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Sociology Questions

Sociology Questions

We are proud to present you this section on solved questions of sociology. I hope this section on questions of sociology will be as useful to you as it is meant to be.

  • Questions on Sociological Approach
  • Questions on Culture
  • Questions on Ethnicity
  • Questions on Gender Role Inequalities
  • Questions on Group
  • Questions on Socialization
  • Questions on Social Stratification
  • Questions on Society

  • Questions on Religion
  • Questions on Marriage And Family
  • Questions on Collective Behavior and Social Movements
  • Questions on Population and Environment
  • Questions on Political Institutions
  • Questions on Deviance and Social Control

Questions on Sociological Approach

What is Sociology?

Sociology is the science that studies society and human behavior.

What is special about the way sociologists approach topics?

The subject matter of sociology is quite often invisible or not directly observable. However sociologists can observe the consequences of such social characteristics as group pressure, authority, prestige and culture. They then form images of these concepts using what C Wright Mills has called the sociological imagination taking into account the influence in order to view their own society as an outsider might.

What sort of questions do sociologists address?

Sociologists want to understand:
(a) what goes on in and between groups of people ;
(b) what are the social differences we observe;
(c) what is happening in social institutions;
(d) why and how social change is occurring.

What are theories, concepts and propositions and how are they used?

A sociological issue as a question we seek to answer with a theory or general explanation of a social phenomenon. A concept is a category of behaviour, events or characteristics that are considered similar for the sake of theory construction. A proposition is a statement that explains one concept by means of another. If we seek to discover why racial groups sometimes live in harmony and sometimes so not, we may use the concept of racial harmony to describe the differing ways of relating. The behavior is defined as indicating harmony exists. We would then state our theory in propositions for example different racial groups will live in harmony in situations where enough work exists for all groups to earn a decent living.

How did the discipline of sociology develop?

Sociology developed in the midst of the social and intellectual upheaval surrounding the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century. Three branches of sociology grew from roots in three interest groups: social activists a new breed of scientists dedicated to applying the scientific approach to society and philosophers interested in humanity's social nature.

What is the place of Marx, Comte, Spencer, Durkheim, Mead and Weber in the development of sociology?

Karl Marx was the first major proponent of the conflict perspective. He believed that inequality between classes causes conflict between groups of people and that society must change in order to fulfill the needs of all the people.Auguste Comte was the French scientist who gave sociology its name and promoted the scientific study of society. Herbert Spencer extended his work developing the idea that society was an organic whole that could be studied much like the human body- the beginnings of structural-functionalism.Emile Durkheim also promoted sociology as a science and strucutural -functionalism as a perspective with his emphasis on social facts explaining other social facts -for example in his classic study ,Suicide. George Herbert Mead focused on how we use symbols, including language and how our use of symbols influences our social dev elopement and social life.Max Weber's analysis of the major dynamics of society and social change provides the foundations for much of the sociological theory and research of our time. His study 'The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism' was an important study of the roots of the industrial Revolution which was sweeping the world in his day.

What are the basic concepts of structural - functionalism, the conflict approach and symbolic Interactionism?

Structural-functionalism assumes that order is dominant in society and that social arrangements arise and persist because they serve society and its members well. The conflict approach assumes the dominant process in society is conflict and that society divides into two groups the masses and small elite who exploit them. The symbolic - interaction perspective assumes that the important action in society takes place around the use of symbols that channel our thoughts and thereby define what is socially comprehensible and incomprehensible. Practitioners of this approach often focus on interaction among individuals in contrast to the other perspective which tend to look more at social institutions.

What are the contributions of Mills, Collins, Parsons, Davis, Thomas and Goffman to the development of these theories?

