DU SOL BA 3rd Year History of Social Thought Notes Chapter 14 Arnold J Toynbee

DU SOL BA 3rd Year History of Social Thought Notes Chapter 14 Arnold J Toynbee

Question 1.
Examine Toyabee’s theory of Social Change.
OR
What is Toynbee’s theory of ‘Chafleage’ and ‘Response’?
Answer:
Arnold Toynbee, like Sorokin, presented a theory which has some cyclical features. Toynbee’s theory is expounded in ‘A Study of History’ and its cyclical character is expressed in the conception of the growth, arrest and decay of civilization but the theory is perhaps, in a more fundamental sense, linear, for according to Toynbee the different civilisations though they are certainly seperate individuals, are also representatives of a single species and are also engaged upon an identical enterprise. The differentiating yang- – movement of growth is leading towards a goal which is a yin-state of integration.

The process of growth and decay (according to Toynbee) of civilisation is a vehicle of progressive religious revelation, and its consummation a ‘Communion with God’. In the work of Toynbee (like that of P.A. Sorokin) the mass of historical analogic, and the araelar style, obscure the analysis of historical change, despite the many illuminating comments upon particular social transformations. His theory represents a return to philosophy of history in the grand manner.

The theory of social change involving the concepts of ‘challenge’ and ‘response’, formulated by Toynbee is basically linear but with certain modifications and limitations, it inclines towards the approach of cyclical explanation of social change. In his Study of History, ge seeks the general causes of the rise and fall of civilizations. Toynbee contends that, societies present challenges to their populations and so long as a “creative minority” exists to meet the challenges, societal growth may continue. The idea of challenge and response as causative forces runs strongly through his work, and he makes interesting comparisons between the Greco-Roman World of antiquity arid contemporary Western civilisation. His work amounts to a vast summary of historical cultural systems. His theory of social change can be visualised more clearly through following figure:
DU SOL BA 3rd Year History of Social Thought Notes Chapter 14 Arnold J Toynbee 1

Arnold Toynbee, a supporter of the cyclic theory is of the view that world civilisation has passed through stages which correspond to youth, maturity and decline. In the first stage, there is response to challenges, in the second stage there is some trouble while in the third stage there is degeneration. He is of the view that our civilisation has reached its last stage but can be saved if there is proper guidance by a select group of leaders who are not corrupt and are spiritually strong. Such people can only inspire the confidence of the people.

Toynbee, while explaining the cyclic trend insists that ‘the first challenge presented to the new born Hellenic civilisation was the challenge of chaos and ancient light. It was victoriously met, it was decided that Hallas should be a world of cities and not villages, of agriculture and not of pastures, of order and not of anarchy, yet the very success of their response to their challenge exposed the victors to a second and Malthusian problem. The response was in terms of Hellenic expansion though impeded in the 6th century due to series of causes. Thereafter, the Hellenic society was on the defensive, assaulted by the Persians and Carthegians. The breakdown marked by Athteni on Peloponnesian was followed neverthless by a fresh outburst of geographical expansion.

Toynbee also discussed the possible effect of the improvement in technique on the growth of civilisations. He contends, “We will now consider whether the progressive conquest of the physical environment by improvement in technique will provide us with an adequate intention of the true growth of civilisations. Is there evidence of a positive correlation between an improvement in technique and a progress in social growth ? An example of improvement in technique, in a static society is the Polynesian who have excelled as navigators, the Eskimos as fishermen, the Spartans as solidiers etc.

An example of the reverse is the society in Europe where the people remained content with the implements of rough workmanship, but it developed a fine aesthetic sense’. He further explains that ‘the history of development of technique, like the histoiy of geographical expansion, has failed to provide us with a criterian of the growth of civilisations, but it does reveal a principle by which a technical progress is governed, which may be described as a law of progressive simplification. The pouderous and bulky steam engine with its elaborate permanent way is replaced by the neat and handy combustion engine. The Copernican astronomy which has replaced the polemic system presents, in far geometrical terms an equally coherent explanation of a vastly wider range of movement of heavenly bodies.

Simplification commotes ommissions and eliminations whereas what has happened in each of the above cases is not a diminition but an enhancement of practical efficiency or of an aesthetic satisfaction or of intellectual grasp’. Toynbee concludes his view thus, “We conclude that a given series of successful responses to successive challenges is to he interpreted as a manifestation of growth if, as the series proceeds, the action tends to shift from the field of an external environment physical or human, to the interior of the growing personality or civilisation.” In other words, “the criterian of growth is progress towards self-determination and progress towards self-determination is a prosaic formula for describing the miracle by which life enters into its kingdom.”

Critical Evaluation. ” Like other cyclical thought Toynbee’s explanation has also been criticised as based on philosophical thinking rather on scientific studies. Though his works amounts to a vast summary of historical-cultural systems but has been criticised as proving points by a careful selection of examples. It also ends in a kind of historical mysticism, expecting a new age of religion to same humanity from its impending doom but not explaining how this new age of faith is to come about.

Inspite of these criticisms, the theory has a great sociological value.

DU SOL BA 3rd Year History of Social Thought Notes

DU SOL BA 3rd Year History of Social Thought Notes Chapter 13 Karl Mannheim (1893—1947)

DU SOL BA 3rd Year History of Social Thought Notes Chapter 13 Karl Mannheim (1893—1947)

Question 1.
Examine Mannheim’s ideas of functions of Sociology.
OR
What problems were suggested by Kari Mannheim in the analysis of social phenomena ? Explain.
Answer:
Karl Mannheim divided sociology on the basis of functions into following three categories :

  1. Systematic or General Sociology,
  2. Comparative Sociology.
  3. Structural Sociology.

These are being discussed below :

1. Systematic or General Sociology. Karl Mannheim stressed that for initiating useful casual enquiries in sociology, one must not be held up by the ad hoc concepts but one should go beyond these concepts, as these serve the purpose of ‘first approximation’ and help in discovering ‘common causal factors in the maze of intermittent historical phenomena’. It has been cited as an example, that “from the point of view of historian and the political scientist, a secret society of the so called primitives, a ‘guild’ in the middle ages or a modern social club may be totally dissimilar or non-comparable, but the moment the sociologist introduces the general concept ‘closed group’, a common factor emerges and the whole analysis, and comparison become meaningful”.

2. Comparative Sociology. Comparitive analysis of the general concepts in systematic sociology is essential to make them fruitful and this can happen only if they (i.e. general concepts) “are based on the widest possible expansion of the field of observation, when alone it will tye possible to see the various phenomena in their proper proportions and to reduce them to their basic und simplified characteristics. Therefore, the concepts of systematic sociological must grow out of the results arrived at in comparative sociological inquiry”.

3. Structural Sociology. The idea of structure was a dominent element in Karl Mannheim’s approach to sociology. Structural sociology explains, “the general features of human behaviour patterns and the universally possible, ultimate elements of society not only in abstracts, but also the specific separate constellations which from time to time they assume in different societies in history.”

Karl Mannheim divides structural sociology into two segments : (i) Statics and (») Dynamics. According to Mannheim, “The theory of statics deals with the problem of equilibrium of all the social factors (not only in the economic ones) in a- given social structure. It tries to show what makes different societies work….In Dynamic Sociology, we concentrate on those factors which are antagonistic in their v respective tendencies. Here we stress the working of those principles which in the long run tend to a disequilibrium and thus bring abopt changes which transform the social structure.”

Highlighting the importance of structural sociology, Mannheim points out that only structural sociology is capable of a comprehensive synthesis of bulk of the facts collected by different social sciences because ‘it is its function to elaborate and compare social structure as wholes’. He writes. “It is only the structural view of society which enables us to transcend the stage of a mere cumulative synthesis, by relating the data of the special sciences to our hypothetical conception, which views the functioning of societies as a continuous adjustment of all their parts to one another”.

However, this function can be discharged by structural sociology only by using the analytical work done by systematic and comparative sociology and also by keeping in constant touch with various specialised branches of knowledge. Thus sociology “is on the one hand a clearing house for the results arrived as by the specialised social sciences and, on the other hand, a new elaboration of the materials on which they are based.”

It has already been pointed out that the idea of structure always, dominated Karl Mannheim’s approach to sociology. Paul Kacskemeti, points out following characteristics of structure :

(a) Structure is the most comprehensive feature of reality. No component part of society may be said to have structure, and any partial phenomena is to be understood only in terms of the comprehensive structure of the whole.

(b) Structure is a dynamic entity. It did not consist of a network of static relationships to which any social conflict was extraneous. Structure, as conceived by Mannheim always implied plasticity and consisted of the configuration of antagonistic forces.

(c) Structure is an intelligible principle. Although a configuration of antagonistic forces, structure involves not a blind dynamism but goal-directedness because it had a discoverable meaning. “The highest and greatest happiness of the individual consisted in being in tune with the creative process which was going on in the depths of the structure.

Question 2.
Discuss Karl Mannheim’s methodology.
OR
What methodology was pointed out by Karl Mannheim for the analysis and study of the social problem ? Discuss.
Ans. Karl Mannheim’s Methodology. Mannheim in his approach to the study of sociology, through appropriate modifications, conceded the utility of the ideas of Hegel and Karl Marx. Karl Marx indicated that bis works were an in equiry into the connection of philosophy with reality. Karl Mannheim set up to generalise this programme and to analyse the ways in which systems of ideas depend on the social position – particularly; the class position of their proponents.

Karl Maanheim’s methodology contains the flints of Hegel’s historicism and the Marxist ideas. He began with the thinking with the position of the probability that all ideas, even truths “were related to, and hence influenced by the social and historical situation from which they emerged”. He opined that the statement – ideas emerge within human situation showed form the core of any serious study of human knowledge. Mannheim at the very beginning insisted upon this point as the basic premise.

He writes, “Men do not confront the objects of the world from the abstract levels of a contemplating mind as such, nor do they do so exclusively as solitary beings. On the contrary, they act with and against one another in diversely ’ organised groups, and while doing so they think with and against each other.” He pointed out that unless a careful analysis of the situation within which ideas emerge, the ideas themselves can not rightly be understood.

Karl Mannheim, with great determination demonstrated that human thought is “situationally relative”. In his Sociology of Knowledge, he contended that not only do fundamental orientations, evolutions, aud the content of ideas differ but that the manner of stating a problem, the sort of approach made, and even the categories in which the experiences are subsumed, collected, and ordered vary according to the social position of the observer.” Uustrating this point he further writes, “when, in the early years of nineteenth century, an old-style German conservative spoke of ‘freedom’ he meant thereby the right of each estate to live according to its privileges (liberties).

If he belonged to the romantic – Conservative and Protestant movement he understood by it “inner freedom”, i.e. the right of each individual to live according to his own individual personality…When a liberal of the same period used the term ‘freedom’ he was kinking of freedom from precisely those privileges which to the old-style conservative appeared to be the very basis of all freedom….In brief, even in the formulation of concepts, the angle of vision is guided by the observer’s interests. Thought is directed in accordance with what a particular social group expects”.

Karl Mannheim’s knowledge methodology was criticised because of being a part of relativism. A question was posed when his system did claim that all socio-hislorical knowledge was socially determined in both form and content, then what comes of ‘truth’and why is the system not ‘relativistic’? This question has been answered by the supporters of his theory by saying that, relativism leads to nihilism – to the position that nothing can be truly known. To avoid this problem he developed the concept of relationism, which, in contrast to relativism, analyzes the social perspective of a body of knowledge, not in order to discredit it, but rather to understand it better.

Question 3.
Discuss Karl Mannheim’s theory of sociology of knowledge.
Answer:
Karl Mannheim’s sociology of knowledge. Mannheim has discussed at length the role of ideas in relation to structures in which they are embedded. The notion of structure guides him in all his ideas. He rejected isolated approach to ideas and has stressed that thinking is an activity that must be related to other social activities within a structural framework. Every individual activity in all spheres should be interpreted within the context of group experienced. Thinking cannot be free from group life and as such must be interpreted within group context.

He has also said that knowledge is a cooperative process of group life in which everyone unfolds it within a framework of common activity. He believes that all ideas and even truths are related to an influence by social and historical situations from which these have emerged. The very fact that each thinker is affiliated with some particular groups in society and holds some status and plays some social roles establishes that his intellectual outlook is coloured.

The people neither confront objects of world from the abstract levels of a contemplating mind nor do they do so exclusively as solitary beings but they act against one another in diversely organised groups.

According to him, sociology of knowledge is a theory of social conditioning of thought. All knowledge is bound to a location within the social structure and historical process. According to Coser, he believes that the “Ideas are rooted in differential location in historical time and social structure of their proponents so that thought is inevitably perspectivistic”.

The cornerstone of Mannheim’s doctrine of knowledge is existential determination. The process of knowledge does not actually develop historically in accoidance with well established laws but that is influenced by extra theoretical or external factors. These factors, he has said, determine the scope and intensity of our experience and observation.

Mannheim is of the view that not only fundamental orientations and the content of the ideas differ but the manner of stating a problem and one sort of approach aUp varies according to social position of the observer.

He has also said that social forces are cause of intellectual products. At times he has also said that social forces are necessary and sufficient conditions for the odetijWtions are external factors which determine ideas.

All thoughts nave necessarily an ideological character.

Under the influence of Karl Marx, he has said that means of production determine the intellectual life of an individual. .For him, structure of mind is always influenced by the structure of society. Thus there is close relationship between structure, society and that of man. He is of the view that all thoughts are born out of mind and get greatly influenced by society. Each period has its own style of thought. He has also said that for proper understanding of an ideology its social origin must be clearly understood. Our thoughts are based on our experiences and these are very much influenced by society.

He has also said that sociology of knowledge is not the study of individual thought but thoughts of a particular period. It is the study of men in groups who have developed a particular style of thought. He has opined that it studies the modes of thoughts of individuals in relation to pattern of thoughts established by traditions.
He is firmly convinced that social thoughts are outcome of Collective activity.

Functions of sociology of knowledge, according to him, is to find out the relationship between structural and historical positions of knowledge in relevance to social process.

While assessing his contribution to the sociology of knowledge it has been said that, “He was a pioneer who ventured out on frontiers of knowledge that more cautious thinkers would avoid… He transferred what to Marx had been mainly a tool of polemical attack against his bourgeois adversaries into a general instrument of analysis that could be used as effectively for the study of Marxism as for any other system of thought”.

DU SOL BA 3rd Year History of Social Thought Notes

DU SOL BA 3rd Year History of Social Thought Notes Chapter 12 Robert K Merton

DU SOL BA 3rd Year History of Social Thought Notes Chapter 12 Robert K Merton

Question 1.
Examine various social ideas of Robert K. Merton.
Answer:
Robert K. Merton’s social theory and social structure (1949) has influenced the sociological studies. Merton has deeply influenced by Talcott Parsons as well as Sorokin. He tried to improve upon the theory of systems and called it an overambitious.

In answer to these problems, he developed a concept of ‘middle range’ theory which has exercised tremendous influence. According to Merton, “actors are not for to act in the manner they like, though they have modes of action, which however, are structurally patterned an institutionalised.”

Role-Set Theory. For the purpose of study Merton’s Role set theory is taken as the representative of this middle range theories. The theory of role sets begins with an image of how social status is organised in the social structure. This image is as Boyle’s image of the atmosphere as a sea of air or Gilbert’s image of the earth a magnet. As with all middle range theories, however, the proof is in the using not in the immediate response to the orginating ideas as obvious or odd, as derived from mere general theory and conceived of to deal with a particular class of problems.

Social Role and Social Status. According to Merton despite the very diverse meanings attached to the concept of social status, one sociological tradition consistently uses it to refer to a position in a social system, with its distinctive array of designated rights and obligations. This tradition, as exemplified by Ralph Linton, the related concept of social role refer to the behaviour of status occupants that is oriented toward the patterned expectations of others Linton, like others in this tradition, the long recognised and basic observation that each person in society inevitably occupies multiple statuses and that each of these statuses has its associated role.

It is at this point that the imagery of the role set theory depats from this long established tradition. The difference is initially a small one some might say so small as to be insignificant but this shift in the angle of vision , leads to successively more fundamental theoretical differences. Role Set Theory begins with the concept that each social status involves not a single associated role, but an array of roles. This feature of social structure gives rise to the concept of role set that complement of social relationship in which persons are involved simply because they occupy a particular social status.

Thus a person in the status of medical student plays not only the role of student vis-a-vis the collective status of his teachers, but also an array of other roles relating him diversely to others in the system other students, physicians, nurses, social workers, medical technicians, and the like. Again, the status of school teacher has its distinctive role set which relates the teacher not only to the correlative status, pupil, but also to collegues, the school principal and superintendent, the Board of Education, professional associations and in the United States, local patriotic organisations.

Upto this point, the concept-pf role set is merely an image for thinking about a component of the social structure. But this image is a beginning, not an end, for it leads directly to certain analytical problems. The notion of the role set at once leads to the inference that social structures confrontment with the task of articulating the components of countless role sets that is, the functional task of managing somehow to organize these so that an appreciable degree of social regularity obtains. Sufficient to enables most people most of that time to go about their business without becoming paralysed by extreme conflicts in their role sets.

This relatively simple idea of role set has sociological inquiry. The concept of role set does this. It releases the general but definite problem of identifying the social mechanisms that is, the social processes having designated consequences for designated parts of the social structure which articulate the expectations of those in the role set sufficiently to reduce conflicts for the occupant of a status.

The theory of role sets illustrates another aspect of sociological theories of the middle range. They are frequently consistent with a variety of so called systems of sociological theory. So far as one can tell, the theory of role sets is not inconsistent with such broad theoretical orientations-as Marxist theory, functional analysis, social behaviourism, Sorokin’s integral sociology or Parsons’s theory of action. This may be a horrendous observation for those of us who have been trained to believe that systems of sociological thought are logically close knit and mutually exclusive sets of doctrine. But in fact, comprehensive sociological theories are sufficiently loose knit, internally diversified and mutually overlapping that a given thedry of the middle range, which has a measure of empirical confirmation, can often be subdued under comprehensive theories which are themselves discrepant in certain respects.

This reasonably unorthodox can be illustrated by re-examining the theory of role sets as a middle range theory. We depart from the traditional concept by assuming that a single status in society involves, not a single role, but an array of associated roles, relating the status-occupant to diverse others.

Second, we note that this concept of the role set gives rise to distinctive the practical problems, hypothesis, and so to empirical inquiry. One basic problem is that of identifying the social mechanisms which articulate the role set and reduce conflicts among roles.

Third, the concept of the role set directs our attention to the structural problems identifying the social arrangements which integrate as well as oppose the expectations of various members of the role set. The concept of multiple roles on the other hand confines our attention to a different and no doubt important issue.

Finally, the logic of analysis exhibited in this sociological theory of the middle range is developed wholly in terms of the elements of social structure raher than in terms of providing concerete historical descriptions of particular between generalising sociological theory and historicism.

From all this, it is evident that according to role set theory that is always a potential for differing expectations among those m the role set as to what is appropriate conduct for a status occupant. The basic source of this potential for conflict, and it is important to note once again that on this point we are at one with such desperate general theorists as Marx and Spencer, Simmel- is found in the structural fact that the other members of a role set are apt hold different position differing from that of the status-occupant in question To the extent that the members of a role set are diversely located in the social structures, they are apt to have interests and moral expectations differing from that of the status occupant himself.

This, after all, is one of the principal assumptions of Marxist theory as it is of much other sociological theory social differentiation generates distinct interests among those variously located. in the structure of the society. For example, the members of a school board are often in social and economic strata that differ significantly from the stratum of the school teacher. The interests, values, and expectations of board members are consequently apt to differ “from those of the teacher who may thus be subject to conflicting expectations from there and other member of his role set professionals, colleagues, influential members of the school board and as, the Americanism Committee of the American Legin. An education essential for one is apt to be judged as an educational frill by another, or as down right subversion by the third.

As a theory of the middle range, then, the theory of role sets begins with a concept and its associated imagery and generates an array of theoretical problems. The middle range theory is not concerned with generalisation that a degree of social order or conflict prevails in society but with the analytical problem of identifying the social mechanisms which produce a greater degree of order or less 140 / HISTORY OF SOCIAL THOUGHT
conflict than would obtain if these mechanisms were not called into play.

Question 2.
Discuss Robert K. Merton’s views about Anomie.
Answer:
Robert K. Merton is another sociologist who has given his ideas about anomie. In addition to him some others too have given their views on the subject. Synder is of the view that anomie is of three kinds. One is dominant culture anomie. It is a type of anomie in which entire cultural organisation is shaken as a result of struggle between cultural goals and institutional norms and no solution is found to end this struggle. Then is community anomie which does not take place in the whole cultural group but only in a part of the group. The rules of the group are not accepted by that part of the group and thus there is a strain on the whole society. Then comes sub-cultural anomie. Each culture has sub-cultures and when anomie takes place in a particular sub-culture, it is called sub-cultural anomie.

