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Revision Notes (Part - 1) - Terms, Concepts and their Use in Sociology Notes | Study Sociology Class 11 - Humanities/Arts

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Table of contents
Significance Of Terms And Concepts In Sociology
Social Groups
Quasi Groups
Difference between Social Group v/s Quasi Group
Types of Social Groups
Social Stratification
Forms Of Social Stratification
Status and RoleStatus: 
Status: 
Social Control
Solved Questions For You
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Significance Of Terms And Concepts In Sociology

We need specific terms and concepts to understand our divergent views about how and why society exists.

  • The terms and concepts reflect the concern of social thinkers to understand and map the social changes.

Revision Notes (Part - 1) - Terms, Concepts and their Use in Sociology Notes | Study Sociology Class 11 - Humanities/Arts

  • It reflects the concern that sociologists had in understanding the structured inequalities between groups and society.
  • Terms and concepts act as tools of different ways to understand society.
  • Sociology as a discipline allows the coexistence of concepts that leads to divergence of views. For example, conflict theory versus functionalist theory. This multiplicity of approaches is particularly acute in sociology. Or, how different thinkers explain society and its functioning.

Social Groups

Social group refers to a collection of continuously interacting persons who share common interest; cultures, values, and norms within a given society.

A group of theatre artists is a social group.A group of theatre artists is a social group.

Characteristics of Social Group

(a) Persistent interaction to provide continuity
(b) A stable pattern of these interactions
(c) A sense of belonging
(d) Shared interest
(e) Acceptance of common norms and values
(f) A definable structure

Individuals are a part of collective bodies like the family, tribe, caste, class, clan, and nation.

Features of Social Group

  • Requirement of two or more individuals;
  • Persistent interaction to provide continuity is essential;
  • A stable pattern of these interactions;
  • A sense of belonging to identify with other members, shared interest;
  • Acceptance of common norms and values;
  • A definable structure;
  • Groups are dynamic in nature and not static. Some internal changes keep occurring whether they are family groups, friendship groups or caste groups, etc.

Quasi Groups

A quasi group can be defined as an aggregate or combination, which lacks structure or organisation, and whose members may be unaware, or less aware, of the existence of groupings.

  • Passengers waiting at a railway station or airport or bus stop or a cinema audience are examples of aggregates. Such aggregates are often termed as quasi groups.

Passengers waiting at a railway station is a quasi group.Passengers waiting at a railway station is a quasi group.

  • For example, social classes, status groups, age groups, gender groups can be quasi groups.
  • In due course of time and in specific circumstances such aggregates might take the form of a social group as sociologically defined. 
  • For example, people belonging to the same caste might come together to form a caste based political party. 
  • Such political parties will be referred to as social groups as members will be conscious of their interaction and belonging.

Question for Revision Notes (Part - 1) - Terms, Concepts and their Use in Sociology
Try yourself:Social classes, status groups, age and gender groups, and crowds are the examples of
View Solution


Difference between Social Group v/s Quasi Group

  • There is a thin line difference between quasi group and social group. A group of people can take the form of a quasi-group at some point and as a social group in specific circumstances. 
  • For instance, teenagers worrying about acne and pimples, teenagers in metropolitan cities, etc. can be examples of quasi groups. 
  • However, in specific circumstances when the group of teenagers turns out to be studying in the same class, a group of common friends, etc., it becomes social group.
Social GroupQuasi Group
  • Social group is a collection of continuously interacting persons who share common interest, culture, values and norms within a given society.
  • Quasi group/aggregates is a group of people who are at the same place at the same time but share no connection with each other and have no structure.
  • Social groups have sense of belongingness.
  • Quasi groups lack sense of belongingness.
  • E.g.:family, peers etc.
  • E.g.: Passengers standing on railway station


Types of Social Groups

Different sociologists have classified social groups differently. In their classifications, they take different criteria into account.

