basis. It is on this basis that the laws are framed and enacted. These morals, situation or facts are based on historical situation, cultural pattern and social values of society. Gurbitch, therefore, studies the ideals of law on the plan of reality. He has further said that the laws are framed according to the moral experiences, cultural ideology and spiritual and Samuel experiences. He has seen laws as social institution and made a sociological study of it.

Type of Law, Having studied the origin and development of law, it quite proper, if we cast a glance at the kinds and types of law. Various social and political thinkers have classified law under various heads. Generally the laws are of the following types:

(1) Constitutional Law – It means that on which the forms and functions are based. Slate is itself guided by Constitutional Law. It is this law that determines the relationship between the State and the people. Il acts as a check on the powers of the State. The State is prohibiting from transgressing the limits of the constitutional law.

(2) Ordinary Law – It means the laws that is based on the customs and traditions. Such laws is not enacted and framed by any legislature but develops as a result of customs and traditions and is accepted by law courts.

(3) Public Law – Under this law all the rights, political and others, of the individual citizens, are described. It is on the basis of this types of law that the functions of the State are carried out. In short, it may be said that it is this law that runs the normal functioning of the society.

(4) Private Law – It is that law on the basis of which the personal behaviours of the individuals are regulated and guided. These laws laid down and determined rights and duties of individual citizens. Laws of contract, laws of torts etc. are the laws of this type.

(5) National Law – All the laws that are classified under public

law and private law formed the national law. All the laws that are prevalent within the limits of the territory of a nation are known as national law. These laws are applied on all these citizens alike and they are enforced the sovereign authority of that State.

(6) International Law – The law on the basis of which the relationship between different nations are regulated and determined are known as International law. These laws are enacted neither by and Stale nor by any authority. They are based on mutual consent and good-will. They are more of the voluntary than anything less.

(7) Administrative Law-Laws on the basis of which the administration of government is run are known as administrative law. These law laid down the regulations on the basis of which the administration shall be run, the Government employees shall act and the citizen shall be treated. It is this law that lays down the poverty of those who transgress the authority of the administration law.

Law and Morality-Since ancient times law an morality have bee treated as closely related things. Ancient thinkers like Plato and Aristot have said that State is the ideal where man observes morality and la In fact the main object of law is to make people moral and lead moral life.

Ancient thinkers said is relevant even today. Modern political thinkers are of the view that Ethics and law are closely related. According to Gilchrist, political science and Ethics, both said man is a moral being. Similarly, according to Maclver the State creates external conditions for the society that the necessary for free and moral life. The main object of law is to make people moral. Both these things exercise control over the human behaviour. They direct people to act in a particular which is in the interest of the society.

Similarly between Law and Morality – Relationship between law and morality is quite intimate.

Because of the similarity between law and morality the thinkers holds the view that State is the moral custodian of the morality that creates such laws that serve the highest moral interest of the people. That is why it is away that the laws and practices that do not suit the moral interest of the people.

Role of Law is Social Control – Law is an important agency of social control. In fact, law and culture are intimately related. It is the culture that makes people conscious of the morality and the values. Laws are based on these values and the law courts and the judges execute them. Through the execution of these laws, they encourage people to act in a moral manner. The function that are performed by law in the field of social control may be studied under the following heads.

(1) Brings about Social Stability – The law are as we have already seen is the result of the customs and traditions and also independent legislation. The customs and traditions, aster becoming law get codified and enjoy constitutional recognition. This happens when the society has developed naturally its structure has become complicated. Law has the sanction of the Estate behind it and so any one who violates as subjected to punishment. Because of the fear of the punishment, people do not violate law’ and so the tendencies of disorganisation do not get any. encouragement. This leads to preservations of the socio-cultural values. This law gets modified and changed when there is a need for it. Because of the development in society, this is again intended keeping the society intact and stable.

(2) Is Responsible for Social Upliftment -The law provides protection to the institution that are engaged in social upliftment. Without the sanction of law, many of the programmes of upliftment shall be nullified by dis-tendencies of disorganization and deviation.

