Introducing Western Sociologists - Solutions

 CBSE Class 11 Sociology

NCERT Solutions
Chapter 9
Introducing Western Sociologists

1. Why is the Enlightenment important for the development of sociology?

Ans. The Enlightenment is important for the development of sociology because:

  1. The late 17th and 18th centuries led to the emergence of radically new ways of thinking about the world referred to as "The Enlightenment".
  2. The new philosophies established the human being at the centre and rational thought as central feature of the human being.
  3. The ability to think rationally and critically transformed the individual human being into both the producer and the user of all knowledge, the 'knowing subject'.
  4. Only persons who could think and reason could be considered as a complete human being.
  5. To become the definite features of the human world, it was necessary to displace nature, religion and the divine acts of gods from the central position they had in earlier days of understanding the world.
  6. The Enlightenment thus helped to develop attitudes of the mind that is secular, scientific and humanistic. This thinking was important for the development of sociology

2. How was the Industrial Revolution responsible for giving rise to sociology?

Ans.The Industrial Revolution brought in new forms and functions that influenced that society resulting in major change in social life.

1. Capitalism: Capitalism developed as new form of economic activity where entrepreneurs were engaged in pursuit of profits. The growth of industrial manufacturing involved new institutions and attitudes and markets acted as the key instrument of productive life.
2. Degradation of labour: Work was brought outside from the protective realm of guild, village and family. This led to decline in the status of skilled craftsmen and common labourer.
3. New urban world: Mass migration of people into new urban world was marked by the overcrowded slums, grime of factories, new industrial working class, bad sanitation, new form of social interactions, etc.
4. Factory and mechanical division of labour: Factory was seen as a deliberate attempt to destroy the peasant, artisan, family and the local community. It was seen by some as a form of oppression and yet potentially liberating. It introduced the concept of collective functioning and continuous efforts for better conditions.
5. Clock time as the basis for social organisation: Production implied synchronisation of labour, on punctuality, steady pace and a new urgency to work. Thus the social organisation of people were organised by clock time.
6. Empirically informed scientific discussion about trends in social behaviour only became possible with the advent of modern industrial society. The scientific information generated by the state to monitor and maintain the health of its social body became the basis for reflection on society.

3. What are the various components of a mode of production?

Ans. A mode of production has the following components:

  1. Productive forces: Productive forces refer to all the means or factors of production such as land, labour, technology, sources of energy (such as electricity, coal, petroleum and so on).”
  2. Production relations: Production relations refer to all the economic relationships and forms of labour organisation which are involved in production.
  3. Superstructure: Other superstructure like religion, art, law, literature are built on the economic base. People's ideas and beliefs originated from the economic system.
  4. Class structure: Based on the relations to mode of production class structure is created. The bourgeoisie (Capitalists) who owns all the means of production and the working class who provides labour and are paid wages.
  5. Class conflicts: Economic processes generally tend to generate class conflicts, though this also depends on political and social conditions.

4. Why do classes come into conflict, according to Marx?

Ans. According to Karl Marx, classes in society are formed through historical processes shaped by transformations in the conditions of the production process and relation of existing class to it.

Changes in the mode of production (the production technology and the social relations of
production) develops conflicts between different classes which results in struggles. This leads
to conflict between the already existing classes.

The conflict between different class leads to class struggle that becomes the major driving
force of change in society. Thus, the history of all existing societies is considered to be the
history of class struggle.

In each era, a particular kind of class struggle evolves between the oppressor and oppressed classes. Major opposing classes of each stage were identified from the contradictions of the production process. However, the class struggle only develops when class consciousness develops amongst group members leading to conflict. That means when the oppressed class develops consciousness about the exploitation that they suffer and also a consciousness about the oppressor class.

The conflict that occurs due to class consciousness leads to class struggle where the oppressed class work towards fulfilling their rights. Such struggle finally becomes a revolution when the whole group of oppressed class joins in the struggle and finally overthrowing the old ruling class and formation of a new class.

5. What are social facts? How do we recognise them?

  • Social facts are collective representations which emerge from the association of people.
  • Social facts are social values like friendship or patriotism that exist in the larger society. Individuals functions according to these social facts. Thus, social facts are more important than the individual.
  • Social facts which are collective entity though composed of individuals are more important than the individuals at a different level that is termed as ‘emergent level’ by Durkheim.
  • Hence, it is more important to study the ‘emergent level’ (social facts) as the subject matter of sociology.
  • One of Durkheim's most significant achievements is his demonstration that sociology, a discipline that dealt with abstract entities like social facts, could nevertheless be a science founded on observable empirically verifiable evidence.
  • The most famous example of his use of new kind of empirical data is in his study of suicide.
  • Each individual case of suicide was specific to the individual and his/her circumstances.

6. What is the difference between 'mechanic' and 'organic' solidarity?
 Durkheim classified a society by the nature of social solidarity which existed in the society. He argued that while a primitive society was organised according to ‘mechanical’ solidarity, modern society was based on ‘organic’ solidarity.

Mechanical Solidarity

  1. It is founded on the similarity of its individual members and is found in societies with small populations.
  2. It involves a collection of different self-sufficient groups where each person within a particular group is engaged in similar activities or functions.
  3. Such societies have repressive laws designed to prevent deviation from community norms.The individual and the community were so tightly integrated that it was feared that any violation of codes of conduct could result in the disintegration of the community.