1. Primary and Secondary Group

  • Primary Group and Secondary Group on basis of size/type of relationship
  • It is the most well-known classification given by Cooley on the basis of size and type of relationship shared among its members. 

Revision Notes (Part - 1) - Terms, Concepts and their Use in Sociology Notes | Study Sociology Class 11 - Humanities/Arts


  • Primary group refers to small group of people connected by intimate and face-to-face association and co-operation, for e.g. family, village, and groups.
  • Secondary group is the group in which there is a lack of intimacy, e.g., different political groups, economic associations etc.
  • Characteristic of primary group:
    (1) Small size of group
    (2) Physical proximity
    (3) Continuity and stability of the relationship
    (4) General responsibility
    (5) Common-aim
  • Characteristic of secondary group:
    (1) Large size
    (2) Indirect relationship
    (3) Fulfilment of special interest
    (4) Limited responsibility
    (5) Impersonal relationship

2. In Group and Out Group

  • Difference between In Group and Out Group:

Revision Notes (Part - 1) - Terms, Concepts and their Use in Sociology Notes | Study Sociology Class 11 - Humanities/Arts

In GroupOut Group
(1) "We feeling " exists.(1) Lack of "We feeling ".
(2) Face-to-face relationship.(2) No face to face
(3) Feeling of sacrifice and cooperation among members.(3) Lack of feeling of sacrifice and cooperation among members.
(4) Domestic and perfect relationship.(4) Working relationship and imperfect relationship.


3. Community and Society or Association

  • Difference between Community and Society:
CommunitySociety
(1) It refers to human relationships that are highly personal, intimate , enduring.(1) It refers to human relationships that are impersonal, superficial, and transitory.
(2) It is a group of people who live together in a particular locality and share the basic conditions of common life. To constitute a community the presence of sentiment among the members is necessary.(2) Society includes every relation which is established among the people. There is an element of likeness in society. But, it is not necessary that likeness should include the people in oneness, enemies can also be included in a society.
(3) It is a group of people living together in a particular locality.(3) Society has no definite boundary. It is universal and pervasive.
(4) Community is concrete.(4) Society is abstract.
(5) It is group of people living in a particular locality and having a feeling of oneness.(5) Society is a network of relationships that can not be seen or touched.
(6) We can see the group and locate its existence.(6) We can not see the group and locate its existence.
(7) E .g.: Hindu Community, Parsi Community, etc.(7) E .g .: Arya Samaj Society, Harijan Society.

 

  • Difference between Community and Association:

Community

Association

(1) Community is a whole.

(1) Association is partial

(2) It is a natural growth.

(2) It is an artificial creation.

(3 It does not exist for the pursuit of specific interest.

(3) It is formed by individuals for the pursuit of their individual interests.

(4) Community embraces all purposes; it does not exist for a specific purpose.

(4) Significance of association for a person is so log as it serves their purpose.

(5) Membership of the community is compulsory. We are born into it.

(5) Membership of the association is voluntary. We choose our associations.

(6) Community sentiment is an essential feature.

(6) Community sentiment is not an essential feature.

(7) It is not a necessity to have office bearers who manage the affairs.

(7) It has got its office bearer to manage the affairs

(8) It works through customs & traditions.

(8) It works mostly through written laws and rules.

 

4. Reference Groups:

There always exists a group that acts as a model for the individual or any group. 
  • This model group is treated as the reference group. For instance a person/individual copies or emulates the life of any film actor or artist. 
  • Aggregates of people who are in the same place at the same time but share no definite connection with one another are termed as 'quasi groups'.

5. Peer Groups:

  • Peer group is a sort of primary group where members have come together to pursue a similar activity. 
  • Peer groups are usually of the same age. 
  • Classmates in a school, colleagues at office, co-participants in the aerobics classes, are all examples of peer groups.