The main object of law is to bring social study and create deviation for upliftment. India has typical example of this role of law. Through law social evils like sati, child marriage, prohibiting widows form marriage etc. were curbed and Indian society progressed on correct lines.

(3) Exercises Omni-Direction Control – Law is not concerned with as aspect of life only. It controls various directions. This has one very big advantage because of this central, a co-relation is establishment between various phases of the society and so disorganization is not allowed to affect various aspects of the society. It also has one another advantage. Tendency of dis-organisation that affects one aspect of life does not go into every aspects of life. It is all the result of omni-direction control of the law.

(4) Brings about Socialization – Through law, the individual citizens are trained in the art of observing social laws which are very necessary for social control. In fact law is the most important and final stage of compulsory socialization. It forces a person to become social honour and respect the right of others. Many of the persons are not so developed that they may follow the processes of socialization without the force of law. Law through the fear of the punishment trains people in socialization and controls their deviational and dis-organizing tendencies. Law is, therefore, an important and very highly developed and obligatory process of socialization which is very much responsible for social control.

(5) Protects and Observes the Fundamental Basic Right – Because of the development of society various such developments that are responsible for the infringement of the rights and individuals take place. Development of capitalism is a very glaring example of it. Once the capitalism is weaker section. It is the law only that helps them and saves the fundamental rights of the weaker sections and others.

(6) Forms of the Basis of Governmental Administration – It is on the basis of law that the Government carries out its administration,

In living in different areas even in a particular country have different tendencies and customs and traditions through law only it is possible

To make them live in a particular manner and act according to the direction of the Government. In fact law is the basis of the government working.

(7) The fear of punishment in the  minds of the citizens-In fringement of every law carries with it the punishment. Because of the

fear of punishment individual follow the laws and thereby help me establishing a higher social order. In this manner the law exercises good -deal of social control.

(8) Controls the Aggressiveness – In every sociсty, some are weak persons while others are quite strong. Those who are strong, sometimes try to exploit the weakers. It is through a law only that it is possible to control the aggressiveness of the strong persons. This control of aggressiveness saves the socicty from dis-organization, in this manner also laws plays a vital role in social control. :

(9) Laws down Behavioural Norms-Law also laws down norms according to which members of the society should behave. It also lays down the things that a person should follow and the things he should not follow. Under developed societies, these things are controlled and determined by thc customs and traditions but in developed and complicated societies they are controlled and laid down by law. Law, thercsore, exercises a good deal of control upon the behaviour of the people.

(10) Uses Force – The law though the use of force, makes people conscious of their obligation towards the society. It also lays down the ways and pattern of public behaviour. It is good public behaviour that control the society.

(11) Preserve what is Valuable for the Society – Law preserves that is valuable for the society and it is this valuable that is responsible for the organization, development and enrichment of the society. By preserving what is valuable for the society, the law controls not only the behaviour of the individual but also helps the society to remain intact, stable and organize. This aspect of law is very useful in the controls of the society.

In this manner law which is nothing but higher will and desire of the people is very much helpful in exercising control over the society. Sometimes it is based on customs and traditions and sometimes it is enacted independently by the legislature, in order to meet the needs of the society. It is an inevitability for individual citizens and in this manner plays of their vital role as an agency of social control. The following law origins us lo do our duty; it gives the power to demand what we are entitled to by law…”.


Q. 1. Explain the meaning of Social Structure.

Ans. Social structure is a concept which is now being widely used in sociology as well as anthropology. Structure has been defined as a property of empirical data. It is a property of objects, events and series of events. It is known through observation or analysis. The constituents of an object or even exhibit the properties of the structure. Thus structure is articulation or arrangement. It includes formal characteristics. It may be contrasted with function and with contents, material or qualitative character.

