Showing posts with label Basic Concepts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Basic Concepts. Show all posts

Friday, 14 January 2022

Social Institutions 

Institutions are the building blocks of society, which made society, fulfills social needs and maintains social order. Due to its closeness to society and individual it is an important concept in social sciences like Sociology, Anthropology, Political Science, Economics etc. Institutions are not an individual concept it is a social concept. Social institutions are helps to maintain social order and social existence. It is mainly fulfills the social needs. It simply means the complex set of social norms, beliefs, values and role relationship that arise in response to the needs of society. Society is the subject matter of sociology and society is made out of social institutions like family, marriage, caste, religion, education etc. so it has very importance in sociology. Even though the concept has some complexities sociologists differently conceptualize it those are given below;

Definition  of Social Institutions

  1. MacIver and Page define “social institution is the established forms or conditions of procedure characteristics of group activity.”  

  2. Ian Robertson defines “an institution is a stable cluster of values, norms, status, roles and groups that develops around a basic social need.”  

  3. Horton and Hunt define “an institution is an organized system of social relationship which embodies certain common values and procedures and meets certain needs of the society.” 

These three sociologists similarly conceptualize social institution as the established forms of values, norms. Especially the institutions are the norms regulating the behaviour of individuals and help to fulfill the social needs like, family provides a code of conduct for regulate the behaviour and family fulfills the needs of individuals, marriage another institution, facilitates union of two individuals and give room for reproduction, religion a social institution regulate the behaviour of individual. Hence institutions are norms that are codified in different heads like family, marriage, caste, religion etc. 

Features of Social Institutions 

Social institutions are the inevitable part of society and individual, which in found in all societies in all times. It has certain features which are given below

  1. Satisfaction of specific needs: 

Institutions are the established forms of laws which help to satisfy the needs of individual. For example family is a primary institution which satisfies certain needs like affection, economic, security etc.

  1. Prescription of rules: 

Institutions are the sources of prescription of rules. It provides certain rules for behaving like religion provide certain rules for controlling the behaviour.

  1. Abstractness: 

Institutions are neither visible nor tangible. Individuals cannot see the institutions but they can experience it.

  1. Cultural symbols: 

Culture is a way of life. Institutions are the symbols which expresses certain lifestyles so it is the cultural symbols.

  1. Universality: 

Social institutions although in different forms are found in all societies in all times in primitive and modern societies. 

  1. Social in nature: 

Institutions are not individual phenomena. It is exist among group so they are social phenomena.

  1. Institutions are the controlling mechanisms: 

Institutions are set of norms or rules which act as the controlling mechanisms. Institutions like family, marriage, religion, caste etc. provide certain rules for controlling the behaviour and interaction pattern of individuals.

  1. Institutions are relatively permanent: 

The sudden changes are not commonly reflected in social institutions. The slow changes are found institutions and therefore they are relatively permanent.

  1. Oral and written: 

In early period the institutions are mainly oral, there have no a developed language for record the rules. Certain rules are transmitted through communication like recognize and respect others. Certain rules are written, like constitution and other written laws.

  1. Institutions are interrelated: 

All institutions are related to each other. Family, marriage, caste, kinship, religion etc. are related to each other for maintenance of social order. 

Social institutions are the established forms of norms and rules. Society cannot exist without social institutions. It helps to maintain social order. It also helps to social growth and capable to become a welfare society. 

Significance of Social Institutions 

Social institutions have certain function in society which helps to the smooth functioning of society. It is a universal phenomenon, exists in all societies in all periods of history.

  1. It helps to maintain social order and social welfare

  2. It helps to social growth

  3. It works as a control mechanism

  4. Social institutions are the inevitable part of society

  5. It controls social interaction of individual 

Types of Social Institutions 

Social institutions are classified into primary institutions and secondary institutions on the basis of the nature and characteristics of them. Primary institutions are the most basic type, which helps to fulfill our basic needs like food, clothing and shelter. Family, marriage, kinship, religion etc are important examples of primary institution. Secondary institutions are another type of social institutions which helps to fulfill the secondary needs like education entertainment, economic needs. It is mainly support the primary institutions for the fulfillment of the primary needs. Economy, political institutions, education etc. are the major secondary institutions commonly found in society. 

