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IGNOU BSOC 111 Solved Assignment 2022-23
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Important Note – IGNOU BSOC 111 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. Discuss the role played by religion in the development of capitalism.
Voluntarily enigmatic, this assertion of Huxley could, in certain respects, constitute the basis for the definition of postivism, especially regarding the sense of history. This paper, consistent with a certain school of thought that regards history as highly symbolic, will posit that modern Western societies do not fiercely differ from pre-Enlightenment societies in the sense that one still witnesses the realisation of a theology. As provocative as this idea may seem, thinkers from various fields of studies including anthropology, sociology, philosophy and even economists such as Fogel, laureate of the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1993, acknowledge that capitalism and economics convey religious or theological dimensions. In this context, it is argued that the rise of capitalism and Western ideologies had the progressive decline of the Christian Church as a corollary. Accordingly, this papers postulates that capitalism (and economics) is the new recipient of a fervent religious expression. Doing so, this article (i) briefly reviews the notions of capitalism and progress, (ii) establishes the grounding for considering capitalism as religion and finally (iii) analyses the implications of the second point.
Intellectual Revolution and the Notion of Progress
As many historians of thought, economists, or sociologists underline, understanding capitalism requires a broad inquiry into history and the history of thought. That said, there is a large consensus placing capitalism at the heart of progressism or modernism. As pointed out by Lash (2004), this revolution corresponded to the shift from an accidentally chaotic conception of the atom to a state in which nature became a place of exchanges. In light of the ‘Enlightenment’, the chaos of collisions and exchanges began to form patterns and laws. This is properly illustrated by the Kantian critique of metaphysics, whereby metaphysics is limited to the condition of understanding. In short, the 19th century witnessed a new scientific and metaphysical order celebrating the notion of reason or, as Xing and Hirsh (2004) put it, a shift from the ‘Age of Faith’ to the ‘Age of Reason’.
Capitalism as Religion: Defining Religion
Traditionally, religion or theology consists of the study of the transcendent or metaphysical. In The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life, Durkheim (1964) defines religion as ‘a more or less complex system of myths, dogmas, rites and ceremonies or, put more simply, a system of beliefs and rites. In this sense, beliefs consist of opinions and representation while rites determine the mode of actions. The French sociologist adds that religious phenomena are generally associated with the observation of (i) supernatural, (ii) divinity and (iii) the belief in spiritual beings. Bourdieu defines religious power as ‘the authority to modify, in a deep and lasting fashion, the practice and world-view of lay people through the absolutization of the relative and legitimation of the arbitrary’ (Verter, 2003:153). In other words, he posits that religion structures the perception and thinking of the world and especially the social world. Religion does so by the imposition of a system of practices and representations (social capital) whose structure presents itself as the natural-supernatural structure of the cosmos. In this framework, religious need is an inner compulsion seeking understanding of the world or, to put it in a Heideggerian fashion, the expression of the need for causation.
Capitalism as Religion: Implications
Probably the most important implication lies in what Bourdieu calls the habitus. Religion, as a symbolic system, incorporates the individual level in the form of the habitus. Here, the habitus is a structured structuring structure which could be assimilated to a lasting disposition of the individual to act in conformity with a systematic view of the world (Verter, 2003). In this sense, the habitus is responsible for the construction of beliefs and representations at the individual level. Consequently, it is anterior to conscious thought and structures the actions of the individual.
A Blind Faith
In many respects, one may say that the last two decades have witnessed an unprecedented period of blind faith in the latest version of capitalism, namely neoliberalism. The fall of the Soviet Union marked the triumph of capitalism and its corollary, democracy (Fukuyama, 1992). What the economists call now the Great Moderation could be depicted, in Fagel’s semantic, as the fifth awakening, i.e. a blind faith in the ‘natural’ laws of markets. Two to three decades of transmission of Samuelson’s principles and the relative failure of socialist capitalism led eventually to an enthusiastic if not zealous application of neoliberalism whose ambition was to release the providential forces of the market. First, it decided the implementation, by policy makers that only partly understood the implications of their actions, of an unbridled globalisation. Again, this is not to say that globalisation is a negative phenomenon (I am quite convinced it is positive), but it is quite clear now that this rather was the resultant of dogmatic forces (if not theological) than the product of cold reason. This resulted, in many countries, in severe non-addressed competitiveness issues.