In spite of so much currency of the term structure in sociological and anthropological circles, some scholars, including Linton and Lowic have shown their displeasure at its use. A prominent anthropologist Kroeber has openly questioned its usefulness. According to him. “Structure appears to be just yielding to a word that has a perfectly good meaning but suddenly becomes fashionably attractive for a decade or so like “streamlining” – and during its vogue tends to be applied indiscriminately because of the pleasurable connotation of its sound.”. Raymond Firth has pointed out to the suid and vaguc character of the concept of structure by saying that. “any science must have a budget of terms of general application, not too closely desined, and … structure, may be one of them.” In spite of these criticisms, the concept of structure has come to stay. Meaning of the Concept

It has been rightly pointed out by Meyer Fortes thal, “Notable advances have been made in the theory of social structure of homogeneous societies …” According to S.F. Nadel, however, in term is still on trial and discussions about it tend to be polemical. This concept was widely used by Herbert Spencer and Emile Durkheim. They have used it in a wide and blanket fashion. It has become a synonym for system, organization, complex, pattern and type. The following art some important definitions of social structure :

(1) “Social Structure is the web of interacting social forces from which have arisen the various modes of observing and thinking.”

(2) “The orderly or patterned way that individuals and groups of

People relate to each other.”

(3) It is useful to distinguish three levels of social structure : (i) the interpersonal relations, or social relationships, level, (ii) the group, organization, level, and

(iii) the community, or society level (the social environment of groups and organizations).”

(4) “The study of social structure is concerned with the principle forms of social organizations, i.e., types of groups, associations, and institutions are the complex of these which constitute societies. … A full account of social structure would involve a review of the whole field of comparative institutions.”

(5) Group structures represent the kind of reality into which we are born and within which we find work and recreation, rewards and penalties, struggle and mutual aid. All the various modes of grouping … together comprise the complex pattern of social structure. In the analysis of the social structure the role of the diverse attitudes and interests of social beings is revealed.”

(6) Structure of culture means, “The progressive combination of trades, in complexes and patterns.”

(7) “The components of social structure are human beings, the structure itself being an arrangement of persons in relationships, institutionally defined and regulated.”

(8) Social structure is made up of, “Human beings considered not as organisms but as occupying positions in social structure.” : (9) The units of social structure are the inter-personal relations which, “become part of the social structure in the form of status positions occupied by individuals.” . .,

(10) Social structure is, “The interrelations of groups, explicity, inter personal relations.”

(11) Social structure contains, “parts and relations of diver: nature and variability and pertains to social events and organ heir ‘variable’ aspects.”

(12) Social structure, “consists of a set of ideas about the distribution of power between persons or groups of persons.”

(13) Social structure is the, “whole network of social relations in which are involved the members of a given community at a particular


(14) “Structure indicates an ordered arrangement of parts, which can be treated as transposable, hung relatively invariant, while the parts themselves are variable.”.

(15) “We arrive at the structure of a society through abstracting from the concrete population and its behaviour the pattern or network (or ‘system’) of relationships obtaining between actors in their capacity of playing roles relative to one another.”

Q. 2. Define social structure. Discuss its general characteristics as analysed by Radcliffe-Brown.

Ans. Some anthropologists use the term social structure to refer only to persistent social groups, such as nations, tribes and clans, which retain their continuity, their identity as individual groups, in spite of changes in their membership. Radcliffe Brown however, finds it more useful to include under the term “Social structure” a good deal more than this. This widening is as follows:

1. Person to person relationships. Radcliffe Brown regards as a part of the social structure all social relations of persons to person, for example, the kinship structure of any society consists of a number of such relations, as between a father and son, or a mother’s brother and his sister’s son. In an Australian tribe the whole social structure is based on a network of such relations of person to person, established through genealogical connections.

2. Differentiation according to roles. Radcliffe Brown includes in social structure the differentiation of individuals and of classes by their social role. The differential social position of men and women, of chiess and commoners, of employers and employees, are just as much determinants of social relations as belonging to different class or différent nations. Actual and Formal Social Structure

According to Radecliffe Brown, the spatial aspect of social structure is rarely in a community that is absolutely isolated, having no outside contact. At the present moment of history, the network of social relations spreads over the whole world, without any absolute continuity anywhere. This gives rise to difficulty of defining what is meant by the term ‘a society’.