C Wright Mills effectively promoted a general conflict perspective in the US focusing on social class differences and introducing the concept of power elite, a tiny minority of government, military and business figures believed to control the US. Randal Collins is one of the most articulate voices today from that perspective and he developed a formal theory of conflict applicable to all levels o society, especially analyzing the inequalities in the American educational system.Talcott Parsons extended Durkheim's tradition into the 20th century developing the idea that society could be viewed as a system that must adapt to changes in its environment, pursue its goals, integrate itself with other systems and maintain order within itself much like a biological organism.Kingsley Davis is a major contemporary proponent of this structural-functionalism perspective and he analyses wealth and poverty from this viewpoint.W.I.Thomas extended Mead's ideas, theorizing that people define or construct their own social reality and that their definitions become real because they are real in their consequences.Erving Goffman has served as a major contemporary spokesperson for the symbolic interaction perspective and he describes how people present themselves in everyday life in order to manage the impression they give to others.

What is the scientific method and how can it be applied to the study of sociology?

The scientific method involves eight basic steps:
a) Observation of an event that stimulates thinking.
b) Defining or classifying the terms or events being considered.
c) Formulating the research issue or hypothesis.
d) Generating a theory or proposition - a general statement that serves as a potential answer to the research question.
e) Creating a research design in order to test whether the theory or proposition is valid.
f) Collecting data-working through the research design to make observations.
g) Analyzing the data
h) Making conclusions and evaluating the theory.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of the survey method, analysis of existing sources, observational study and experimental research in the study of sociology?

A survey is a research method in which a representative sample of a population is asked to respond to questions. In principle every member of the population has an equal chance of being selected so the survey should give an accurate representation of the views of a population. However people may try to answer questions as they think the survey interviewer wants them to biasing the results of the research. Analysis of existing sources is a research technique in which the researcher uses existing documents that were created for some other purpose. This research generally costs much less than the survey allows access to otherwise unavailable subjects and to date over long periods of time and involves data that is not influenced by the interviewer. Documents used however may be biased toward their original purpose and thus distort the true picture the researcher is trying to find. In an observational study the researcher actually witness social behavior in its natural setting either as a participant or an unobtrusive observer. The advantage of this study is that research is accomplished by directly observing subjects' behavior thus permitting access to nonverbal a well as verbal behaviour.Obervation also allows for study over a time rather than at one point. An experiment is a research design in which the researcher exposes a group of subjects to a treatment and observes its effect usually in comparison to a similar control group that did not receive the treatment. Experiments can demonstrate clearly that a variable has a particular effect on the subject group because the researcher retains maximum control over the circumstances of the research. However experiments are very expensive. Sometimes an aspect of the experiment other than the treatment is the real cause of the experiment's outcome but this goes unnoticed and the artificiality of many experimental settings makes generalizing to natural settings risky.

What are some of the challenges and ethical issues in the study of sociology?

Sociology faces the challenge of working with human beings and their social groupings because people have rights that limit what we can do with them while we are studying them. Sociological subjects can give us important information but their information can be distorted. Sociologists must decide whether their own views will influence their research and theory development, either believing that knowledge is neutral or that value neutrality is either naïve or a rationalization for the fact that one is working for the elite because most sociological research is funded by and disproportionately available to powerful elites.

Questions on Culture

How do sociologists define culture?

Culture is the values, norms, language, tools and other shared products of society that provide a plan for social life.

What do functionalists see as the functions of culture?

Functionalists suggest that culture provides for continuing social order by handling down prescribed ways of behaving in specific situations and allows people to benefit from the achievements of previous generations.

What are norms and why are they important?

Norms are shared rules or guidelines for behavior in specific situations. The strongest norms are taboos or rules that prohibit certain behavior and carry severe punishment for violators. Norms carry sanctions or rewards for behavior that conform to a norm and punishment for behavior that violates a norm. Institutions are organized sets of norms, values, statuses and roles that are centered on the basic needs of society. The five basic institutions of most societies are: the family, religion, the state, the economic system and education.

How do values underlie norms?

Values are shared ideas about what is right and wrong, good and bad, desirable and undesirable. Values are the general concepts on which our specific norms are built.

How do norms vary between cultures?

Many norms are specific to one society or to one group in a society for example most college students in the United States share a norm against turning in a fellow student for cheating.

What are the symbolic elements of culture?