Characteristics of Indian Culture 

Indian society consists of vast diversity, this will give us the content to understand the knowledge about the distinctive cultural values related to Indian culture to students in a different discipline. They should know the age-old traditions and multiple cultures which has enriched the Indian Society even in cultural diversity. 

Indian Society: 

  1. Its composition and Diversity: 

Indian society has an inherent compactness; unity. The bond of unity may be termed as Indian culture. This cultural factor is not recent achievement. It has grown since the birth of Indian civilization. Man creates civilization. He is also the maker of his society. Society and culture are interconnected with social consciousness also comes culture awareness. A tradition develops covering many aspects of man’s life. His emotion, feeling, sentiment, belongingness, possessiveness create society. Simultaneously his creativity, finer sense of mind, thinking faculties create culture. Indian society is Indian culture and vice-versa. Both has been interlinked by certain value systems. What binds together Indian society is a very pertinent question. 

  1. Indian has its geographical identity:

With the Himalayas in the North, Indian Ocean in the South. The Bay of Bengal in the East and Arabian Sea in the west is a vast subcontinent. There are perennial rivers like the Gange, Barhamputra, Narmada, Mahanadi, Godavari, Kaveri and Krishna enjoying huge flows of water and social respect for their support to human civilization. This great land is called Bharatbarsha. 

A unique synthesis of cultures, languages, religions, castes and communities has upheld, its unity and integrity despite its diversities. Unity and integrity has been maintained despite sharp economic and social inequalities. In fact, India i.e., Bharat is a panorama of its own type without a parallel in the world. Our early people called their county as ‘Bharat Varsha’i.e the country of Bharat and his progeny a famous kind of Puranic age. The Kind Bharat was the son of King Dushyanta and Sakuntala Bharat Varsha is supposed to be part of an island continent known as Jambu Dwipa, one of the seven concentric legendary islands comprising the earth. India owes its name to the great river ‘Indus’ or “Sindhu” in the North–West, which is now in Pakistan. This river was a very huge river whose sight amazed the early Aryan settlers. They called this river as Sindhu which means a huge sheet of water or a synonym for the ocean. 

  1. India has a log historical depth:

Its history commenced in the unknown and unchronicled past. History remains silent about the exact origin of Indian society. It is believed that the first man of our land had arrived at about 5,00,000 B.C. The Indus valley civilization of Mahenjodaro in Sind and Harappa in Western Punjab is the earliest picture that we have of India’s past. The remarkable continuity and the capacity to withstand the challenges of time is indeed unique. Unity in diversity is the distinctive feature of Indian Society. This feature is reflected in almost all aspects of Indian society and in the life of it’s people. It has become part of India’s self-identity. This feature of coexistence of unity and diversity is well maintained throughout its history. This unique cultural tradition of unity and diversity of Indian society can be best explained it we examine and identify both the factors of elements of diversity as well as the bonds of unity. 

When people belonging to different races, religions, languages and cultures live in a particular country we may call it a diverse country. As India is a vast and ancient country it has many diversities. These sources of diversity in India may be traced through a variety of ways such as race, geography, ideologies, cultural beliefs, Political Philosophies. 

  1. India is a racially diverse country:

Existence of multiple races is the most remarkable feature of Indian society. Almost all important races of the world exist in Indian society. Majority of Indian population are descendants of immigrants from across the Himalayas’. The entry and spread of the immigrant races resulted in the regional concentration of different racial elements and creation of racial distinctiveness. 

  1. Linguistically India is also a diverse country:

A large number of languages are found to be spoken by Indians. Considering this multiplicity of languages a famous sociologist A.R Desai remarked “India presents a spectacle of museum of tongues”. Regarding religious context, India is a religious diversified country. Existence of multiple religions is the most remarkable feature of Indian society. Almost all major religions of the world are found to be practised in India by its followers without any opposition. Since beginning it is a secular state. India is religiously a heterogeneous society even though more than eighty percent of its population profess Hinduism. 

