Sociology – Daily Answer Writing Challenge Day – 16

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QUESTIONS: 09/11/2013

  1.  Explain Karl Marx’s analysis of capitalistic mode of production and class-struggle. What are the intellectual reactions to his views? (300 Words)
  2. What is the focus of sociological analysis in the contributions of Emile Durkheim? Give your answer with the help of any one of his contributions.(300 Words)
  3. Explain the origin and characteristics of bureaucracy according to Max Weber. Illustrate the structural sources of dysfunctions of bureaucracy. (300 Words)
  4.  How does social structure produce a strain toward anomie and deviant behaviour? Examine it with reference to Robert K. Merton’s contribution to this field of study. (300 Words)


  • Vijay Pateriya

    Karl Marx through Historical Materialism traced the developement of society in stages based on modes of production.These started from primitive communism and now in capitalistic mode.He proposed communism to be yet future development stage of society and would be achieved through revolution as a result of class struggle.

    Marx saw societal relations mainly as production relations.According to him in every society there are diffrent classes based on forces of production and relations of production or ultimately depends on mode of production prevailing.His main focus was on Capitalistic society.According to him,in capitalistic society forces of production are owned by a handful of minority,called capitalist whereas majority forms proletariat which just posses their labor.These classes are contradictory to each other where capitalist owing to their control on forces of productions exploits the proletariat.Hence two opposite classes develop Bourgeoise and Proletariat.

    Marx stated that during earlier stages of societal development the transition from one stage to another was the result of contradictory balance between forces of production and relations of production. Forces of production advanced while relations of production lagged.This manifests in class struggle and thus change of developmental stage.

    For capitalistic society,he emphasized that once the Proletariat group become conscious of its being,once a sense of class-for-itself develops.He stated pauperization and growing solidarity be the cause for class consciousness,A revolution will erupt which will bring about the change in society leading it to Primitive communism.There will be no contradiction between classes as the forces of production would be communally owned and surplus will be distributed accordingly.

    Functionalist,as they see every part of society as a functional unit discarded Marx prophecy of revolution as according to them each society have its own checks and balances to maintain stability.

    Clark Kerr through his observation of Embourgeoisement refuted Marx’s pauperization.Weber also agreed with Marx ondivision of classes based on market forces but instead of only two he stated four classes.Further he also maintained that class conciousness is difficult formulation in complex societies.

    Frank Parkin studies of Eastern Europe further dismantled Marx theory where he showed the prevalence of classes was still prevalent.

    Though Marx attracted criticism from all corners but even today when any society faces any kind of revolution one at least for once tries to trace it through Marxism.

  • Vijay Pateriya

    Answer should be seen less first para.
    I crossed word limit by around 100 words but less first para which i dont think is relevant its within limits.

  • Vijay Pateriya

    How does social structure produce a strain toward anomie and deviant behaviour? Examine it with reference to Robert K. Merton’s contribution to this field of study. (300 Words)

    The individuals in order to satisfy theie needs enters into interaction with each other,develops certain norms and values inthe process.Thus forms group this group further developes collective goals and values,defines roles and behaviour of its members thus forms social structure.Thus every social structure have group of person trying to achieve certain values through society’s predefined legitimate means.

    In every society there are persons who wants to achieve societal values and goals but does’nt have access to its defined means.Hence a sort of strain develops due to one’s inability to have access to these means,a kind of anomie prevails.This gets manifested into a deviant behaviour.

    Merton stated that in respect of American society emphasis is on money building.But without legitimate means the corresponding emphasis on monetary success leads to deviance.He defined five types of oppurtunities present in society as Conformity,Innovation,Ritualism,Retreatism,Rebellion.

    Conformity results when one has access to both societal goals as well as means.
    Innovation refers to want of goals but without access to defined means.
    Ritualism is access to means but forfiet of goals.
    Retreatism is the rejection of both goals as well as means.
    Rebellion is rejection and substitution of both goals and means.

    According to Merton,anomie results when there is mismatch of goals and means.Thus Innovation and Ritualism are cited as the cases of pure anomie.