A symbol is that which represents something else. Norms and values are often transmitted within a culture or to other cultures through symbolic elements such as language, gesture and stance, style of clothing, hairstyle, social distance, time use or symbolic representation such as flags.

What is the importance of language in transmitting culture?

Most social scientists see a strong connection between a society's language and the rest of its culture with the language reflecting what is important to that society to its new members and those outside of the culture. Our silent language or nonverbal space and time messages are also tied to our culture.

How do cultures vary?

Cultures differ in the degree of complexity whether they are focused around kinship or institutions and the pace of change. In simple societies kinship organizes people's lives around families and relatives. Such societies might change rather slowly compared to modern postindustrial society.

How do the functional, ecological, evolutionary, conflict and symbolic interactionist approaches explain cultural variation?

The functional approach suggests that a functional cultural trait has a positive consequence for the society and will probably not be adopted unless it fits well with the existing culture and contributes to the well-being of the society. The ecological approach shows how societies adapt culture to their physical environment in order to survive thus making it a sub form of the functional approach. The evolutionary approach views culture as developing through a series of stages toward forms that are increasingly well suited to the environment based on changes in the culture's basic tools or technology. The conflict approach points out that prevailing definition of beauty, justice and truth may serve the elites at the expense of the masses with culture being created and imposed on the masses by the ruling class. The symbolic interactionist approach highlights the importance of symbols in understanding culture and the social behavior it shapes, suggesting that symbols are the major agent for transmitting and shaping culture.

How do subcultures and counter cultures differ from the dominant culture?

A subculture is the culture of a subgroup of society that adopts norms that set them apart from the dominant group; for instance persons who live in a Chinatown but are integrated into the life of the city as a whole. A counterculture is a subculture whose norms and values are not just different from but in conflict with those of the dominant culture.

How do cultural universalism and cultural relativism differ?

Some sociologists believe that cultural universals or traits common to all human societies,exist.Others suggest that each culture should be studied only in relation to itself and not be judged by an external cultural standards or by a universal standard a stance known as cultural relativism.

How does ethnocentrism affect one's viewpoint?

Ethnocentrism is the tendency to use one's own cultural values in evaluating the beliefs and customs of other cultures with different values. It can be useful to a society in that it bonds members together, but can also lead to conflict with people from other cultures.

Questions on Society

How do subsistence adaptation and technology help in the process of sorting societies?

We can identify six types of societies by focusing on the dominant form of work in a society or subsistence adaptation. In hunting and gathering societies, people live by hunting wild animals using primitive weapons and gathering food as it grows naturally. Herding or pastoral, societies often arise in areas with poor soil and rely on the domestication of animals into herds as a major means of support, linked with either hunting and gathering or other technology. The semi permanent horticulture produces its food through cultivation of the soil with hand tools and is more common in areas with fertile soil which is exhausted within three to five years. Agricultural societies employ animal-drawn plows to cultivate the land and often combine this with irrigation to increase productivity. In industrial societies the largest portion of the labor force is involved in mechanized production of goods and services.

What are the elements of social structure?

Social structure is the enduring patterns of social behavior including statuses, roles, norms and institutions that constitute relatively stable relations in society. A status is a position in a particular social pattern. A role includes the behavior that goes with but is distinct from the status.

What are two ways in which status is conferred?

Status is either conferred independently of the individual's efforts or abilities (ascribed) or attained through effort or performance (achieved).

What is a status intervention, and how might it affect a group?

A status intervention is an attempt to diminish the influence of an undesirable status characteristic. Research shows that groups will discount the input of persons with low status characteristics and be overly positive toward the input of persons with high status characteristics even if the status has nothing to do with the task of the group at the time. People of low status can be taught to be assertive in their own realm by learning that people of higher status do not necessarily know more about everything.

What are postindustrial societies and how are they distinguished from industrial societies?

In a post industrial society, increasingly sophisticated virtually automatic machines take over much unskilled work and the majority of the labor force becomes employed in service occupations. Government becomes more involved in realms that were previously dominated by the other institutions of so ciety: family, religion, education and the economy. This form of society might be thought of as a service society or an information based society.