Is the British empire a society or a collection of societies? Is a Chinese village a society, or is it merely a fragment of republic of China ? 

The Social Personality 

 Closely connected with this conception of social structure is the conception of social personality as the position occupied by a human being in a social structure, the complex formed by all his social relations

with others. Every human being in society is two things, he is an individual and also a person. As an individual he is a biological organism. a collection of a vast number of molecules organised in complete structure, within which, as long as it persists, there occur physiological and psychological actions and reactions of study for physiologists and psychologists. The human being as a person is a complex of relationships. He is a citizen of a state, a husband and a father, a professional, a member of a particular congregation, a voter in a constituency, ctc. . Method of Study of Social Structure

After thus defining the subject matter of “Social Structure” Radcliffe Brown develops a method of study to be undertaken. The use of comparison is indispensable. The study of a single society may provide materials for a comparative study, or it may afford occasion for a hypothesis which they need to be tested by reference to the societies. It cannot give demonstrated results. One must also aim at some sort of classisication of types of structural systems. In short, this study is of morphological nature. It consists in the definition comparison and classisication of diverse structural systems.

Radcliffe-Brown offers his thinking to some other questions concerning social structure. How do structural systems persist ? What are the mechanisms which maintain a network of social relations in existence, and how do they work ? Morals, law, etiquette, religion, government and education are all parts of the complex mechanism by which a social structure exists and persists. If one takes up the structural point of view, one studies these things, not in abstraction or isolation but in either direct or indirect relations to social structure, i.e., with reference to the way in which they depend upon, or affect the social relations between persons or groups. Radcliffe-Brown takes the example of language and linguistics. He considers them as the unification of a number of separate communities into a single speech community. The reverse process of sub-division into different speech communities, is also a phenomenon of social structure. Study of Interests and Values

To Brown, the study of social structure leads immediately to the study of interests and values as the determinants of social relations. A social relation does not result from similarity of interests. It rests on the mutual interest of persons in one another. In alternatives, it rests Gurion one or more common interests, or on a combination of both of

these. When two or more persons have a common interest in an object, that object can be said to have a social value for persons thus associated. If then particularly all the members of a society have an interest in the observance of the laws one can say that the law has a social value. The study of social values in this is, therefore, a part of the study of social structure.

Q. 3. Discuss the importance of the concept of social structure in sociological studies.

Ans. The concept of social structure as an independent concept never existed before Radcliffe Brown. Till then it was subsumed under a study of social functions. It was Radcliffe Brown who argued that social structure is a basic and an essential component of every society. He pointed out that the concept of social structure provides us with a clear picture of the basic framework of a society. The elements of social struclure are the primary social relations which constitute the basic matrix of a society. Importance of the Concept of Social Structure

Today the concept of social structure occupies an important place in sociological studies of any kind. The following points are important in this connection :

1. Social Structure and Society. Social structure defines the very nature of a society. It provides us with a network of essential set of relationships which are basic to the existence of a society such as family relations, business relations, etc. A close look at the functioning of these relationships will reveal the essential aspects which go into the making of anyone of such relationships. .

2. Structure and Function. The functioning of a society can be understood only in relation to its structure. Thus, we cannot be able to understand why a father behaves in a particular way towards his son and in an entirely different manner towards his wife, or why a businessman behaves towards his customers in a particular way without understanding thcir structural relations. Further, it is in the context of structural relations that we can understand the status of a person in a society and his relative roles and obligations towards others. Also, Structural relations define the various independent aspects of society, i.e., economic, political and religious and their relevance in the particular social context. It is also the structural framework which gives us an idea about the stability or otherwise of a particular society, Social

disorganization can be understood clearly only as structural deviation. Further, the relations in the modern complex societies and their various conflicting implications become clear to us only if understood in their simple basic structural terms.