Then another view is that anomie is because of the reasons. First when the individual is not clear about the objectives to be achieved and secondly when norms or values are not clear and individual suffers from uncertainty.

Robert Duevins is of the opinion that in every social structure on every individual is faced with three situations, namely fixing of goals, means for achieving the goals and his ideals or his values. According to him every individual either fully accepts these or partially accepts them or fully rejects these and suggests alternatives or new theories, which are not acceptable to the society. In the process his behaviour becomes deviant and that becomes the cause of anomie.

Then another view expressed is that anomie is created when there is difference in the goals to be achieved by proper or well established modes or methods and available opportunities or otherwise. It has bee ft pointed out that in every society opportunities are not always equal for all classes. These are always more for the upper and less for the lower classes. Thus whereas for few avenues of rise are many, for majority these are just limited few. Those who have few opportunities, their frustration are very much and their behaviour becomes odd or anomie. As the access to means will go on varying with that their behaviour will also go on changing.

Robert K. Merton’s views about Anomie. Robert K. Merton has discussed his views about anomie at some considerable length. He does not believe in the theory that man basically wants to satisfy his biological impulses and also wants to disobey or discard well established social norms. On the other hand, he believes that a struggle is going on between social restraint and biological impulses. A conflict between social structure and cultural values is responsible for anomie. Those factors which bring about a situation of anomie are always present in the social structure itself. It generates circumstances which are responsible for violation of social codes. His theory revolves round social and cultural structures.

According to Merton in every society there are some cultural goals which are linked with emotions and sentiments. These help in achieving commonly acceptable goals. These are essential for happy group living and have close relation with biological impulses but impulses do not decide the goals. He has also said thatevery society has well defined values and procedures for achieving goals. He has characterised these as institutions. Institutional norms decide whether a particular mode is correct or not. Goals and norms determine right or wrong action or behaviour of the individual.

Merton has also said that as long as balance is maintained between cultural goals and institutional noi ms, there is no problem. But real difficulty’ arises only when norms provide insufficient for achieving goals. When such a situation arises the individuals decide their own norms and goals for achieving objectives. In evety society there are norms but differences come when the question of integration of institutional controls with goajs arises. Since every society has separate cultural goals and when in proportionate stress is laid on cultural goals and institutional norms, there is every possibility of deviant behaviour or anomie.

There are some societies in which more stress is laid on goals rather than on their achievements. In such societies if the goals can easily be achieved, then everyone will struggle for achieving some higher goals. In every society each and every individual has some status and role and also corresponding responsibilities attached to it. When there is no clear cut definition of status, role and responsibilities, the people have no other alternative but to define their own goals and objectives in their own way and this results in anomie. This is all un-international anomie.

Merton has also pointed out that the present day social structure is very complex and in it, on many occassions, the people are not clear about their roles. Even cultural goals are becoming out-dated and this very much creates a situation of anomie.

Problem of Adjustment. Merton has discussed the problem of adjustment as well between cultural goals and institutional norms. This is non adjustment between the two which results in anomie and deviant behaviour. He has discussed different types of adjustment e.g., there is conformity when there is comp’ete adjustment between goals and norms. When there is adjustment of goals and not norms, it is called innovation, goals are not accepted but norms are accepted, it is called ritualism. An ideal behaviour of an individual is one in which he completely adopts institutional norms for achieving his cultural goals. In that case his behaviour conforms to community norms.

According to Merton in a society in which cultural goals are available to all but institutional norms for achieving those goals are not uniformally available, those who are deprived of resources for achieving goals think of novel methods, which may not conform to community rules. Their innovative methods are considered as their deviant behaviour and anomie. When people leave cultural goals and take to institutional norms only, to this situation he has termed as ritualism. In that the individual forgets his personal ambitions in dismay and his behaviour becomes odd. A situation may also arise when a person may give up both norms and goals. This situation is called that of retreatism. In this situation one tries to escape from social responsibilities because of having been fed up with social obligations. Thjs situation of utter frustration, according to Merton is very much responsible for anomie.

Last situation of anomie or deviant behaviour arises when an individual raise his voice for bringing changes both in cultural goals and social norms. Efforts are then made to establish new norms and goals, which are condemned by those who do not like these. They try to establish that the behaviour of such an individual is deviant and one anomie situation arises.

Thus Merton has paid sufficient attention to problem of anomie or deviant behaviour. In this theory such a behaviour primarily arises because of non adjustment of cultural goals and institutional norms. As long as there is harmony between the two, there can be no situation of anomie.

Question 3.
What is reference group ? Write an essay on Robert Merton’s reference group theory.
Answer:
Though Reference Group Theory was initiated earlier than Robert K. Merton but it was developed only by him. That is why his name is associated with this theory. It is based on the entitled book The American. Soldiers’. According to him such a reference, group can be both ‘in group’and‘out group’. By the former he means the group to which a person belongs whereas from the latter he means a group which does not belong to him. Usually in the first instance a person picks up in group individuals as reference and it is subsequently that be moves to the out group.

As regards membership group as reference group, Merton feels that sometimes the people select few persons from within their own group as ideals because of their achievements in the field(s) of their choice. He believes that in this type of group there can be conflicting as well as mutually sustaining reference groups. According to him at times it may happen that a person may develop liking for conflicting ideals which he may identify in more than one reference group, but in the long run the person concerned will have to make a choice for one out of the two conflicting ideals. If such a situation arises he leaves the groups which is altogether stranger to him and accepts the one with which he is somewhat familiar.

Then come mutually sustaining reference groups. According to Merton when the people with same educational qualifications and status come in close contact with each other, a group which is more suited and with whom group people are familiar is accepted as reference group. Since* these people, remain in constant touch with each other, therefore, their values, behaviour and psychology very much changes. Usually then person selects a group as his reference group with which he had been in touch for a longer period of time. One consideration being familiarity with that group.

Merton is of the view that each one holds certain persons in high esteem and tries to become respected as they are. He tries to change his behaviour, habits and image and accepts those of the others whom he holds in high esteem. His idea is that he should become highly respectable and rich, like them. He also believes that reference group inspires the people and helps establishing uniformity and conformity. This happens because the person concerned tries to conform to the ideals and values of the group which he has chosen as his reference group. No reference group will however, allow any outsider to enter which causes loss of any function which the group has already been performing. Such a group will tolerate or adjust criticism of the new comer only to a limited extent and will also ensure that basic values upheld by the group do not get lost.

As already said according to Merton’s reference group can be both membership i.e., in group and non membership group out group. In the case of out group it is basically accepted that some non members have influenced its behaviour, ideals and values.

Merton has categories reference groups as positive and negative. A positive reference group is one which has healthy influence on its members and vice-versa. He has also said that a reference group can be normative which sets and maintains standards for the individuals whereas the, other group is comparative reference group which provides comparison between the members of two groups. The first is source of value assimilation whereas the second evaluates relative positions. Both are only analytically distinct. He also believes that group boundaries are not necessarily fixed but always go on changing in response to changing situations.

Selection of Reference Group. According to Merton an individual choses some group as his model and tries to adopt its behaviour to have greater prestige and respect. But while selecting his group every individual is guided by certain considerations. These being degree of involvement of members in the group, extent of social unity in the group, power and influence of the social group on the individual and clarity of laws and definitions.

Some other considerations being social prestige of the group ; its extent of stability duration of its existence arrangement of control ; method of evaluation of role ; ecological structure of the group and absolute size of the group or its constituent units. Some other considerations are the extent of tolerance towards deviant and wrong behaviour attachment of the people to the norms of the group openess and closeness of the group or its related units, degree of social differentiation of the members i.e., ratio of important members and ordinary persons and extent of social interaction. Thus several factors combined together help and are taken into consideration before a person joins a reference group.

Functions of Reference Group. Each reference is required to perform certain functions. One of its important function is to help in socialisation because every individual who intends to join an out reference group must socialise himself before joining that. As already said it is easy in an open rather than in a close society. Then its another function in to get the people ready to face a situation of both conflict and cooperation. On the one hand the individual who leaves the group membership of his original group gets alienated from that whereas he is supposed to work in close cooperation with his reference group members- It creates difficult situation for the individual concerned. Difficulties still more increase when he falls to adjust himself in the out reference group.

Thus Merton has very elaborately studied reference group problems and issues and as already said that his study is based on American Soldiers who fought on the war front during world war II.

Question 4.
Explain Robert K. Merton’s structural function theory.
Answer:
Robert K. Merton is one of the chief exponents of structural approach. In this regard he was influenced by many anthropologists. He was equally influenced by Malinowski, Redcliffe Brown and few others. In his theory he has used ‘function’ not in one sense but in five different ways. According to him functions are a system, an action and a responsibility. He has also used functions in mathematical sense and also as biological procedures. These indicate motives and aims. But he has stressed that the functions should not be used as indicative of subjective feelings. He feels that in the interest of proper study of the approach functions should be taken as organic type of system and consequence of any design, aim or purpose within the same system.

His Structural Functional Approach. According to Merton it is wrong to believe that all units of society perform only functions. He believes that these units also contribute towards preserving social structure some units not only perform functions but dysfunctions as well and thus instead of organising the society they even disorganise it. These’ are thus units whose role is functional, while those of others is non functional and still others js partial dysfunctional. Thus he has tried to point out that all units do not contribute towards the stability of the society or its social-structure.

While discussing the functions of a unit, he understands from the term ‘function’ as consequences which are responsible for the adjustment of a particular system of social structure. Dysfunctions for him are those functions which minimise the organisation of a society. It hinders the fulfilment of one or more of the social needs of a social systems.

Manifest raid Latent Functions. Merton Has divided the functions as manifest and latent. The former are those which are liked by the society and thus considered desirable. These are accepted by the members of society. On the other hand latent functions are those which are not recognised and accepted by the society. These create such situations which are disliked by the society and thus are of great consequence. While distinguishing between the two he has said “Manifest functions are those consequences that contribute to the adjustment or adaptation of the system which are intended or recognised by participants of the system. Latent functions correspondingly being those which are neither intended nor recognised.”

Need for Maintaining Distinction. According to Merton there is always a need to maintain distinction between latent and manifest functions. This need arises because in every society there are traditions which have both manifest as well as latent functions. If no distinction is made between the two, we shall not be able to know their realities. It is by maintaining a distinction between the two that we come to know about those functions which though may appear to be producing some results, may not actually be so doing. 4 These thus help us in understanding whether a function is performing its avowed functions or not.

Then another reason is that such a distinction has structural importance because it enables us to know the nature of the structure and also helps us in understanding the effectiveness with which the functions are being performed.

Still another need for maintaing distinction is that it helps us in acquiring knowledge about such special facts to which generally no importance is attached and thus these are omitted. Special fields of latent functions can be identified for social investigation. In this way new areas of research become available to sociologists.

This knowledge also helps us to have sociological analysis of prevalent moral judgments and thus help us to find out what appears to be good for the society is really good for it or not. Thus accepted moral judgements are subjected to sociological analysis.

One latent functions of constituent units are known social structure can be amended accordingly and put on the right track.

Paradigms of Functional Analysis. According to Merton, Paradigms help us bringing together postulates, concepts aud ideological imputations in a compact form. These help ns in examining major requirements of functional analysis. A paradigm presents bard core of a concept, procedure and inference in functional analysis. These help in the codification. The paradigms arc :

1. Functions can be imputed to entire range of sociological data and much of which has already been subjected to functional analysis. It also helps in identifying what must enter into the protocol of observation of a given item.

2. At some points functional analysis invariably assumes or explicitly operates with some conception of the motivation of individuals involved in a social system. In which type of analysis it is sufficient to take observed motivations as data is another concern of paradigms ?

3. Appropriate conceptual distinctions are required to be made between functions and dysfunctions and several current conceptions of functions. What are effects of seeking to transform a previously latent function into a manifest function ?

4. Its one postulate is that it is necessary to consider a range of units affected by the given item.

5. There should be concrete and detailed account of the mechanisms which operate to perform a given function i.e., what is presently available and what are the methodological problems entailed in discerning the operation of social mechanism.

6. Which are practicable procedures in large scale sociological situations for logical scientific experimentation ?

7. How narrowly does a given structural context limit the range of variations in the items which can effectively satisfy functional requirements.

8. Does the prevailing concern among functional analysts with the concept of social equilibrium divert attention from the phenomena of social disequilibrium ?

9. To what extent is the functional analysis limited by the difficulty of locating adequate samples of social systems which can be subjected to comparative study ?

Purpose of Paradigm. According to Merton first and foremost function or purpose of paradigm is to supply a provisional codified guide for adequate and fruitful functional analysis. It implies that paradigm contains the minimum set of concepts which the sociologists must operate in order to carry through an adequate functional analysis.

Then its another purpose is to lead directly to Jhe postulate and assumptions underlying functional analysis.

Thirdly a paradigm seeks to sensitize the sociologists not only narrow scientific implications of various types of functional analysis but also to their political and ideological implications.

Thus in Merton’s approach paradigms are essential for any scientific functional analysis. Since he has dealt with the subject at considerable length, that has become his significant contribution to sociological theory.

Question 5.
Critically examine Merton’s concept of middle range theories.
OR
Write a brief critical essay on Robert K. Merton’s views about Middle range theories.
Answer:
Importance of Middle Range Theories. Merton is the chief exponent of middle range theories and thus has opened a new field for discussion among the sociologists. According to him if sociologists try to develop absolutely new sociological theories then there is every danger that specific hypthesis may be made applicable to limited aspects of social systems and organisations. On the other hand if stress is laid on subsidiary theories then it will very much get linked with the past and not keep with the present or the future.

We, therefore, feels that via media lies in consolidating middle range theories. While discussing the need and importance of these theories, he has said, “I believe and my beliefs are of course notoriously subject to error, that the theories of the middle range hold the largest promise, provided that the search for them is coupled with a pervasive concern with consolidating special theories into more general sets of concepts and mutually consistent prepositions.”

Critical Evaluation. Obviously his ideas have been evaluated and reacted by modern sociologists, who have their own approach as well as ideas for the development of sociology. The sociologists who support theoretically oriented empirical research of course cannot be in favour of this concept of Merton. Similarly it is not likely to find favour with the sociologists who believe in developing a total sociological theory. Only those who do not fall in either of above mentioned categories can favourably react to Merton’s view point and their number is quite heartening.

The critics also point that these theories call for new intellectual ambitions and undermine the importance of intellectual ambitions of the past.

Inspite of these criticism, it must be accepted that these theories have made useful contribution in studying such concepts as reference group, deviant behaviour, suicides etc.

DU SOL BA 3rd Year History of Social Thought Notes

DU SOL BA 3rd Year History of Social Thought Notes Chapter 11 Thorstein Veblen (1857—1929)

DU SOL BA 3rd Year History of Social Thought Notes Chapter 11 Thorstein Veblen (1857—1929)

Question 1.
Discuss Veblen’s Theory of Social Change. How far does it differ from that of Kari Marx ?
OR
Compare and contrast Mara’s and Veblen’s Theories of Social Change.
Answer:
Karl Marx in his theory of social change has laid too much stress on economic factor. He has also been criticised for his one factor theory. Like Marx, Veblen has also given his theory of social change, which has also been called as one factor theory.

Veblen’s Theory of Social Change. According to Veblen, all social changes come as a result of technology. When new technology gets introduced with that even the habits of the people auto¬matically change. They try to have new habits, an altogether different life style, and also their way of behaving, dress and eating on the one hand and social values on the other hand. It is technological change which changes material environment. Accord¬ing to Veblen, material environments are always changing and every person will have to adapt itself to those changes. As technological changes come with that social relationships as well changes.

Veblen is of the view that process of social change is bound to continue. It never stops and each change in turn results in another change. Though some may try to resist the change, but none will be in a position to do because change is inevitable. Since Veblen believes that technological and social changes are inseparable, he has also said that every social change in turn reflects techno¬logical advancements and vise versa.

According to Veblen, in every society there is a leisure class, which does not produce anything but plays a bit role in social life. It is this class which controls the society and also decides social norms. It. tries to ensure that these norms should be continued and not changed because these suit the convenience of this class.

Stress on Habits. Veblen has laid too much stress on habits. When the habits of the people changes with that social change come. In his own words, “social structure changes develops, adapts itself to an altered situation only through a change in the habits of thought of the several classes of community, or in the last analysis through a change in the habit of thoughts of individuals which make up community.” Continuing he has said, “The evolution of soc:ety is substantially a processs of mental adaptation on the part of individuals under stress of circumstances which will no longer tolerate habits of thoughts formed under and conforming to different set of circumstances in the past.” He has thus laid stress on habits in so far as social change is concerned.

Social Change and Environments. According to Veblen, in social change environments also play a big role. He feels that every social system is the product of and is influenced by the circumstances in which one..works and lives. Economic institutions and industrial system, as well as the habits are closely linked with environments. Habits and environments embody themselves in institutions which in course of time intervene between material exigencies of life and speculative scheme of things. Veblen has thus given significant place to environments in his theory of social change.

Karl Marx’s Views about Social Change. Karl Marx, already pointed out, believes the economic factor is the only factor which is responsible for bringing about sociai changes. His theory has also been called the theory of Economic Determinant of Social Changes. He has given economic interpretation of History and theory of Dialectical Materialism. He has also said that when the classes which own and control sources of production and distribution change with that the whole social system changes. For him social change is the by-product of economic system He has very strongly pleaded that history of hitherto existing society is nothing else that of class struggle. In his book, ‘Critique of Political Economy’, he has said “With the change of economic foundation, the entire super structure is more or less rapidly transformed”

All social, economic and cultural institutions ate influenced by the transformation of the economic system and that also establishes as well as breaks down social relationship.

Marx believes that mode of production has two aspects, namely, forces of production which include machine tools, labourers etc. and production relationship which determines as well as influences religious, political and social telationship. The former is ever chang¬ing and changes with changing situations. He has also said that social change is natural outcome of changes in economic structure. The existing social order has inherent seeds for bringing new social order because no social order is permanent of lasting for ever.

Revolution and Social Changes. Karl Marx believes that the existing social order most appropriately suits the capitalist, who are in power in all. walks of life. They are not likely to leave that and as such for this the working classes will have to struggle and use force and if need be they will be ready for a bloody revolution as well. Such, a revolution will establish new production relations which will lead to social and other changes. The revolution can be with the blood-shed or by peaceful means. He has also said that since every change is resisted, therefore, social changes will also be resisted. The changes thus come easily as well as with some difficulty but usually these are not welcomed by a vast majority of people.

Circumstances of Social Change. As already pointed out, social changes do not come easily. Like changes in every other field in social field too changes can come only when certain conditions conducive for that prevail. The most important condition for this is that alternative system, which is likely to replace the old system, is fully developed one and has reached a stage of maturity. Not only this, but it is to be ensured that the society is prepared to accept the changes and as such those who resist the changes are in a definite minority. Unless the society is responsible to changes, no change can come in the society. Since the forces of status quo always resist the forces of change, therefore it is essential that their strongholds or basis should be shaken. What need be cared by forces for change is that even the state machinery will side with the forces of status quo.

Marx’s Theory – An Evaluation. Marx’s theory has been criticised for its being only one factor theory in which he has made economic factor, as the only one factor for all social changes. He has also been criticised for over simplification of a complex problem. For bringing about changes sevetal factors and forces combine together. He has not even recognised the importance of religion in social changes.

By over simplification scientific character of the theory is lost. Not only this but, they also argue that it is not always essential that every economic change must also bring with it social change and vice versa. Marx lias tried to stress that social changes are the by-product or outcome of revolution. But he forgets that the changes come in the society even without revolution or by peaceful means. Thus, whereas they appreciate the place of economic in bringing social changes, they have criticised him for not taking other factors of social change into consideration.

Veblen and Marx’s Theories in Contrast. Both Marx and Veblen have, of course, expounded theories of social change. One common factor in both the theories is that both are one factor theories. Whereas Marx has laid stress on economic factor, Veblen has emphasised on habits and environments. But beyond that there is ho simjarity between the two. Marx’s theory is based on the ideal that a stage will come when a casteless and stateless society will be established. At that stage social changes are bound to come. On the other hand, Veblen has not based his theory on any ideal conditions or situations. Then another difference between the two is the role of technology in bringing social changes.

According to Veblen, technology is directly responsible for bringing social changes, but Marx believes that such a resposibility is only indirect. According to him, technology brings changes in economic system which in turn brings social changes. Still another difference between the two is that whereas Marx, in his theory of change has laid stress on past and on history, Veblen has stressed on the present. For him, past is not that important as it is with Marx.