What are the major differences between modern and pre-modern societies?

According to Durkheim, pre-modern societies are held together by mechanical solidarity or bonds of common activities and values as opposed to modern societies that are held together by organic solidarity or bonds based on interdependence.Tonnies used the labels Gemeinschalf or community and Gesellschalf or association to describe similar differences. Modern societies have more complexity in occupational structure, more formal relationships, and more reliance on nonfamily institutions and less reliance on custom to regulate behavior.

What is the essential nature of the basic social processes?

Conflict is the process in which the parties struggle against one another for a commonly prized object for example wars and feuds. Coercion is a process of being forced to act against one's will, as in slavery. Similar to coercion is exploitation a process in which one is deprived of things that one rightfully is due- for instance when migrant workers are not paid their full wages due to inability to function well and cheating occurs on the part of the produce c ompany.Competition involves two or more parties seeking a goal that is not available to them all- for instance getting a contract to build a bank. Cooperation is a social process in which the parties involved act jointly to bring about mutual benefit, either as a result of traditional values, direction of an authority figure or a contract.

How do conflict and functionalist theories view social processes?

Structural-functionalists assume that cooperation is part of the nature of society and they look for ways in which the structure functions to maintain society. Conflict theorists assume that conflict is intrinsic to society and examine society for signs of conflict, coercion and exploitation.

Questions on Social Stratification

What is social stratification?

Stratification is a hierarchy of positions with regard to economic production which influences the social rewards to those in the positions.

What is class?

Class is large set of people regarded by themselves or others as sharing similar status with regard to wealth, power and prestige.

What are the major forms of stratification?

Primitive communalism characterized by a high degree of sharing and minimal social inequality. Slavery involving great social inequality and the ownership of some persons by others. Caste in which an individual is permanently assigned to a status based on his or her parents' status. Estate in which peasants are required by law to work land owned by the noble class in exchange for food and protection from outside attacks.

How do stratification systems differ?

Openness is the opportunity for individuals to change their status. Caste stratification systems are closed whereas class stratification systems are more open. The degree of equality is the degree to which the social structure approaches an equal distribution of resources. Hunting and gathering societies are typically very equal with inequality developing in later stages of agriculture and industrialization.

What are Weber's three dimensions of stratification?

Class or a set of people with similar amounts of income and wealth. Party or a set of people with similar amounts of power. Status group or a set of people with similar social prestige or positive regard from members of a society.

What are the five basic viewpoints on why stratification exists?

Natural inevitability which suggests that inequality exists because of natural differences in people's abilities and is a just system. Structural -functionalist which states that stratification is useful to society because it enhances stability and induces members of the society to work hard. Conflict which suggests that stratification occurs through conflict between different classes, with the upper classes using superior power to take a larger share of the social resources. Evolutionary which states that people will share enough resources to ensure the survival of the group until a surplus exists at which time power determines how the surplus is distributed. Symbolic Interactionist which calls attention to the importance of symbolic displays of wealth and power that influence one's definition of self and the importance of ideas in defining social situations.

In what regard is some stratification inevitable?

Inequality may emanate from natural differences in people's abilities. What are the functionalist and conflict theories as to the reasons for stratification? Structural-functionalists believe that societies tend to be stable and are held together through consensus.Stratifiction provides an important function to society by aiding this process because it lessens conflict and provides structure. Conflict theorists believe that society tends toward conflict and change and that stratification system coerce the lower classes in order to benefit the upper classes.

What are the basic premises of the evolutionary perspective?

In primitive societies the survival of the group is paramount and people will share their resources to ensure that the group survives. As society develops increasingly sophisticated technology, surplus exists and power will determine the distribution of the surplus.

How are the supporting beliefs symbolically important to a stratification system?

Symbolic Interactionists point out that symbols help to define the meaning of all social actions, and a person's self is developed socially through social interaction. Legitimating ideas, expressed symbolically in the form of language provide reasons for inequality for strata for the ways people are placed in the strata and for changes in the stratification system. These supporting ideas also strongly affect how people evaluate themselves within the system, influencing them to accept their position in the structure as good and right.

