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IGNOU BSOC 113 Solved Assignment 2022-23

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IGNOU BSOC 113 Solved Assignment 2022-23

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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.

Assignment I


1. Write a note on Radcliffe-Brown’s understanding of structure.

INTELLECTUAL INFLUENCES
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.

The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, dramaturgy uses the metaphor of theater to explain human behavior. According to this perspective, individuals perform actions in everyday life as if they were performers on a stage. Identity is performed through roles. Here, the term “role ” works in two ways, referencing both the name for a theatrical character and the ways in which individuals fill roles in reality by acting as a mother, friend, husband, etc. Dramaturgy argues that the presentation of oneself through  role  is a way of engaging with society.

 

Goffman contends that each performance is a presentation of self and that everyone seeks to create specific impressions in the minds of others. This universal drive is called impression management . Individuals manage others’ impressions of them by successfully portraying themselves “onstage,” or in public. People present themselves to others based on cultural values , norms , and expectations. Most of the time, people seek to meet society ’s expectations, but the dramaturgical frame applies even in cases of rebellion. If an individual wishes to convey that she does not agree or identify with social norms , she must use a commonly legible system of symbols in order to communicate that information. As such, she is still engaging in impression management by trying to present herself in a particular way to society . From a dramaturgical perspective, a performance of identity is successful when the audience sees the performer as he or she wishes to be viewed.

The Two-Way Street

The innovative strength of the dramaturgical perspective is its recognition of the “two-way street” nature of identity management. An individual invests energy in portraying a particular identity to other people. Dramaturgy binds both presentation and reception, demonstrating that one’s identity is fundamentally intertwined with society outside of oneself. The performer is always aware that the audience is doing evaluative work on its own and might doubt the authenticity of the performance. The interrelatedness of the individual’s sense of identity and society is evidenced by the actor’s acute awareness of the audience. Goffman explains this awareness in terms of front stage and back stage behaviors. Front stage actions are those that are visible to the audience and are part of the performance, while back stage actions only occur when the audience is not around. An example of this would be the type of customer service embodied by baristas at the local coffee shop. While on the clock and in front of customers, baristas will typically do what the customer wants and try to look untroubled by obnoxious requests. The barista wishes to convey to the customer that she is willing to meet the customer’s needs. However, as soon as the customer leaves, the barista might deride the customer to coworkers. This shows how individuals are constantly attuned to audience and will alter their behaviors accordingly. Performance Stage: Erving Goffman uses the metaphor of a stage to explain human behavior in everyday life.

 

Key Points

  • All identities and behaviors are dependent upon the audience to whom one performs.
  • Everyone seeks to control others’ impressions of themselves. This is called impression management.
  • Dramaturgy emphasizes the dual evaluative work that is undertaken by both the performer and the audience, thus demonstrating the inseparable link between performer and audience, individual and 
  • Front stage behaviors are those that are visible to the audience, while back stage behaviors are those to which the audience does not have access.

Assignment II


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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Assignment III


6. Binary opposites
7. Bio-politics
8. Genralised others
9. Need disposition
10. New Left


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IGNOU BSOC 113 Solved Assignment 2022-23 Download Free  Before attempting the assignment, please read the following instructions carefully.

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