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Indian Administrative Service IAS Sociology Optional Paper 1- Section B




5. (a) Critically examine the relevance of Durkheim's views on religion in contemporary society.

Answer- Durkheim's views on religion remain relevant in contemporary society, particularly in the context of understanding the social functions of religion. Durkheim argued that religion is not just a personal belief system, but a social institution that plays a key role in creating and maintaining social solidarity and social order.

In contemporary society, religion continues to play a significant role in shaping individual and collective identity, providing a sense of community, and influencing social norms and values. Religious institutions continue to provide important social services, such as education, healthcare, and charitable work. However, Durkheim's views on religion are also subject to criticism. For example, some scholars argue that Durkheim's focus on the social functions of religion neglects the diversity of religious experiences and practices, and overlooks the potential for religion to be a source of conflict and social division. Moreover, Durkheim's theory does not account for the decline of religious belief and practice in many parts of the world, particularly in the Western world. While religion continues to play a significant role in many societies, its influence has been declining in many parts of the world, raising questions about the continued relevance of Durkheim's theory.

In addition, Durkheim's theory of religion has been criticized for neglecting the role of power and inequality in shaping religious beliefs and practices. For example, some scholars argue that religion can be used to reinforce existing power structures and legitimize social inequality, rather than promoting social solidarity and equality.

In conclusion, while Durkheim's views on religion continue to be relevant in contemporary society, they should be examined critically and in light of the diverse and complex religious experiences and practices found in contemporary society. By recognizing the potential for religion to both promote social solidarity and to be a source of conflict and inequality, we can better understand the role of religion in contemporary society and work towards creating a more just and equitable world.


5.b. Discuss various theoretical perspectives on the family.

Answer- There are several theoretical perspectives on the family that provide different explanations of the roles and functions of families. These perspectives include:

1. Functionalism: This perspective views the family as a social institution that serves important functions for society, such as the socialization of children, regulation of sexual behavior, and providing emotional support. According to functionalists, families are essential for maintaining social order and stability, and they contribute to the smooth functioning of society.




2. Conflict theory: This perspective views the family as a source of conflict and power struggles between individuals and groups. Conflict theorists argue that families are characterized by inequality, with some members having more power and control than others. They also suggest that the family can reinforce social inequalities, such as gender, race, and class inequalities.

3. Symbolic interactionism: This perspective emphasizes the role of symbols, meanings, and interactions in shaping family life. Symbolic interactionists view the family as a social construction that is constantly being created and recreated through everyday interactions between family members. They also suggest that individuals actively negotiate and define their roles and relationships within the family.

4. Feminist theory: This perspective focuses on gender inequalities and power imbalances within the family. Feminist theorists argue that families are patriarchal, with men holding more power and authority than women. They also suggest that gender roles and expectations are learned within the family and can reinforce gender inequalities in society.

5. Social exchange theory: This perspective emphasizes the importance of rational decision-making in family relationships. Social exchange theorists suggest that individuals weigh the costs and benefits of their actions within the family, and make decisions based on what they believe will bring them the most rewards or the least costs.

6. Family systems theory: This perspective views the family as a complex system made up of interdependent parts. Family systems theorists suggest that changes or disruptions in one part of the system can affect the entire family. They also emphasize the importance of understanding family dynamics and patterns of communication in order to promote healthy family functioning. Overall, these different theoretical perspectives provide a range of explanations and insights into the complex nature of family life. b. Explain the implications of feminization of work in developing societies.

Answer- The "feminization of work" refers to the trend of increasing participation of women in paid employment, particularly in developing societies. This trend has important implications for both women and society as a whole. Here are some of the key implications:



1. Economic empowerment: The feminization of work can contribute to women's economic empowerment and independence. When women earn their own income, they gain greater control over their lives and are better able to support themselves and their families. This can lead to increased gender equality and reduced poverty. 2. Social change: The feminization of work can also lead to social change. When more women enter the workforce, they challenge traditional gender roles and expectations, and may help to shift attitudes towards gender equality. This can have a ripple effect on other aspects of society, such as family dynamics, education, and political participation.

3. Health and well-being: The feminization of work can have both positive and negative effects on women's health and well-being. On the one hand, paid employment can provide women with access to healthcare, social networks, and other resources that can improve their health. On the other hand, working in low-paying or precarious jobs can be stressful and lead to poor health outcomes.