Social Stratification

Social stratification can thus be defined as the existence of structured inequalities between groups in society, in terms of their access to material or symbolic rewards. Ogburn and Nimkoff define social stratification as “The process by which individuals and groups are ranked in a more or less enduring hierarchy of status is known as stratification”.

Revision Notes (Part - 1) - Terms, Concepts and their Use in Sociology Notes | Study Sociology Class 11 - Humanities/Arts

  • Society can be seen as consisting of ‘strata’ in a hierarchy, with the more favored at the top and the less privileged near the bottom. 
  • Stratification has a crucial place in the organization of society. Every aspect of the life of every individual and household is affected by stratification. 
  • Opportunities for health, security, educational success, fulfillment in work, and political influence are all unequally distributed in systematic ways.

Forms Of Social Stratification
Four basic systems of stratification have existed in human societies: slavery, caste, estate, and class.

Revision Notes (Part - 1) - Terms, Concepts and their Use in Sociology Notes | Study Sociology Class 11 - Humanities/Arts


1. Slavery

Slavery is the extreme form of inequality in which some individuals are literarily owned by others. The Greeks and Romans kept slaves as soldiers, servants, labourers, and even civil servants. The Romans captured slaves from present-day Britain, France and Germany. Slave armies were kept by the Ottomans and Egyptians. As formal institution slavery has at present been eradicated. However, there are still instances of its existence found in numerous forms in any corners of the world.

The Istanbul Slave Market The Istanbul Slave Market 

2. Caste and Class

CASTECLASS
1. It depends on birth.  It depends on social circumstances.
2. It is a closed group.If open group.
3. There are rigid rules in marriage, eating — habits, etcThere is no rigidity,
4.  It is a permanent/stable organization.It is less stable than the caste system.
5. It acts as an obstacle to Democracy and Nationalism.It does not create any obstacle to Democracy and Nationalism.


Caste As A System Of Stratification

1. Your social position is determined by the caste you are born in. You cannot change your caste.

2. Caste dictates the type of work an individual can do and doesn’t allow occupational mobility.

3. Caste endogamy is practiced with regard to marriages. An individual can marry only within his/her own caste.

4. Caste determines one’s social relationship. Social interaction is restricted by caste.

5. There is a restriction in terms of food and food sharing.


Class As A System Of Stratification

Class system is different from the other forms of stratification in four main aspects.

1. The boundaries between class groups is not as clear cut as in the caste system.

2. Class status can be achieved and is not ascribed.

3. The class stratification is mainly based on inequalities with regard to possession of economic resources.

4. The process of inequality operates through large scale impersonal association of the members.


Status and Role
Status:
 

  • It refers to the position an individual occupies in a group or in society. Each status has certain defined rights and duties assigned to it. 
  • Examples of status- Doctor, mother, teacher etc.
  • Status is of two types: Ascribed Status and Achieved Status

Achieved Status
Ascribed Status
1.It is achieved by an individual on merit and effort.1.It is assigned to us on the basis of birth, biological inheritance, parents’ status etc.
2.It is based on individual’s choice.2.A person does not choose this status.
3.It can change qualifications, income etc.3.It is difficult to change status.
4.It plays an important role in modern societies.4.It plays an important role in traditional societies.

Eg. Class
Eg. Caste

Multiple Status And Status Progression

  • In a modern complex society such as ours, an individual may occupy multiple statuses during the course of his/her life. 
  • This is sociologically termed as status set. For example, you as a school student may be a student to your teacher, a customer to your grocer, a passenger to the bus driver, a brother or sister to your sibling and a patient to the doctor.
  • Individuals also acquire different status at various stages of life. This is called a status sequence for it refers to the status, which is attained in succession or sequence at various stages of life. For example, a son becomes a father, a grandfather, and then great grandfather and so on.

Status And Prestige

  • Status and prestige are interconnected terms. 
  • Every status is accorded certain rights and values. 
  • Values are attached to the social position, rather than to the person who occupies it or to his/her performance or to his/her actions. 
  • The kind of value attached to the status or to the office is called prestige.

