Question 1 : How is social inequality different from the inequality of individual?
Answer : Individual inequality refers to destructiveness and variations among individuals in their psychological and physical characteristics.
Social inequality refers to a social system where some people are getting opportunity to make use of the resources and others are not. Some people are at a higher level in terms of wealth, education, health and status while others are at the lowest level.
Question 2 : What are some of the features of social stratification?
Answer : The three key features that explains social stratification are :
(i) Social stratification is a characteristic of society, not simply a function of individual differences. It is a society-wide system that unequally distributes social resources among categories of people.
(ii) Social stratification persists over generations. It is closely linked to the family and to the inheritance of social resources from one generation to next. The ascribed aspect social inequality is reinforced by the practice of endogamy.
(iii) Social stratification is supported by patterns of belief or ideology. No system of social stratification is likely to persist over generations unless it is widely viewed as being either fair or inevitable.
Question 3 : How would you distinguish prejudice from other kinds of opinion or belief ?
Answer : Prejudice refers to pre-thought opinions or attitudes held by numbers of one group towards another. Prejudice may be either positive or negative. A prejudiced person’s pre-thought views are generally based on hearsay or what is heard from others, rather than on direcr evidence. This word is generally used for negative pre-judgements.
On the other hand, an opinion or belief is a judgement about someone or something, not necessarily based on fact and knowlwdge.
Question 4 : What is social exclusion ?
Answer : Social exclusion refers to the combined result of depriviation and discrimination whcih prevent individuals or groups from participating wholly in the economic,social and political life of the society in which they live.
- It is the outcome of social processes and institutions rather than individual action.
- It refers to ways in which individuals may become cut off from full involvement in the wider society.
- It focuses on a broad range of factors that prevent individuals or groups from having opportunities open to the majority of the population. It is not accidental but systematic and it is the result of structural features of society. Social exclusion is involuntary i.e. exclusion is practiced regardless of the wishes of those who are excluded.
Question 5 : What is the relationship between caste and economic inequality today?
Answer : In today’s scenario of hierarchy of caste system, each caste has a specific place and social status. There has been a close correlation between social or caste status and economic status. The high castes were almost invariable of high economic status.
However, in the 19th century, the link between catse and occupation had become less rigid. At the macro line, things have not changed much. The difference between the privileged (a high economic status) sections of society and disadvantaged ( a low economic status) sections still persists.
Question 6 : What is untouchability ?
Answer : Untouchability is an extreme aspect of the caste system where members of certain castes are considered as untouchable by upper castes. The three main dimensions of untouchability i.e. exclusion, humiliation-subordination and exploitation are equally important in defining the phenomenon of untouchability.
Untouchables/Dalits experience untouchability in different ways. They are prohibited from sharing drinking water sources or participating in collective religious worship, social ceremonies and festivals.
Untouchability is associated with economic exploitation of various kinds, most commonly through the imposition of forced, unpaid (or under-paid) labour or the confiscation of property.
Question 7 : Describe some of the policies designed to address caste inequality.
Answer : In India, because of massive discrimination practiced against lower castes, special provisions have been made for them. At the state level, there are special programs for Schedules Tribes (ST) and Sceduled Castes (SC). The OBCs have also been added to this special provisions.
Some laws passed to end, prohibit and punish caste discrimination were :
(i) Caste Disabilities Removal Act of 1850, abolished all laws affecting the rights of persons converting to another religion or caste. It allowed entry of Dalit to government schools.
(ii) Constitution Amendment ( 93rd Amendment) Act of 2005, for introducing reservation for OBCs in institutions of higher education.
(iii) Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act of 1989, to abolish untouchability (Article 17) and introduced reservation provisions.
(iv) 1989 Prevention of Atrocities Act revised and strengthened the legal provisions against Dalits and adivasis.
Question 8 : How are the Other Backward Castes different from the Dalits (or Schedule Castes) ?
Answer : Other Backward Castes (OBCs) are different from the Dalits or Schedule Castes (SCs) in the following ways :
(i) OBCs are not any particular groups like SCs and STs but individuals from all communities whose standard of living is below poverty line.