4. Childcare and family responsibilities: Women who work outside the home often face challenges in balancing their work and family responsibilities. In many cases, women are expected to take on the majority of childcare and household tasks, even when they are also working full-time. This can lead to stress, exhaustion, and limited opportunities for career advancement.

5. Gender inequality: Despite the benefits of the feminization of work, women in developing societies still face significant gender inequality in the workplace. They often earn lower wages than men for the same work, are concentrated in low-paying and precarious jobs, and may face discrimination and harassment. This highlights the need for policies and initiatives that promote gender equality in the workplace.

In summary, the feminization of work has significant implications for women and society as a whole. While it can contribute to women's economic empowerment and social change, it can also create challenges related to balancing work and family responsibilities and can perpetuate gender inequality in the workplace c. Write a note on global trends of secularization.

Answer- Secularization refers to the process by which religious beliefs, practices, and institutions lose their significance and influence in society. This trend has been observed in many parts of the world, particularly in industrialized and post-industrial societies. Here are some of the key global trends of secularization:

1. Declining religious affiliation: One of the most significant global trends of secularization is the decline in religious affiliation. This is particularly evident in Europe and North America, where large numbers of people identify as non-religious or "nones". In some countries, such as Sweden and the Czech Republic, more than half of the population identifies as non-religious.

2. Decreased religious participation: In addition to declining religious affiliation, there has been a decrease in religious participation. Fewer people attend religious services, participate in religious rituals, or engage in religious practices such as prayer and meditation. This trend is most pronounced among younger generations.

3. Changing attitudes towards religion: There has also been a shift in attitudes towards religion, with many people becoming more skeptical or critical of religious institutions and beliefs. This is reflected in the rise of atheism, agnosticism, and skepticism, as well as the increasing popularity of secular and humanist values.

4. Increasing religious diversity: While secularization has led to a decline in the influence of traditional religions, it has also led to the growth of alternative spiritualities and new religious movements. This is particularly evident in countries such as Japan, where people are increasingly turning to practices such as yoga, meditation, and mindfulness.

5. Global variations: While secularization is a global trend, there are significant variations across different regions and cultures. In some parts of the world, such as Africa and the Middle East, religion continues to play a central role in society and culture. In other parts of the world, such as Latin America and Asia, there is a growing religious diversity, with people practicing a range of traditional and new spiritualities.

In summary, secularization is a complex and multifaceted global trend that reflects changing attitudes toward religion and spirituality. While it has led to a decline in traditional religious institutions and practices in many parts of the world, it has also led to the growth of alternative spiritualities and new religious movements.



d. Trace the trajectory of development perspectives on social change. Answer- Perspectives on social change have evolved over time and have been shaped by a range of different factors, including changes in the political, economic, and social context, as well as shifts in academic and intellectual paradigms. Here is a brief overview of the main trajectories of development perspectives on social change:

  1. Modernization theory: This perspective emerged in the 1950s and 1960s as a response to the post-World War II economic boom and the perceived success of the Western model of industrialization and modernization. Modernization theory posited that social change is an evolutionary process that is driven by economic growth, technological advancement, and the spread of Western values and institutions. According to this perspective, countries that adopt Western-style development models will eventually achieve modernization and prosperity.

  2. Dependency theory: This perspective emerged in the 1960s and 1970s as a critique of modernization theory and the perceived limitations of the Western model of development. Dependency theory posited that social change is shaped by the relationships between developed and underdeveloped countries and that the economic and political domination of the West over the developing world hinders their ability to achieve true independence and self-determination.

  3. World systems theory: This perspective emerged in the 1970s and was built on the insights of dependency theory. World systems theory posited that social change is driven by the interplay between different regions and countries within a global economic system and that the dynamics of this system create winners and losers. According to this perspective, the global economic system is characterized by a core-periphery structure, with wealthy countries in the core and poorer countries in the periphery.

  4. Postmodern and poststructuralist perspectives: These perspectives emerged in the late 20th century and emphasized the importance of cultural, linguistic, and symbolic dimensions of social change. Postmodern and poststructuralist theorists posited that social change is not a linear, predictable process, but is instead shaped by complex and contingent interactions between different actors and forces. These perspectives also emphasized the importance of power relations and the ways in which they shape social change.

  5. Human development perspective: This perspective emerged in the late 20th century and emphasized the importance of people-centered development. The human development perspective posited that social change should be focused on enhancing the capabilities and well-being of people, rather than simply increasing economic growth. According to this perspective, social change should be guided by principles of human rights, social justice, and sustainability.