Still another difference between the two is that whereas Marx has laid stress on material wants and needs, Veblen has put stress on material environments. For him wants and needs are not very important. But perhaps the most important difference between the two is that whereas Marx has laid stress on class, in Veblen’s theory such a struggle does not occupy any important place and position.

Thus both Marx and Veblen have certain basic differences in so far as theory of social change is concerned but both are known for their one factor theory, though the factor round which they develop their theories is different.

Question 2.
Briefly discuss Veblen’s views about cultural lag. ‘
OR
Critically evaluate Veblen’s theory of cultural lag.
Answer:
Veblen has given his ideas about cultural lag. He has started with the basic idea that the individuals have practically no control over the forces of change. These forces must play their part irrespective of the fact whether an individual likes these or not. According to him, human behaviour is guided by instincts and habits, e.g., love for parents, respect for the elders and sympathetic attitude towards kiths and kins. In the habits, he has included the pattern of conspicuous consumption and that of maintenance and integration.

Veblen’s Views About Cultural Lag. According to Veblen in every society certain technological advancements are taking place and each such advancement brings with it certain social and economic changes. Social problems arise when social institutions and organisa¬tions do not keep pace with changes which technology brings with it. He has quoted the example of machinery in the west without first introducing necessary labour laws and safety ‘measure resulting in many social problems like child labour, health haza etc.

He has also pointed out that right of the elite to hold p “iv’ate property on the one hand and the present concept of national sovereignty on the other, is another example to quote. Whereas the former is 18th century concept and the latter is 20th century philosophy. He has also talked of triumph of imbecile institutions. In very simple language he has said that this lag takes place because of divergence between improvement in science and technology and static social institutions.

According to Veblen, such a lag is bound to occur in every society because social systems and institutions are deep rooted and usually do not keep pace with changing times. According to him, the forces of status quo are always stronger in society then the forces of change. This results obviously in a lag between changes in techno¬logy and non-changing of change resisting social systems. It is because of this lag that several subsequent problems arise.

Veblen has also said that technological changes help in changing the habits of the people and material environmems. Since the latter are constantly changing, ’therefore every person will have to adopt itself to such environments. These changes also bring with them changes in thoughts and relationships. A serious lag occurs when social systems and institutions refuse to accept the existence and necessity of such changes and wish to strictly adhere to the past. The extent of lag is relevant and related to the extent of resistance.

He also believes that change is a chain process in which one change results in another. It is a continuous process and must be allowed to continue. He has also said that technology advancement and social changes are so inter-linked that one is reflected by the other.

Critical Evaluation of Veblen’s Theory. In this theory of cultural lag Veblen has laid stress only on one factor, namely, techno¬logy. According to him, lag always occurs because social changes do not keep pace with technological advancement. But it is basically wrong because no single factor can be held responsible for all social changes and consequent lag. In this regard, he is as much at fault as Marx who laid stress again on one factor, i.e., economic factor. He has completely forgotten that social change and cultural lag are complex problems and thus not linked with any single factor.

He has also been charged with over simplification. According to him, if technology advancement and social systems are made to keep pace with each other, there will be no lag. But he is wrong. Even if both go hand in hand, lags in several groups will take place because of several other factors.

But even then, Veblen’s views are significant because he has touched one very important aspect of cultural lag, i.e., technology. There is no denial that technology is not the only factor of lag, but at j.he same time .jt is its very important factor.

Question 3.
Write a brief note on Veblen’s views about Conspicuous Consumption:
Answer:
While discussing his views about cultural lag, Veblen has said that human behaviour is guided by instincts and habits. In the habits, he has included the pattern of conspicuous consumption.

Veblen on Conspicuous Consumption. According to Veblen. conspicuous consumption is as old as the human culture and thus nothing new. In fact, going far back it goes back to the days of primitive life and society. According to him, in the initial stages the society was divided into two broad categories. On the one hand was a superior class which consisted of able bodied men and on the other an inferior class which consisted of labouring women. At that stage, the women produced whereas the men consumed. Consump¬tion then was not directed to their own comfort of life. It being both productive and unproductive. “.

He has said that next stage came when the institution of slavery came in the society. He lias called it as quasi peaceful stage. At this stage it was believed that industrious or working class should consume only which might be necessary for their very existence, so that the slaves and workers could serve the master. This class was considered to have no right to use luxuries and comforts of life and as such as paid the minimum wage. Their consumption capacity was very low. On the other hand, there was a superior class or leisure class and all the comforts of life like nutritive food and use of beverages etc.

While developing his ideas further in this regard, Veblen has said that this qualitative excellence in eating resulted in differences not only in manners of life but also in capacity to understand and in all intellectual activities. Those who belonged to leisure class and had better food and drinking got social reputation and respect.

He also says that thereafter wealth began to get accumulated in this class which began to be utilised and used in developing contacts and in giving gifts, expensive feasts and in life entertainments. Those who possessed wealth formed a separate class. More the wealth higher the position in the hierarchical system and more respect. This situation prevails even today. They outrank the others who either do not possess wealth or are comparatively poor or weak. The people of latter category keep satisfied and demand on the courtesies or mercies of the rich and leisured class.

According to him, moneyed class always has capacity to purchase as well as consume. In all societies, those who consume more are considered rich and respectable. Thus consumption is directly linked with respectability. Those who consume also display their consuming capacity both to those who belong to their own category as well as to others. In fact, according to him show off is part of consumption capacity.

But the most important difficulty with his ideas is that he has not supported these with basic facts and figures but only on the basis of common knowledge. As a mature sociologist he should- have provided certain basic facts in supports of his arguments.

Veblen is of the view that the societies are stratified is a fact and basis of this stratification is that the society gets divided into leisureless and nonleisure less parts. There is a class in the society which has all luxuries and leisures and does no productive work. On the other hand, there is a class of people w hich undertakes all productive activities and yet its basic needs and requirements are not met. It is this leisured class, which is powerful and lays down such customs, traditions, rules and regulations which go in its favour.

Characteristics of Leisure Ciass. Since Weber has made leisure class as the basis of social stratification, he has discussed characteristics of this class as well. According to him, behaviour of this class is influenced by economic considerations and thus their whole outlook has economic orientation. This class believes in show off so that others get influenced in the society by their power and position. They indulge in conspicuous i.e., unproductive expenditure which has no relevance to social needs. Then its another character¬istic is that this class does not indulge in productive activities but wishes to impose its importance on’ others. This class has lot of property and controls means of production.

He has, however, pointed out that all are not equal in this class and thus within itself it is stratified between the high and the low. He is of the view that old concept of conspicuous consumption is now being replaced by the new concept of private property. This has also considerably changed the method of living of leisured class.

According to Veblen since the people of this class develop the habit of leading a luxurious life, therefore, they do not leave that when they become poor and do not have money to lead that type of life.

He feels that social stratification can also be studied with division of labour as the basis because this arises only in the case of working classes engaged in production and not in the case of leisured class which has nothing to do with productive activities.

Veblen’s theory of Leisure Class is the most important work of his social thought. This theory is based on economic considerations and rules. Veblen has himself remarked:

“Unproductive consumption of goods is honourable primarily as a mark of prosperity and a prerequisite of human dignity.”

According to Veblen in a society with a leisure class, the extra production that is made as a result of technological development, has more of a cultural value than the economic value and the wealth that is earned as a result of this extra production, is not dis¬tributed equitably, but it gets accumulated in certain hands. In such a set-up one group controls the means of production and earns profit while the other class which is the working class, earns its livelihood through labour and work.

Thus his classifications of social stratification is based on economic factor and he too has taken no other factor into consideration while’ discussing this important issue.

DU SOL BA 3rd Year History of Social Thought Notes

DU SOL BA 3rd Year History of Social Thought Notes Chapter 25 Ravindra Nath Tagore (1861—1941)

DU SOL BA 3rd Year History of Social Thought Notes Chapter 25 Ravindra Nath Tagore (1861—1941)

Question 1.
Discuss Tagore’s views on human environment essential for building a strong nation and a stable society.
Answer:
Tagore was an internationalist besides being lover of his motherland and champion of liberty. Tagore wrote “Parasites have to pay for their ready nutrition by losing the capacity of assimiliating food in its natural, form. In the history of man the same sin of a capacity allowed to deaden has brought about degeneracy. Man parasitical not only when he lives on others, but also when he lethers himself inescapably to exterior circumstance, to things as they are and always have been, and drives, helpless, in the stream.

This total surrender to the outward has no sanction from within. When, as a result, man ceases to move by his own volition and is borne by sheer habit, he becomes a kind of parasite. For he looses the capacity to carry out his assigned task to turning the seemingly impossible, the way of progress which is his true human destiny.’’ This opinion points out that all the lower animals are parasites.

Carried along by the environment, they live or die by natural selection they make an advance or get retarded as nature’s dictate, and their minds, lacking the power of growth, remains stunted. The bees, for millions of years, could not do anything but shape their hives on one set pattern ; thus, while the cells have reached a certain perfection of form, the bees have been victims of the limited and changeless habits of their hive-life.

Nature has own a curious timidity with regard to the lower types of life ; she has held them in the protection of her apron strings and kept their instincts circumscribed lest they stray into bold bat dangerous experiments.

Emphasis on the Creative Faculty of Human Beings.
Providence, however, displayed a new creative courage when it came to man. His inner nature was set free while outwardly he was weak, naked defenceless. Exulting in this freedom, man stood up and declared, “I will achieve the impossible. I will not accept the perpetuity of things as they are. I will bring about happenings that have never been before.”

So it was that, early in his history, when man found his lot cast among tusked and taloned creatures, he did not seek escape in fight like the deer or in hiding like the tortoise but set himself to work with flints to do the impossible – to make weapons of superior power. The new “tusks and talons” of his were the product of his inner faculties and no gift from nature, and free, therefore, from dependence for their protection on the caprices of naturals election.

Tagore continues to explain, ‘His instruments grew, advancing from flint to iron, proving that his mind was ever questing and not struck, moribund, to environmental limits. What seemed beyond reach came within his grasp. Not content with the flint ready at hand he knocked at the iron are under the earth’s surface. Not satisfied with the easier process of chipping flints, he proceeded to smelt iron ore and hammer it into shape – what was hardest and most resistant came to be his best support.

It is man’s nature that he must seek joy, not mere success, in constant action. He must work tirelessly to penetrate from the surface to the depths, from the obvious to the hidden, from the easy to the difficult, from paraltism to free will, from drive of his passions to steadiness of self-discipline. That is the way of his conquests.

What is ‘creation’ of one’s own country ?
What precisely do we mean when we speak of creating one’s own country ? We mean that we spread our inner spirit to the vast outward realm, and apply to it our thought, action and service. A man’s homeland has to be a projection as well as mirror of his in most life.

Years back, in an article entitled “Society and State”, I discussed how we could make the land of our birth truly ours. I underlined that we must win over our country, not from some foreigners but from our own inertia, our indifference. Whenever, we have sought boons at the door of the alien government, we have only made our inertia the more intense. The credit for all progress goes to the government, with the effect that our country is
increasingly lost of us. We pay out in spiritual values for what we secure as material benefits.

To give vent to one’s wrath is a kind of emotional luxury, there was nothing in those days to stop our revelry of self-insulgence we went about picketing, burning bales of cloth, admonishing all who did not follow at our heels, with no restraint in language or conduct. Shortly after it was all over, a Japanese friend asked me : “How is it that you people cannot carry on your work with quiet patience and firm resolve ?
This dissipation of energy is not the best way to try to arrive at one’s goal.” I had to reply : “If the goal were clear in our view, we would naturally act with restraint, but since we can merely indulge in gestures of wrath, our mounting frenzy, with the purpose lost, throws our energy into reckless waste until nothing of it is left.”

Anyhow, there were my countrymen, tolerating no check to the exhibition of their outraged feelings. It was all too fantastic. At that point I came to the scene pleading for a different line of action, and succeeded only in drawing some of the wrath on to my own head.

Then, the question of avarice. Worthwhile objects have always been attained only the hard way. We, however, hit upon a device to get them cheap-begging, not with folded hands, but in a tone that carried a threat. The country was overjoyed at the ingenuity of this trick. It was like being at reduced price sale-goods in the political market were market at cut rates. He whose means are slender gets so taken up with low prices that he pays no need to quality and rushes to attack anyone who has doubts in that respect.

Concern for the growing inclination towards wealth.
The outer appearance, maya, possessed us in these days. Significantly, a. political leader of the time said, “I have one hand at the throat of the British Government and the other at it feet.” So he had no hand left for his country. That attitude has changed since. No gestures concerned merely with the foreigner can help.

In those days the stimulus from every side was directed at the heart of Bengal. But emotion by itself, like fire, only consumes its fuel which it reduces to ashes – it has no creative power. The mind of man must be at work with patience, skill and foresight, employing this fire to melt the hard material at hand and make them malleable. We failed to rouse our intellectual forces, and so we could not build any organisation of permanent worth out of the vast, flaming emotion of the time.

Opposed blind obedience and favoured disciplined reason.
The cause of our failure was within ourselves. For a long time past all our actions bad been dominated by emotion on the one hand and habit on the other. Our power of thought had remained dormant, we dared not give it free play. So, when we had to be roused to action, it was our emotion which requisitioned in a hurry and the hypnotism of some mystical formula was applied to our intellect.

In the excitement of the partition days a hand of youths sought to bring about the millennium by revolution. They cast themselves as a sacrifice into the fare they had lighted and, on that account, deserve salutation not from us alone but best from all the world. Even their failure carriers the radiance of spiritual glory.

Through supreme self-dedication and travail they had to realise at last that when the country was not ready, the path of revolution led nowhere, The false track which had seemed a short cut to the goal did not reach it and thorns and brambles tore at the marching feet. To pay part price for a thing may lose both the price and the thing. The youths of those days had thought that the sacrifice of their lives on behalf of all the people would bring a revolution.

They paid the highest price in their power but it was not enough. The deliverance of a people must spring out of all their hearts, not partment with all its rich fittings cannot go faster than the third-class coaches attached f to it. I feel sure that the survivors in that patriotic band have now realised that the country has to be the creation of all ill people, a concrete expression of mass mind and will, every faculty pressed into full use.

When we turn our gaze upon the progress of other nations, the political cart-horse comes prominently into view-on it seems to depend wholly the speed of the vehicle. We forget that the cart , behind the horse must also be in a lit state to move its wheels must have the right alignment, its parts must have been properly assembled. The cart is the product not simply of materials on which saw and hammer had worked ; thought, energy applicable have gone into its making.

We have seen countries that are outwardly free, but as they are drawn by the horse of politics the rattle rouses all the neighbourhood from sleep and the joining makes the limbs of the passengers acuts : the vehicle break down repeatedly on their way and to put them in running order is to terrific business. Yet they are vehicles of a sort, after all, the fragments that pass for our country not only lack cohesion oat are comprised of parts of odds with one another.

To hitch it to anger or avarice or some other passion drag it along painfully with much din and bustle, and call this political progress. How long could the driving force last ? Is it not wiser, then, to keep the horse in the stable for the time and take up the task, first, of putting the vehicle in good shape ?

To make the country our own by means of our creative power is indeed a great call. It cannot be a mere summons to some mechanical exercise. No, man does not limit himself in the manner of the bee building endless replicas of cells, or the spider weaving webs of one pattern. His greatest strength is within him and it is up to him to draw on that strength and not on blind habit.

To tell him, “Do not think out act”, is to help prolong the age old delusion that has held this country in its deadly grip. We have been content much too long to surrender our greatest right – the right to reason and decide for ourselves – to the blind forces of sacred in functions and established habits. We have said : “We must not cross the black water ; it is forbidden by Manu. We cannot partake a of meal with a Muslim ; it is against prescribed usage.” In other words, we have pursued a routine of habit in which the mind has no place.

We have thus been reduced to the helpless condition of the master, I repeat, is the man within ; he gets into endless trouble when he ties himself down to outward circumstance, a parasite, an automation built in the workshop of sheer servility. The inertia from which our slave mentally has grown could hardly be broken by a further dose of blindfold submission or the imposition of the motions of a wound-up mechanical doll.

Stratagem in politics is a barren policy – that was a lesson of which we were surely in need. All honour to the Mahatma, who wakened us to the power of truth. But the cowardly and the weak take easily to cheap tactics. Minds corrupted by untruth cannot grasp the meaning of the great love kindled in the people’s heart by the Mahatma’s love.

This indeed, is the birth of freedom, nothing less. It is the country’s discovery of itself. It has little to do with the alien occupation of India. This love is pure affirmation. It does not involve itself in arguments with the negative attitude. There is no need for arguments of any kind whatever. Some notes of the music of this wonderful awakening of India by the call of love radiated across the seas and reached me abroad.

What joy it was to think we would all be summoned to witness the great arousal in which the splendid power latent in India’s heart was to find full release. This, l did believe, was real liberation. When the Buddha proclaimed his doctrine of compassion for all living beings, the stimulus of the ideal touched every aspect of life and enriched the creative arts in that distant age too, India had been cracking up repeatedly inspite of sporadic attempts at political unity.

The stimulus was so strong that it reached out even beyond the Indian borders and made people in many countries conscious of their inner wealth. No great conqueror or merchant prince could ever achieve anything of this kind – they merely carried with them discord and pain and insult. Love attains its object of redemption by touching life at its taproot, while avarice has to use the instruments of coercion. This we had noticed during the anti-partition struggle, when men often made sacrifices under the outward pressure of avarice, not the inner compulsion of love. Avarice has to get quick results, even if they are impermanent; the fruit of love is durable and it is sufficient by itself.

Freedom of Expression.
So, in the excited expectation or breathing the air a new found freedom, 1 hurried back to my home-land. But what I have seen and felt troubles me. Something seems to be weighing on the people’s spirit ; a stern pressure is at work, it makes everyone talk in the same voice and make the same gestures.

When I wanted to ask questions and decide for myself, my well-wishers clapped anxious hands to my mouth : “Pray be silent.” There is a tyranny in the air – even if intangible, it is worse than open violence. Let any one who doubts the wisdom of the proclaimed policy speak his mind in a bare whisper and he will have to face disciplinary action. One of our newspapers dared give a mere hint of disapproval of the buring of foreign cloth, and the readers’ agitated protest came menacingly ; the flames which had consumed the bales of mill cloth could quickly reduce this paper to ashes.

I see a section of the people fanatically engaged in their assigned task, and another section struck with alarm and dumfounded. The idea prevails that all questioning must stop : there should be nothing but blind obedience. Obedience to Whom ? To some charmed words of incantation, to some reasonless creed.

And why this obedience ? Here again is avarice, our spiritual fee. The country has been given a very attrative promise – it is to have in no time a treasure of instiable worth. Under its lure men have cast reason aside and are full of resentment against all who will not behave likewise. The sadness is that, even those who have not swallowed the bait are anxious to make use of it.

“It will serve a good purpose” they say. They evidently think that the India that declared, “In truth alone is victory, in naught else is unifit for self – government”.

The Mahatma has captured the heart of India with his love ; we all bow down to him on that account. He has revealed to us the full power of truth and for that we are beholden. We read about eternal truths in books, we talk about them, but it is a propitious moment when we encounter truth face to face.

Such an opportunity is rare in one’s life. It is easy enough to go province making political speeches, and even to make and break National Congress. But the golden band of true love that has wakened us out of age-along slumber is not to be easily found. To the possessor of that rare want, our profound salutation.

But them, wheat is the good of it all if, even after we have seen the face of truth, our faith in it is not firm enough ? Our minds must accept the truth of the intellect just as the heart accepts the truth of love. Till now, neither the Congress nor any other institution made a strong impression on the heart of India – it needed the touch or love. Now what we have the truth of love, are we to withdraw our trust in the other truth -just where Swaraj is concerned.

Let me give an illustration. I am looking for a veena player. I have tried everywhere but failed to find the right man. They are all experts, they command high fees, but their technical skill draws my admiraiton without touching my emotions. At last I find a player whose very first notes are sheer rhapsody. I accept him as my master.

I then want a veena made, but my resources turn out to be inadequate. What if the master plying my plight says, “Do not worry. Take this stick, tie a string of its length, and practise on that contraption. On a particular day of a particular month, the stick will turn into a real veena ?” Would that help ? It would in fact be mistaken kindness for the master thus to take pity on my circumstances.

Far better, if he were to tell me that such things could not be had cheapily ; that a real veena could not be made with a single string that it needed a great variety of materials and skilled craftsmanship; that a single slip would result in its being out of tune.