    As a result of anomie person’s behaviour doent corresponds to group(society)defined behaviour and thus referred to as deviance.
    Hence societal structure is the main inductor of deviance.It contains in itself certain contradictions where one may seek to achieve goals but without access to means for ex.theft or one may accept and access the means but rejects goals.

    • Maneesh

      …simply say…wow…!!!

  • Neeti

    Origin of bureaucracy according to Max Weber-According to Max Weber there is a close affinity between bureaucracy and democracy,and where democracy exists,it becomes essential to have an efficient and effective bureaucracy.Weber viewed bureaucracy as a dialectical helper and companion of democracy as handing over the reign to a class of unelected experts would undermine the importance of democracy.
    Max Weber,A German Sociologist was a pioneer of classical organization theory.For him “bureaucracy” was a shorthand for all modern organizations-public or private organized according to the rationalized principles of modernity.He opines that in a bureaucratic setup,individuals have highly specialized tasks and there are unique pressures such as social,cultural,political,linguistic,psychological that shape the bureaucrat’s life.They aim at control and efficiency as in its a system of discipline where leaders exercise control over others..Max Weber displayed certain characteristics of Bureaucracy-1) specialization or division of labor to accomplish complex goals in organisation 2) hierarchy-administrators formal authority is derived from the position he/she holds in the organization.The top person in power controls all levels and it is done so in order to achieve organizational goals. 3).the strict structure of power requires control by rules and regulations as bureaucratic structure comprises of individuals coming from different cultures and backgrounds,thus in this way they all come under the same formal supervision. 4).Qualification and formal selection-each position in bureaucracy requires technical ability,thus it requires certain employment standards and these officials also get a tenure of position after a trial period. .It also acts as a shield from dismissal. 5).Max Weber puts uniform policies and procedures ahead of all personalities so that all individuals be treated in same manner,thus impersonality is another characteristic of bureaucracy .6).separation of public and private life in terms of interests and finances,written record-taping.
    Structural dysfunctions of bureaucracy were highlighted as well-An authority of a superior body details about the stringent rules and regulations which an ordinary customer may find rigid.Thus the assistance provided to the customer would seem to them to be unfair.And also the creation of new rules would also increase complexity this disrupting the coordination of organisation,it may seem obstructive to progress and may also give rise to fraudulent reporting.Impersonal function of the organisaton may create a feeling amongst the customers of an uncaring attitude as an organization is set up to deal with the mass market and not cater to the needs of a single person.It can also create internal competition wherein every department or individual wants to prove itself better than the other and in this effort tends to sabotage the initiatives of others and also leads organization stagnation.

  • Satya Brat

    2.What is the focus of sociological analysis in the contributions of Emile Durkheim? Give your answer with the help of any one of his contributions.(300 Words)
    Ans. The core ideas of Durkheim’s sociological analysis are :
    1. social realism 2.studying social phenomenon in line with positive science.
    Let us understand both the points using his study of suicide.
    Durkheim said that social reality has its own independent existence ie; sui generis. When individuals form collective,phenomenon which occur is more than mere sum of individuals and also independent of them.This he called social facts.Like suicide seems to be a very personal act.But according to Durkheim suicide is a social phenomenon.
    Since social facts have their own objective existence and they are observable so scientific methods can be applied on them.Social facts should be studied empirically. He tried to demonstrate this in suicide in following ways :
    1.He collected data of suicide across societies and within a society for different periods.
    2.He rejected pre-conceived notions on suicide.
    3.He gave an unambiguous definition of suicide and tried to find out whether data supported his definition.
    Durkheim said that social facts should be causally and socially explained.Suicide has fixed rate for a society provided there are no drastic changes.This was his causal explanation of suicide.Moreover suicidal currents are collective tendencies which dominates over individuals with psychic predisposition.This was sociological explanation.
    He gave two determining forces which originates from society and leading to suicide are : 1. degree of integration of regulation. When regulation is very high it leads to fatalistic type of suicide.If very low it leads to anomic type.When integration is high it leads to altruistic type and when low it is egoistic type.
    So Durkheim empirically proved that suicide is a social phenomenon rather than an individual act.Though he was criticized for showing extreme social realism and applying objective methods to subjective phenomenon.Nevertheless Durkheim work gave solid foundation to sociology.

    • gauri

      Good answer.

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