Overall, the trajectory of development perspectives on social change has shifted from a focus on economic growth and modernization to a more nuanced understanding of the complex interplay between economic, political, cultural, and environmental factors. Today, many scholars and practitioners advocate for a more holistic and inclusive approach to social change that takes into account the diverse needs and aspirations of people around the world


6.(a) According to Mead the idea of self develops when the individual becomes self-conscious. Explain.


Answer- According to George Herbert Mead, the idea of self develops when an individual becomes self-conscious. Self-consciousness is the ability to reflect on oneself as an object and to take oneself as an object of thought. It involves the ability to imagine oneself from the standpoint of another person and to see oneself as others see us.


Mead argues that self-consciousness arises through the process of social interaction. As we interact with others, we begin to take on the perspective of others and to see ourselves as they see us. We begin to develop a sense of how we appear to others and to anticipate their reactions to our behavior. This allows us to reflect on ourselves as objects and to form a sense of self that is based on how we imagine others perceive us.


Mead also argues that self-consciousness requires the ability to use language. Language allows us to use symbols to represent ourselves and to communicate with others about ourselves. Through language, we can create a narrative about ourselves that reflects our sense of self and our identity.

In summary, Mead argues that the idea of self develops when an individual becomes self-conscious, which requires the ability to reflect on oneself as an object, take on the perspective of others, and use language to represent oneself. Self-consciousness emerges through social interaction and allows us to develop a sense of self that is based on how we imagine others perceive us


6.(b) Analyse the nature of the transition from ideology to identity politics in India.


Answer- The transition from ideology to identity politics in India has been a gradual process that has taken place over several decades. Initially, Indian politics was dominated by ideological differences between political parties, with each party representing a particular political philosophy or economic ideology. However, with the increasing importance of identity-based politics, there has been a shift towards political mobilization based on identity markers such as caste, religion, language, and ethnicity.

One major factor that contributed to this shift was the rise of regional parties in India. Regional parties emerged as a response to the dominance of national parties, and they often represented the interests of specific regions or communities. These parties mobilized voters on the basis of their regional or ethnic identity, rather than on ideological grounds. This led to the fragmentation of the political landscape in India and a greater emphasis on identity politics.


Another factor that contributed to the rise of identity politics in India was the Mandal Commission report in 1980, which recommended quotas for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in government jobs and educational institutions. This led to the emergence of OBC politics, with parties representing the interests of OBC communities gaining significant political power.


The demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992 and the subsequent communal riots also contributed to the rise of identity politics in India. The event polarized the Hindu and Muslim communities and led to the emergence of Hindu nationalist politics, which sought to represent the interests of the majority Hindu community.


The nature of identity politics in India is complex and often involves a combination of caste, religion, language, and ethnic identities. Political parties use these identity markers to mobilize voters and to build electoral coalitions. However, identity politics has also led to social fragmentation and polarization, with communities pitted against each other and political parties exploiting these divisions for electoral gain.


In conclusion, the transition from ideology to identity politics in India has been a gradual process that has been shaped by a range of factors, including the rise of regional parties, the Mandal Commission report, and communal tensions. While identity politics has allowed marginalized communities to gain political power and representation, it has also contributed to social fragmentation and polarization in India.


6. (c) How do little tradition and great tradition coexist in contemporary Indian society?


Answer- The coexistence of little tradition and great tradition is a prominent feature of contemporary Indian society. The concept of little tradition refers to local, regional, and folk traditions that are unique to a particular community or region, while great tradition refers to the broader cultural and religious traditions that are shared across the country.

In contemporary India, little tradition and great tradition coexist in a number of ways. One of the most significant ways is through the process of syncretism, which refers to the blending of different cultural and religious traditions. This process is often seen in religious practices, where local customs and rituals are incorporated into broader religious traditions.


For example, in Hinduism, local deities and folk traditions are often incorporated into the broader pantheon of Hindu gods and goddesses. Similarly, in Islam, local customs and traditions are often integrated into the broader Islamic religious practices.


Another way that little tradition and great tradition coexist in contemporary India is through the use of technology and media. Advances in technology and the widespread use of media platforms have allowed local and regional traditions to reach a broader audience. This has led to the preservation and promotion of little traditions, while also allowing them to coexist with the great tradition.


Furthermore, the coexistence of little tradition and great tradition is also evident in the political and social spheres. Political parties often use regional and local identity markers to mobilize voters, while also promoting the broader cultural and religious traditions of India.