(ii) OBCs have been scheduled in Constitution of India through 93rd Amendment, 2006 and these classes are recognised since the early 1990s.
Such is not in case of SCs and STs who have been recognised by Government of India Act, 1935 during colonial Inida.
(iii) There is a tough procedure for OBC candidate to establish themself in this category while SCs and STs are unconditionally recognised.
(iv) The proportion of reserved seats is equal to the percentage share of the Scheduled Castes and Tribes in the total population but for OBCs this proportion is decided differently.
Question 9 : What are the major issues of concern to adivasis today?
Answer : Major issues of concern to adivasis today are as follows :
(i) Development plans during the post-independence period had displaced adivasis from their natural habitat i.e. forests, but nothing has been done so far for their rehabilitation.
(ii) The so called traders and industrialists have trickily usurped their lands, increased the trend of consumption among them, but being resourceless they find themselves in helpless position.
(iii) Adivasi population in India is widely dispersed. They are mainly concentrated in North-Eastern states like Tripura, Meghalaya and Negaland. Being so dispersed, they cannot organise themselves properly.
(iv) Being dispersed population, it is also difficult to collect proper data and implement schemes for their development.
(v) Economic and social conditions of the Adivasis in North-Eastern states is much worse than those of other-tribals.
(vi) The projects like Sardar Sarovar dam on the river Narmada in Western India and the Polavaram dam on the river Godavari in Andhra Pradesh are in progress and it is estimated that several lakh adivasis are going to lost their habitat and source of survival. Economic liberalisation policies have made it easier for corporate firms to acquire large areas of land by displacing adivasis.
Question 10 : What are the major issues taken up by the women’s movement over its history?
Answer : There are no biological reasons that can explain the amount of discrimination in public sphere against women. Scholars and social reformers have shown that the inequalities between men and women are social rather than natural. The women’s question became prominent in the 19th Century.
Some of the major issues taken by the women’s movement by some social reformers are :
- Raja Rammohan Roy’s attempts to reform society, religion and status of women in Bengal brought the women’s question into the limelight. He undertook the campaign against Sati which was the first women’s issue to receive public attention.
- Jyotiba Phule founded the Satyashodak Samaj with its primary emphasis on truth seeking. Phule’s first practical social reform efforts were to aid the two groups considered lowest in traditional Brahmin culture i.e. women and untouchables.
- Sir Syed Ahmed Khan made efforts to reform Muslim Society. He wanted girls to be educated, but within the boundaries of their homes. He stood for women’s education but sought for a curriculum that included instruction in religious principles, training in arts of housekeeping and handicrafts and rearing of children.
- Trabai Shinde, a Maharashtrian housewife wrote Stree Purush Tulana as a protest against the double standards of a male dominated society.
- Women’s issues aggressively surfaced in 1970s. the burning issues were rape of women in police custody, dowry murders and gender injustice, etc.
Question 11 : In what sense can one say that disability is as much a social as a physical thing ?
Answer : The differently abled are not ‘disabled’ only because they are physically or mentally ‘ impaired’ but also because society is built in such a manner that doesn’t cater to their needs.
some common features central to the public perception of ‘disability’ all over the world are :
(i) Disability is understood as a biological event.
(ii) Whenever, a disabled person is confronted with problems, it is believed that the problems originated due to his/her impairment.
(iii) The disabled person is seen as a victim.
(iv) The idea of disability suggests that they are in need of help.
Objective Type Questions
Multiple Choice Questions
Question 1 : The sociological perspective on race ________ .
(a) begins with the assumption that races are based on easily classified differences
(b) considers race a social construct, not an absolute
(c) Neither (a) nor (b)
(d) Both (a) and (b)
Answer : (b) considers race a social construct, not an absolute
Question 2 : Which of the following is true regarding discrimination?
(a) In order for a person to discriminate, he or she must hold prejudicial attitudes.
(b) Discrimination is an action
(c) Discrimination is not a form of racism
(d) None of the above
Answer : (b) Discrimination is an action
Question 3 : Social inequality and exclusion are social because they are about _______ .