What is social mobility?

Social mobility is the movement of a person from one status to another, either between generations or within a person's adult career.

What is structural mobility?

Structural mobility is mobility brought about by changes in the stratification hierarchy for instance as society becomes more technologically advanced.

Questions on Ethnicity

What is ethnicity and how is it transmitted?

Ethnicity is a sense of people hood or nationhood that is culturally transmitted.

What is race and how has it been used by societies?

A race is a population that shares visible physical characteristics from inbreeding and that thinks of itself or is thought of by outsiders as distinct. It has been used by societies to justify poor treatment of minority groups.

What is a minority group?

A minority group is one that has less power and influence than the dominant group.

What is prejudice?

Prejudice is a judgment based on group membership or social status.

What is discrimination?

Discrimination involves treating someone differently because of his or her group membership or social status.

What is the relationship between prejudice and discrimination?

Prejudice and discrimination can exist separately but are most often mutually reinforcing.

What are the basic patterns of race and ethnic group relations?

The basic patterns of race and ethnic relations are amalgamation (blending two or more groups into a society that reflects the cultural and biological traits of the group), assimilation, pluralism, structured inequality, population relocation and extermination.

How do conflict theorists define inter group conflict and what are the five major factors that might contribute to it?

When conflict exists between two groups the group that gains the most power, wealth and prestige becomes the majority regardless of its size. The five major factors that contribute to such conflict are visible differences between groups, competition for resources, racist ideology, potential for exploitation and the minority -group response to the majority definition of the situation.

What are some of the possible sources of prejudice and discrimination?

Prejudice may be formed through both individual and group influences including socialization, rationalizing through stereotypes, the scapegoating process, reinforcement of a self-fulfilling prophecy ramification of an authoritarian personality and degree of contact with minority groups.

Questions on Gender Role Inequalities

What is the difference between sex and gender?

The term gender refers to culturally transmitted differences between men and women, whereas the sex refers to the biological differences between males and females.

What do cross-cultural comparisons of gender roles show us?

Culture largely determines what is considered masculine or feminine. These definitions can change with social change in the culture.

What are the functionalist and conflict theories of the origin of gender roles?

Functionalist suggests that men perform instrumental roles and women perform expressive roles because that division is functional to the society. Conflict theory sees the almost universal inequality between the sexes in societies as an outgrowth of patriarchy the form of social organization in which men dominate or rule over women. Patriarchy assumes that men are superior to women based on sexism or the belief that one sex is inferior and thus deserves inferior treatment.

What are the major socialization agents that teach us our gender roles?

The major gender -role socialization agents are the family, schools, the media and the language and the observed interactions in the institutions of the culture.

What are the basic modes in which the family socializes gender behavior?

The family socializes gender roles through reinforcement of appropriate behaviors differential opportunities for boys and girls, role modeling of adult gender behavior and explicit verbal instruction.

What is the relationship between women's work and power in society?

One reason men hesitate to perform traditional female tasks is that the tasks are often seen as less valuable to society than are traditional male tasks. As a society we are only beginning to appreciate the economic and social value of homemakers, women or men.

What political gains have women made?

More women are entering government from the local to the national level.

What changes might occur in the second stage of gender relations?

In the second stage of gender relations, women and men must join together, contributing their own special qualities to building a better society both in the family and in the business world. Women must seek out friendships with other women and learn to value their own contributions to the world.

What is Jessie Bernard's basic concept concerning the female world?

Bernard believes that the female world is based on love, cooperation and duty whereas the male world is based on competition and striving. She seeks to sensitize women to the unique contributions the female world view might make to society in order to help it to grow more cooperative and peaceful.

What is patriarchy?

It is a form of social organization in which men dominate or rule over women.

What is sexism?

It is a belief that one sex is inferior and thus deserves inferior treatment.

Questions on Religion

What is religion?

We define religion as a system of symbols, beliefs and practices focused on questions of ultimate meaning.

According to Durkheim, what are the elements of religion?