Question 2.
What  was Tagore’s ideas about the solution of complex social problems ?
Answer:
Tagore reposed great faith in Mahatma Gandhi’s efforts and wrote, “It is a vast enterprise involving complex processes and needing as much study and clear thinking as impulse and emotion. Economists and educationists and mechanical engineers must contribute their ideas and exertions to the pool of this many-sided endeavour. The intellect of the people must be fully awake. So that the spirit of inquiry is untramelled ; minds must not be overawed or made in active by compulsions, open or secret.

Emphasis on modernisation through research.
It has been argued that four-fifteens of the Indian people are engaged in cultivation and for half the year they remain unemployed ; to set an example to them, people of the higher classes should take to the charkha for a time. But to start with, the basic assumptions have to be proved.

How many cultivators become workless, and for how long ? Would they earn more by spinning than by other means It is also open to doubt whether it would be good to offer all the peasantry just one others means of livehood apart from cultivation. In a word, we should not be prepared to formulate a general policy by sheer guess-work. We demand research on scientific lines ; when that is done, it will be time to conclusions.

As everywhere else, Swaraj in this country has to find its basis in the mind’s unfoldment, in knowledge, in the scientific thinking, and not in shallow gestures. It does not make sense to say that we could attain this Swaraj by playing the Spinning-wheel a brief while. If we agree to accept oracular prophecies from human lip, there will be an addition to our thousand and one superstitions.

As soon as it appears that nothing but oracles serve or move us, they will have to be manufactured day and night out of sheer necessity, and, all other voices will then be hussed. As dogma takes the place of reason, freedom will give way to some kind of despotism. This is not a new thing. We in India have enough of the super natural-
mystical revelations, magical healing and all sorts of divine intervention in the affairs of the world. That is just by I am so anxious to reinstate reason on its pedestal.

Faith in the purity of life.
Untruth is impure and is to be shunned, and not simply on the ground that it fails to serve our purpose. Whatever its other effects, it makes our inner nature un¬clean, that is a moral promise above the plane of economics or politics. Besides, if there is anything wrong in using cloth of a particular brand, the offence would be against economics or hygiene or aesthetics but certainly not against ethics.

If a student stumbles in his geometry problem it will do no good to tear up his exercise book – the problem will have to be worked a new by the geometrical method. What if the School master concludes that exercise book itself destroyed the boy will not be convinced of his error ? If this is right, I can only say that the boy needs reformation much more than academic lessons.

Against over mechanisation of human life.
The Mahatma has declared war against the tyranny of the machine which is oppressing the world. Here we are all under his banner. But we cannot accept cowardly in the fight, the slave mentality that is at the root of all the misery and indignity in our national life.

I am ready to burn cloth, but not under the blind pressure of a directive. Let experts give this question their time and thought and convince us with arguments what economic means could cure the economic malady arising from our use of foreign cloth.

If we have committed an economic Crime by using a certain make of cloth, how could we be sure, in the absense of logical data, that by burning cloth we would not simply broaden the basis of the crime, so that the stronghold of Manchester would strengthen all the more ? I am not speaking as an expert, since I am not one : I am only asking a question out of the spirit of inquiry. Not that I accept as gospel truth whatever the experts say. But, then, they do not speak in the idiom of gospels : they make a call on our intelligence arid urge us to frank debate.

Suggestions for achieving international outlook.
It is time for us today to consider another point. India’s awakening is a part of the awakening of the world. With the Great War the door of a new age has flung. All at once, the foundations of civilisation, western civilisation to be a praise, seem to quake. It is evident that the tremors are neither local nor momentary ; they are worldwide and will not stop until human relationship ; reaching from continent to continent, become based on true harmony.

Henceforth, any nation which seeks isolation for itself must come into conflict with the time-spirits and find no peace. From now onward the plane of thinking of every nation will have to be international. It is the striving of the new age to develop in the mind this faculty of universality. There is an attempt to see the problems of India against the framework of the world. There are hindrances to be overcome – self interest attacks enlightened understanding at every step. But, then, it would be wrong to think that self interest alone is genuine.

In my sixty years’ experience I have discovered that pure hypocrisy is not easy to attain and is a scarce commodity. The fact is that every man is more or less ambivalent in character. But our logical faculty is unable to admit the two opposites together.

When we see the good along with the bad, we rush to the conclusion that the good has counterfeit. In international relations this duality is clear. We are apt to be obsessed by this aspect in view of all our past experience ; but in the light of future promise, we must accept the change in outlook as genuine. Even if the messages do not fully reveal the truth, ‘they strain in all sincerity towards the truth.

At this dawn of the world’s awakening, if our national endeavour holds no intimations of a universal message, the poverty of our spirit will be laid piteously bare. 1 do not say that we should neglect the immediate tasks we have in hand. But when the bird is roused at day break, all its awakening is not absorbed in the quest for food ; its wings respond to the call of the sky and its throat pours forth joyous songs in celebration of the new light.

Regretably, we have narrowed down our’ vision to more material expectations. But even in the west a real concern to rise superior to material interests is not apparent. There I have come across in whom the new spirit of renunciation is personified. These are men who, freed of ther petty bonds of nationalism, feel within them the inner oneness of all mankind, and are ready for every sacrifice in working for the fulfilment of the great ideal.

I have seen such men in England : they have accepted insult and hurt, from the hands of their own people in their struggle to liborate subject races from the tyranny of power. I have watched the faces of students in Europe, radiant with the hope of world unity, and bearing with patience and courage the blows they must suffer for their dream of the glorious age ahead.

Question 3.
Discuss Tagore’s ideas about internationalism.
Answer:
Tagore was a true statesman and a man of foresightedness. He believed that the whole world is one and to divide it into separate nations small or big is to create enemies with ourselves. The word nation would mean a restricted view separating ourselves from others and would tend to be interested in ourselves may be at the cost of others.

In the words of Tagore, “The word ‘nation’ does not occur in our language nor does it exist in our country. We have learnt of late to prize national greatness by virtue of European education. But its ideals cannot be found in our minds. Our history,’ our religion, our society, our family none of the have recognised the ascendency of the cult of the nation. Europe prizes political independence, we act free by spiritual liberation.

The civilization as manifested in the cult of the nation has yet to be tested. But it is clear that ideals are not ennobling ; they carry the evils of injustice and falsehood ; there is a sort of the terrible cruelty about the cult. The basis of Hindu ‘civilisation’ is society ; the basis of European civilisation is the State. Man can attain greatness either through society or state. But if we think to build up nation after European pattern – the only way and the only aim – we shall be wrong.”

Tagore said, “our history is that of our social life and attainment of spiritual ideas.” He condemned the barbaric manifestation of imperialistic arrogance and social chauvinism.

The basis of internationalism of Tagore were based on the following fundamental beliefs :
1. Life becomes untrue and its burden heavy we do not see ourselves in the infinite ; we have to realise the consciousness of the all. True universalism is not the breaking down of the walls of one’s own house, but the offering of hospitality to one’s guests and neighbours.

2. Our fight is a spiritual fight – it is for man. We are to emancipate man from the meshes that he himself has woven round him – the organisation of national egoism. According to Tagore, “he only knows the reality who sees the universe in one’s self and one’s self in universe”.

3. The amelioration of the lot of all the individuals in all countries can only bring real progress.

4. Politicians mis-handle the situation instead of bridging the gulf between East and West they widen it. He advised the politician to see the light of day and shun their habit of dividing this world into different cells.

5. Every nation is a member of humanity and each must render the account of what it has created for the weal of mankind.

6. Tagore’s gradual world, consciousness and Ins desire to see and know other lands and people and establish with them a relation of goodwill and friendship as also his growing conviction that the world born by conflict and violence needed India’s message of unity and peace impelled him to go to foreign countries.

7. Tagore denounced narrow nationalism as the demon and a false God. He considered the western brand of Nationalism narrower in conception than the Indian outlook.

8. He believed that human truths and humanity were above narrow national interests. Tagore wrote, we do not worship nationalism as the highest god – this is our nationalism.

His internationalism was much a natural and logical manifestation of his humanistic philosophy as it was so of his philosophy of universalism mainly derived from the upanishads. Tagore’s views on Nationalism and Internationalism are more clear in his following words:

‘Before the Nation came to rule over us we had other governments which were foreign, and these, like all governments, had some element of the machine in them. But the difference between them and the government by the Nation is like the difference between the handloom and the powerloom. In the products of the handloom, the magic of man’s living fingers finds its expression and its hum harmonises with the music of life. But the powerloom is relentlessly lifeless and accurate and monotonous in its production.

We must admit that during the personal government of the former day there have been instances of tyranny, injustice, and extortion. They caused sufferings and unrest from which we are glad to be rescued. The protection of law is not only a boon, but it is a valuable lesson to us. It is teaching us the discipline which is necessary for the stability of civilisation and for continuity of progress. We are realising through it that there is a universal standard of justice to which all men, irrespective of their caste and colour., have their equal claim.

This reign of law in our present government in India has established ordeer in this vast land inhabited by peoples different in their races and customs. It has made it possible for these peoples to come in closer touch with one another and cultivate a communion of aspiration.

But this desire for a common bond of comradeship among the different races of India has been the work of the spirit of the West, not that of the Nation of West. Wherever in Asia the people have received the true lesson of the West it is inspite of the Western Nation.

Only because Japan bad been able to resist the dominance of this Eastern Nation could he require the benefit of the Western civilisation in fullest measure. Though China has been poisoned at the very spring of her moral and physical life by this Nation, her struggle to receive the best lessons of the West may yet be successful if not hindered by the Nation. It was only the other day that Persia woke up from her age-long sleep at the call of the West to be instantly trampled into stillness by the Nation.

The same phenomenon prevails in this country also, where the people are hospitable but the Nation has proved itself to be otherwise, making an Eastern guest feel humiliated to stand before you as a member of the humanity of his own motherland.

In India, we are suffering from this conflict between the spirit of the West and the Nation of the West. The benefit of the Western civilization is doled out to us in a miserably measure by the Nation, which tries to regulate the degree of nutrition as near the zero point of vitality as possible.

If we must believe our school master in his taunt that, after nearly two centuries of his tutelage, India hot only remains unfit or self-government and unable to display originality in her intellectual attainments must we ascribe it to something in the nature of Western culture and our inherent incapacity to receive it or to the judicious niggardiness of the Nation that has taken upon itself the white man’s burden of civilising the East ? That Japanese people have some qualities which we lack we may admit, but that our intellect is naturally unproductive compared to theirs we cannot accept even from them whom it is dangerous for us to contradict.

The truth is that the spirit of conflict and conquest is at the origin and in the centre of Western nationalism ; its basis is not social cooperation, it has evolved a perfect organisation of power, but not spiritual idealism. It is like the pack of predatory creatures that must have its victims. With all its heart it cannot bear to see its hunting grounds converted into cultivated fields.

In fact, these nations are fighting among themselves for extension of their victims and their reserve forests. Therefore, the Western Nation acts like a dam to check the free flow of Western civilisation into the country of the No-Nation. Because this civilisation is the civilisation of power, therefore it is exclusive, it is naturally unwilling to open its sources of power to those whom it has selected for its purposes of exploitation.

But all the same moral law is the law of humanity, and the exclusive civilisation which thrives upon others who are barred, from its benefit carries its own death-sentence in its moral limitations. The slavery that it gives rise to unconsciously drains its own love of freedom dry. The helplessness with which it weighs down its world of victims exerts its force of gravitation every movement upon the power that creates it.

And the greater part of the world which is being denuded of its self-sustaining life by the Nation ‘will one day become the most terrible of all its burdens ready to drag it down into the bottom of destruction. Whenever power removes all checks from its path to make its career easy.

Question 4.
Evaluate Tagore as a social thinker.
Answer:
Tagore had implicit faith in self-realisation through love and service of mankind particularly the downtrodden. He believed that the search for the God lay in the service of mankind. His mind was highly affected by the teaching of Buddha and Upanishads. He had declared his faith in his words, ‘To the great evolution of the universe, we have found its significance in a cell of life, then in an animal, then in a man.

From the outer universe we gradually come to inner realm and one by one the gates of freedom are unbarred. When the screen is lifted on the appearance of man on earth we realise the great and mysterious truth of relatedness, of supreme unity of all that is man can declare that those who know truth can enter into the heart of all.”

His Nationalism.
Tagore did not approve the idea of nationalism. He had a broad idea of the whole world as one. He believed that the nationalism breeds no contempt for others and a desire to overcome the others by means of hook and crook. He developed his idea of nationalism in his lectures delivered in Japan and America.

He wrote the word nation does not occur in our language nor does it exist in our country. We have of late learnt to prize national greatness by virtue of European education. But its ideal cannot be found in our minds. Our history, our religions, our family, our society none of them have recognised the accendency of the cult of nation, Europe praises political independence, we set stone by spiritual liberation.

The civilisation as manifested in the cult of nation has yet to be tested. But it is clear its ideas are not enabling ; they carry the evils of injustice and falsehood there is a sort of terrible cruelty about the cult. The basis of Hindu civilisation is society but the basis of European civilisation is state. Man can attain greatness either through society or through state. But if we think that to build up nation after the pattern of Europe is the only way open and the only aim of humanity we will be wrong.

“The nation will all its paraphernatia of power and prosperity, its flag and pious hymns, its blasphemous prayers in the Churches and the literary mock-thunders of its patriotic bragging cannot hide the fact that the nationalism is the greatest evil for the nation, that all its precautions are against it, any new birth of its fellow in the world is always followed in its mind by the dread of new peril”.

According to Tagore, nationalism breeds imperialism and in other words selfishness and hatred for others. The benefit of western civilization is doled out to us in a miserly measure by the nation, which tries to regulate the degree of nutrition as near the zero point of vitality. The truth is that the spirit of conflict and conquest is at its origin and in the centre of western nationalism, its basis is not social cooperation. It has evolved a perfect organisation of power but not spiritual idealism.

With all its heart it cannot bear to see its hunting grounds converted into cultivated fields. Tagore held the view that the creating of separate cell of nations is to encourage and leads to fighting among themselves for the extinction of their victims and reserved forests. Therefore the western nationalists like a dam to check the free flow of western civilisation into the country of no-nation, because this civilisation is the civilisation of power and, therefore, it is exclusive and naturally unwilling to open its sources of power to those whom it has selected for exploitation.

India on the other hand has been trying to accomplish her task through social regulations of differences on the one hand and spiritual recognition of unity on the other – Her mission has been like that of hostess to provide proper accommodation to have numerous guests whose habits and requirements are different from one another. Our history is of social life and attainment of spiritual idealism.

According to Dr. Verma, “He believed in the replacement of the creeds of organisation, efficiency, exploitation and aggressiveness by social co-operation, international reciprocity and spiritual idealism”.

His Inter-nationalism.
The inter-nationalism of Tagore was based on certain fundamental beliefs. On thorough study of the philosophy of Tagore we can say that his concept of inter-nationalism was based on the following fundamental beliefs :

1. Life becomes un-realistic if we have a limited vision and do not see in the infinite. We have to take into account the consciousness of all the men on the surface of estate. In the words of Tagore, “Man whose inner vision is backed in an illumination of his consciousness, atonce realises the spiritual unity reigning supreme overall different races and his mind no longer awkwardly stumbles over individual facts of separateness in the human world. The true universe finds its manifestation in the individuality which is true. True universalism is not the breaking down of the walls of one’s house but the offering of the hospitality to one’s guests and neighbours”.

2. The object is to emancipate man from meshes that he himself lias woven around him. This is only possible if one sees the whole universe in onc-self and one-self in the universe. The only spiritual discipline for a great nations is that of making itself familiar and friendly with the rest of universe.

3. Tagore emphasised “Let it be known that it is only through the amelioration of the lot of all the individuals in all countries that real progress can come. People who remain in darkness are exploited, and this is becoming a problem for which the whole world is responsible”.

4. His aim was to bridge the gulf between East and West which politicians were widening due xo their political fanaticism.

5. In the words of Tagore, “We must realise that every nation is a member of humanity and each must render that account of what it has created for the weal of mankind. By the measure of such contribution does each nation gain its place”. Tagore’s gradul world, consciousness and his desire to see and know other lands and people and establish with them relation of good will and friendship as also his growing conviction that the world torn by conflicts and violence was in dire need of India’s message of unity and peace impelled him to undertake foreign tours, he visited England, America and Japan. He delivered various lectures in those countries. Tagore denounced narrow nationalism as the demon and a false God.

6. Tagore considered “The Western brand of Nationalism narrow in conception than the Indian outlook, which he believed in the kingship of all mankind. He stressed that humanity and human truths were above narrow national interest. We do not worship narrow nationalism as the highest good -this is our nationalism”.

7. Tagore’s internationalism was a natural and logical manifestation of his humanistic philosophy of universalism.

DU SOL BA 3rd Year History of Social Thought Notes

DU SOL BA 3rd Year History of Social Thought Notes Chapter 10 Charles Horton Cooley (1864—1927)

DU SOL BA 3rd Year History of Social Thought Notes Chapter 10 Charles Horton Cooley (1864—1927)

Question 1.
Examine Cooley’s theory of relationship between society and individual.
Answer:
Cooley adapted integral approach towards an idea or theory and opined that no idea is complete within itself. The pivotal point of Cooley’s social thought is the’ relationships between the individual and society, and Cooley tried to tackle problem of assigning importance cither to individual, or society in a unique way, and disbelieved the proposition individual or society had an indepen-dent existence, the relation between the two is organic. He held that both individual and society are equally important and none can be disregarded. According to Cooley, “an individual apart from society is mere abstraction which is beyond empirical experience and the same is true of society. The entity of society if inconceivable apart from individuals who compose it.

The real thing is human life which can be understood either in its social or individualistic aspects. In fact, it has both aspects. The society and the individual are not separate entities, but the collective and distributive aspects of the same complex which is integral.” Charles H. Cooley made it very clear that there is no fundamental difference between an individual and society, rather both are interdependent, inter-related and complementary. In his book Social Process, Cooley writes : “If then we say that society is an organism, we mean, I suppose, that it is a complex of forms or processes, each of which is living and growing by interaction with the others, the whole being so unified that what takes place in one part affects all the rest”.

There exists an organic relationship between the individual and society; according to Coolley, “As in a human organism various organs can not exist apart from the organism, so an individual has no existence apart from society”. Cooley’s idea of organic relationship (which is inseparable) between individual and society has not only theoretical value but has practical importance also. Particular when the one sided theories (i.e., theories emphasising (i) individual is supreme or (ii) the society is supreme). Acceptance of these onesided theories either leads to anarchy or suppression. Cooley has avoided both extremes and presented a balanced point of view and there lies the importance of his idea about organic, relationship between individual and society.

Cooley and the Looking-Glass Process. Cooley, had some stimulating ideas about the socialization process. He was interested, ‘in how the individual takes on the proper attitudes, ideas, sentiments and habits to become a cooperative member of society. Cooley was extremely perceptive and gifted with empathy, the unusual capacity to feel one’s way into the mind and emotions of others. From the study of his own children Cooley arrived at an idea about socialization that he called the looking-glass process.

As people familiar with infants and small children will have observed, the child at first seems to react to the parent’s face more than to the spoken word. When the mother says ‘No” the child attempts to read her face to see whether she really means it. Children look into the mother’s face, Cooley says, for other reasons as well – mainly to See whether they are loved and accepted and whether they are looked, upon as good or bad. The essence of Cooley’s looking-glass process is that we always look into the faces of others in an attempt to read their attitudes toward us, and that the form our own self-concepts in terms of our idea of what they think. We learn to know ourselves through the eyes of others’.

It has never been Cooley’s point that we always see ourselves as others see us, but what he does say is that we try to do so and that we see ourselves as we imagine others to see us. Cooley also hypothesized that the looking-glass process begins with the very first day of life.

Evidence from an interesting experiment in infant perception (although not intended as a comment on the looking-glass theory) tends to confirm Cooley’s idea. New born infants in their first few weeks of life were tested by having a number of objects presented to them, noting which objects they focused their attention upon. The objects included brightly coloured balls and balls with various markings on them. One was marked with the outlines of a human face. Without exception, the face was the object preferred by the babies. The other objects with markings on them received very little attention, and brightly coloured balls were completely ignored.

A frequent criticism of this study has been that new born infants must learn the ability to perceive forms and patterns. However, recent research by the school of medicine at the University of Southern California supports the position that infants respond best to the outline of a human face. Forty babies with an average age of nine minutes (the range was three minutes to twenty-seven minutes) were shown four head-shaped forms : one represented a normal human face, another a moderately scrambled face, a third a very scrambled face, and the fourth a blank form.