  1. Geographically India is a diverse country:

It is a vast country and because of its vastness, it is considered as a sub-continent. It extends from Himalayas to the sea. At present, its territory expands two thousand miles from Kashmir to Cape Comorin and one thousand five hundred miles from Gujarat to Assam. Caste is one of the most important and peculiar Indian social institutions. It distinguishes Indian society from others. Caste is a major type of stratification in which different caste people are arranged in a hierarchical manner. It is an extreme form of closed social system. 

But after all, in spite of all diversity, Unity in diversity or unity diversity is one of the fundamental features of Indian society. Despite various diversities, there are strong bonds of unity underlying these diversities and uniformity of life which very often eludes to the observer. No doubt India is a vast as well as ancient country with a museum of cults and customs, culture and social systems, creeds and faiths and inhabited by people of diverse languages, religions and races. Still, there are deep undercurrents of unity. India upholds this ideal of unity which is nurtured by time. Hence the concept of bonds of unity is not something new to India. 

During British rule, Indians became united under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi waged a great weapon-less war against Britishers which is unique in the world. In spite of all, India’s unique literature, song, music, drama, dance, art and architectural treasures are other sources of Indian unity and integrity. India’s unique customs, tradition and cultural heritage and it’s greatness create unity among all Indians. 

India’s religious unity is expressed through the existence of places of worship and pilgrim centres all over the country. These places of worship are several holy places where Hindus are worshipping their Lord in an emotional manner. These places are not only known as worshipping places feelings of unity among by the Indians. Religions like Buddism, Jainism and Sikhism are almost similar with Hinduism in respect of beliefs and faiths. They share almost similar philosophy. These religious were wide spread and had considerable impacts on Indians. Thus all these religious faiths, beliefs justify the fact that India is one and possess religious unity. Along with geographical, cultural, religious and historical unity India also possesses political unity. But the political unity of Indian society is derivative of religious and cultural unity. 

Besides all these, from the context of Linguistic aspects, India also possess linguistic unity. India is a museum of tongues. There are more than sixteen hundred fifty two number of languages and dialects are in India. All these characteristics make the Indian culture rich and possess a strong sense of unity finds its geography, history, religions, languages and culture. There is an undercurrent of unity that runs through apparent diversities of races, languages, geography castes and religions and proved as the symbol of unity in diversity.

Wednesday, 12 January 2022



The sociological meaning of race

The race is the word used to describe the physical characteristics of a person. These characteristics can include everything from skin colour to eye colour and facial structure to hair colour. This term is physiological in nature and refers to distinct populations within the larger species. The race was once a common scientific field of study. Today, however, most scientists agree that genetic differences among races do not exist. Although when we think of race in terms of biological elements, the race is a socially constructed concept.

Definition of race

Race is a cultural construct that groups people together based on perceived biological similarities. In the biological sciences, a race is a “geographically related subdivision of a species”. This definition does not apply to Homo sapiens. Genetically, it is clear that human groups have been interbreeding for millennia as we are genetically similar to one another. This is not to say that there is no diversity in human beings; one only has to look around to see some variability, but at a genetic level the diversity we see is, well, superficial. Race can be defined as a socially constructed category composed of people who share biologically transmitted traits that society considers important.

  1. Hooton (1926) defined race as a great division of mankind, the members of which, though individually varying, are characterised as a group with a certain combination of morphological and metrical features, primarily non-adaptive, which have been derived from their common decent. 

  2. Montagu (1942) defined race or an ethnic group as representing number of populations under species Homo sapiens, which individually maintain their differences, physical and cultural, by means of isolating mechanisms such as geographic and social barriers. 

  3. Dobzhansky provided a genetic definition of human race. According to him “Races are defined as populations differing in the incidence of certain genes, capable of exchanging genes across boundaries that separate them”. 

  4. Boyd (1950) defined human race as a population which differs significantly from other human populations with regard to the frequency of one or more genes it possesses. 

  5. According to Garn (1960) “Race is a breeding population, partially isolated reproductively from other breeding populations, arising commonly but not exclusively from geographic isolation.” 

  6. Hulse (1963) stated, “Races are populations which can be readily distinguished from one another on genetic grounds alone”.

