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IGNOU BSOC 113 Solved Assignment 2022-23
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Important Note – IGNOU BSOC 113 Solved Assignment 2022-2023 Download Free You may be aware that you need to submit your assignments before you can appear for the Term End Exams. Please remember to keep a copy of your completed assignment, just in case the one you submitted is lost in transit.
Submission Date :
- 31st March 2033 (if enrolled in the July 2033 Session)
- 30th Sept, 2033 (if enrolled in the January 2033 session).
Answer the following Descriptive Category Questions in about 500 words each. Each question carries 20 marks in Assignment I.
Answer the following Middle Category Questions in about 250 words each. Each question carries 10 marks in Assignment II.
Answer the following Short Category Questions in about 100 words each. Each question carries 6 marks in Assignment III.
1. Write a note on Radcliffe-Brown’s understanding of structure.
Modern social anthropology, as Jain (1989: 1) puts it, is woven from the twin strands of the fact-finding, empirical ethnographic tradition, (about which you have studied in the previous units of this Block) on the one hand and the ‘holistic’, analytical tradition on the other. The former is represented by British and American anthropology, the latter by French social anthropology which was profoundly influenced by Emile Durkheim. Social anthropology as practised by Radcliffe-Brown bears the stamp of both these traditions. Let us first consider the impact of the fieldwork tradition on Radcliffe-Brown’s work.
The Field-work Tradition
Cambridge University, England, where Radcliffe-Brown studied, was during his time going through an extremely creative and productive intellectual phase. Teachers and students freely shared and challenged each other’s views. Radcliffe-Brown became the first student of Anthropology of W.H.R. Rivers in 1904. Rivers and Haddon had participated in the famous ‘Torres Straits’ expedition, which you have read about earlier in Unit 23. Under the guidance of Rivers and Haddon, Radcliffe-Brown was initiated into fieldwork. His first field studies (1906-08) dealt with the Andaman Islanders. He thus became a part of the new, empiricist tradition of British scientific anthropology. This was a major formative influence, which was to persist throughout his career. Emile Durkheim’s path-breaking work, The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life (1912), had a profound impact on some British scholars. Radcliffe-Brown was one of them. Let us now go on to see why he was so attracted to the Durkheimian perspective.
The Durkheimian Tradition: Radcliffe-Brown’s ‘Conversion’
The contributions of Emile Durkheim have been systematically described to you in Block-3 of this course. The Durkheimian tradition, in the words of Adam Kuper (1975: 54), offered “…scientific method, the conviction that social life was orderly and susceptible to rigorous analysis, a certain detachment from individual passions…” Durkheim was optimistic that human beings would be able to lead a life that was both individual and social, in a properly organised society, i.e. a society based on ‘organic solidarity’ (see key words). As you know, Durkheim advocated the study of ‘social facts’ in a sociological manner. He spoke of studying these facts objectively, without preconceived notions. In his view, society was basically a moral order. The concept of the ‘collective conscience’ was an important part of his work. Durkheim wanted to develop sociology on the lines of the natural sciences i.e. as an ‘objective’, rigorous science. All these ideas attracted Radcliffe-Brown. Durkheimian sociology combined with Radcliffe-Brown’s admiration for the natural sciences resulted in his ideas about the ideal society of the future.
THE CONCEPT OF SOCIAL STRUCTURE IN RADCLIFFE-BROWN’S WORK
According to Radcliffe-Brown, the basic requirement of any science is a body of coherent concepts. These concepts are to be denoted by technical terms that are accepted and used in the same sense by all the students of the subject. For instance, physicists use terms like ‘atom’, ‘molecule’, ‘combustion’ etc. The meanings and usages of these terms do not change from student to student. Can the same thing be said about sociology and social anthropology ? Radcliffe-Brown points out that in anthropological literature, the same word is used in the same sense by different writers and many terms are used without precise definition. This shows the immaturity of the science.
He says that confused, unscientific thinking may be avoided by constantly keeping in mind a clear picture of the nature of the empirical reality to be studied. All concepts and theories must be linked to this reality. According to Radcliffe-Brown (1958: 167), “the empirical reality with which social anthropology has to deal, by description, by analysis and in comparative studies is the process of social life of a certain limited region during a certain period of time”. What does this “process of social life” consist of? Well, it involves the various actions of human beings, particularly joint actions and interactions. For example, in rural Indian society, we could speak of agricultural activities as ‘joint actions’. The activities of youth clubs, women’s organisations, co-operative societies etc. also imply joint actions.
To provide a description of social life, the social anthropologist must identify certain general features. For example, when a sociologist studies agricultural activities in rural India, he/she will try to derive its general features. How, when and by whom are these activities performed? How do various persons co-operate and interact during the processes of sowing, transplanting, harvesting, threshing and marketing the produce? Some general features that the sociologist could identify could include the composition of agricultural labourers, the role played by women and so on. It is these generalised descriptions which constitute the data of the science. These may be obtained through various methods – participant observation, historical records etc.
Social Structure and Social Organisation
As Radcliffe-Brown (1958: 168) puts it, “the concept of structure refers to an arrangement of parts or components related to one another in some sort of larger unity.” Thus, the structure of the human body at first appears as an arrangement of various tissues and organs. If we go deeper, it is ultimately an arrangement of cells and fluids. In social structure, the basic elements are human beings or persons involved in social life. The arrangement of persons in relation to each other is the social structure. For instance, persons in our country are arranged into castes. Thus caste is a structural feature of Indian social life. The structure of a family is the relation of parents, children, grandparents etc. with each other. Hence, for Radcliffe-Brown, structure is not an abstraction but empirical reality itself. It must be noted that Radcliffe-Brown’s conception of social structure differs from that of other social anthropologists.
2. Discuss the dramaturgical approach of Erving Goffman.
3. How does Levi-Strauss view human culture?
4. What do Berger and Luckman mean by externalisation?
5. Explain the concept of ‘habitus’
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6. Binary opposites
8. Genralised others
9. Need disposition
10. New Left
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