Some of the most important types of social action according to max weber are as follows:
At the heart of Weber’s sociology is an investigation of the consequences of types of social action and a study of how these types of action come into conflict and create tensions for specific individuals. Weber pointed out that in many traditional societies individuals live highly routinized lives wherein every day ceremonies are generally seen as ends in themselves.
This type of action is very different from the action of modern individuals who have to adopt a great many highly specific roles that require them constantly to shift perceptions and allegiances. For the modern individual the ultimate ends’ of action are often far removed from the specific rules and norms that guide everyday behaviour. In order to clarify the important differences among types of social action and differentiate between rational and non-rational action, Weber developed the following typology:
Four major types of social action are distinguished in Weber’s sociology. Men may engage in purposeful or goal oriented rational action (zweckrational); their rational action may be value-oriented (wertrational); they may act from emotional or affective motivations, or finally they may engage in traditional action.
1. Rational-purposeful Action:
This action may be rationally expedient if it is based on logical or scientific grounds. This action entails a complicated plurality of means and ends. The ends of action (for example goals, values) are either taken as means to the fulfilment of other ends, or are treated as if they are set in concrete. In this way action becomes purely instrumental.
Example: If we compare two individuals who are trying to maximize their income over the course of a year, we might find that one person uses far more effective means to achieve this goal than the other. He might cheat on his tax return, take a second job or sell drugs to workmates. We would describe the individuals as more purposively rational than one who acquires and keeps less money.
Within the domain of zweck-rational action it is possible to compare the degrees of rationality that various individuals exhibit. In the above example, it is assumed that all individuals will want to maximise their income. This goal is fixed and it is also a means to other goals for example buying a new car, spending vacation in some hill stations, moving around European Countries etc.
Classical economic theory treats individuals as if they were rationally purposeful. According to this theory, individuals will always try to maximize their utility. According to Weber, action cannot be meaningful unless it is goal oriented. Rational action in relation to a goal corresponds roughly to Pareto’s logical action.
It is the action of the engineer who is building a bridge or the General who wants to win a victory. In all these cases zweckrational action is distinguished by the fact that the actor conceives his goal clearly and combines means with a view to attaining it.
2. Value-rational Action:
Action is rational in relation to a specific value. This action occurs when individuals use rational – that is effective means to achieve goals or ends that are defined in terms of subjective meaning. According to Weber, when individuals are value rational, they make commitments to certain subjective goals and adopt means that are effective in attaining these ends.
Here, means are chosen for their efficiency but the ends are determined by value. For example, a soldier laying down his life for the country. His action is not directed towards attaining specific material goal like wealth. It is for the sake of certain values like honour and patriotism.
Weber’s differentiation between the two basic types of rational action is of greatest importance. The first is the means- end rationality. The action that is determined by expectations as to the behaviour of objects in the environment and other human beings. These expectations are used as ‘conditions’ or means for the attainment of the actors own rationally pursued and calculated ends. The second is value rationality, or action that is determined by a conscious belief in the value for its own sake of some ethical, aesthetic, religious or other forms of behaviour, independently of its prospects for success.
3. Affective Action:
Affective action fuses means and ends together so that action becomes emotional and impulsive. Such action is the antithesis of rationality because the actor concerned cannot make calm, dispassonate assessment of the relationship between the ends of action and the means that supposedly exist to serve these ends. Rather the means themselves are emotionally fulfilling and become ends in themselves.
This kind of action results from the emotional state of mind of the actor. If someone is teasing a girl in a bus, she may get so irritated that she may slap the offending person. She has been provoked so much that she has reacted violently. In this example, the action is defined not with reference to a goal or system of values, but by the emotional reaction of an actor placed in a given set of circumstances.
4. Traditional Action:
Traditional action occurs when the ends and the means of action are fixed by custom and tradition. For example, some so-called primitive societies have very strict rites of succession for group leaders. What is important about traditional action is that the ends of action are taken for granted and appear to be natural to the actors concerned because they are unable to comprehend the possibility of alternative ends.
This is an action which is guided by customs and long standing beliefs which become second nature or habit. In traditional Indian Society doing ‘pranam’ or ‘namaskar’ to elders is almost second nature needing no prompting.
3. What did Weber mean by rationality and rationalization?
4. Discuss Durkheim’s viewpoint on crime.
5. Explain Durkheim’s concept of ‘collective conscience’.
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