  7. Buettner-Janusch (1969) defined race as “Mendelian population separated from another by major geographical barriers; breeding isolate; a population distinguished from another by demonstration of differences in allele frequencies.” 

  8. According to Mayr (1969) race is “An aggregate of phenotypically similar populations of a species, inhabiting a geographic subdivision and differing taxonomically from other populations.” 

  9. Templeton (1998) stated, “A subspecies (race) is a distinct evolutionary lineage within a species that genetically differentiated due to barriers from genetic exchange that have persisted for long periods i.e. the subspecies must have historical continuity in addition to current genetic differentiation.”

Racial types/Classification:

In 1962, Carleton S. Coon created a racial classification. Let’s discuss the following.

  1. Mongoloid: 

This race is mostly found in Asia particularly in Central Asia. Its physical characteristics are gray-eyes, yellow complexion, black hair on the body, flat nose broad face and medium height. The Mongoloid can be further divided into four main subdivisions on the basis of their geographical distribution such as –

  1. Classical or Central Mongoloid

  2. The Arctic or Eskimoid

  3. Indonesian-Malay Mongoloid and 

  4. The American Indians

The Mongoloid features are predominantly found in the peoples of Asia, Indonesia and Americas. The inhabitants of China Mongolia, Tibet, North America, Siberia, Greenland, Burma, Thailand, Malay Peninsula, Philippines, Japan and North-East India showed the presence of Mongoloid racial elements. Indians of North and South America also exhibit some Mongoloid characteristics.

  1. Caucasoid: 

This is known as the white race, but in fact, it is of light colour. It has hair ranging from brown to black, thin lips, eyes light blue, hair upon the chest, arms and legs. Some are medium to high structures. The Caucasoid racial group includes a large number of sub-races or groups such as –

  1. Mediterranean

  2. Nordic

  3. Alpine

  4. East Baltic

  5. Dinaric (Adriatic or Illyrian)

  6. Armenoid

  7. Keltic

  8. Lapp

  9. Indo-Dravidian (Dravidian)

  10. Polynesian and

  11. Ainu

The Caucasoid features are mainly distributed among the Europeans and their descendants. They are also observed in North Africa and the Middle East to North India.

  1. Australoid: 

These are found in Australia. Their racial characteristics are the high head, low forehead, big and broad nose, medium lips, grey eyes, wavy hair and generally with short stature. The Australoids are classified into two main groups such as –

  1. Australian aborigines and 

  2. Pre-Dravidian (Australoid or Veddoid)

The Australoid are predominantly found in Australia and Oceania. Some of the population groups of India particularly South and Central India showed Australoid racial elements.

  1. Negroid: 

The Negroids are found in Africa. Some scholars call it the first human race. Their important characteristics are black skin, woolly hair, broad nose, thick lips, high head and varying stature. The Negroids are divided into two sub-groups as –

  1. African Negro and

  2. Oceanic Negro

Some anthropologists include another group the American Negro into the Negroid racial element. The Negroid features are restricted among the populations of Africa and Melanesia. A few people in America are also found to exhibit some Negroid physical features because they are the descendants of African people who were once taken to America as workers. To the Negroid race belong the peoples of Africa, the Pygmy groups of Indonesia, and the inhabitants of New Guinea and Melanesia.

Guha lists six main races with nine subtypes:

  1. The Negrito

  2. The Proto – Australoid

  3. The Mongoloid

    1. Palaeo – Mongoloids

      1. Long headed

      2. Broad headed

    2. Tibeto – Mongoloids

  4. The Mediterranean

    1. Palaeo – Mediterranean

    2. Mediterranean

    3. Oriental

  5. The Western Brachycephals

    1. Alpenoid

    2. Dinaric

    3. Armenoid

  6. The Nordics

Guha has remarks that the southern tribes may have a Negrito origin, the central India tribes the proto – Australoid and North – North Eastern tribes the Mongoloid. However, it is not possible to classify the tribes according to their racial origin because the tribes like the rest of the population in the country is of mixed character.