Structural studies are of a special and basic interest to the social anthropologists since most of the complexities in pre-literate societies and their peculiar customs can only be understood in their basic structural terms. Thus the whole structure of many primitive societies can be understood only in relation to their kinship structure which extends its tentacles in all directions. Starting from the elementary family, various peculiar terminologies and their implications can be understood only in kinship terms. Thus the peculiar relationship between a mother and brother and his sister’s son in many primitive societies in South Africa can only be understood in terms of their kinship structure, as also practice of exogamy and preferential mating. Further, the special reference given to various relatives in primitive customs and practice can only be understood in terms of their kinship structure. The kinship structure also provides a clue to the understanding of the custom of totems in primitive societies. The peculiar custom of joking relationships which subsumes an anomaly of permitted disrespect can only be understood in terms of structure.

Thus, much of essential parts of primitive society and also many of the relationships of our societies can be understood only in terms of their structural categories. Thus structural studies have added a new and wider dimension which provides clues to many of the hitherto unexplained facts of sociology and social anthropology. Hence structural studies form an essential part of sociological studies.

Q. 4. Trace the evolution of the concept of social structure. Ans. Advent of the term Structure in Sociology

Different sociologists and anthropologists have given varying connotations to the concept of “Social Structure”. The concept gained much of its popularity only after the II World War, before which it had been referred to in things like building construction work etc. However, Anatomy did make use of the concept to refer to the “wholeness” of the phenomena for example, the “splitting up of a total whole” into component parts for purposes of simplification and detailed analysis. As a science or human system, sociology borrowed the use of the term

“structure” from anatomy on a slow progressive scale. Spencer’s idea of conducting an objective study of sociological structure gained significance as the science grew in a systematic manner with reference to both structure and functions, as had been in the case of anatomical studies. Spencer’s evaluation of structure as the maintenance of component parts as independent units was indeed a positive step in the development of structural studies. The “units” were considered independent structures and the adequate sunctioning of these units was a preliminary requirement of the maintenance of the total whole.

As a conceptual framework “Social structure” has its origin in anatomical studies of Biology, but has mathematical reference too. In mathematics, the transferability of the structure is of great importance. An event, though undergoing “professional transformation over period” has a common structure through which it is basic to all varying forms. This commonness is a mathematical notion, and unlike biological bases, it is generally abstract. Definition by Formal Sociologists

On the contrary, sormal sociologists like Firth believe that social structure is “an arrangement of positions or statuses, variously created and maintained, and of a network of relationships among persons or actors”, through basic relationship in terms of class, castes, age sets, secret society, etc. or purely kinship systems. Social Anthropologists View

Malinowski desined the concept of structure in the terms of “culture”. His study of the Trobriand Islanders was conducted chiefly from the standpoint of the anthropologists. His conception of culture as the structural basis of society has been however criticised by Radcliffe Brown as lacking allocation for the associated “function” of such a structure. Thus Radcliffe Brown’s analogy of the structure and functions of human societies as a living organism, composed of interdependent but individual parts is quite in contrast. According to Brown, in a system of society which is composed of interaction process, the main work of the social anthropologists was the study of society itself, for culture is nothing but the practical expression of people’s beliefs, values, sentiments

of etc. Hence a study of social structure is the primary aim

study of structure would signify a anthropologists. The

total understanding of society itself. Radcliffe Brown gave a theoretical

explanation to the structural in terms of the concepts of structure and function in primitive society.

The above conception, more popularly known as “British structuralism” has heavy-borrowing from the sociology of Max Weber with inherent additions and modifications. Contribution of Levis Strauss

Another significant contribution in the evolution of the concepts of structure was made by Levis Strauss. What Levis Strauss achieved in this field was a more concrete framework of reference. To him the creation of “models” was essential for purpose of comparison in “actual” studies. Like Max Weber he felt the necessity of creating models and ideal types so as to study deviations and exactness to this form in actual reality. To Brown structure is associated with a particular culture and a particular geographical locality, to Levis Strauss it is an “attribute of human social organisation as such, we can come to recognise the nature of this structure only when he built up a generalised model from radically exhausted empirical referents.”