Role And Role Playing

  • A role is the dynamic or the behavioural aspect of status. People perform their roles according to social expectations associated with the status that he/she occupies. This is referred to as role taking or role playing. 
  • Thus, roles are played in accordance with the status. For example, a child learns to behave in accordance with how her behaviour will be seen and judged by others.

Question for Revision Notes (Part - 1) - Terms, Concepts and their Use in Sociology
Try yourself:The behaviors, obligations, and privileges attached to social status is known as
View Solution


Role Conflict

When there is incompatibility among roles corresponding to multiple statuses, it is referred to as role conflict. It occurs when contrary expectations arise from two or more roles to be performed.


Social Control

Social control refers to the various means used by a society to bring its recalcitrant or unruly members back into line. 

  • It is the social process, techniques, and strategies by which the behaviours of individuals or a group are regulated.
  • It can be the use of force to regulate the behaviour of the individuals or enforcement of values in the individual to maintain order in society.

Means Of Social Control
Social control may be informal or formal.

Formal Means

When the codified, systematic and other formal mechanism of control is used, it is known as formal social control. There are agencies and mechanism of formal social control, for example, law and the state. In a modern society formal mechanisms and agencies of social control are emphasised.

Informal Means

In every society there is another type of social control that is known as informal social control. It is personal, unofficial and uncodified. They include smiles, making faces, body language, frowns, criticism, ridicule, laughter etc. There can be great variations in their use within the same society. In day- to-day life they are quite effective. However, in some cases informal methods of social control may not be adequate in enforcing conformity or obedience. There are various agencies of informal social control such as family, religion, kinship, etc.


Impact of Social Control

  • Social control can be both positive and negative through sanctions. 
  • A sanction is a mode of reward or punishment that reinforces socially expected forms of behaviour. 
  • Members of societies can be rewarded for good and expected behaviour. 
  • On the other hand, negative sanctions are also used to enforce rules and to restrain deviance.

Deviance

  • Deviance refers to modes of action, which do not conform to the norms or values held by most of the members of a group or society. 
  • What is regarded as ‘deviant’ is as widely variable as the norms and values that distinguish different cultures and subcultures. 
  • Likewise, ideas of deviance are challenged and change from one period to another.
  • For example, a woman choosing to become an astronaut may be considered deviant at one time, and be applauded at another time even in the same society.

Solved Questions For You

Q.1. Why do we need to use special terms and concepts in sociology?

Answer:  We need to use special terms and concepts in sociology to understand society better. In sociology, there are different ways of understanding society. For example, Max Weber gave importance to individuals for the existence of society whereas Emile Durkheim laid emphasis on society as a whole.

For Karl Marx, the key concepts were class and conflict to understand society whereas, for Emile Durkheim, social solidarity and collective conscience were important.

There are different kinds of individuals and groups in society that lead to different concepts and ideas. Therefore, we need special terms and concepts in sociology to differentiate them from our common sense knowledge of society.

An individual studies the society on the basis of his/her own common sense, which is often within a limited range, while sociology provides specific concepts and terms to study the structure, phenomenon, and functions of the society in a scientific way.


Q.2. What have you observed about the stratification system existing in your society? How are individual lives affected by stratification?

Answer: Social stratification refers to the existence of structured inequalities between groups in a society, in terms of their access to materials or symbolic rewards. Historically, there have been four basic systems of stratification- slavery, caste, estate, and class.

In India, there are several stratifications on the basis of caste, class, gender etc. In several organizations, stratification exists on the basis of the roles of the employees.

The life of the individuals is affected by stratification because people are placed in higher or lower strata. The lower strata is devoid of certain symbolic rewards and material advantages which improve the quality of the life of the recipient such as wealth, income, health, security in a job, etc. On the other hand, the higher strata enjoys all the benefits of the society. These material benefits or privileged position are also passed on to the future generations of the higher strata.

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