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IGNOU BSOE 142 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. How did urban sociology emerge? Discuss the role of the Chicago school of thought with examples.

In his teachings and writings Mukherjee emphasized the need for mutual interaction between social sciences on the one hand and between social sciences and physical sciences on the other. Indian economics modeled on British economics mostly neglected the traditional caste networks in indigenous business, handicrafts and banking. Economic development was viewed as an extension of monetary economics or market phenomenon. The Western model in economics focused on the urban-industrial centers.

In a country like India where many economic transactions take place within the framework of caste or tribe, the market model has a limited relevance. He tried to show the relationship between traditional networks and economic exchange. The guilds and castes of India were operating in a non-competitive system. The rules of economic exchange were derived from the normative Hinduism in other words according to the norms of Hindu religion wherein interdependence between groups was emphasized hence to understand rural India the economic values should be analyzed with reference to social norms. Religious and ethical constraints have always lent a direction to economic exchange. Values enter into the daily life of people and compel them to act in collectively sanctioned ways.

Radhakamal Mukherjee wrote number of books on social ecology. For him social ecology was a complex formulation in which a number of social sciences interacted. The geological, geographical and biological factors worked together to produce an ecological zone. In its turn ecology is conditioned by social, economic or political factors. In the past many Indian ecological regions were opened up for human settlement and agrarian development through political conquests. As there is definite link between ecology and society the development of ecological zones must be seen in terms of a dynamic process that is challenge of the environment and response of the people who establish a settlement. Ecological balance is not mechanical carving out of a territory and settling people thereon. Such an attempt weakens or destroys social fabric. In his works on social ecology Mukherjee took a point of departure from the western social scientists. Social ecology was the better alternative to the havoc caused by rapid industrialization. India with its long history was a storehouse of values. Therefore in building a new India the planning must not be confined to immediate and concrete problems but must be directed towards value-based development.

Radhakamal Mukherjee wrote extensively on the danger of deforestation. The cutting of trees subjects the soil to the fury of floods and reduces the fertility of soil. The topsoil that is washed away by floods or excess rainfall cannot be replenished. Therefore the forests and woods of India were an ecological asset. He also referred to the danger of mono crop that is raising a single cash crop to the detriment of rotation of crops. Such practices as deforestation and mono cultivation disturbed the fragile ecosystem and gave rise to severe environmental problems. He advocated the integration of village, town and nation into a single broad-based developmental process. Urban development at the expense of the village should be kept in check. Agriculture should be diversified and industries decentralized.

Radhakamal Mukherjee had a sustained interest in the impact of values on human society. He held that a separation between fact and value was arbitrary. The facts and values could not be separated from each other in human interactions. Even a simple transaction was a value based or normatively conditioned behavior. Each society has a distinctive culture and its values and norms guide the behavior. Therefore the positivic tradition of the west that wanted to separate facts from values was not tenable to him especially in the study of a society like India. In the west there was a compelling need to free scientific enquiry form the hold of church theology. He underlined two basic points- values are not limited only to religion or ethics. Economics, politics and law also give rise to values. Human needs are transformed into social values and are internalized in the minds of members of society. Older civilizations such as India and China were stable. Hence values were formed and organized into a hierarchy of higher and lower fields. Values are not a product of subjective or individualistic aspirations. They are objectively grounded in humankind’s social aspirations and desires. Values are both general and objective: – measurable by empirical methods.

Radhakamal Mukherjee’s general theory of society sought to explain the values of a universal civilization. He used the term civilization in an inclusive sense culture was part of it. He proposed that human civilization should be studied on three inter-related levels – Biological evolution which has facilitated the rise and development of civilization. They have the capacity to change the environment as an active agent.

In psychosocial dimension the people are often depicted within the framework of race, ethnicity or nationhood. Human beings are seen as prisoners of little selves or egos whose attitude is parochial or ethnocentric. On the contrary human beings have the potentiality to overcome the narrow feelings and attain universalization that is to identify oneself with the larger collectivity such as one’s nation or even as a member of the universe itself.

In his view the civilization has a spiritual dimension. Human beings are gradually scaling transcendental heights. They are moving up to the ladder of spirituality by overcoming the constraints of biogenic and existential levels. In this -art, myth and religion provide the impulsion or the force to move upward. Humankind’s search for unity, wholeness and transcendence highlight the spirituality of civilization. He stated that human progress was possible only if glaring disparities of wealth and power between countries were reduced. So long as poverty persisted or political oppression continued further integral evolution of mankind was not a practical proposition. The persisting human awareness of misery in the world had stimulated the search for universal values and norms.

2. ‘Radhakamal Mukerjee’s theory of society sought to explain the values of a universal civilisation’. Discuss.

The Chicago School of Urban Sociology refers to work of faculty and graduate students at the University of Chicago during the period 1915– 35. This small group of scholars (the full time faculty in the department of sociology never numbered more than 6 persons) developed a new sociological theory and research methodology in a conscious effort to create a science of society using the city of Chicago as a social laboratory. The Chicago School continues to define the contours of urban sociology, most clearly in the contributions of urban ecology and applied research within the urban environment.

The University of Chicago was founded in 1890 as a research university modeled after Johns Hopkins University and Clark University. The Chicago School of the period discussed here is represented by three generations of faculty. The first group included Albion Small (founder of the department), W. I. Thomas, Charles R. Henderson, Graham Taylor, and George E. Vincent. The second generation included Small, Thomas, Ernest Burgess, Ellsworth Faris, and Robert Park. It was this group that trained the graduate students responsible for the classic studies of the Chicago School. The third generation included Park, Burgess, Louis Wirth, and William Ogburn. This group of faculty would remain intact until the time Park retired from the university in 1934.