Q. 5. Has religion any social functions ? Discuss.

Ans. Religion is instinctive to man. Man is the only religious being. As reason distinguishes him from animals, he can similarly be distinguished through religion. Man is finite-infinite being. From the time when man opened his eyes on his planet, he has been desirous of knowing and being acquainted with the conscious power latent in nature. As and when he was compelled to face natural hardships and dangers, storms, floods, lightening, epidemics, famines, deluge, scarcity,

dangerous animals, etc., man has looked up to some invisible power for assistance, motivation, strength and help. Thus, this religious tendency awoke in man when he was gripped sometimes by fear and at other times by curiosity. And, man tried to realise this intangible power for reasons such as to obtain salvation from the sorrow and transience, death, birth and old age. Similarly, man, when he got fed up of the worldly sensual love, conceived God as the object of love in the supreme aesthetic, idealistic forms. There is no relation which the man did not attach to God. People tried to attain God in the form of father, friend, husband, master, lover, beloved, verily in every form. In this way man, time and again, attempts to quench his urges in that power the search of which is religion.

Social Functions of Religion

Religion and Service

Similarly, religion manifested itself in man’s social tendency. Flumen beings learned to love each other in the form of children of the same father. Finding God, potent in everybody the devotees sacrificed their life for the Divine Power who is in the form of society. With regard to many saints, it is related that they licked clean the wounds of lepers because they were serving God manifested in the form of the lepers. In the Gita the worshipper of God has been ordered to engage in the service of all living beings. Love and service are accorded considerable importance in the Christian religion. Christ served the poor, convalescing and sorrowing people throughout his life which culminated in his brotherhood. Buddhist religion has, preached non-violence, compassion and sympathy. Similarly, even in ancient tribal religions, the people recognizing the same totem or God were all organised. Religion has always generated a sense of belongingness in society. Religion and Education

Religion has served humanity through the spreading of education. In almost all places in the world, the spread of education has had an important place in all religious campaigns and the activities of religious institutions. Priests in Christian churches and their contemporaries in Islamic mosques, Hindu temples and Buddhist monastries have long been engaged in the spreading of education. While Nalanda and Taxila were the centre of Buddhist religion, they were at the same time the basis of knowledge and consummate mastery. Men of different communities made serious efforts to spread education among the members of their community. Religion and Benevolence

There has been a tradition of medical service in society in the name of religion. The fundamental reason for such a move is that religious person treats the service of the helpless and ill as a part of his worship to God. In order to slock up virtue and due to a feeling for service it is a tradition among rich people to open hospitals, distribute medicines and necessary clothes, etc. An important aspect of the daily life of saint is service. Religion and alms-giving to religion is conjoined alms-giving. Christian, Buddhist, Islamic, Hindu and all  other religions have accepted the importance of

alms-giving. In Hindu religion, a person who consumed without giving alms is thieving. Given in Islam, it is a religious constitution to give as alms a part of one’s income. The purpose of alms was the economic assistance to the poor members of society. It prevented inequality in society and maintained the balance. Even today one comes across people indulging in such activities as distributing clothes. Some people go to the extent of giving every thing in the name of religion. Religion and Forbearance

All religions have emphasized sacrifice and forbearance. Christ said that if a person begs you for your cloak, give him your coat as well and if slapped on one check, present the other. This religious tolerance is in evidence from Christ to Martin Luther, Buddha to Ashoka, and from ancient Indian saints to Gandhi. 

Religion and Non-violence

All the founders of religion the world over, Christ, Buddha, Mohammad and Hindu seers and saints have preached love and non-violence. Jains and Buddhists treated non-violence as the supreme duty. Mohammed himself suffered many kinds of cruelty. Even when Christ was mounting the cross, he begged God to forgive those who were responsible for this gross misdeed. Although Gandhiji had been shot, he politely addressed the assailant and bowed.

