Terms Concepts and Their Use in Sociology - Solutions

 CBSE Class 11 Sociology

NCERT Solutions
Chapter 2
Terms, Concepts and their use in Sociology

1. Why do we need to use special terms and concepts in sociology?

  • We need specific terms and concepts in sociology to understand our divergent views about how and why society exists.
  • The terms and concepts reflect the concern of social thinkers to understand and map the social changes. It reflects the concern that sociologists had in understanding the structured inequalities between groups and society.
  • Terms and concepts acts as tool of different ways to understand society. Sociology as a discipline allows coexistence of concepts that leads to divergence of views. For example, conflict theory versus the functionalist theory. This multiplicity of approaches is particularly acute in sociology. Or, how different thinkers explain society and its functioning.

2. As a member of society you must be interacting with and in different groups. How do you see these groups from a sociological perspective?
Social group refers to a collection of continuously interacting persons who share common interest, culture, values and norms within a given society. According to Horton and Hunt “Social groups are aggregates or categories of people who have a consciousness of membership and of interaction”.
The members of social group establish relationships on the basis of common characteristics and goals and influence each other. Social groups can thus be defined as an organised structure of two or more persons who interact with one another, have shared goals, are interdependent, and consider themselves as members of a group.

Groups have the following salient characteristics:

  • A social unit consisting of two or more individuals who perceive themselves as belonging to the group. This characteristic of the group helps in distinguishing one group from the other and gives the group its unique identity.
  • A collection of individuals who have common motives and goals. Groups function either working towards a given goal or away from certain threats facing the group.
  • Persistent interaction to provide continuity.
  • A stable pattern of interaction.
  • Acceptance of common norms and structures.
  • A collection of individuals who are interdependent on what one is doing may have consequences for others.
  • There is an organised structure by a set of roles, norms, status and cohesiveness.
    Social structure here refers to patterns of regular and repetitive interaction between individuals or groups. A social group thus refers to a collection of continuously interacting persons who share common interest, culture, values and norms within a given society.

3. What have you observed about the stratification system existing in your society? How are individual lives affected by stratification?
The term 'stratification' in sociology is usually applied to studies of structured social inequality i.e. studies of any systematic inequalities between groups of people, which arise as the unintended consequence of social processes and relationships. When we ask why there is poverty, why Dalits and women in India are disadvantaged, we are posing questions about social stratification.
The stratification system in our society denotes existence of structure, of inequality between different groups of Indian society. Indian society consists of a strata in hierarchy i.e. most favoured people at the top and least privileged people at the bottom of the society. Economic disparity leading to class system, caste system, etc. play significant role in stratification in Indian society.

  • In Indian caste stratification system, individual's status is ascribed by birth rather than individual's achievements and his/her contribution or his/her psychological attributes.
  • Against this stratification of Indian society there is a ray of hope. Due to economic growth, constitutional provision, urbanisation, industrialisation, education, easy communication and enlightened media our society is gradually changing towards betterment.
  • Stratification is a natural process of any society. As we know, society is a group. And group is an organised structure in which members have a status role.
  • Social stratification gets evolved to ensure that the most important position should be occupied by qualified people.
  • The roles refer to expectations which is dynamic and behavioural aspect of status. Status refers to position of each member in the society. The status of any member has an institutionalised role. The role becomes regularised, standardised and formalised in the society.
  • Social stratification begins from general assumption or based on the belief of functionalism that no society is classless or without stratification. The only thing required is coordination, balance, integration and development of everyone should be the objective of any healthy society.

4. What is social control? Do you think the modes of social control in different spheres of society are different? Discuss.
Social control refers to the various means used by a society to bring its recalcitrant or unruly members back into line. It is the social process, techniques and strategies by which the behaviours of individuals or a group are regulated.
It can be the use of force to regulate the behaviour of the individuals or enforcement of values in the individual to maintain order in society.
Social control varies from one society to another because each society has its own rules and norms. Different types of societies like individualistic society or collectivistic societies have different expectations (roles) from their members.
Indian cultural values and general standards of life are different from western individualistic society, therefore both the societies have different patterns of social control. We emphasise on socialisation whereas technologically advanced western society focuses on individual liberty.
Social control considers customs, traditions, rituals, rules and sub rules according to the social demands. Accordingly in that particular society, family system, marriage system, positive and negative conventions, religion and education systems develop. Members of that particular society should conform these systems. Society develops an appropriate social control for that particular society.