The babies had no previous opportunity to learn the normal configurations of a human face, because they had been exposed only to capped, masked, and gowned personnel in the delivery room of the hospital. Nevertheless, they responded most frequently to the form with the normal face, next to the moderately scrambled face and the very scrambled version, and least frequently to the blank form. The researchers concluded that the “infant enters the world predisposed to respond to any face”, and later develops the ability to discriminate among adults who cate for it.

Cooley’s looking glass in infancy would reflect the clearest self-image from the glances of the mother and father. In later years the child becomes more sensitive to playmates. In the romantic years of early adulthood the sensitivity is greatest to the object of one’s love. Always, however, we are interested in what others think about us, and we adjust our reactions to our perceptions of their attitudes. Often we carry this reaction so far as to pretend interest we do not really feel in order to make the right impression.

The rejected child could be understood in Cooley’s analysis as one with a destructive self-concept based upon rejection by others. Even the young tough can be explained as developing a personality that will win acclaim from the most important members of the peer group. The important people, the ones we look to for our self -image, are the significant others. Although the first examples to come to mind are based upon childhood experience, there are significant others throughout life. Relatives and close friends are always significant; so also are our professional colleagues.

The self-image follows us through life, and we will do fantastic jobs of rationalization to preserve a favourable self-image. Think of such expressions as “I was just not myself when I did that”, “That just wasn’t like me” or “If they had been decent to me I would have turned out all right”. No one likes to abandon a favourable impression of himself. Reckless and Dinitz did a study supporting the hypothesis that in a neighbourhood of high delinquency rates the nondelinquent boys were the ones who bad the most favourable self-image. Their conclusion was that a self-image of the “good boy” was a major protection against delinquency.

Criticisms of Cooley’s idea of Looking-glass Self. Inspite of these words of praise for Cooley, it must be admitted that there are criticisms of his concept and also of the socialization picture developed by sociologists after them. ‘One who is familiar with the works of Sigmund Freud can see that he perceived much of socialization as a ^struggle between the individual and society. In this respect, the view of psycho analysis has been in opposition to that of Cooley. Whereas Cooley is inclined ‘to picture a harmonious adjustment to society, Freud saw the individual as constantly desiring to throw off the fetters of society’s rules and regulations. Rationally, we can see that there is much to be gained by conforming to the rules because the very law that prevents us from committing murder or mayhem also protects us from other people of violent intent. Nevertheless, there are always feelings of resentment against rules, routines, customs, time schedules, and the patterns that social life imposes upon us. The poet Amy Lowell ends her famous poem “Patterns” with the line “Christ ! What are patterns for ?”.

Dennis Wrong, in an article entitled “The Oversocialized Conception of Man”, contends that, sociologists have looked a little too much to the harmonious adjustment between individual and society. A great amount of small group research has been done on how the individual responds to the group not enough has been done on why, the individual often does not respond and why the human being remains a recalcitrant character. Although there is no definitive answer to the questions raised by Wrong, an examination of the widely conflicting agencies of socialization and pressures upon the growing individual will help to make clear why the socialization process is difficult and fraught with “danger”.

Question 2.
Explain Cooley’s concept of Primary Group.
Answer:
Meaning of Primary Group. The primary group is a small group in which a small number of persons come into direct contact with one another. They meet “face to face” for mutual help, companionship and discussion of common questions. They live in the presence and thought of one another. Charles H. Cooley, the first sociologists to draw the attention to primary groups describes them in the following words :

“By primary groups I mean those characterised by intimate face to face association and co-operation. They are primary, in several sense, but chiefly in that they are fundamental in forming the social nature and ideals of the individual. The result of intimate association, psychologically is a certain fusion of individualities into & common whole, so that one’s very self, for many purposes, at least, is the common life and purpose of the group. Perhaps the simplest way of describing this wholeness is by saying that it is a ‘we’, it involves the sort of sympathy and mutual identification for which ‘ we’ is the natural expression. One lives in the feeling of the whole and finds the chief aim of his will in that feeling…

The most important spheres of this intimate association and co-operation – though by no means the only ones—are the family, the play group of children, and the neighbourhood or community group of elders. These are practically universal belonging to all times and all stages of development, and are accordingly a basis of what is universal in human nature and in human ideals.”

Characteristics of Primary Groups. The essential characteristics of a primary group are intimate feelings and close identification. In a primary group we directly co-operate with our fellows and our relations with them are intimately personal. Cooley’s definition of the primary groups implied three conditions : physical proximity of the members, smallness of the group, and enduring character of the relation.

It may also be understood that face to face characteristic which is a major aspect of a primary group does not mean that it exerts a compelling influence over its members. Members of a family may not necessarily cast a magic-spell over each other; points and habits. A group may be called primary because it has exerted an influence in the early life of a men i.e., before other groups could influence him. Family in this sense is a primary group beeause its influence over the child is the earliest.

Close identification means direct co-operation. In a primary group men do the same thing together.’ They directly and face to face co-operate with each other to achieve their common interests. Their relations are not based on personal interests. They do not act independently or inter-dependently but all participate in the same process. They share a common experience and have common aim. Though there may be division of labour in a primary group yet it must act together.

In a cricket group, there are batsmen, bowlers and fielders but they all play together. Similarly, the member of a research group may undertake study of different. problems, but they must bring together their result into a common process at the point, where the group activity begins. The members of a primary group are, thus, united not only in the product but also in the process. The relations are spontaneous. There is nothing like compulsion or pressure between mem. Face to face group and direct co-operation not only increase the economy and convenience of the members but also satisfy the need of their nature the need for society.

Thus, in a primary group :

  1. There is physical closeness among members;
  2. The members have common aims ;
  3. The relations of the members are an end in themselves ;
  4. The relations of the members are spontaneous ;
  5. Members have personal relations ;
  6. Relations of the members are inclusive ;
  7. There, is continuity in the relations of the members.

Besides the above features, Cooley has also mentioned two Other features of the primary group. The first important feature of the primary group is that they are found everywhere in the world, that is, they are universal. The second feature of the primay group is that every one must be a member of some primary group.

Question 3.
Write short note on
(i) The Concept of Institution and (ii) The Concept of the Self,
Answer:
(i) The Concept Of Institution
In ordinary, non-scientific speech or -.writing, people often use the word ‘institution’ to mean an organisation with some specific purpose, usually a public or charitable one.

Cooley defines an institution as, “a complete organisation of collective behaviour established in the social heritage and meeting some persistent heed or want.” Thus, an institution is simply a definite and established phase of the public mind different in its ultimate nature, from public opinion.

Cooley opined that various institutions help and aid the growth of human personality. ‘The family, the state, the law and the religion’ are institutions which in different ways help us in the growth of our personalities.

(ii) The Concept Of The Self
Cooley finds no basic difference between individual and society. An individual forms and develops the concept of self in response to his interaction with society. This also influence the nature and habits of an individual thereby making individual and society are in separable, to nature of the self. Cooley attempts a socio-psycho- logical analysis to give a concept of self. He said that “it is through introspection that an individual comes to form his concept of self. In encounter with primary groups an individual feels compelled to think about his self.”

This introspection covers:

  • the imagination of an individual about other’s idea about ” him,
  • individuals reflection of himself according to the idea and
  • feeling of pride or shame or embarassment; on his image in the minds of other people.

In order to explain the concept of self, Cooley formulates a theory wherein he compares the society to ajoolqpg glass.

Question 4.
Point out the contribution of Cooley to social thought.
OR
Critically point out Cooley’s place in the history of social thinkers.
Answer:
Cooley was one of the exponents of ‘symbolic jnter- actionism’, a branch of Social Behaviourism School, propagating the idea that sociology deals with behaviouristic analysis of the subject matter. Symbolic interactionism seriously centres around the ‘self’ and ‘personality’.

His idea of primary group, though significant has been criticised. According to Bottomore, “The work of Cooley already fare-shadowed one error he wrote that primary groups ‘are primary in several senses, bnt chiefly in that they are fundamental in forming the social nature and ideals of the individual and again that they do not change in the same degree as more elaborate relations, but form a comparatively permanent source out of which the latter are ever springing., (they) are springs of life not only for the individual but for social institutions.” He further adds, “Cooley and some recent sociologists seems to imply that it is possible to move directly from the study of small groups to the study of inclusive societies. This is associated with the view that all sm$ii groups have a determining influence upon social life. Yet all the evidence points to the opposite conclusion.”

Cooley’s works are characterised by avoidance of particularistic explanations and dogmatic assertions. Interestingly Cooley’s version of sociology is referred to as psychosocioiogy, he never ignored other factors of interplay and influence in the social process. Cooley’s philosophic’ ideas helped him to gain in breadth of vision and to consistently avoid the zeal or narrowness of a social reformer.

His “Human Nature and the Social Order’ deals authoritatively with the integral relationship of the individual self and the social process.

Looking-Glass Self –

Cooley’s formulation of the ‘self’ through his idea of looking glass self, is very important contribution. It affects the daily life of all individuals. In the words of’ Cooley, “We are ashamed to seem evasive in the presence of a brave one, gross in the eyes of a refined one”.

While discussing ‘conscience’ Cooley distinguished between ‘self-consciousness, social consciousness and public consciousness, the first being what I think of myself ; the second what I think of other people and the third a collective view of the self and the social consciousness of all the members of a group organised and integrated into a communicating group’. ‘These three types together with moral life is a part of organic society.

According to Cooley, “the development of a society does not depend upon the change in human nature but to a large and higher application of its familiar impulses.”

Question 4.
Discuss Cooley’s contribution to Modern Sociological Theory.
Answer:
Cooley’s name is quite commonly associated symbolic interactionism, which lays stress on behaviouristic analysis of subject matter as against conflict and organism theories. In this theory, stress is laid on attitude, self and personality. He took into consideration several factors- which inter-play and influence social processes.

Cooley’s Concept of ‘Self’. According to Cooley there is no basic difference between the individual and the society. Personality of an individual is reflected through his society. His ‘self’ develops only with his. interactions in the society. It is his interaction with the society which is responsible for his nature and nabits. He thus believes that individual and society cannot be separated from each other.

His concept of the self is based on Psychology. He has said that in the first instance all individuals try to imagine what others think about him. Then he reflects and reacts about what other feels about him- feels either sorry or happy. He also responses to social environments which very much count about his ‘self’ making. Society is thus a mirror for self. Each individual is affected by what others think about him. Each one has power of introspection and that makes him conscious of the self.

Cooley on Primary Group. In Cooley’s concept of self primary group plays an important role and occupies a significant position. He has defined primary group as g group in which there is face to face association and cooperation with each other. According to him they are primary because they are basic both in the formation of social nature and ideals of the individuals. These develop a sense of ‘we’ which develops a sense of sympathy and identification for each other. Thus for Cooley members of primary group are related to each other and for this it is necessary that they should live in close proximity.

The relationship in such a group is informal and members have sense of belonging. Members of primary group in certain respects have no sense of individualism. A primary group is universal and found everywhere and it helps both in the development and formation of personality of the individual. Every one must be a member of some primary group family, playground and neighbourhood are main primary groups.

Cooley also stresses that primary groups also help in socialisation of the individual. Family helps in shaping mental attitudes and prevents in developing what is disliked, by the society. Playground helps in developing feelings of cooperation and neighbourhood that of adjustment.

His Faith in Human Nature: According to Cooley a clear distinction should be maintained between self consciousness, social con-sciousness and public consciousness. According to him all the three are part of the organic whole. He has said that from self consciousness what is meant is that one thinks about one-self, the second is social consciousness i.e. when one thinks about others and the last is public consciousness and that comes..when one thinks of betterment of all members of the group. f He has great desire that all individuals should make a stride in controlling human situations. He looks forward to a day when unconsciousness activities will be replaced by deliberate human activities.

His Concept of Comunmication. According to Cooley Communication is that mechanism through which human relations develop. He has said that it is an increased degree of communication which makes individual conscious about the important role which he can play in improving the quality of social life. He is opposed to freedom of communication which according to him has resulted in worries, over work and in such a competitive reach for which the people .are not ready. He believes that public opinion is cooperative product of communication.

His Views About Social Process. Cooley is of the view that to some extent cooperation and communication are useful in social pro-cesses because these lead to some activity. But at the same time it is essential that there should be some controlling factors. He does not favour social stratification because in his opinion it cuts off communication and throws majority of the people in the dark well of ignorance. He has laid stress on the importance of institutions in social processes. These provide stability and save energies for under taking new tasks. But at the same time because of formalism in institutions these result in dissatisfaction.

Cooley’s Contribution. Though for a very long time Cooley was considered to be a modest thinker and writer, yet this contribution to the growth of sociology is now being very much appreciated. He is now considered to be a deep thinker. He has given a very clear picture of social processes, which he has linked with the rise of personalities and organisations. He has appropriately discussed the role of communication in social progress. He has contributed significantly in paying way to the theories of middle range. It has been said that, “…the fruit of Us reading and introspective analysis are still indispensable elements of present day social thinking while the labours of many fact gathers are long forgotten.”

DU SOL BA 3rd Year History of Social Thought Notes

DU SOL BA 3rd Year History of Social Thought Notes Chapter 26 MK Gandhi (1869—1948)

DU SOL BA 3rd Year History of Social Thought Notes Chapter 26 MK Gandhi (1869—1948)

Question 1.
Discuss the base of Gandhian ideology.
Answer:
The fundamental bases of Gandhism is the conception of an omnipresent spiritual reality which can be called God or simply Truth. Gandhiji has immense and deep faith in God as truth. God he said is a “Self existent, all knowing living force which inheres every other force known to the world.

He is both immanent and transcendent. The supreme absolute ever-present spirit or God is the starting point of Gandian Thought. He wrote “I do perceive that wMIe everything around me is everchanging and everdying, there is, underlying all that change, a living power, that is changeless, that holds together that creates, dissolves and recreates. That power is God. God is life, truth and light”.

Gandhi spoke of truth not only as an ethical category but as the supreme being of the highest quality. It is not only a value or ideal but is the highest concrete reality. God as truth is the eternally perfect infinite consciousness. In place of physical pleasure Gandhiji stressed realization of God. He regarded it supreme reality and the supreme good. He said, “I cannot recall a single instance when at the eleventh hour God has failed me”. Gandhiji was thus a metaphysical idealist.

But it does not mean that he rejected earthly world as ‘‘illusion or Maya”. The majesty of God is expressed in this world also. He believed in a God who is kind to the prayers or the devotee. He believed that God is within all of us. Though he regarded God as above all attributes but still he claimed that ‘Ram Nam’ was his infallible remedy.

He believed in the stories of divine protection to the devotees. He accepted the truth conveyed by the concepts of ‘Karma and reincarnation’. He believed that death after a life truly lived is but a prelude to a better and richer life.

The spiritual truth, according to Mahatma Gandhi, was not to be realized by dialectical skill or abstract thinking but by spiritual experience obtained through pure and displined holy life and by practising non-violence in own actions. The wickedness of human heart was the greatest hindrance to the realization of God.

He preached the synthesis of knowledge and devotion. No worthy action for human good is possible without belief in an acceptance of God as truth. For the realization of God. it was essentially to realize unity with all the creatures of the world. It is only through faith and purity that the realization of God is possible. It is more Faith than reason that han help us in its realization.

Gandhiji had a faith in human nature. He believed in the inner goodness of man. According to him, the individual is an immortal spiritual entity. The human being has a sense of spiritual self-consciousness and morality. Everyman has the possibility for spiritual growth. The individual conceived in moral and spiritual terms is the supreme consideration of Gandhian political thought. Gandhi wanted to bring about a psychological regeneration of man.

He believed that there was something inherently divine in man’s nature. But the existing man is also imperfect. He is far from God. Hence the present man should be raised to his higher ideal self. He was optimistic and was never despaired of man’s emancipation. He advocated a moral change of human heart. He even believed that the heart of the enemy also can be won over. He always appealed to the element of divinity in man. He felt that a disciplined individual can do a lot in reforming the institutions of which he was a member.

He always laid stress on the moral and spiritual side rather than on the intellectual and scientific side of man’s nature. As such he laid emphasis on the performance of one’s own duties without meddling with the duties of others. This is what the concept of ‘‘SVADHARMA AND SWADESI” teach.

Thus he constantly laid stress on the necessity for the moral and spiritual uplift of man. He was opposed to all those thinkers who believed that human beings can be reformed by objective forces. According to him social better meat depends upon individual efforts for self-purification. Thus the revelation of moral powers of the individual is an important point in the political thought of Gandhiji.

That is why that spiritual realization and social service are integrally connected in Gandhian thought. There is no antithesis between social servance and self-development. To quote Gandhiji “Man is higher than the brute and has divine mission to fulfil. To find truth completely is to realize oneself and one’s destiny”.

Gandhiji did not think that society as such in any way corrupts the individual. He traces the evil in man to his own evil tendencies. This evil is not social but psychological. He did not think that human nature is sinful. Man can be cured of his evil tendencies by prolonged efforts. Gandhiji believed in innate goodness of man and stressed the realization of human perfection.

Hence he laid emphasis on non-violence and other virtues. Man can reform himself by performing good actions. Gandhiji was an optimist who had faith in the psychological regeneration of man. He was firm in his belief that the superior wisdom of God will ultimately triumph.

Gandhiji considered the religious remarking of human nature as prior to social and political transformation. The theory of spiritualization of politics demands the fundamental remaking of human nature. Human nature is not something static and immutable but is dynamic and amenable to changes.

Gandhiji wrote, “My belief in the capacity of Non-violence rejects the theory of permanent inelasticity of human nature”. As compared to the primitive tribes there has been improvement in human nature. Gandhiji accepted that man can change his temperament and can control it by a process of prolonged purification (Tapasya). It is possible to remake human remaking of nature.

If there has to be a change in human nature, it is to be brought about not over by institutional mechanics but by energization of moral feeling. Gandhiji thus had a supreme faith in the nobility and decency of human nature.

Gandhiji was a moral and spiritual humanist. Service to mankind was his mission. He did not want to use force or coercion for making people good. Moral. goodness is acquired by a process of introspective scrutiny and cultivation of character. Force can hardly make the individual moral. Gandhiji emphasised the purification of the conscience of the individual.

He would not consider structural changes to be sufficient. He said that there should be no co-operation with evil. But it did not mean he was opposed to structural changes. He wanted changes in she structure of society and the state. In short Gandhiji though accepted the necessity of social and political changes but the root of the matter was the psychological remaking of man.

Gandhiji was a great devotee of God but he had also great faith in man. Gandhiji was a great humanist for two reasons.

First he attributed a significant character to the ideals and aspirations of common man. He was the spokesman of their aspirations. He taught to world the sacredness of feelings even in the hearts of the most distressed individuals. He identified himself with the lowest man. He had everflowing love for humanity.

Secondly, he was a humanist because he had faith in the regeneration of man. He pointed out that no human being is so bad as to beyond redemption. Gandhiji’s humanism may be termed a spiritual humanism. His belief in God was no anti-thesis with his belief in humanism. Gandhiji said, “My faith is in God and therefore, in the people.

God is bound up with mankind and all living beings. Love for man is love for God”. Gandhiji believed in the ennoblement of man who had a divine spark. Every human life is entitled to dignity and love. Mahatma Gandhi was never despaired of man, he wrote “You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean, if a few drops of the ocean are dirty the ocean does not become dirty”.

Gandhiji’s humanism can thus be characterised as base on spiritual rather than materialistic considerations. In this regard he is different than Karl Marx whose humanism is materialistic. It may also be pointed out that Gandhiji’s humanism is different than that of the West. In the West, humanism is meant to rise man against the imperialism of God. But in Gandhian humanism that is not so.

Gandhiji was not a philosopher of history but we find in his ideas a philosophy of theological determinism. He wrote, “Nothing can happen but by His will expressed in His eternal changeless law which is He.” God signifies an unchanging and living law. Gandhi believed that not a leaf moves without His will. God was the supreme determinant of things and movement in the world. His faith in the divine governance of this world was unshaken. He also felt that for the moral sins. of man even physical catastrophies like earthquake occur.

But this belief in divine determinism did not degenerate him into fatalism. He was a strong advocate of the theory of Karmayoga and believed in hard work. His own life was full of ceaseless actions inspired by the vision of a spiritual whole. Gandhiji combined a faith in the supremacy of God with the insistance on constant action. Man is to have faith in God and also to perform the actions that fall his way. This is the essence of the teachings of Gita which was interpreted by Gandhiji.

Gandhiji was a critic of the materialistic conception of the Western philosophers who did not recognise the operations of the spiritual force in human history. Gandhiji advocated a spiritual and moral interpretation of history. He repudiated the analysis of his history merely in terms of objective forces. He saw the hand of God behind all changes and movements in history. Thus Gandhiji was a philosopher different in his assumptions from the Western philosophers.