Religion also arguments the feeling of world brotherhood. As far as a religious person is concerned, everyone has been made by God and all worship. Him in different forms and names. In this way, religion generates a sense of the “world as a family”. Christ, Gandhi, Buddha and Mohammed, not to mention other religious sages, have all preached world brotherhood. Religion teaches the lesson of sacrifice and service, removing selfishness and material tendencies. Immoral activities under a religious pretext

But all these good activities in the name of religion in society do not imply that immoral acts have not been done under a religious pretext. The society has also been harmed as it has been assisted by religion and consequently some people want to eradicate the name of religion from society. One can say the following things on the subject.

1. Dogmatism – Religion has been the basis of dogmatism. Tearing God and the next world, religious people do not have the courage to break ancient traditions and customs. In this way, religion has become The most serious obstacle to the negation of child marriage, widow

remarriage, the sati custom etc. Religion has handicapped social progress.

2. Explanation – In this way, women have been mercilessly exploited in the name of religion, in human history. The religious scholars have stripped her of all rights and made her the slave of man. The principle of Karma prevented the poor and exploited from revolting against exploitation.

3. Laziness and Fatalism – Religion encouraged fatalism and people became addicted to laziness, even today thousands of men in different religion live a parasite life, a burden to society, on religious pretensions. In India, thousands of people graded as sages live a lazy life, becoming a burden to society.

4. Violence and War – Bloody wars have been fought for centuries both in the East and West on the same pretext. The pages of human history are colored with accounts of the blood sheds of the crusades and the jihaads. In Europe alone, some four hundred men and women were burnt alive in the name of religion. In India, such religious fanatics as Aurangzeb wielded cruelty to other religious people, again in the name of religion.

5. Despise and Haired – In this way, religion was responsible for currents of hatred and despising which pulsate in society. If God had lent his cars to these religious people in their pleas for the destruction of others, man would not have soiled the face of this planet to day. In Hindu-Muslim communal riots in India, naked woman were taken out in procession and beaten with whips, unweaned children thrown into the sire, the breasts of women severed and people turned out of their countries and compelled to beg and roam. Viewing these in human activities in the name of religion, one doubts whether religion makes a man saint or devil. 

Religion and Religionism

But even after seeing these defects religion cannot be departed from society. Religion cannot be irrevocably condemned (or their sake because similar deeds have been done in the name of politics, science, race, country and state. Whenever any ideals and thoughts are transformed into institutions in society their life energy becomes petrified as it gets entangled in external limitation and this culminates in the body being worshipped instead of the soul. The truths of religion were destroyed as they had become involved, not inextricably, in scriptures,

churches, methods of worships, priests and other fry of the congregation separating the letter from true religion. Sri Aurobindo has christened: its religionalism. Religionalism is as false and harmful as racism, casteism, groupism and narrow nationalism.

Q. 6. Define social function and explain its meaning. Distinguish between Manifest and latent functions. .

Ans. The functional approach in sociology has been caught in a Terminological confusion. Too often a single term has been used to symbolize different concepts, just as the same concept has been symbolized by different terms. Meaning of Function

The term function has been interpreted as following: 1. Function refers to some public gathering or occasion. 2. The term function is equivalent to the term occupation.

3. Function refer to the activities assigned to the incumbent of a social status, and more particularly, to the occupant of an office or political position.

4. In mathematics it refers to a variable considered in relation to one or more other variables in term of which it may be expressed.

5. In the biological sciences the term function is understood to refer to the vital or organic processes considered in the respects in which they contribute to the maintenance of the organism.

According to Radcliffe-Brown “the function of a recurrent physiological process is that a correspondence between it and the needs of the organism.” And in social sphere these individual human beings, “the essential units”, are connected by networks of social relations into an integrated whole, “the function of any recurrent activity, such as the punishment of a crime, or a funeral ceremony, is the part it play in the social life as a whole and therefore the contribution it makes to the maintenance of the structural continuity.” I

According to Malinowski, things are known by their function by the part which they play within the integral system of culture, by the manner in which they are related to each other within the system.”