In summary, the coexistence of little tradition and great tradition in contemporary India is a complex and dynamic process. This is evident in the blending of different cultural and religious traditions, the use of technology and media, and the promotion of local and regional identity markers in the political and social spheres. While there are challenges to this coexistence, it remains a significant feature of Indian society


7.(a) Critically analyse Parsons views on society as a social system.


Answer- Talcott Parsons was a prominent sociologist in the mid-twentieth century who developed a systems approach to understanding society. His view of society as a social system was heavily influenced by the work of earlier sociologists such as Durkheim and Weber, and he sought to develop a comprehensive theoretical framework for understanding the complex relationships and processes that make up society.


Parsons' view of society as a social system can be seen as both a strength and a weakness. On the one hand, his systems approach provided a comprehensive theoretical framework for understanding the complex interrelationships between different social institutions and processes. He argued that society is made up of interconnected systems such as the economy, politics, education, and religion, and that these systems are interdependent and work together to maintain social order.


Furthermore, Parsons argued that social systems are characterized by certain functional imperatives, which are necessary for the smooth functioning of society. These imperatives include adaptation, goal attainment, integration, and latency. He argued that these imperatives must be fulfilled in order for society to function effectively and to maintain social order.


However, there are several criticisms of Parsons' view of society as a social system. Firstly, some argue that his approach is too abstract and theoretical, and does not adequately capture the lived experiences of individuals and groups within society. Critics argue that Parsons' focus on the functional imperatives of society ignores the diversity of social experiences and the conflicts and tensions that exist within society.

Secondly, Parsons' approach has been criticized for being overly conservative and maintaining the status quo. Some argue that his focus on social integration and social order ignores the potential for social change and the role that conflict and tension play in driving social change.


Finally, Parsons' view of society as a social system has been criticized for being too deterministic, in that it assumes that social systems will inevitably adapt and maintain social order. Critics argue that this approach fails to take into account the agency of individuals and groups in shaping social change and transformation.


In conclusion, while Parsons' view of society as a social system provided a comprehensive theoretical framework for understanding the complex interrelationships between different social institutions and processes, it has also been criticized for being too abstract, conservative, and deterministic. Critics argue that his focus on social order and integration ignores the potential for social change and the agency of individuals and groups in shaping society.


7. (b) Discuss how 'environmentalism' can be explained with new social movements approach.


Answer- Environmentalism can be explained through the lens of the new social movements (NSMs) approach, which emphasizes the role of identity and values in shaping collective action.


According to NSM theory, environmentalism is a response to the perceived threats to the natural world and its ecosystems, as well as the human communities that depend on them. Environmentalism seeks to challenge the dominant values and structures that prioritize economic growth and industrial development over ecological sustainability and social justice.





NSMs emphasize the importance of non-institutionalized forms of collective action, such as protests, boycotts, and other forms of direct action. Environmentalism is often characterized by these types of actions, as well as more institutionalized forms of political engagement, such as lobbying and electoral campaigns.


Environmentalism is also closely tied to identity and lifestyle, with many environmentalists identifying as members of a distinct subculture with shared values and practices. This identity-based approach to environmentalism is reflected in the emphasis on personal consumption choices, such as choosing to use reusable bags or drive an electric car.


Overall, the NSM approach helps us to understand how environmentalism is a product of social and cultural processes, rather than simply a response to objective environmental problems. By emphasizing the role of identity and values in shaping collective action, NSM theory provides a valuable framework for understanding the complex social and political dynamics that underpin environmentalism


7. (c) Illustrate with examples the role of pressure groups in the formulation of social policies.


Answer- Pressure groups are organizations that seek to influence social policies by bringing public attention to specific issues and advocating for change. These groups represent the interests of various social, economic, and political groups, and their activities can play an important role in the formulation of social policies. Here are a few examples of how pressure groups have influenced social policy:

  1. Civil rights groups: Civil rights groups such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) played a crucial role in the formulation of social policies in the United States. By organizing protests, sit-ins, and other nonviolent actions, these groups put pressure on the government to enact laws that addressed racial discrimination, such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

  2. Environmental groups: Environmental pressure groups such as Greenpeace and the Sierra Club have been influential in shaping environmental policies. Through lobbying, public awareness campaigns, and direct action, these groups have successfully pushed governments to adopt policies that address issues such as climate change, pollution, and deforestation.

  3. Labor unions: Labor unions represent the interests of workers and have historically played a crucial role in the formulation of social policies related to labor rights. Through collective bargaining and other forms of advocacy, unions have successfully secured policies such as minimum wage laws, worker safety regulations, and protections for collective bargaining.