Question 2.
What place did Gandhiji assign to religion ? Discuss.
Answer:
Gandhiji was a great believer in the mighty force of religion in human history. But his religion was not of a dogmatic Sectarian or Orthodox. He was a practical idealist and did not interest himself in the supernatural mysteries of the world beyond this earth. His interest in religion was ethical. He always spoke of religion in terms of ethical idealism.

Religion, according to Gandhiji, meant an emphasis on the moral values of man. He always talked of ethical religion. He wrote, “For me morals, ethics and religion are convertible terms. A moral life without reference to religion is like a house built upon sand. And religion diversed from morality is like a sounding brass gong only for making a noise and breaking heads”.

As soon as the moral basis of religion is lost it ceases to be religion. Gandhiji’s religion has made up laws which bind men all over the world. He said that he was essentially a religious man in search of ‘moksha’ (Emancipation). But emancipation did not mean isolation. It did not mean the repudiation of the claims of society. Gandhiji repeatedly said that for him there could be no realization of the soul apart from the service of mankind.

The true religious attitude of Gandhiji meant the voluntary acceptance and conscientious performance of duties. He felt that the life of Karmayoga was the only way to attainment of Moksha. Such a life would lead to the progressive expansion of the humanself. Karmayoga signifies the elimination of the evil from within the human heart, and the Victory of truth, good and the virtue Gandhiji’s conception of Karmayoga is an important contribution in the present materialistic stage of human civilization.

Gandhiji’s political philosophy is based on ethical idealism. He advocated an ethical and religious approach to politics. He wrote “Supestitions, evil customs and other imperfections creep into society from age to age and mar religion for the time being. They come and go but religion Itself remains because the existence of world depends upon the religion.

The ultimate definition of the religion may be said to he obedience to the law of God”. Gandhi found that the moral clement -was common to all the religions of the world. His aim was to raise political structure to higher moral plane. He was not a Champion of the divine right of political authority, but he stood for purifying the structure of politics.

Gandhi had a more penetrating grasp of the depths of religious experience than Plato and Rousseau, who were at best intellectuals and philosophers. Gandhiji on the other hand aspired for the personal realization of God. He practised what he preached. He led a purified life. In his moralization of politics there is the presence of the convincing power of his personality.

He believed in God, Karmayoga and the supremacy of moral laws. Gandhiji did not believe in coercion. He made an appeal to the conscience of an individual. According to him, what was fundamental was a personal realization of religious truth. Mere verbal professions were not of much avail. He stood for the development of the purity of personal character. According to him, it was ridiculous to fight in the name of religion.

All religions were to him equal believing in the same fundamental maxims of morality. He often said in his prayer meeting, “All religions were equal. Religions were like leaves of the same tree. There was nothing to quarrel among Hindus, Muslims, Christians and others”.

Gandhi wished to incorporate moral values in politics. He once said, “For me there are no politics devoid of religions. Politics bereft of religion are death trap because they kill the soul”. By this kind of a statement it should not be presumed that Gandhiji wanted j to establish a theocracy. His conception of the religious basis of politics is far removed from any dedievalism or Communalism. Religion to Gandhiji meant the assertion of unity with God, It was dynamic moral force.

Hence the incorporation of religions in politics meant a progressive movement towards Justice and Truth. For Gandhiji politics was the pathway to the service of God. The central principle of Gandhian political philosophy is that the fundamental religious ethics has to be made concrete in the individual and political life.

He said, ‘My devotion to truth has drawn me into the field of politics and I can say without the slightest hesitation that those who say that religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion means. In Gandhian political thought religious considerations have priority over political considerations. Gandhiji said, “Most religious men I have met are politicians in disguise. I however who wear the guise of a politician am at heart religious man”.

The religious basis of politics as enumerated by Gahndhiji signified the stress on moral values. He wanted to free politics from Machiavellian implications (ends justify means). He wrote “My motives have been purely religious.. I could not be leading a religious life unless I identified myself with the whole mankind And this I could not do”.

For Gandhiji religion did not mean Hinduism (Hindu religion) though he considered it was certainly above ail other religions. To him a religious life meant a purified fife. Religion aims at suppressing what is beastly in man and bring about his rational and moral
will. Thus when Gendhiji talked of three religious basis of politics he was not preaching primitivism but emphasising a life of dynamic activity in search of the good of one’s soul and mankind.

He pointed out that the lives of Buddha and Christ were inspired by activity. They had great social interest. Religion was not merely a means for personal purification but it was an immensely powerful social bond. Gandhiji said. “Religion binds man to God and man to man. Religions are not for separating men from one another. They are means to bind them”.

According to Gandhiji, religion is not to be identified with any particular dogmatic theory. He condemned superstitions. He wrote, “Politics divorced from religion has absolutely no meaning”. While referring to it he did not mean thereby the alliance between the secular and religious powers. He did not want any political exploitation in the name of religion. ‘ What he meant by the religious basis of politics was a concept of moral right in place of divine right of rulers.

He wanted a moral orientation of political action. He was opposed to the use of religion for the support of an irrational political authority. He wrote, “It was a sign of religions atrophy to sustain an on- just Government that supported an injustice by resorting to untruth”. A religious man will ever be ready to lay down his life for the vindication of Justice. In Gandhiji’s political thought loyalty to the Supreme virtues of truth anti Justice take precedence over loyalty to any unjustified totalitarian system. To Gandhiji truth was the uppermost thing.

Gandhiji wanted to strengthen religious basis of politics without tolerating any discrimination. He wanted that the state should be secular., He did not accept the ideal of stale religion. Religion was purely a personal matter. He rejected coercion in the field of reli¬gion. He did not want ethics to be mixed with religion. He believed that fundamental ethics is common to all religions and therefore it can be taught in schools and colleges without bringing in the name of denomination.

To conclude, Gandhiji idealized political actions. Moralisation of politics by incorporating into it the values of love and justice in place of power and glory is his fundamental contribution to human thought. Politics is not the art of getting power but is the path way to a social service. He wanted it to be raised to a dignified and moralized plan.

He wanted politics to be used for social good. All actions should be based upon moral canons. He felt that the world could be perfected only if men become determined to practize moral values. For the regeneration of political actions Gandhiji believed there was the need of pure and holy life. Social service, according to him, is a path to the illumination of soul.

Question 3.
Write a note on Gandhiji’s concept of rights and duties.
Answer:
Gandhiji’s concept of rights and duties.
Gandhiji is both a deductive and empirical political philosopher. He deduces certain conclusions from his metaphysical assumptions. He believed in the universality of God and so he accepted the theory of human equality. From his belief in the ultimate reality of truth he deduced his theory of Satyagraha. But along with it his approach is also empirical. Because many of his political propositions are derived from his own observation and experiences, his emphasis on the removal of untouchability, his plea for Swadesi, are based upon his experiences as a social and political leader.

Gandhiji takes a religious and moral approach to politics. He looks at life in its whole. The problems of political science and Economics are to be studied in the context of life itself. To him there is no compartmentisation between political and moral life. This moral orientation is apparent in his different political ideas. His approach to political science is moral.

Gandhiji was a strong champion of the rights of man. He was a born democrat from his earliest years. He accepted the principle of human equality. He was opposed to imperialism and hence he always laid stress on the right of Freedom. His theory of Satyagraha is based upon the concept that the individual has an inalienable right to resist a coercive social and political system. The entire life of Gandhiji was a struggle for the rights of men.

The two rights on which Gandhiji laid particular stress were the rights of human equality and freedom. He was a political individualist. Gandhiji was a man of the people and was strongly opposed to the policy of racial discrimination. For the removal of this evil he ^ fought a battle in South Africa and then in India,. According to him, man cannot attain God without certain rights which are essential for it.

Likewise he stood for the freedom of the individuals. He was never convinced of the glories of racial imperialism. He himself had to fight a mighty imperialistic power. He interpreted the right to „ freedom as equivalent to Swaraj. His condensation of the Rowlatt Act brings out his firm belief in the right of the people.

Thus Gandhiji is a firm believer in the civil rights of the individual. But he was not forgetful of the close relationship between right is and duties.

Although Gandhiji was a great champion of the rights of the individuals groups and nations, he was not unconscious of the relation between rights and duties. He laid stress upon the acquisition ‘ of those powers and faculties which are necessary for the realization of rights.

Rights are essential because they contribute to the development of personality but moral training is a prior condition for the enjoyment of rights. In order that a man could get recognition of his rights, his actions had to be in accordance with the norms of life. Gandhiji’s conception of rights was valuational. It was therefore essential to integrate the rights of a person with his moral duties.

Gandhiji laid great emphasis upon the performance of duties or the theory of Karma. He always said that true rights do not follow from legal recognition but from social service. If man performs his obligation, rights will themselves follow.

Gandhiji was also of the view that it was not proper to demand the right to do as one likes. A right is the liberation of man’s faculties to enhance the good of all. Rights are not for one’s ownself They have a social value and significance. Sarvodaya is the basis of. rights Once he wrote to H.G. Wells in reply to his letter on the rights of man as follows: “Begin with a charter of duties of a man and I promise the rights will follow duties as spring follows winter.

As a young man I began life by seeking to assert my rights and I soon dis-covered that I had none, not even over my wife. So I began by discovering and performing my duty by my wife, my children, friends and companions and society and I find today that I have greater right perhaps than any living man I know”. Thus according to Gandhiji only . the-rights obtained by service are true rights. If people insist on rights and not on duties there will be social disruption. In short, Gandhiji’s philosophy of rights represents a synthesis of the individualistic and teleological conception of right.

Question 4.
Discuss Gsindhiji’s idea of civil-disobedience.
Answer:
The Gandhian philosophy of Satyagraha is natural outcome from the supreme concept of truth. If truth is the ultimate reality it is imperative for a votary of it to resist all encroachments against it. Satyagraha as it means is Agrah or moral pressure for the sake of Truth. A Satyagrahi makes endless endeavours for the realization of truth through non-violence.

Satyagraha means the exercise of the purest soul force against all injustice, oppression and all exploitation. It signifies literally “truth pressure’. It denotes the operation of the force of the soul or spirit suffering and truth are attributes of soul force. Gandhiji upheld the conception of the sanctity of positive love. Satyagraha is inconsistent with jealousy or hatred.

The opponent has to be converted and not coerced Soul-force is the force of love. A Satyagrahi makes an appeal to the heart of the opponent. He wants not to endanger the opponent but overwhelm him by the overflooding power of innocence. Satyagraha does not flourish on the basis of malice or illfeeling but it is the application of the gentle process of conversion by love.

The Gandhian theory of satyagraha is a philosophy of life and politics. It is an inherent birth right of a person. Satyagraha is thus an inalienable right which may be considered as a right antecedent to the state. Gandhiji regarded Satyagraha as a moral prerogative of the human being. It is not merely a sacred right but also a sacred duty. If the Government does not represent the will of the people it should be disobeyed.

A Satyagraha should be prepared, according to Gandhiji, for all kinds of suffering. Gandhiji wrote, “Suffering is the mark of the human tribe. It is an external law. The mother suffers so that her child may live. Life comes out of death. No country has ever risen without being purified to the fire of suffering. The purer, the suffering, the greater- is the progress.” Gandhian theory of Satyagraha is based on the concept of suffering. Suffering serves three purposes :

  1. It purifies the sufferers.
  2. It intensifies favourable public opinion.
  3. It makes a direct appeal to the soul of the oppressor.

Satyagraha and Passive Resistance.
Sometimes the Gandhian Satyagraha is confused with the passive resistance. But there are vital difference between the two. Satyagraha is a dynamic force because it completes action in resistance of injustice, passive resistance does not do so.

Passive resistance is mainly contemplated at a political level, while Satyagraha can be practized at all levels, domestic, social and political. Satyagraha goes beyond that passive resistance because it lays stress on a spiritual and moral end.

Gandhiji wrote, Satyagraha differs from passive resistance as the North pole from the South. The latter has been conceived as a weapon of the weak and does not exclude the use of physical force or violence for the purpose of gaining of own’s and whereas the former has been conceived as a weopon of the strongest and excludes the use of violence in any shape or form.”

Techniques of Satyagraha.
There are different techniques of Satyagraha :
1. Fasting can be one form of Satyagraha. Gandhiji took to 1 this technique many a time. His fast has purifying social and political influencings. Gandhiji, however, held that fasting should be used as the last resort, when all other techniques have failed. It is to be resorted only when absolutely necessary. Ridiculous fasts should be avoided at all costs. Only he who has inner strength should take recource to it.

2. The second techniques of Satyagraha may be voluntary migration. Gandhiji also supported Hizrat (Exodus).

3. Hartal is anothei form of Satyagraha.

4. Peaceful picketing is a valid and useful form of Satyagraha. Gandhiji ruled out underground activities. There are other techniques of Satyagraha also.

5. Non-co-operation with the evildoers is one such another techniques. Gandhiji started non-co-operation movement in 1920 under which, he included the programme .of surrendering titles and honorary offices, refusal to attend Government functions withdrawal of children from schools and colleges owned and controlled by Government. Boycott of British courts by lawyers and people, boycott of foreign goods and refusal to offer themselves as recruits.

6. Civil Disobedience is another form of Satyagraha. It meant disobedience of the laws of the Government. Such dis¬obedience was to be peaceful and non-violent and disciplined. It may be individual as well as mass civil disobedience. According to Gandhiji, no state has the right to make laws which run against the will or aspirations and traditions of the people. Hence it is necessary to disobey the laws.

There is nothing like defeat in Satyagraha what looks like defeat is only an occasion for additional preparation. The power of Satyagraha is stupendous.

Conditions for Success.
According to Gandhiji, Satyagraha to be effective requires certain psychological and sociological conditions :

  • First, the Satyagrahi should not harbour any hatred in his heart against the opponent.
  • Secondly, he must be prepared to undergo all kinds of humiliations and sufferings.
  • Thirdly, he should be prepared to suffer the anger of his opponent. He should never retaliate but he should submit. He also should not resist his arrrest rather should voluntarily submit it.
  • Lastly, the issue for which Satyagraha is launched should be true and substantial one.

The cause of Satyagraha should be legitimate and just. The Satyagrahi who is resisting the laws of Government should see that the social structure is not subverted.

Thus, the Gandhian concept of Satyagraha is spiritualistic. It is in accordance with the teachings of Democracy and the idea of truth. It is a permanent vindication of the individual’s right of resistance against coercive authority. It is a plea for the sanctity of individual conscience.

Question 5.
Explain briefly the meaning of Non-violence in Mahatma Gandhi’s social philosophy. How far can this technique feasible in the present day world ?
Answer:
Non-violence.
Gandhiji was a spiritual and ethical idealist. He believed in the moralization of politics. He was not a metaphysical dreamer tut a moral realist who wanted to reform the structure of modern social and political life. His greatness as a leader and thinker lay in his emphasis on Non-violence which he sought to apply on social and political level.

Non-violence or Ahimsa has been preached as a rule of individual behaviour by old prophets like Buddha, Mahavira and others. What Gandhiji did was to transform it into a social and political technique. In his non-violence is a comprehensive concept. Violence can be manifested both at the personal and institutional levels.

I may take various form like evil thoughts, sentiments of revenge and brutality, falsehood, deceitfulness, physical punishment etc. Gandhiji included in his concept of violence every act which infused an individual or the society. Thus, access of competition, economic exploitation, unnecessary accumulation also represented violence.

Non-violence (Ahimsa) is not merely the negative act of refraining from doing offence, injury and harm to others but it is also the positive act of doing good to them. It is equivalent to positive love. It means the happiness involved in suffering for other. It is the substitution of hatred by love.

It is vitally integrated with the idea of truth and God. It is the attitude of harmlessness even to the wrong doer. Vengeance belongs to God and not to man. Gandhiji accepted the absolutism of non-violence. He interpreted it as signifying utter selflessness and universal love. He told five simple principles of non- violence :

  1. Non-violence implies as complete self-purification as is humanly possible.
  2. Man for man, the strength of non-violence is in exact proportion to ability, not the will of non-violent person to inflict violence.
  3. Non-violence of Superior to violence.
  4. There is no such thing as defeat in non-violence.
  5. The ultimate end of non-violence is sure victory.

Gandhiji summarised the implications and conditions of the success of Ahimsa as follows:

  1. Non-violence is greater than and superior to the physical force.
  2. It does not avail to those who do not possess as living faith in the God of love.
  3. Non-violence provides full protection to one’s self respect and sense of honour.
  4. Individuals or nations who practise non-violence must be prepared to sacrifice their all except honour.
  5. Non-violence is a power which can be wielded equally by all.
  6. Non violence is good for society also.

Gandhiji had thus a firm faith in the efficiency of non-violence as an instrument of an individual and social behaviour. Gandhiji’s faith in Ahimsa, however, did not mean a plea for sentimental uptopianism. He made certain concessions to Ahimsa in applying it on a group scale. He was ready to recognize the use of force against those who violate law. He wrote, “I have conceded that even in a non-violent state a police force is necessary. This I admit is a sign of my imperfect Ahimsa”.

But police should act as the servant and not as the master of the people. He recommended punishment to law breakers. Thus, Gandhiji made concessions to the absolutism of non-violence. Since he was realistic enough to the imperfect structure of our world. Gandhiji also dreamt of the application of Ahimsa on an international scale. He wanted the world-statesmen to use it. He was sure that India could resist Japan non-violently.

Evaluation of Gandhi’s theory of non-violence of criticism.
Some persons have looked at Gandhian theory of non-violence from a critical point of view.

First, it is said that Gandhiji was not right to say that nonviolence is the root of Hinduism. Hinduism has sanctioned just war though Ahimsa occupies an important place in Hindu Ethics. There is reference in the Mahabharata, Ramayana, Gita and Rigved to the righteous wars. Hence, it would be more correct to say that in Hinduism there is place both for violence and non-violence.

Secondly, Gandhiji conceived of applying Ahimsa on an in international plane. He thought it would solve all the problems of world diplomacy but it is doubtful if it can be so. Some of the suggestions of Gandhiji for the use of non-violence in the world diplomacy appear unrealistic and unconvincing. Non-violence can hardly solve the problems of nuclear armaments. His solution seems to be unsafe and hazardous in the modern world politics.

Thirdly, another limitation of Gandhi’s theory of non-violence is that it does not adequately look into the aspects of group behaviour. The groups according to sociologist behave in a way different from the individuals. The same individuals who behave most rationally behave irrationally when they are members of a crowd. Thus, what holds true in the case of individual behaviour may not hold true in group behaviour.

Fourthly, Gandhiji believed that non-violence may lead to the realization of truth. He sometimes identified the two. But Gandhiji’s formula that non-violence is the sole means of attaining truth can hardly be accepted. Gandhiji himself recognised it. Truth is too momentous an element to be realized solely through Ahimsa. Truth is timeless and spaceless.

However, Gandhian doctrine of non-violence is a great ideal. Inspite of its shortcoming it can serve greatly the goal of democratic behaviour. It is a great counterpoise to bloodshed. If nations can make it a guiding principle of their behaviour towards each other it can rid mankind of war. Gandhiji thinks that our institutions are far from being ideal.

And hence he prescribed the methods of their perfection. Ahimsa if. practized as a moral value is neither unrealistic nor speculative, although as a solution of the present chaotic condition of world politics it may appear to be wishful thinking.

Question 6.
What was Gandhi’s ideas about Swaraj ? Discuss brifly.
Answer:
Gandhiji had an idealist approach to politics. Hence we find in him a comprehensive concept of freedom. His own life was a struggle for freedom of India. Gandhiji regarded freedom as au essential attribute of man’s personality. The renunciation of freedom according to him would be the repudiation of human conscience.

Gandhiji emphatically pleaded for freedom in the sense of national independence. He wrote, ,‘We are challenging the might of this Government because we consider its activity to be wholly evil. We desire to show that the Government exists to serve the people, not the people, the Government.

Free life under this Government has become intolerable”. Gandhiji was primarily in abolishing unjust economic and political exploitation in India. He condemned British imperialism because it resulted in the political and economic suffering of India. He dedicated his whole life to secure the freedom of India from imperialism. Gandhi used the word Swaraj to designate his idea of national freedom.

His concept of Swaraj was democratic. “The Swaraj of my conception recognises no race or religions distinctions nor is it to be the monopoly of lettered persons nor yet of moneyed men. Swaraj is to be for all, including the farmer, but em pbatically including the starving, toiling millions.” He agreed with Lokmanya Tilak who said, “Swaraj is my birth right”.