(d) Both (a) and (b)
Answer : (d) Both (a) and (b)
Question 4 : Social inequality and exclusion are _______ .
(d) Both (a) and (b)
Answer : (d) Both (a) and (b)
Question 5 : Which of the following is the form of capital of social resources ?
(a) Economic capital
(b) Cultural capital
(c) Social Capital
(d) All of these
Answer : (d) All of these
Question 6 : These social resources can be divided into three forms of capital-economic capital in the form of material assets and income; cultural capital such as educational qualifications and status; and ________ in the form of networks of contacts and social associations.
(a) political capital
(b) financial capital
(c) social capital
(d) None of these
Answer : (c) social capital
Question 7 : Patterns of unequal access to social resources are commonly called _______. Some social inequality reflects innate difference between individuals. For example, their varying abilities and efforts.
(a) political inequality
(b) social inequality
(c) cultural inequality
(d) none of these
Answer : (b) social inequality
Question 8 : Sociologists use the term _______ to refer to a system by which categories of people in a society are ranked in a hierarchy. This hierarchy then shapes people’s identity and experiences, their relations with others, as well as their access to resources and opportunities.
(a) social gratification
(b) social stratification
(c) political hierarchy
(d) social equality
Answer : (b) social stratification
Question 9 : Social stratification persists over generations. The ascribed aspect of social inequality is reinforced by the practice of _____ . That is, marriage is usually restricted to members of the same caste, ruling out the potential for blurring caste lines through inter-marriage.
(d) none of these
Answer : endogamy
Fill in the Blanks
Question 10 : In addition to political justice, the Indian Constitution also seeks to ensure two other kinds of justice. Thes are _____ and ________ .
Answer : social and economic justice
Question 11 : _______ is an attitude of aversion and hostility towards the members of a group simply because they belong to it.
Answer : Prejudice
Question 12 : The co-existence of diverse groups are called _______ .
Answer : Pluralism
Question 13 : _______ were believed to be ‘people of forest’ .
Answer : Jana
Question 14 : One of the properties of a minority group identified oppression at the hands of a dominant group.
Answer : True
Question 15 : A split market labour divides managerial and line workers.
Answer : False
Question 16 : Social capital is found in the form of networks of contacts and social associations.
Answer : True
Question 17 : Stereotypes are often applied to ethnic and racial groups and to women.
Answer : True
Correct the Following Statements
Question 18: Social groups unlike radical groups are socially constructed.
Answer : Ethnic groups unlike radical groups are socially constructed.
Question 19 : All the forms of social exclusion grow out of radical and ethnic stratification.
Answer : All the forms of stratification grow out of radical and ethnic stratification
Complete the Statements
Question 20 : The third gender of the person is based on
Answer : self-understanding or made up by group choice
Question 21 : Sociologists used the term political stratification to refer to a system by which
Answer : categories of people in a society ranked in a hierarchy
Very Short Answer Type Questions
Question 1 : What is social about social inequality ? (All India 2010, 2019)
Answer : Social inequalities are social because they are not about individuals but about groups. They are social in the sense, that they are not only economic but also systematic and structured.
Question 2 : What are the three forms of capita; on which social inequality is based ? (Delhi 2016)
Answer : The three forms of capital on which social inequality is based are :
(i) Economic Capital : It can be divided in the form of material assets and income.
(ii) Cultural Capital : It consists of educational capital and status.
(iii) Social Capital : It is in the form of networks of contacts and social associations.
Question 3 : What do you mean by the term ‘Social Stratification’ ? (All India 2009, 2012)
Answer : Sociologists use the term social stratification to refer to a system by which categories of people in a society are ranked in a hierarchy.
Question 4 : What are prejudices? (All India 2009)
Answer : Prejudices refer to pre-conceived opinions or attitudes held by members of one group toeards another. The word literally means pre-judgment.