While it is common to date the origin of urban sociology at Chicago with Park’s arrival in 1914 and his subsequent work with Burgess, the idea of the city as a laboratory for social research came much earlier. Henderson applied for funds for a systematic study of the city in the first decade, and Thomas began his research on The Polish Peasant in Europe and the United States in 1908. An early (1902) description of the graduate program in the American Journal of Sociology stated:

The city of Chicago is one of the most complete social laboratories in the world. While the elements of sociology may be studied in smaller communities . . . the most serious problems of modern society are presented by the great cities, and must be studied as they are encountered in concrete form in large populations. No city in the world presents a wider variety of typical social problems than Chicago.

The sociology faculty pioneered empirical research using a variety of qualitative and quantitative methods in an effort to develop a science of sociology. Park formulated a new theoretical model based upon his observation that the city was more than a geographic phenomenon; the basic concepts of human ecology were borrowed from the natural sciences. Competition and segregation led to formation of natural areas, each with a separate and distinct moral order. The city was ‘‘a mosaic of little worlds that touch but do not interpenetrate.’’ Burgess’s model for the growth of the city showed a central business district surrounded by the zone in transition, the zone of working men’s homes, the residential zone, and the commuter zone. Roderick McKenzie expanded the basic model of human ecology in his later study of the metropolitan community.

The research and publication program of the Chicago School was carried out under the auspices of a Local Community Research Committee, an interdisciplinary group comprised of faculty and graduate students from sociology, political science (Charles Merriam), and anthropology (Robert Redfield). Support came from the Laura Spellman Rockefeller Memorial (more than $600,000 from 1924 to 1934). Graduate students under the guidance of Park and Burgess mapped local community areas and studied the spatial organization of juvenile delinquency, family disorganization, and cultural life in the city. The research program produced a diverse array of studies broadly organized around the themes of urban institutions (the hotel, taxi dance hall), social disorganization (juvenile delinquency, the homeless man), and natural areas themselves. Among the notable Chicago School studies are Frederick Thrasher, The Gang (1926); Louis Wirth, The Ghetto (1928); Harvey W. Zorbaugh, The Gold Coast and the Slum (1929); Clifford S. Shaw, The Jackroller (1930); E. Franklin Frazier, The Negro Family in Chicago (1932); Paul G. Cressey, The Taxi Dance Hall (1932); Walter C. Reckless, Vice in Chicago (1933); and E. Franklin Frazier, The Negro Family in Chicago (1932).

The Chicago School dominated urban sociology and sociology more generally in the first half of the twentieth century. By 1950 some 200 students had completed graduate study at Chicago. Many were instrumental in establishing graduate programs in sociology across the country, and more than half of the presidents of the American Sociological Association were faculty or students at Chicago. The American Journal of Sociology, started by Small in 1895, was the official journal of the American Sociological Association from 1906 to 1935. The dominance of the Chicago School also generated antagonism, and a ‘‘minor rebellion’’ at the annual conference in 1935 would result in the founding of a new journal, the American Sociological Review, and marks the decline of influence of the Chicago department.

There were early critiques of the Chicago School, including Missa Alihan’s 1938 critique of the determinism inherent in Park’s human ecology (Park wrote that ‘‘on the whole’’ the criticisms were correct). Maurice Davie (in 1938) reanalyzed data from Clifford Shaw’s Delinquency Areas (1929) and showed that delinquency was associated with areas of physical deterioration and high immigrant populations and not in the concentric zone model used in the Chicago studies. Burgess’s concentric zones were soon replaced by a variety of models showing multiple nuclei and eventually the decentralized, poly centered city. Still, urban ecology remains the dominant model and method among urban sociologists at present.

Recent attention has focused on the role of women in the development of the Chicago School. Deegan (1986) argued that the contribution of women was marginalized by Park and other male faculty. Jane Addams’s Hull House had conducted early community studies. Edith Abbott was a part time instructor in the department, and Addams had been offered a part time position. Many of the Chicago faculty were involved with Hull House and other social reform movements; Graham Taylor was one of the early members of the department. Burgess would later note that systematic urban research at Chicago started with the Hull House studies begun by Abbot and Sophonsia Breckenridge in 1908. Although many of the graduate students would use the settlement houses to assist their research, efforts to distinguish themselves from social reform and the emerging field of social work may explain a reluctance to connect the Chicago School with these earlier studies.

The influence of the early work of the Chicago School may be seen in some later studies, notably St. Clair Drake and Horace Cayton’s Black Metropolis (1945) and in several community studies directed by Morris Janowitz in the 1970s. William Julius Wilson’s work on poverty neighborhoods in 1980–95 once again made use of the city as a social laboratory, including a sustained program of training for graduate students, but Wilson would leave for Harvard before this research agenda was completed. The Chicago School of Urban Sociology has not had lasting influence in the work of the department.

Assignment II

3. Explain D P Mukerji’s view on role of tradition in Indian society.
4. Discuss N K Bose’s method and approach to the study of society.
5. Discuss Elwin’s contribution towards the issue of tribal identity

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Assignment III

6. Outline the way caste influences kinship organization with reference to the view of Irawati Karve.
7. Outline Desai’s approach to the understanding of nationalism in India.
8. List the fundamental elements of nation-building outlined by Srinivas.
9. What is the distinguishing feature of Ramkrishna Mukherjee’s book, The Rise and fall of East India Company?
10. Explain Leela Dube’s contribution to Women’s Studies.

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IGNOU BSOE 142 Solved Assignment 2022-23 Download Free  Before attempting the assignment, please read the following instructions carefully.

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