Emphasis on Personal and Civil Liberties.
Gandhiji had a firm belief in the personal and civil liberties of the individual. He was closely associated with securing the passage of a resolution on funda¬mental rights by the Indian National Congress in 1931. He stood for the freedom of the person. He declared the person or a citizen must be held inviolate. It can only be touched to arrestor prevent violence. He also stood for the freedom of speech and expression. In his opinion civil liberties are the very foundations of democracy.

In 1940, he wrote, ‘ Freedom of a speech and corresponding action is the birth of democratic life. He pleaded for the freedom of speech, a free press and pure justice even for the people of Indian States. He also wanted the independence of Judiciary and complete Civil liberties. He recognised the right of the accused to defend himself an important civil right.”

Besides, Gandhiji also believed in economic freedom. He wrote, “Political freedom has no meaning for the millions if they do not know how to employ their enforced idleness. He felt that political freedom was bound to remain mere philosophical abstraction unless the vast masses had some gainful employment.

Gandhiji also accepted the principle of equal distribution. He stood for equality of wages of ail, the lawyer, doctor, the teacher, and the sweeper.” This according to him would provide the basis for the reconstruction of ideal Society. Until this ideal of equal distribution was realized Gandhiji said that every labourer should get enough to feed himself and his family.

Morality and Liberty.
Gandhiji’s concept of freedom is intimately related to morality. Freedom to him means conquest of demands of the senses for tire realization of moral self-indulgence,: leads to destruction. The conquest of physical desires is the path to immorality. Hence he stressed rigid adherence to eleven great vows. He distinguishes between freedom and licence.

He wrote, “Freedom is a fruit of suffering. Licence is born of violence. Freedom impose restraints upon itself, for the sake of society, so that it may enjoy exclusive privileges. Genuine Swaraj is a function of the development of the inner sources of power.” ‘ Gandhiji even said that Swaraj is part of truth. For him the ethical and spiritual, social and political had a significant moral dimension.

He interpreted Swaraj as moral freedom He said that material freedom is included in the spiritual. In short Gandhiji did not make any separation between inner freedom and outer freedom. Moral freedom must become the basis for political freedom. For him freedom was a whole; his conception of freedom is a synthesis of political freedom, moral freedom and the natural right of the individual to attain his best self.

Question 7.
How did Gandhiji seek to resolve the ‘Mean and End’ debate ? Discuss.
Answer:
Gandhiji was an ethical absolutist. He considered truth and Non-violence to be absolute ethical values. His own experiences of life convinced him of these values in any scheme of social reconstruction. These values were to govern universal human action. He believed in the sanctity of eleven great vows which were :

  1. Satya
  2. Ahimsa.
  3. Brahmacharya.
  4. Asvada (Control over appetite).
  5. Asteya (Non-stealing).
  6. Aparigraha (Non-accumulation).
  7. Abhayam (Fearlessness).
  8. Swadesi.
  9. Shrama (Dignity of labour).
  10. Sarva-Dharma Samabhava (Respect for all equal religions).
  11. Asprishyata Niwarna (Removal of untouchability).

Thus Gandhiji was an ethical idealist who laid great stress upon moral values. He idealized social and political action.

Gandhiji’s fundamental contribution to human thought is his emphasis on the marality, the values of love and justice in politics. Politics to him was not the game of manipulation or acquisition of power. According to him, the principle of moralty should guide all our actions, moral or otherwise.

The world could be perfected only if man became determined to practice ‘ moral values. He regarded Ahimsa as the ultimate basis of obligation. He advocated the dynamic morality based on the eleven vows. He always stood for safeguarding truth.

Being an ethical absolutist Gandhiji was never prepared to make any compromise with what he regarded as essential and fundamental principles. He had a religious approach to the problems and hence refused to glorify the cult of expediency. He held that the highest – morality is the highest expediency.

He claimed no infallibility for himself. He was conscious of his mistakes. But he always laid emphasis upon the purification of means. According to him good ends cannot be achieved by evil means (methods). He stressed the nobility of methods. Only by noble actions could a worthy goal be realized.

He never agreed to any policy which led to a compromise of the basic moral values. Loyalty to these values was the supreme consideration for him. Throughout his life he continued to lay stress upon the purity of means. He said, “For me it is enough to know the means, means and ends are convertible terms in my philosophy in life,”

According to Gandhiji what can not be justified by conscience, cannot be justified on political or patriotic grounds. The politician should not try to defend the interests of the country by violating the principles of morality. Gandhiji stressed that behind social and political actions there should be the pure human spirit.

Only an action which is morally justifiable can be regarded as the correct course of action. He wrote, “Means to be means must always be within our reach, and so Ahimsa is our supreme duty. If we take care of the means we are bound to reach the end sooner or later”. He j said, “Where the means are clean there God is undoubtedly present with his blessings.”

Gandhiji was opposed to the lowering of the standards for suiting personal convenience. He regarded the Benthamite formula of the greatest good of the greatest number as imperfect and inadequate. He wrote, “The fact is that a votary of Ahimsa can not subscribe to the utilitarian formula. He will strike for the greatest good of all and die in the attempt to realize the ideal”. As an ethical absolutist Gandhiji also believed in the purification of human motives.

It is not sufficient that our action should be noble and good but our motives also should be sc. According to Gandhiji it is not possible to pursue a correct course of action without control over one’s will and thought.

In short by laying emphasis on the nobility of means Gandhiji did a great service to man. In the present bewildered and chaotic world Gandhiji laid emphasis on the purity of means. We know how under the guise of serving the masses, the rulers have indulged in tyrannical acts and corrupt methods. Gandhiji’s message on the purity of means will help in transforming the present society and raising it to a noble plane. There is a great realism in what Gandhiji said.

Question 8.
Discuss the role of Sarvodaya in building the society in light of Gandhian ideology.
Answer:
Sarvodaya today has assumed the dimension of a movement and is a social force of great potentialities and power. It has been regarded as a dynamic philosophy which can make possible the advent of a radically transformed humanity.

Sarvodaya, as an ideal, seeks to build a new society on the foundations of the old spiritual and moral values of India. Its philosophy is integral and synthetic in character. It takes up the Gandhian synthesis of the ideas of Vedanta, Buddhism, Christianity, Ruskin, Tolstoy, Thoreau and tries to incorporate his ideas at more critical and analytical levels.

Besides Gandhism, it has also taken some of its ideas from the socialist philosophy. Thus, Sarvodaya represents a synthesis of Gandhian and socialist philosophy, a synthesis of theoretical abstractions and political and economic generalizations. Vinoba, a true Gandhian and J.P. Narayan, a true socialist are the two main leaders associated with Sarvodaya movement.

The fundamental concept in Sarvodaya philosophy is the primary and ultimateness of the spirit. Gandhiji’s main ambition was to realize God. His political, economic and social programme were oriented towards progressive enlargement of the human consciousness through the service of the poor. Gandhiji had since faith in divine being.

The overwhelming belief in the supremacy of the spirit provided the first philosophical foundation of the movement of Sarvodaya. J.P. Narayan said, “This movement is based on the principle of change of heart. It is being conducted in the belief that man is amenable to change. That is so because all of us are essentially one fragment of ^the same almighty father”.

He further said, “I feel convinced that man must go beyond die material to find the incentive in goodness. As a corollary I further feel that the task of social reconstruction cannot succeed under the inspiration of materialistic philosophy”.

Sarvodaya lays emphasis on moral values which are of an abiding nature. One of the most distressing phenomenon of modem times is that success has come to be measured in terms of efficiency. There is repudiation of the significative of the human spirit. Service is being given up for personal aggrandisement. Humanity is undergoing moral collapse. There is mad rush for power and wealth People run after superficial glamour.

In short, the chief melody of out times is the mad quest for power. Sarvodaya lays stress on self-abnegation. It wants to replace jealousy and competitions by mutuality and altruism. It appeals to our minds and hearts in terms of values and goals which are ingrained. It lays emphasis on the primacy of goodness and character in place of skill and self-assertion, It wants to incorporate moral and spiritual values in social, political and economic life. In short, it stands for the supermacy and absoluteness of mroal values.

As J.P. Narayan said, “Sarvodaya represents the highest socialist values. It takes a balanced or whole view of life. It is naturally opposed to capitalism and stands for decentralisation of the forces of production.

Sarvodaya pleads for self-sufficient village communities, it claims to establish a society of producers. ‘Bhoodan’, ‘Sampattidan’ and ‘Gramdan’ are some of the basic techniques of Sarvodaya. Bhoodan and gramdan are techniques of agrarian revolution based on moral forces ; sampattidan is a technique of transforming capitalism into a Sarvodaya society.

The two movements of Bhoodan and Gramdan visualise vellage ownership of land as well as individual cultivation by the villagers. They will promote among the villagers a sense of community strength, cohesiveness and initiative. The villages will be self-sufficient and self-reliant. It pleads for what may be termed,‘VdlagisatioiT. To the philosophy of village reconstruction it has added the gospel of the ownership of all lands of village in the village community and the erection of decentralised village common wealth.

Hence Sarvodaya is a synthesis of the old and the new. Though it pleads for villagisation it does not, however, seek to establish the old patriarchal village system where there were caste distinctions and .which depended mainly on agriculture. Sarvodaya is not opposed to industries. Of course, it believes in small scale industries.

Sarvodaya has much in common with socialism. Like socialism it lays stress upon equality of economic opportunities and equitable and just distribution of resources of society. It believes in social justice and collective ownership. It like socialism holds that it is not sufficient to increase production but it is also nessesary to ensure an equitable distribution.

But unlike socialism its approach is predominantly moral and spiritual. The economic comforts have to be so used as’ to serve the needs of the human spirit. Sarvodaya is a theory of ethical justice. It would like to use the external goods for the satisfaction of the human spirit. It would regard them as means and not as an end in themselves.

Sarvodaya philosophy is opposed to an outlook of life that feels insatiable hunger for material goods. Thus, it may be noted that Sarvodaya philosophy is not negativistic in its approach. It does not negate the importance of material goods ; however, it refuses to regard them as the dominant goal of all human endeavours. Thus, whereas socialism is materialistic in its approach, Sarvodaya is spiritual.

Secondly, whereas the main technique of socialism is nationalisation. that of Sarvodaya is villagisation. Socialism believes in nationalising the means of production for increasing production. In other words, socialism believes in the power of the state and wants to make it sovereign. Sarvodaya, on the other hand, believes in the goal of stateless society. As Vinoba Bhave writes, “Gradually we will reach a stage when all authority in every form will have become unnecessary and will, therefore fade away giving rise to a perfectly free society”.

Thirdly, the radical type of socialism i.e. communism believes violence as a proper technique of destroying the existing capitalistic structure. But Sarvodaya has no place for violence in its philosophy and technique. It is highly critic of the methods of violence. It
believes in the nobility and purity of means and holds that only non-violence can be the foundation of the society free from exploitation and injustice. Vinoba and J.P. mercilessly criticised the totalitarian techniques of the Russian Politics.

To conclude, Sarvodaya is a philosophy based on moral approach to the problems of mankind. It believes in a regeneration of human heart and mind- That is the main idea behind Vinoba’s movements of Gramdan and Sampattidan. It wants to perfect the mechanism of representative democracy by utilising moral idealism. Its approach is not institutional.

It is valuational. It regards’ ethical idealism as necessary for political and economic reconstruction. The existing institutions, political or otherwise, should be perfected by incorporating into them the spirit of ethical idealism. The great contribution of Sarvodaya lies in the assertion of a moral app¬roach to the problems of man.

Question 9.
Discuss Gandhiji’s ideal society.
Answer:
Gandhiji’s concept of “State” Gandhiji considered the state as an organisation of violence and force. He said, “I look upon the state with the greatest fear. Because, although while
apparently doing good, by minimising exploitation, it does the greatest harm by destroying individuality which lies at the root of all progress”.

Thus, Gandhiji’ did not regard state as necessary or divine creation. He regarded it as an organisation of violence and being votary of non-violence did not regard it as the actualization of reason and freedom. He was repelled by the coercive character of the state. He does not regard it as being almost the second nature of the individual in the world.

In short, Gandhiji had a hostile attitude towards the state. For such an attitude the brutalities committed by South African Government betrayed by Smuts during the South African -Satyagrah movement, the atrocities committed by England in India were, responsible. From these incidents Gandhiji came to regard the entire structure of the State with deep suspicion and hostility.

Gandhiji’s conscience revolted against the very idea of state sovereignty. Any concept of the exaltation of the absolute, uncontrolled and unlimitable power was according to him an attack on the moral fibre of civilization, He regarded it as the challenge to the moral right of man to shape his destiny. As against Hobbes, Austin and Hegel, Gandhiji appeared as the spokesman of the moral sovereignty of the people.

According to him, what can be sovereign is not the state but the moral will of the community. This view of moral will of the people being sovereign was based upon three considerations. First,’ Gandhiji was a spiritual being and so regarded spiritual authority as higher than the spiritual being. According to him no rider could set himself against God.

‘ Secondly, being a Satyagrahi, he preached right of inner con-science to oppose an unjustified law for order of the state.

Thirdly, he stood as the prophet of the moral authority of the people.

However, Gandhiji did not contemplate the destruction of the state, what he stood for was not stateless society but for a non-violent State.

‘ He wrote: “It is claimed that a state can be based on non-violence, i.e., it can offer non-violent resistance against a world combination based on armed force.” According to him, the non-violent state must be based on the willing allegiance of an intelligent body of citizens. The government in such a state will represent the will and ideals of the overwhelming majority of the people.

Gandhiji propounded the concept of a progressively non-violent state. He wrote, “I believed that a state can be administered on a non-violent basis if the vast majority of the people are non-violent. So far as I know India is the only country which has a possibility of being such a state.” But as a realist he was not very hopeful of the immediate acceptance of non-violence as a principle of state policy.

However, the establishment of a non-violent state was the goal of his ideology. Gandhi was not in favour of the immediate ending of the state power. The immediate goal should be moulding of the state according to the principles of non-violence. In his concept of the state what Gandhiji had in mind was the vision of the perfection of mankind and hence he was hostile to the modern state which to him represented organised violence. He refused to see in the state, the manifestation of any superior reason.

He did not regard it the self-actualisation of conscious reason. He was opposed to the western idealists. His ideal was the establishment of a society based on non-violence. It may be said that Gandhiji was a sort of religious anarchist who wanted to establish ‘Ram Rajya’ or the ‘Kingdom of God’ on earth. We may call it if we like by the name of enlightened anarchy.

Gandhiji wrote, “Political power means capacity to regulate national life through national representatives. If national life becomes so perfect as to become self-regulated, no representative becomes necessary. There is then a state of enlightened anarchy. In such a state everyone is his own ruler.

He rules himself in such a manner that he is never a hindrance to his neighbour. In the ideal state, therefore, there is no political power, because there is no state. Bnt the ideal is never fully realised. He wrote : “Such a state is perfect and non-violent where the people are governed the last. The nearest approach to purest anarchy would be a democracy based on non-violent.

But Gandhiji was not an anarchist of Bakunin type. He did not preach the abolition of state immediately and through violence. He laid stress on cultivation of moral strength and discipline. Gandhiji’s stress on moral rules has parallel in the thoughts of Bakunin. Anarchism to Gandhiji was not a negative plan. He felt that slowly but certainly the obedience to moral laws would render unnecessary and even useless any state.

Thus Gandhiji did not believe in any deliberate and violent destruction of the state but on truth and non-violence through which alone a stateless society could be brought about. He wrote : “A society organised and run on the basis of complete non-violence would be the purest anarchy.”

Question 10.
Explain fully Mahatma Gandhi’s conception of democracy.
Answer:
Gandhiji was a humanist philosopher and being as such he believed in the rights of freedom and equality of the individuals which are possible only in a democracy. Gandhiji, therefore, was a believer in democracy. His own life was spent for safeguarding the democratic freedoms of the individuals. He always stood up for the rights of the citizens.

Gandhiji himself firmly believed that power belongs to the people. He wrote “Truth is that power which resides in the people and it is entrusted for the time being to those whom they may choose as their representatives. Parliaments have no power or even existence independently of the people.”

However, Gandhiji was opposed to the procedures and practices of British parliamentary democracy. He regarded British parliament as sterile and barren and criticised the apathy and selfishness of the members of that assembly, He regarded it as a talking shop.

He felt too much the hopeless surrender of the parliament into the hands of Prime Minister who often lacked honesty and purity of feelings. He emphasised that Western democracies were dominated by the ruling classes which carried on the exploitation of its interests at the cost of the people. He wrote, “The people of Europe have no doubt political power, but no swaraj”.

Thus, while a believer in democracy Gandhiji was not a blind follower of what passed on in its name. He was a bitter critic of the Western democratic politics. He condemned western democracies for their imperialistic and capitalistic teudencies. He himself had to carry on a struggle against the imperialism by Britain, the so-called democracy.

According to Gandhiji, some of Western- democracies even took recourse to fascistic techniques. He wrote, “Western democracy as it functions to-day is undiluted Nazism or fascism. At best it is merely cloack to bide the Nazi and the fascistic tendencies of imperialism”. Hence, Gandhiji did not see any good in the Western democratic system.

He even went to the extent of saying, “The European democracies are to my mind a negation of democracy,” Gandhiji also did not believe in the majority principle of democracy. He was not satisfied with the external mechanism of democracy. He wanted a democracy where even the minority would not be coerced, but persuaded, respected and converted. He believed in the conversion of the minority to the wijl of the majority and not to their being forced to accept it.

He believed in the good of all the human beings. He would have never agreed to an arrangement in which the interest of the majority were sacrificed. He regarded it as an unfounded dogma of political science that the majority should yield always to the majority. He declared it a slavery to be amenable to the majority, no matter what its decisions are.

Explaining bis concept of democracy Gandhiji said, “The way of approaching to a question is not to examine the numerical strength of those behind the opinion but to examine the soundness of the opinion on merits or else we will never reach a solution and if we reach one it will be a blind solution simply because it is the wish of the largest body.

If the largest body goes wrong it is up to me to say yoh are wrong and not to submit. The rule of majority does not mean that it should supress the opinion of an individual even if it sound. ‘ An individual’s opinion should have greater weight than the opinion of many if that opinion is sound on merits, that is my view of real democracy.”

Gipidhiji’s principal contribution to the concept of democracy lies in his attempt to provide a moral bulwark to democracy. He had an ethical approach to democracy. He wanted to make democracy citadel of autonomy and progress and he felt that courage and resistance were only bulwarks of democracy.

A democracy which depends upon military force is a poor democracy. A pure democracy must cease to rely on the army. Democracy and violence can not be reconciled. He even went to the extent of defining democracy as the rule of the unadulterated non-violence.

If a democracy becomes non-responsive to the public needs it should be resisted through Satyagraha. The true use of democracy, according to Gandhiji, is that it attempts to replace force by social will. He wrote, “In democracy the individual will was governed and limited by the social will which was the state, which was governed by and for democracy.”

Question 11.
Describe the contribution of Gandhiji to political thought.
Answer:
Mahatma Gandhi was -not a systematic thinker in the field of Political Philosophy. But since lie has stressed some fundamental ideas for the reconstruction of Society, he may, therefore, be regarded a political thinker. He was an inspired leader and prophet. But he was neither a Sankara nor a Kant. Instead he is more near to Socrates and Buddha. His rich personality adds weight to his ideas.

Mahatma Gandhi was not a theoretical analyst but he was a. man of action and also a writer of great force and power. He has written numerously. His writings reveal his personality. His greatness, lay more in his pre-eminently lofty character and his political and moral leadership than in his political ideas. He was humble enough not to claim to have originated any new system of thought; what he did was to put into practice the eternal truths, contained in the great religious books.

He himself said that there was not specificism like Gandhism in the sense of certain dominant philosophic assumptions as We find in Plato or Aristotle. Gandhiji devoted all his time to the pressing problems. Though not an academic philosopher or a systematic conceptual (philosophical) thinker – he had however a scientific spirit and was always experimenting with truth. Gandhism is not a well worked out political philosophy – with clear theoretical assumptions and clearly drawn out political propositions but it is very comprehensive and synthetic.

The problem of the regeneration of humanity has been a subject of enquiry and attention at the hands of several thinkers . Gandhiji also wanted the moral emancipation and ennoblement of man. He felt that social sciences should have an ethical orientation like some western social scientists.

Gandhiji in this respect did not differ ‘much from the Western Social idealists, Pacifists and humanists. Gandhiji achieved great magnificence by making the traditional moral techniques the effective instruments of political action. Gandhiji combined in himself moral virtue and political grandeur.