Question 5 : What are the two criteria used for defining the OBCs ? (India 2016)
Answer : Caste rank and occupation are the main criteria by which Other Backward Classes (OBC s) are considered Backward. The OBCs are above the so called untouchable groups and below the Brahman, Kshatriya and Vaishya castes,
Question 6: What does the term ‘ adivasi ‘ mean ?
Answer : The term ‘adivasi’ connates political awareness and the assertion of rights. Literally meaning ‘original inhabitants’, the term was coined in the 1930’s as part of the struggle against the intrusion by the colonial government and outside settlers and moneylenders.
Question 7 : Why Tarabai Shinde wrote, Stree Purush Tulana ?
Answer : Tarabai Shinde wrote ‘Stree Purush Tulana’ as a protest against society to focus on the double standards of a male dominated society.
Question 8 : What are the two common features of the public perception of disability worldwide ?
Answer : The two common features of the public perception of disability worldwide are:
(i) Disability is understood as a biological event.
(ii) The disabled person is seen as victim.
Question 9 : What are the constituents of social resources?
Answer : The constituents of social resources are money, property, education, health, power etc.
Question 10 : What do you mean by social inequality ?
Answer : Patterns of unequal access to social resources are commonly called social inequality. By and large social inequality is not the outcome of innate or natural differences between people, but is produced by the society within.
Question 11 : Which social institutions create and sustain patterns of inequality and exclusion ?
Answer : The social institutions which create and sustain patterns of inequality and exclusion are family, caste, tribe and the market.
Question 12 : What are the various reasons of social exclusions and discrimination in the society ?
Answer : The reason of social exclusion and discrimination in the society are economic resources, gender, religion, ethnicity, language, caste and disability.
Question 13 : What do you understand by the term apartheid ?
Answer : Apartheid was a political and social system in South Africa while it was under White minority rule. This policy governed the relation between South Africa’s White minority and non-White majority and sanctioned racial segregation and political and economical discrimination against non-Whites.
Question 14 : Cite the most important initiative of the state for compensating caste discrimination.
Answer : The most important state initiative to compensate for past and present discrimination is the one popularly known as reservations, which involved the setting aside of some places or seats for members of SCs and STs in different spheres of public life.
Question 15 : Who established Satyashodak Samaj and why ?
Answer : Jyoti Phule denounced the injustice of the caste system and scorned its rules of purity and pollution in 1873. He founded the Satyashodak Samaj (truth seekers society ) which was devoted to securing human rights and social justice for low caste people.
Question 16 : Who are referred to as tribes ?
Answer : A tribe is a group of people who live in remote areas such as forests, mountains, valleys, etc. They have their own language, culture, ways of living, eating and wearing habits.
Short Answer Type Questions
Question 1 : What does social exclusion mean? Why is it involuntary? (Delhi 2012)
Answer : Social exclusion is sometimes wrongly justified by the same logic – it is said that the excluded group itself does not wish to participate. The truth of such an argument is not obvious when exclusion is preventing access to something desirable.
It is important to note that social exclusion is involuntary i.e. exclusion is practised regardless of the wishes of those who are excluded. For example, rich people are never found sleeping on the pavements or under bridges like thousands of homeless poor in cities and towns.
This does not mean that the rich are being excluded from access to pavements and park benches, because they could certainly gain access if they wanted to, but they choose not to.
Question 2 : Examine the role of state initiatives to address caste and tribe discrimination. (All India 2014)
Answer : Some of the initiatives after independence were :
- After independence, the most important state initiative attempting to compensate for past and present caste discrimination is known as reservations. These include reservation of seats in the State and Central legislatures (i.e. State Assemblies, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha), reservation of jobs in government service across all departments and public sector companies and reservation of seats in educational institutes for Scheduled Cates and Scheduled Tribes.
The proportion of reserved seats is equal to the percentage share of the Scheduled Castes and Tribes in the total population.
- In addition to reservation, there have been a number of laws passed to end, prohibit and punish caste discrimination, specially untouchability.
- The 93rd Amendment is for introducing reservation for the Other Backward Classes in institutions of higher education, while the 1850 Act was used to allow entry of Dalits to government schools.