The sociological meaning of Ethnicity

The word ‘ethnic’ is much older and is derived from the Greek ethnos (which in turn derived from the word ethnikos), which originally meant heathen or pagan. An ethnic group or ethnicity is a population group whose members identify with each other based on common nationality or shared cultural traditions. Like race, ethnicity is socially constructed. On an individual level, people play up or play down cultural traits so that they fit in or stand apart from the surrounding society. Societies define some ethnic differences as important and others as not. 

Definition of Ethnicity

According to John Hutchinson and Anthony Smith (1996:4–5), the term “ethnicity” is relatively new, first appearing in the Oxford English Dictionary in 1953, but its English origins are connected to the term “ethnic,” which has been in use since the Middle Ages. The true origins of “ethnic” have been traced back to Greece and the term ethnos, which was used in reference to band, tribe, race, a people, or a swarm.

Gerald Berreman (1972, 1981) defines ethnicity as one level of social stratification or social inequality that also includes race, class, kinship, age, estate, caste, and gender.

Theoretical concepts of Ethnicity

Jones (1997:xiii) outlines three major terms related to “ethnic”: ethnicity, ethnic identity, and ethnic group. Ethnicity is defined as “all those social and psychological phenomena associated with a culturally constructed group identity.” Ethnic identity is defined as “that aspect of a person’s self-conceptualization which results from identification with a broader group in opposition to others on the basis of perceived cultural differentiation and/or common descent.” An ethnic group is classified as “any group of people who set themselves apart and/or are set apart by others with whom they interact or co-exist on the basis of their perceptions of cultural differentiation and/or common ancestry.” 

Difference between Race and Ethnicity

  1. The race is used to indicate the legacy that you have acquired by birth; you were naturally introduced to it or with it. Then again, Ethnicity is more about parts of a culture that you have learned after some time or because of standard and consistent introduction.

  2. The race is something you can’t adjust as you are naturally introduced to it. You generally have the decision of modifying and notwithstanding rehearsing redirect social practices and conventions.

  3. Race partitions individuals on the premise of the physical qualities they were conceived with. Then again, ethnicity alludes to an arrangement of individuals who embrace a similar arrangement of social practices.

  4. Ethnicity is frequently used by individuals to accomplish a feeling of having a place by having a similar arrangement of social practices. Defining their reality by sharing an arrangement of solid practices and customs through which they associate and relate to each other. Race, then again, does not offer ascent to a feeling of fellowship, in actuality, it causes is utilized for making a gap between individuals, utilizing angles, for example, skin shading, facial sort and so forth.

  5. The race is a term that is spawned by the general public and gives a feeling of division. Ethnicity, then again, is embraced by individuals readily and is utilized to make a feeling of having a place.

Racial and ethnicity are both socially defined, one involving biological traits, the other cultural traits. Therefore, the two may go hand in hand.

Ethnic Diversity in India

India is the most ethnic diverse in nature, all Indians don’t look like each other. Meaning, there isn’t a ‘typical Indian look’. Stereotypes, yes; but in reality, India's ethnic diversity is pretty much only rivalled by Africa's continent's diversity.

So, the broad ethnic groups in India are the Indo-Aryans, the Mongoloids, the Dravidians and different tribal groups. There are thousands of sub-divisions. Now the Indian subcontinent is believed to have been originally populated by indigenous Dravidian tribes. The Indo-Aryan people who have Proto-Australoid roots settled in India in and around the Paleolithic Age. The Mongoloid people in the North East of India migrated from the far East.  All these people inter-mingled over the centuries to create the incredible racial and ethnic diversity in India today.

Speaking very loosely, Northern, Western, Central, Eastern and parts of Southern India superficially look the most alike, although pockets of people do not fit this stereotype. The skin tone varies across the country, becoming steadily darker the further south you go; the features change – the noses, jawlines and chins being sharper and narrower up north. The northerners are distinctly lighter-skinned, haired and eyed than the southerners.

The North-East alone is isolated in terms of ethnicity. The population is almost entirely mongoloid here. Yes, this is a serious setback to national integration and we’ve had political, social, humanitarian issues in the northeast, pretty much forever, because of this.

Different tribal pockets in different parts of the country also have their own set of distinctive features.