Durkheim observed that all religions divide the world into sacred and special realm and a profane or ordinary realm. He suggested that society itself is the true object of worship and that various cultures develop various symbolic representations of society.

What are the functions of religion?

Religion functions to promote social solidarity strengthen the normative structure of the community mark life events and explain life's uncertainties.

How is religion related to social conflict?

Religion also contributes to bitter and often bloody conflict and a tool of exploitation. Elites use religion to justify their exploitation of the masses and to distract the masses from awareness of this exploitation. As Marx and Engel have shown religion often helps sustain social class inequality which eventually leads to revolution. Religious groups often fight and divide. Religious figures are frequently found at the front of social movements such as those for civil rights, peace, nuclear disarmament and liberation from the tyranny of dictators.

What are the types of religion?

The various types of religions hold various objects to be sacred and or supernatural. In simple supernaturalism an impersonal force of nature is regarded as sacred whereas in animism the sacred resides in spirits of the animals and natural phenomena.Totemism is a form of animism in which an animal or plant is worshipped as a god and ancestor. Theistic religions focus attention on a sacred god or gods. Ethical religions focus on principles held to be sacred.

What are the types of religious organizations?

Religious organizations tend to fall into four types.Ecclesias are state supported whereas denominations are not and must compete with other religious organizations emphasizing lay leadership and a return to the true beliefs of the dominant religion. Cults are often small but they are distinguished primarily with a claim to new revelation often made by a charismatic leader.

What have sociologists learned about cults?

Cults typically have not become large denominations. The public is extremely wary about the acts carried out by some cults.

How has religion become politicized?

Religious leaders increasingly take political positions.

What is animism?

It is a belief that the sacred and resides in spirits found in people and other natural phenomena, such as wind and the rain.

What is a cult?

Cult is a religious organization that claims a unique new revelation.

What are ethical religions?

Religions that do not worship a god as such but rather promote a moral code or belief.

What are religious symbols?

Objects, images and words that take meaning from sacred things that they represent and that may become sacred themselves after repeated assoc

Questions on Marriage and Family

What are the sociological definitions of marriage and the family?

Marriage is a long term socially approved sexual union between two people.Marrige usually forms the basis of a family: two or more generations of people related by marriage, birth or adoption who live together and share economic resources.

How do societies control love and marriage?

Societies love and marriage through rules about marriage partners including kinship ties, locality and isolation of pubescent.

What are the functions of the family as a social institution?

The family controls human reproduction, caring for dependents, socialization of children and intimate relationships.

What are the conflict and functionalist views of families and social stratification?

Functionalists see the family's role in transmitting social status as natural and valuable. Conflict theorists see it as an agent of inequality and an impediment to reform.

What are some of the major disadvantages of the nuclear family?

The nuclear family has an inherent lack of extended support system, instability and a vulnerability to economic stress.

How is violence seen in the family context?

Although families are usually considered positive social groups, recent research has uncovered rampant violence in the family from the spouse abuse to sexual and physical and mental/emotional abuse of children. This violence crosses class boundaries and is found in virtually all types of families.

How does divorce affect the family members?

Divorced men and women show great signs of emotional stress: high suicide rates, loss of jobs and seeking psychiatric treatment. Divorced mothers will likely struggle against poverty whereas divorced fathers struggle against loneliness. Children show symptoms from anxiety to drug abuse and poor school performance.

What is exogamy?

It is a marriage form in which spouses must come from outside the social group.

What is the difference between family of orientation and family of procreation?

Family of orientation is the nuclear family we are born into, our parents and siblings. Family of procreation is the family we create by marrying and becoming partners.

Questions on Population and Environment

What is demography?

Demography is the study of the size, composition and distribution of society as it is affected by three major population processes.

What are the elements of population and how are they measured?

The elements of population are size, composition and distribution. Size is measured through census or official count of people and their relevant characteristics such as age, sex and occupation. Composition refers to the distribution of a population in various categories like age orsex.Composition can be measured by such terms as the sex ratio, the median age, the dependency ratio and the population pyramid, a pictorial representation of the age and sex distribution of the population of an area.