- The 1989 Prevention of Atrocities Act revised and strengthened the legal provisions punishing acts of violence or humiliation against Dalits and Adivasis.
Question 3 : What were the provisions of the Fundamental Rights of Citizenship declared by Indian National Congress in 1931 ?
Answer : In Karachi Session of the Indian National Congress, it issued a declaration on the Fundamental Rights of Citizenship in India whereby it committed itself to women’s equality.
The provisions of the declaration are as follows :
(i) All citizens are equal before the law, irrespective of religion, caste, creed or sex.
(ii) The voting rights shall be on the basis of universal adult suffrage.
(iii) No disability attaches to any citizen by reason of his or her religion, caste, creed or sex, in regard to public employment office of power or honour and in the exercise of any trade or calling.
(iv) Woman shall have the right to vote, to represent and the right to hold public offices.
Question 4 : OBCs are a much more diverse group than Dalits and Adivasis. Explain .
Answer : There were a large group of castes that were of low status and were also subjected to varying levels of discrimination but were not untouchables. These were the service and artisanal caste who occupied lower level in caste hierarchy.
The OBCs are defined negatively, they are neither part of the forward caste at the upper end of the status nor of the Dalits at the lower level. But since, caste has entered all the major Indian religions and is not confined to Hinduism alone, there are also members of other religions who belong to backward castes.
They share the same traditional occupational identification and similar or worse socio-economic status. For these reasons, the OBCs are a much more diverse group than Dalits or Adivasis.
Question 5 : Untouchability is an extreme and vicious aspect of the caste system. Explain the various dimensions of untouchability. (Delhi 2019)
Answer : The three main dimensions of untouchability are exclusion, humiliation-subordination and exploitation :
(i) Subordination and Exploitation : Untouchability is almost always associated with economic exploitation of various kinds, most commonly through the imposition of forced, unpaid or under paid labour, or the confiscation of property.
(ii) Exclusion : Dalits experience forms of exclusion that are unique and not practised against other groups – for instance, being prohibited from sharing drinking water sources or participating in collective religious worship, social ceremonies and festivals. Untouchability may also involve forced inclusion in a subordinated role, such as being compelled to play the drums at a religious event.
(iii) Humiliation and Subordination : The performance of publicly visible acts of (self-) humiliation and subordination is an important part of the practice of untouchability. Common instances include the imposition of gestures of deference (such as taking off headgear, carrying footwear in the hand, standing with bowed head, not wearing clean or ‘bright’ clothes, and so on) as well as routinised abuse and humiliation.
Question 6 : “What marked these 19th century social reform attempts was the modern context and mix of ideas ” ? Interpret the given statement. (Delhi 2019)
Answer : The 19th century social reform attempts was the modern context and mix of ideas in following ways :
- It was a creative combination of modern ideas of Western liberalism and a new look on traditional literature.
- Rammohan Roy attacked the practice of sati on the basis of both appeals to humiliation and natural rights doctrines as well as Hindu shastras.
- Ranade’s writings entitled The Texts of the Hindu Law on the lawfulness of the Remarriage of Widows and Vedic Authorities for Widow Marriage elaborated the shastric sanction for remarriage of widows.
- The content of new education was modernising and liberal. The literary content of the courses in the humanities and social sciences was drawn from the literature of the European Renaissance, Reformation and Enlightenment. Its themes were humanistic, secular and liberal.
- Sir Syed Ahmed Khan’s interpretation of Islam emphasised the validity of free enquiry (ijtihad)and the alleged similarities between Koranic revelations and the laws of nature discovered by modern science.
- Kandukiri Viresalingam’s the sources of knowledge reflected his familiarity with navya-nyaya logic. At the same time he translated Julius Huxley.
Question 7 : State the declarations of the Karachi Session of the Indian National Congress which committed itself to women’s equality. (Delhi 2019)
Answer : The Karachi Session of the Indian National Congress declared-Fundamental Rights of Citizenship in India whereby it committed itself to women’s equality.
- All citizens are equal before the law, irrespective of religion, caste, creed or sex.