Therefore, function is the part which a unit plays in conformity with the need of sāciety. Merton says, “Function involves the of the observer, not necessarily that of the participant. Social function refers to observable objective consequences, and not to subjective dispositions

(aims, motives, purposes).”

single Concept, Diverse Terms

Terms referring to the concept of function are purpose, motive and aim. Hut these terms clearly refer to the explicit ends-in-view of the representative of the state, or refer to the subjective anticipations of the results. But the concept of function involves the objective dispositions and not the subjective dispositions. Manifest and Latent Functions

“Manifest functions” are those objective consequences contributing to the adjustment or adoptation of the system which are intended and recognized by participants in the system.” i

Therefore this type of function is known to the society. Society knows the consequences. Consequence is .obscrvable and is sanctioned by the society e.g. an educational institution educates the members of the sociсty or rather say socializes the members. So this part to which and educational institution is playing is known to the society and that is why society has recognized the educational institutions his is the manifest function of the educational institution.

Another example may be the family institution. Family, first of all produces the members of the society and then socializes them. Family teaches the expectations of the society from a member: So this function of family institution is known or say recognised by the society and therefore the function to which a family does is manifest function.

Latent functions – Correctively, being those which are neither intended for recognized.

The relations between the, “unanticipated consequences” of action and “latent functions” can be clearly defined. The unintended consequences of action are of three types :

(a) Those which are functional for a designated system, and these comprise the Latent function.

(b) Those which are dysfunctional for a designated system, and these comprise the latent dysfunction.

(c) Those which are irrelevant to the system which they affect neither functionally nor dysfunctionally. Distinction between Manifest and Latent Functions ;

This distinction removes the contusions which often take place : between conscious motivation for social behaviour and its objective

consequences. Emile Durkheim’s analysis of the social function of punishment in his book Division of Labour in Society is focused on its

latent functions (consequences for the community) rather than to manifest functions (consequences for the criminal).

R.M. Maclver in his book, “Community’,  says, “In addition to the direct effects of institutions, there are further effect by way of controls which lie outside the direct purpose of men …. this type of reactive form of control … may though unintended be of profound service to society.” MacIver here indicates the latent functions of social control which are not known to society.

W.I. Thomas and F. Znaniecki in, “Sociological Classics”, “The Polish Peasant in Europe and America”, say, “Although all the new institutions are thus formed with the definite purpose of satisfying certain specific needs, this explicit and-conscious purpose …. every one of these institutions is not merely a mechanism for the management of certain values but also an association of people, each member of which is supposed to participate in the common activities as a living concrete individual.”

Therefore these and other numerous sociologists, have distinguished between manifest and latent functions. This distinction has been used in the analysis of racial intermarriage, by Merton, in social stratification by Kingsley Davis, in propaganda as a means of social control by T. Parsons, in anthropological theories by Malinowski’s in problems in the sociology of knowledge by Merton and by so many

other sociologists. Purposes of the Distinction

The following are the purpose of distinction between Manifest and latent functions :

1. The distinction aids the sociological interpretation of many social practices which persist even though their manifest purpose is clearly not achieved.

2. The concept of latent function directs attention towards another range of consequences.”

3. Ceremonials may fulfil the latent function of reinforcing the group identify by providing a periodic occasion on which the scattered members of a group assemble to engage in a common activity.

4. The distinction directs the attention of the sociologist to precisely those realms of behaviour, altitude and belief where he can apply his special skills.

5. Armed with the concept of latent function, the sociologist extends his inquiry in those very directions which promise most for the theoretic development of the discipline. 

6. The latent functions are unintended and generally unrecognized. Social and psychological latent functions increase knowledge.

7. Latent functions represent greater departures from “common-sense” knowledge about social life.

8. The pattern of conspicuous consumption, the manifest and function of buying consumption goods are explicity designed. People buy expensive goods because manifest. equation “costliness is the mark of superiority of goods”, is linked to the latent equation “costliness is the mark of higher social status.”

9. The concepts of manifest and latent functions are indispensable elements in the theoretic repertoire of the social engineer. In this sense both of these concepts are practical as well as theoretical. 

Structure affects function and function affects structure

The social functions of an organization help in determine the structure including the recruitment of personnel involved, just as the structure helps determine the effectiveness with which the functions art fulfilled.

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