What are the three processes that affect population size

? Three processes that affect population size are fertility, mortality and migration. Fertility refers to the frequency of births in a population and its study includes crude birthrate, age at marriage, use of contraceptive, societal attitudes toward family size, infanticide and abortion but fertility is distinguished from fecundity or the potential number of children that the women of a population could produce. Mortality is measured in a crude mortality rate, an age-specific mortality rate, a life expectancy at birth rate and an infant mortality rate. Studying migration includes counting the emigrants and immigrants in order to find a crude migration rate.

What is the Malthusian theory?

Malthus believed that population without any external controls will double once every generation until the uppermost level of subsistence will not support the population size at which time preventive checks will come into play.

What is the demographic transition?

The demographic transition is the pattern populations follow as their nations develop from an agricultural base to an industrial one. Stage one has high birth and death rates. Stage two has a high birth rate and lower death rate. In stage three the birth rate falls, bringing about a stable population size again.

Questions on Political Institution

What is the state and what are its features?

The state is the institution that monopolizes legitimate power in a territory through the establishment of its major features: courts, official leaders, written laws and taxation.

What is the conflict view of the state?

Conflict permeates the state which exists in part to regulate it. But conflict theory shows that the state to be a tool of the elites in the class struggle. This justifies sometimes resorting to non routine or extra-legal means of remedying this exploitation, such as demonstrations, violent strikes, terrorism, revolution and guerrilla warfare.

What are the functions of the state?

The major functions of the state are to arbitrate disputes between private parties to contribute to social control of the society to serve as the agent of intersocial relations, to provide planning and direction for the society and increasingly in recent times to provide for the welfare of those unable to care for themselves.

What are the origins of the state?

The origins of the state are partly hidden because many of the first states emerged in pre-historic times. Simple societies exist without states. City states emerged with the invention of agriculture. As technology expands, so does the state. New ideas such as sovereignty had to be invented for the state to be accepted. Thomas and Meyers point out those contemporary states emerge not in a vacuum but out of cultural conditions that influence their size and form.

What are the bases of power?

Power, the ability to realize one's will in a communal action even against the resistance of others rest either on the threat of physical force or the ability to offer valuable contingent upon compliance with commands.

What are the types of authority?

Authority is power legitimized by tradition, charisma or rational-legal institutions.

How do states differ?

States differ primarily in how equally they distribute political power and how much of the societies affairs they try to control. They also have important differences in ideology.

What is Oligarchy?

It is the dictatorial rule of the small, upper stratum.

What is pluralism?

The view that many relatively small groups have political power and that none dominates in general.

What is hegemony?

Hegemony is the situation in which one nation maintains a position of leadership or dominance over other nations.

What are codified norms?

Codified norms rules that have been written and published.

Questions on Deviance and Social Control

What do sociologists mean by social control and when do social controls influence behavior?

Social control is the means by which members of a society attempt to induce each other to comply with the society's norms. Social controls influence behavior constantly because they are internalized and come into play every time a person has a deviant impulse.

How do the various theories explain deviance?

Social -control theory argues that deviance is largely a matter of failed social controls. Merton believes that the strain between the norms that define socially appropriate goals and the norms that specify socially appropriate means for attaining these goals creates an atmosphere in which deviance will appear. Travis Hirschi says that persons with a weakened bond to their social group are likely to become deviant.

Differential association and cultural transmission theories propose that deviance is a natural outgrowth of a person's contacts during socialization and can be a part of a subculture that can be transmitted indefinitely. Conflict theory traces the origin of criminal behavior to class conflict between the powerful and the weak and sees criminals as reasonable individuals forced by circumstance to break laws in order to regain some of what has been taken from them or denied to them by an exploitative system. Functionalist theory proposes that deviance enhances feelings of unity within a society and helps define and redefine the norms. Labeling theory concentrates on the reactions of others to deviance and studies which offenders are likely to be punished rather than which are likely to commit deviant acts.Deterrance theory suggests that deviance increases as the perceived risk of being punished decreases and that people are more likely to be deviant if they think of themselves as deviant.