- No disability attaches to any citizen, by reason of his or her religion, caste, creed or sex, in regard to public employment, office of power or honour, and in the exercise of any trade or calling.
- The franchise shall be on the basis of universal adult suffrage.
- Woman shall have the right to vote, to represent and the right to hold public offices.
Long Answer Type Questions
Question 1 : How far did the status of women improve in the contemporary India ? Give examples to support your answer. (Delhi 2015)
Answer : The question of women’s issues became central in the 19th century. Scholars and social reformers have shown that the inequalities between men and women are social rather than natural. The series of changes that took place changes or improved the status of women.
Some of the examples are :
(i) In the 19th century reform movements, the emphasis had been on the backward aspects of tradition like sati, child marriage or the ill treatment of widows.
(ii) Two decades after independence, i.e. in the 1970’s, the emphasis was on modern issues such as rape of women in police custody, dowry murders, the representation of women in popular media and gendered consequences of unequal development.
(iii) In the 21st century, new sites of gender injustice are emerging such as declining sex ratio, fall in girl child sex ration, social bias against girl child, etc.
However, the condition of women in contemporary India has changed leaps and bounds in comparison with the past. The government formulated laws and policies such as Anti-Dowry Act, one-third reservation of seats in local bodies, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, LADLI, etc., to empower women.
Question 2 : What is meant by Other Backward Class ? What are its problem ?
Answer : Other Backward Class is that class of majority of Indian society which became weak due to social, religious, economic and geographical factors.
Some of the problems of Other Backward Classes are given below :
(i) Problem of Landless Farmers : Most of the parts of India are under the control of higher castes. OBC people of villages are landless farmers and they have to work on lands of other people, They are exploited by their owners and mainly depend upon the wishes of their owners.
(ii) Problem of Selection of Occupation : Members of these groups are generally backward from social, educational and economic point of view. That is why problem of selection of occupation remains there in front of them.
(iii) Problem of Salary : One of the main problems of these people is that they hardly get enough salary at exact time. These people generally work in the fields of people of higher castes and hardly get any cash payment for their work. Their owners give them grains instead of salary which hardly fulfill their needs.
(iv) Problem of Education : One of the other problems of these people is that they are illiterate. Their children are unable to get education due to poverty because of which their children remain illiterate and remain economically backward.
(v) Problem of Indebtedness : One of the main problems of these people is the problem of indebtedness. Generally, these people are very poor because of which they take loan at the time of birth, marriage, etc.
Moneylenders charge a lot of interest from them. Not only they pay the loan but even their children have to repay.
Question 3 : Read the passage and answer the following questions.
In India labels such as ‘disability’. ‘handicap’, ‘crippled’, ‘blind’ and ‘deaf’ are used synonymously. Often these terms are hurled at people as insult. In a culture that looks up to bodily ‘perfection’, all deviations from the’ perfect body’ signify abnormality, defect and distortion. Labels such as bechara (poor thing) accentuate the victim status for the disabled person. The roots of such attitudes lie in the cultural conception that views an impaired body as a result of fate. Destiny is seen as the culprit, and disabled people are the victims. The common perception views disability as retribution for past karma (actions) from which there can be no reprieve. The dominant cultural construction in India therefore looks at disability as essentially a characteristics of the individual. The popular image in mythology portray the disabled in an extremely negative fashion.
Why in India labels such as disability ‘handicap’ etc used for differently-abled people ? How these words replaced in the modern times ?
Answer: Disability is regarded as a natural occurrence. When a disabled person is faced with difficulties, it is assumed that the difficulties are due to her or his disability. The disabled individual is seen as a victim. Disability is thought to be related to an impaired person’s self-perception. The word “disability” implies that they are in need of assistance.
Some of the reasons for using these labels for differently-abled people are:
- The roots of such attitude lie in the cultural conception that view as impaired body as a result of fate. Destiny is seen as the culprit and disabled people are the victim.
- The common perception view disability as result of past karma (actions) from which there can be no reprieve.
Terms such as mentally challenged, visually impaired and physically impaired replaced the negative terms such as retarded, crippled or lame.