  4. Women's rights groups: Women's rights groups such as the National Organization for Women (NOW) have been instrumental in shaping social policies related to gender equality. By organizing protests, lobbying lawmakers, and raising public awareness, these groups have successfully advocated for policies such as equal pay for equal work, reproductive rights, and anti-discrimination laws.

Overall, pressure groups play a critical role in the formulation of social policies. By advocating for their interests and raising public awareness of important issues, these groups can influence government policy and make a significant impact on society.


8.(a) Sociologists argue for the democratization of science and technology for inclusive development. Comment.


Answer- The democratization of science and technology refers to the idea that the benefits of scientific and technological progress should be accessible to all members of society, regardless of their socioeconomic status, race, gender, or other factors. This concept has gained prominence in recent years as scholars, policymakers, and activists have called for more inclusive and equitable forms of development.


Sociologists argue that the democratization of science and technology is essential for inclusive development because it can promote social justice, reduce inequality, and empower marginalized communities. Here are a few reasons why:

  1. Access to knowledge: Science and technology are often viewed as exclusive domains that are only accessible to a select few. By democratizing access to scientific knowledge and technological tools, marginalized communities can gain greater access to information, resources, and opportunities.

  2. Participation in decision-making: The democratization of science and technology also means that marginalized communities should have a say in how these technologies are developed and used. This can help to ensure that the benefits of scientific progress are distributed more equitably and that the needs and perspectives of marginalized communities are taken into account.

  3. Addressing social problems: Sociologists argue that scientific and technological progress should be directed toward addressing social problems such as poverty, inequality, and environmental degradation. By democratizing science and technology, more people can participate in the development of solutions to these problems, and the benefits of scientific progress can be shared more broadly.

  4. Ethical considerations: Finally, sociologists argue that the democratization of science and technology is essential to ensure that ethical considerations are taken into account in the development and use of these technologies. By involving a diverse range of stakeholders in the development of scientific and technological innovations, ethical issues can be identified and addressed more effectively.

Overall, the democratization of science and technology is an important concept that can help to promote inclusive development and address social inequalities. By ensuring that scientific progress is accessible, participatory, and focused on addressing social problems, we can create a more just and equitable society.


8. (b) Are traditional social institutions getting weakened as agents of social change in contemporary society? Substantiate.


Answer- Traditional social institutions, such as family, religion, education, and community organizations, have played significant roles as agents of social change in the past. However, in contemporary society, it can be argued that these institutions are getting weakened and are not as effective in driving social change as they once were.


One reason for this weakening is the increased individualism and secularization of modern society. People are increasingly focused on their own individual goals and interests rather than the collective good. Religion, which used to be a powerful force for social change, has also lost much of its influence, as more people become non-religious or follow non-traditional spiritual paths.


Additionally, technology has fundamentally transformed how we communicate and interact with one another, leading to a decline in face-to-face interactions and community involvement. As a result, traditional community organizations, such as churches and clubs, are struggling to maintain their relevance and influence.


Moreover, the rise of the internet and social media has changed the nature of social change movements. People are more likely to organize online, which can be effective in some ways, but may lack the personal connections and deep relationships that are necessary for sustained and meaningful change.


In conclusion, while traditional social institutions have played important roles in driving social change in the past, their effectiveness has been weakened in contemporary society. The reasons for this include increased individualism and secularization, technological advancements, and changes in how social change movements are organized and sustained


8. (c) How do you understand the relationship between patriarchy and social development?


Answer- The relationship between patriarchy and social development is complex and often contentious. Patriarchy refers to a social system where men hold primary power and authority over women, and this system can have significant impacts on social development.


On the one hand, patriarchy can impede social development by limiting women's opportunities for education, employment, and political participation. When women are excluded from these spheres, it can hinder the overall development of society as a whole. Research has shown that empowering women and promoting gender equality can lead to better outcomes in areas such as health, education, and economic growth.





On the other hand, some argue that patriarchal values and institutions can also contribute to social development in certain contexts. For example, in some traditional societies, the family structure and gender roles are highly structured, and men are expected to provide for their families and protect their communities. In such contexts, patriarchal values may be seen as promoting stability and order, which can be beneficial for social development.


However, even in these cases, it is important to recognize the negative impacts of patriarchy, such as limiting women's opportunities and perpetuating gender-based violence and discrimination. Ultimately, promoting gender equality and challenging patriarchal values and institutions is essential for achieving sustainable and inclusive social development.




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