Organic Solidarity

  1. It characterises modern society and is based on the heterogeneity of its members.
  2. It is found in societies with large populations, where most social relationships necessarily have to be impersonal.
  3. Interdependence is the essence of organic solidarity. It celebrates individuals and allows for their need to be different from each other, and recognises their multiple roles and organic ties.

7. Show, with examples, how moral codes are indicators of social solidarity.


  • The social solidarity was to be found in the codes of conduct imposed on individuals by collective agreement.
  • Moral facts are phenomena like others; they consist of rules of action recognizable by certain distinctive characteristics, it must then be possible to observe them, describe them, classify them and look for certain laws explaining them.
  • Society, for Durkheim, was a social fact which existed as a moral community over and above the individual.
  • Social solidarity exerted pressure on individuals to conform to the norms and expectations of the group.
  • Moral codes are manifestations of particular social conditions.
  • The moral code that is appropriate for one society is inappropriate for another.
  • The prevailing social conditions could be deduced from the moral codes. This has made sociology akin to the natural sciences and is in keeping with his larger objective of establishing sociology as a rigorous scientific discipline.
  • By observing behaviour patterns it is possible to identify the norms, codes and social solidarity which governed them.
  • The existence of otherwise 'invisible' things like ideas, norms, values and so on could be empirically verified by studying the patterns of social behaviour of the people.

8. Discuss Durkheim's concept of collective conscience.


  • The concept of collective conscience is defined by Emile Durkheim as 'the body of beliefs and sentiments common to the average of members of the society. It contains those beliefs and sentiments which are found in the average members of society, e.g.., it is people's belief that poor should not be tortured, instead people should take care of them.
  • It comprised a form and content which varies according to whether society is characterised by mechanical or organic solidarity.
  • According to mechanical solidarity the collective conscience is extensive and strong widely related to people's life. It controls the people through various religious or other traditional means of sanction.
  • It emphasise the primacy of society over the individual and his or her dignity.
  • Gradually the collective conscience declined in its influence and became less extensive.
  • In the transition to organic solidarity this could be observed in the replacement of repressive by restitutive i.e., making amends of it by systems of law.
  • According to Durkheim, a society wide collective conscience can only hold a segmental society together.
  • The collective conscience becomes a diffuse, abstract cult of the individual which as a civil religion, supplies ultimate principles and justifications but cannot bear the whole weight of social cohesion.
  • Durkheim believes that collective conscience is in the beliefs and expresses itself in the form of symbols, e.g., the festival of Vijayadashmi represents the victory of good over evil. This belief can be seen in the concrete form m this festival.
  • The individual consciousness becomes subset of collective consciousness and therefore any violation of collective consciousness is labelled as revolt against whole society.
  • The influence of collective consciousness varies from society to society. It is more prevalent among mechanical societies, i.e., less advanced and highly religious societies. Its influence declines in the organic society, i.e., advanced societies which are highly secular.
  • The collective consciousness gets transferred from generation to generation through the process of socialisation.

9. What are the basic features of bureaucracy?

Ans. The basic features of bureaucracy are:

  1. Functioning of Officials. Within the bureaucracy officials have fixed areas of ‘official jurisdiction’ governed by rules, laws and administrative regulations. The regular activities of the bureaucratic organisation are distributed in a fixed way as official duties. Commands are issued by higher authorities for implementation by subordinates in a stable way, but the responsibilities of officials are strictly delimited by the authority available to them. As duties are to be fulfilled on a regular basis, only those who have the requisite qualifications to perform them are employed. Official positions in a bureaucracy are independent of the incumbent as they continue beyond the tenure of any occupant.
  2. Hierarchical Ordering of Positions. Authority and office are placed on a graded hierarchy where the higher officials supervise the lower ones. Hierarchical ordering of position allows scope of appeal to a higher official in case of dissatisfaction with the decisions of lower officials.
  3. Reliance on Written Document. The management of a bureaucratic organisation is carried out on the basis of written documents (the files) which are preserved as records. There is a need for unanimity in the decision making of the ‘bureau’ or office. It is also a part of the public domain which is separate from the private life of the officials.
  4. Office Management. As office management is a specialised and modern activity it requires trained and skilled personnel to conduct operations.
  5. Conduct in Office. As official activity demands the full time attention of officials irrespective of her/his delimited hours in office, hence an official’s conduct in office is governed by exhaustive rules and regulations. These separate her/ his public conduct from her/his behaviour in the private domain. Also since these rules and regulations have legal recognition, officials can be held accountable

10. Try to find out what Marx and Weber wrote about India.


  • Marx argued that people's ideas and beliefs originated from the economic system of which they were part.
  • Marx laid great emphasis on economic structure and processes because he believed that they formed the foundation of every social system throughout human history.
  • Marx believed that class struggle was the major driving force of change in society.
  • Weber argued that the overall objective of the social sciences was to develop an 'interpretative understanding of social action'.
  • The central concern of the social sciences was with social action and since human actions necessarily involved subjective meanings, the methods of enquiry of social science also had to be different from the methods of natural science.
  • The social world was founded on subjective human meanings, values, feelings, prejudices, ideals and so on.
  • Social scientists had to constantly practised 'empathetic understanding'. But this investigation has to be done objectively.
  • Sociologists are meant to describe, not judge, the subjective feelings of others.