How might anomie create a climate for deviance?

Durkheim believed that an absence of clear norms for a society or an individual might create a social setting in which deviance will occur.

What is the difference between deviance and deviants?

Deviance is behavior that violates the norms of the social group in which the behavior occurs where as a deviant is one who is characterized as a violator of a norm. Engaging in deviant behavior does not automatically lead to a deviant reputation or self-image.

How the mentally ill are treated?

The mentally ill not only are treated as deviants but are feared. The fact that society treats them in this way increases their chances of being deviant in the future. The labeling of the mentally ill decreases their chances of future employment and of normal social relationships.

How does society define crime?

Crime is behavior that violates criminal law. It can be defined through laws, through official police reports of crime, or through victimization surveys of persons who have been involved in crime but perhaps not involved with the police department.

Who are the criminals and how are they treated by society?

A criminal is someone who has become publicly associated with commission of crime.

What distinguishes white collar crime and how might it be deterred?

White-collar crime is crime committed by a person of responsibility and high social status in the course of his or her occupation. It differs from conventional crime in that the victims may be unaware of the crime and the offender may not view himself as a criminal.Deterrence of white-collar crime by regulatory agencies and internalized controls in organizations appears to be most promising.
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13.0 Learning Outcome

13.1 Introduction

13.2 Initiatives towards Constitutional Status to Local Governance

13.2.1 Features of 73rd Constitutional Amendment

13.2.2 Features of 74th Constitutional Amendment

13.2.3 Decentralised Planning in Context of 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendment Act

13.3 Initiatives after Economic Reforms

13.4 Functioning of PRIs in Various States after 73rd Amendment

13.5 Functioning of Local Governance after 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendment: Observations

13.6 Conclusion

13.7 Key Concepts

13.8 References and Further Reading

13.9 Activities


After studying this Unit you should be able to:

• Identify the background of revitalisation of local governance;

• Understand the features of 73rd and 74th constitutional amendment;

• Discuss the initiatives after economic reforms; and

• Outlines the functioning of local governance in various states after the amendment.


The revitalization of Pancha…

General Studies :: Indian Polity #1

Constitutional evolution under British ruleRegulating Act 1773beginning of British parliamentary control over the East India Companysubordination of the presidencies of Bombay and Madras to BengalGovernor of Bengal made Governal-Generalcouncil of Governor-General establishedSupreme Court established in CalcuttaPitt’s India Act 1784commercial and political activities of the Company separatedestablished a board of control over the CompanyCharter Act 1813trade monopoly of the Company abolishedmissionaries allowed to preach in IndiaCharter Act 1833Governor-General of Bengal becomes Governor-General of Indiafirst Governor-General Lord William Bentickends commercial activities of the CompanyCharter Act 1853legislative and executive functions of the Governor-General’s council separatedopen competition for Indian Civil Services establishedIndian Council Act 1861establishes legislative councils at the centre, presidencies and provincesGovernor-General’s executive council to have Indians as non…

Q. What is the meaning of the terms like ‘Pardon’, ‘Reprieve’, ‘Respite’, ‘Remission’ and ‘Commutation’ with respect to the power of the President to grant pardon to convicted persons?

Ans. In terms of their scope and effect, these terms have specific connotations. The effect of Pardon is to abolish punishment and to absolve the convict of all charges. If Pardon is granted, it is assured as if the convict has not committed any crime. The convict will not face any disabilities due to the allegations and charges made against him. ‘Remission’ means reducing the punishment without changing the nature of punishment. For example, the imprisonment for 20 years may be reduced to the imprisonment for 10 years. ‘Commutation’ means reducing the punishment by changing the nature of punishment. For example, punishment to death may be changed to life imprisonment. ‘Respite’ means reducing or changing the nature of punishment in view of the specific facts and circumstances of the convict. For example, the punishment to death awarded to a pregnant woman, may be changed to simple life imprisonment. Respite means delay in execution of punishment especially that of death, in order to …