He was a great nationalist leader for whom political opportunism had no place in life. He was not merely a politician or a statesman but a mighty power in world politics. He was great like Asoka and Lincoln and a prophet like Buddha and Saint Paul. ”

The uniqueness of Gandhi’s leadership lay in his successful application of the techniques of non-violence at a political level. The Satyagarah in South Africa was the first example of the political application of non-violence on a great scale.

But it was only the preface to Gandhi’s far bigger work in India. Gandhi came back to India on January 9, 1915 from South Africa. In 1917 in the Champaran Satyagrah, he demonstrated the political efficacy of Satyagrah in action : there after he started several non-co-operation and civil disobedience movements.

Gandhiji will ever be regarded as the liberator of 400 million human beings. Though Gandhiji was a lean and frail but he had mighty and fearless spirit with him. He symbolized the fearless quest for Swarajya. His stress on fearlessness was aimed to bring about a psychological revolution in India.

He infused into the people of India courage and the capacity of resistance to authority, against the forces of reaction, he stood firm for freedom. He was an irrepressible optimist and a fearless fighter. He was opposed to British imperialism.

His fight against untouchability and his leadership of Indian Independence movements were based on ideals of social, political and economic justice. Thus, there were major liberalist and humanist orientations to Gandhi’s concept of nrtion- alism. His cry of Swarajya was not gospel of a aggressive isolation.

It was call for the cindication of denied justice. He. did not want to take advantage of the opponents rather he inculcated love for, them. He stood for universal justice and regarded it as an attribute of soul. He was devoted to the ideals of liberty, equality, justice and welfare. He was a solid political realist.

Gandhi’s political leadership was re-enforced by his spiritual personality. He pleaded for the incorporation of moral and spiritual values in politics. He advocated Hindu-Muslim unity, village re-generation, Khadi and cottage industries, the abolition of untouchability and winning of Indian Independence. – He was one of the greatest embodiments of the Indian values – spirituality, morality, austerity and integrity.

He reminded, the Indian people of the moral precepts. But he was not a mere conserver of the dominant moral values contained in the scriptures. He combined the two aspects of conservation and new creation in his works. His technique for social change was peaceful. He was not a visionary and an utopian philosopher. He believed in Karmayoga and was Karmayogi toiling for the realization of his ideals. He was both a moral philosopher and a political leader. He was absolutely devoted to truth.

Gandhiji was not only political leader but also a social reformer. He was opposed to reactionary cultural traditions and old meaningless social customs. He fought against the system of untouchability sanctioned by centuries old conservatism. His campaign against untouchability was an advance in the direction of the recognition of human rights.

The evil of untouchability deeply touched his heart. He devoted all his life to its removal. Though a Hindu by birth but he was not orthodox. According to him untouchability had no integral connection with the sense of Hinduism. He wanted the brotherhood, of all human beings realized.

Although a great nationalist leader Gandhi was a noble humanitarian. He believed in the unity of mankind.He was a world leader. He was the friend of the poor and the oppressed everywhere. His personality was a synthesis of great action and prayerful contemplation. He taught the sanctity of social and political service. He was a noble soul. He was humble and generous. He attempted to combine the spiritual and the temporal.

He was the enemy of imperialism. For the solution of the problems of the world he advocated a spiritual and moral approach. His message of Truth an J Non-violence, liberty and equality, justice and welfare, peace and prosperity has moved the hearts of the people everywhere. He was a profound believer in the values of soul. He had no arrogant pretentions to any supermanhood.

He was a saint who wanted to atone for his own sins and faults. He took delight not in discussions with diplomats and big people but in serving the sick * and the poor. He was not a politician in the narrow sense of term. People compared him to Christ and Lord Krishna and never put him in the category of Alexander and Bismarck.

He was the prophet of human perfection. He pleaded for spiritual values and illumination. He was deeply humble and simple. He was a champion of freedom and moral emancipation. He inculcated the’ simple virtues of love, truth and devotion to God. His approach was spiritual and moral. ‘ He preached a brotherly union of hearts and taught the importance of personal purification as the necessary foundation of national and international harmony.

He constantly endeavoured for the realization of brotherhood, peace and justice. He became a world teacher because of his eminent spirituality. He was a champion of moral will and ethical consciousness. His constant aim was the realization of God through the service of mankind.

The life of Mahatma Gandhi was manifestation of the Truth. His theory of Satyagrah’ is based on the sanctity of truth. He said that even one true Satyagrab is enough. He was the spokesman of the consciousness of mankind. There was spiritual unity running throughout his life which made him a prophet. In his action he was guided by the simple principles of charity and love.

Gandhiji belongs to the category of the elite of world history. He was not only the prophet of peace and the advocate of unity of brotherhood, he has been the martyr of his ideals. His death gave a dramatic finale to his teachings and ideals.

DU SOL BA 3rd Year History of Social Thought Notes

DU SOL BA 3rd Year History of Social Thought Notes Chapter 9 Pitirim Sorokin (1889—1968)

DU SOL BA 3rd Year History of Social Thought Notes Chapter 8 Max Weber (1864—1920)

Question 1.
Discuss Sorokin’s ideas regarding of sociology the nature and methodology of sociology.
OR
What does Sorokin say about the subject matter of sociology ? Discuss
Answer:
Sorokin was greatly influenced by the sociopolitical condition of his time in which he was substantially involved. His involvement in the revolutionary ideology in the Russia of his day, on the other hand, and his careful and successful study of society in its scientific mode of approach. at the Psycho-Neuiological Institute on the other, Sorokin’s experience necessarily resulted from the conflicting traditions of Russian intellectual history, viz,, populist idealism of the revolutionary party and positivistics and deterministic behaviourism of the scientific community.

Sorokin does not treat sociology as a special science but rather as a general science. He wrote, “Sociology is a generalizing science of socio cultural phenomena.”, For this opinon, Sorokin further writes, “Sociology, seems to be the study of the general characteristics common to all classes of social phenomena.” Thus for him the study of sociology comprises, “the study of the general characteristics common to all classes of social phenomena including a careful investigation of the relationship between social and non-social phenomena. He referred to general sociology as the study of those properties common to all socio-cultural phenomena and divided it into two parts  structural sociology which deals with the structure of social, cultural, and personality features of the superorganic  and dynamic sociology which investigates “(1) repeated social processes and change, together with the uniformities of the how and why ; (2) repeated cultural processes and change ; (3) the processes and changes of personality in its relationships with the social and cultural processes.”

Those common properties which are common to a given class of socio-cultural phenomena, constitutes the subject matter of special sociology, according to Sorokin. Thus, the properties which are common to all the phenomenas constitute the scope of sociology.

Sorokin, in his analysis of the definition of sociology, followed to an extent, the logic of Leon Petrazucki, ‘that if a particular social phenomena can be divided into n sub-classes there must be n+1 disciplines to study them, that is, n disciplines to study each of the sub-classes and one more to study that which is common to all of them.’

He went ahead to explain this -concept of generalising definition of sociology and hold that while, other social sciences such as economics, political science, study a particular sub-class of social phenomena, sociology studies society as a whole as well as the relationship between economy and society, state and society etc. Later Sorokin while bring a formal reform in his earlier, opinion, gave three special aspects open and susceptible to sociology and contended that sociology is the generalising theory of the structure and dynamics of – ‘(1) social systems and congeries ffunctionally inconsistent elements) ; (2) cultural systems and congeries ; and (3) personalities in their structural aspects, main types, inter-relationships, and personality processes.’

Sorokin emphasised the facts of social life in general and opined that, “sociology has been, is and will be a science of general characteristics of all classes of social phenomena, with the relationships and correlations between them, or, there will be no sociology.”

Question 2.
Examine Sorokin’s ideas about culture.
OR
What are different forms of culture according to Sorokin ? Discuss.
Answer:
Sorokin in his book on Social and Cultural Dynamics {1937—1941) discussed various aspects of culture and conceded that ‘no culture is ever fully integrated.’ At the same time he argued that each culture so long as it survives, will reveal the functioning of a few major concepts or ideas or meanings which makes each culture’s overall character or mood. He defined culture as, “the sum total of everything which is created or modified by the conscious or unconscious activity of two or more individuals interacting with one another or conditioning one another’s behaviour.”

Three Components. Sorokin formulated three components to his concept of culture, and maintained that each of these components W3s related, yet each distinctively identifiable. These are :

  1. Ideational Culture ;
  2. Sensate Culture ;
  3. Idealistic Culture.

1. Ideational Culture. In view of Sorokin, people in this – culture generally abide by the truth of faith, having belief in the idea that ‘behind sense impressions lies another, deeper reality’. Sorokin writes, “True value and true reality consist in a super-sensory, super-rational God.”
In his Social and Cultural Dynamics, Sorokin gives following characteristics of ideal culture :

  1. Reality is perceived as non-sensate and non-material, everlasting Being (Sein) ;
  2. the needs and ends are mainly spiritual;
  3. the extent of their satisfaction is the largest, and the level, highest;
  4. the method of their fulfilment or realisation is self-imposed minimisation or elimination of most of the physical needs, and to the greatest possible extent.

Ideational culture has further been divided by Sorokin into following two types :

1. The Principle of Cyclical Change. Sorokin rejected the view that ‘history never repeats itself (in reference to socio-cultural changes) and that no two cultural objects are ever the same’. On the contrary, Sorokin formulated that ‘socio-cultural phenomena’ are always ‘recurrent’ and also the process of change is of cyclical nature. wrote, “the great symphony of social life is “scored” for a countless number of separate processes, each proceeding in a wave like manner and recurring id space, in time, in both space and time, periodically or non-periodically, after long or short intervals. Briefly, or for an extensive time, in the same or in several social systems, a process moves in a certain quantitative or qualitative or spatial direction, or in all these directions, reaches its “point of saturation”, and then often reverses its movements.”

Advocating the direction of social change as ‘linear, Sorokin maintained that the general trend of social change is that of a linear advance upto a certain point at which time either a reversal of cultural advance or the setting in of cultural stagnation occurs. When there is ‘cultural reversal’ the cultural movement heads towards still ‘another point of cultural advancement facing once again the inevitability of reversal’. Thus the cultural changes reoccur in an oscillating fashion, between the sensate mentalities and the ideational mentalities. Thus, ‘this oscillating action necessarily fosters at mid-way between the extreme of sensuality and spirituality the appearance of the synthesis of idealistic mentalities’.

2. The Principle of Immanent Change. This principle explains the reason behind the ever-fluctuating nature of cultural changes. Sorokin writes, “Bearing the seeds of its change in itself, any socio-cultural system bears also in itself the power moulding its own destiny or life career. Beginning with the moment of emergence, each socio-cultural system is the main factor of its own destiny. This destiny, or the system’s subsequent life career, represents mainly an unfolding of the immanent potentialities of the system in the course of its ~6xistence.”

The Externalistic Theory of Change was not acceptable to Sorokin (this theory attributed change within particular social phenomenon, to factors external to it. Sorokin, Weber, accepted the factor of environment. He wrote, “the reason or cause of a change of any socio-cultural system is in the system itself, and need not be looked for anywhere else.” Accepting the impact of environment he said, “the environmental forces are not negligible, but their role consists essentially in retardation, or acceleration, facilitation or hindrance, reinforcement or weakening, of the realisation of the immanent potentialities of the system. They cannot however, change fundamentally the immanent potentialities of the system and its normal destiny in the sense of making the life career of an unfolding acron that of a cow, or vice-versa.”

When cultural systems attain their climax of optimum dominance, then these cultural systems become less and less capable of serving as an instrument of adaptation as an experience for real satisfaction of the needs of its bearers, and as a foundation for their social and cultural life.

3. The Principle of Limit. This principle speaks of limits to the variations in the socio-cultural phenomena. Sorokin writes, “Processes go on for some time without any appreciable change in their direction, but sooner or later the trend reaches its limit, and then the process turns aside into a new path.” Unreasonable (too much) Sensate freedom and unreasonable (too much) Ideational restraints generate opposition implications. Sorokin points out, “When immobility persists too long, social systems generate forces working for differentiation.” The possibilities for the variation of systems are very limited.

Sorokin successfully illustrated the dynamic rather than static quality of cultural change as well as integration. For him social reality is a constantly changing (oscillating) process the occurrence of which can be anticipated. ‘The process within socio-cultural system is, essentially of dialectical nature giving rise ‘first to this pre- ception of reality and then that one’. It has been expressed that ‘this dialectic is at the heart of his concept of the “principle of limits” – the rhythmic periodicity of socio-cultural change, and the concept of the principle of immanent change – the location of the major causes of change within a socio-cultural system rather than being explain to it’. Sorokin asserted that the highest level of integration of socio-cultural aspects and values are located in the society’s major social institutions.

With the to view explain social change, Pitirim Sorokin advanced a theory of ‘flux’ which is a derivative of cyclical theories. He viewed society as a “supersystem” that includes a social structure, culture, and groups of individuals. This supersystem is in a continual state of social change, unlike many of the theorists preceding him, Sorokin saw the possibility of societies changing in many different directions according to the values of the individuals within the system. Sorokin explained that societies may move back and forth from one type of “civilization” to another and that human beings have begun to gain the knowledge needed to control the direction of change.

To understand the flux of social change, students of sociology must first become acquainted with the various possible types of society that can exist. Sorokin supplies descriptions of three basic “civilization” – sensate, ideational, and idealistic – which exist only as “ideal types” and never in their pure forms.

Sensate culture exists when the mentality of its populace accepts as real only those things that can be perceived by the sense organs. Therefore, sensate civilizations are not interested in acquiring or seeking “absolute knowledge” and tend to use empiricism (observability) as the source of truth. Such cultures would probably be atheistic or agnostic because of a lack of a belief system that transcends the individual.

All the opposite characteristics typify the ideational culture. The adherents of the culture of an ideational civilization view reality in a spiritual sense. These civilizations are deeply religious in orientation, depend upon faith and revelation as sources of truth, and are not preoccupied with the empirical aspects of existence.

Sensate persons might want to gain knowledge about observable phenomena, so as to manipulate them for their own gratification, but ideational persons simply conform to existing patterns and conditions in this world and set their sights on the visionary prophecies of the “next world”. Reality in ideational culture, is everlasting and absolute.

Idealistic culture is a perfect blending of sensate and ideational types ; however, this third civilization is raised above the other two because of the addition of “reason” as a source of truth. Of course, for idealistic culture to exist, the elements of sensate and ideational culture must coexist in a harmonious fashion. This- creates an epistemological triangle within which societies can fluctuate.

To classify a society, one need only examine the works of its philosophers or its art forms, analyze them, and then categorize them according to the descriptions given above. However, the sociologist may find that a given civilization might not “fit” Sorokin’s scheme :

Simple arithmetical calculations result in findings that take the following form :‘ In the Nth century, “A” per cent of Western philosophy was sensate and “B” percent was idealistic. Such findings support Sorokin’s theory of social change, but they also demonstrate a limited possibility of quantifying data on cultural style.

A fourth type of culture must be imagined Sorokin’s system of thought, a mixed culture. Mixed culture would be a combination of sensate and ideational cultures without reason as a source of truth. Mixed culture would depend partly upon empiricism and partly on asceticism (faith) and would represent the midpoint of the line separating sensate and ideational cultures at the base of the triangle.

Sorokin believed that societies were continually “bouncing” back and forth between sensate the ideational civilizations, sometimes rising to great heights and nearly achieving idealistic culture and other times passing through mixed culture in a sort of schizophrenic fashion. Writing some time before his death in 1969, Sorokin observed that Western cultur had nearly reached the extreme of sensate culture and might begin to thru toward ideational mannerisms. This, of course, is speculation, and, in fact, many contemporary sociologists believe that all Sorokin’s theory regarding “culture types” or “civilization types” is highly speculative and geared more toward philosophy than toward sociology.

Question 4.
What are Sorokin’s ideas about Personality and Society ?
Answer:
Personality and society are two closely related terms often one effecting and moulding the other. Sorokin spent much of his time in the area of personality studies n~d this research convinced him to emphasise in rather strong-wards, the influence of sociocultural environments in shaping the human personality. He held, personality is an indivisible part of society and society nor individual can survive in isolation. Sorokin writes, “Since individuals are the indispensable components of all social and cultural systems, their personalities obviously influence the framework of the social and cultural patterns ; on the other hand as we have seen, the super- oganic aspect of personality is not determined by or acquired from biological heredity.

It is moulded by social and cultural milieu. There is no other source for the social and cultural properties of the individual.” It clearly reveals that for Sorokin in the relationship between society and personality is intimate. An individual is according to Sorokins, a multi-faceted’ creature, not only related with society influenced deeply by his connexions with many other associations in society. Sorokin writes, “My thesis is that the individual has not one empirical soul, or self, or ego, but several; first biological and second social egos the individual has as many different social groups and strata with which he connected.”

Sorokin, carefully avoided a one-sided sociologistic interpretation of human behaviour – a danger Durkheim occasionally was not too careful to avoid—Sorokin was concerned particularly about the interdependent and interacting elements of the individual and personality on the one hand and society and culture on the other as integrated totalities or social wholes. Sorokin reflected his earnestness in emphasising upon the pluralism of ‘selves’ in individuals. This was seen by Sorokin as reflection of the pluralism of groups, and the multiple ‘social egos’ of the individuals were the outcome of his membership of various groups. It was also believed by Sorokin that the pattern of socio-cultural system produces ‘characteristic personality types’.

Sorokin points out three inseparable related components (reflecting the deep connection between personality and society).

These are –

  1. Personality as the subject of interaction
  2. Society as the totality of interacting personalities ; and
  3. Culture as the totality of the meanings, values, and norms possessed by the interacting personalities and the totality of the vehicles which objectify, socialise and convey these meanings.

Question 5.
Discuss Sorokin’s views on the Sociology of revolution.
Answer:
Sorokin’s analysis of sociological aspects of revolution has the Russian revolution in the background. In his book, ‘The Sociology of Revolution : Social and Cultural (1925)’ he tries to explain the sociological aspects of revolution in very comprehensive terms.

Meaning of Revolution. Sorokin terms revolution a crime, and says that political revolution is nothing but a crime on a large scale. Pointing out the difference between crime and general and revolution, he writes, “If a revolution is confined to narrow limits it is regarded to be a general crime, while, on the other hand, a general crime on a large scale is regarded revolution”. Sorokin, considers crime of revolution as one of the wraths of God and has put it into the category of famine, epidemic, war etc. He tries to emphasise that a revolution is never in the interest of society.

Why Revolution ? The factors that give rise to revolutions are always present in a society. In the form of conflict among these contrary forces, with the absence of harmony among these conflicting elements, revolution results. Discussing the reasons for this dis-harmony Sorokin explains like some other psychologists Sorokin believes that the behaviour of man is guided more by sentiment than by reason and that instincts plays large part in the life of men. Now if the natural instincts become corrupted some reason, man is inclined towards crime and anti-social activity. This leads to disappearance of harmony leading to disorganization in the society and in disorganized society the criminal tendencies get maximum scope of expression. When revolution occurs in a society all old values and social laws become extinct. Anarchy rules over everything and peaceful tendencies are subdued. Rationality in the human behaviour is lost.

According to Sorokin a revolution is directly concerned with state control, insufficient state controlleads td revolution. Generally, state is indifferent to the seed of revolution and does precious little to nip in bud, the revolutionary tendencies in the society. The state’s attitude is relaxed and flabby until there is full blown revolution. Taking advantage of the flabby attitude of state, the revolutionary tendencies gain strength. The state’s bid to crush revolution when the activists have become strong leads to direct confrontation between the forces of state and the forces of revolution and when the revolutionary forces are strong a revolution succeeds otherwise crushed.

Effects of Revolution. Revolution affects every aspect of social organisation. ‘All norms of human conduct and thought, all processes of normal life come to an end at the time of revolution. The political fall out of revolution is that the ruling clique is thoroughly discredited and may even be divested pf property or done to death’. Sorokin explains that the individual property is looted by revolutionary activists and calls them as band of criminals. When revolution occurs, it gives serious and severe jolts to peace loving people and helps the anti social elements.

How to Check Revolution ? Sorokin emphatically states that in order to control revolution change in human nature is indicated. The selfish tendencies of man must be converted into altruistic tendencies. If altruistic tendencies in man develop, the seed of revolution would never find any suitable soil to grow. It is in the mud of gross selfish-ness that these seeds take root and grow. Thus Sorokin strongly recommends the attempts to modify the emotional nature of roan for checking and crushing a revolution. In this regard an early start is the most effective step.

Question 6.
Critically examine Sorokin’s views on social stratification.
Answer:
Pitirim A. Sorokin is held as one of the most prominent of the analysts and theoreticians. In his analyse of Dynamics, he treats the concept of stratification as an inherent element in social systems. To Sorokin ‘Stratification is inevitable in a social system because of the needs of the social system itself, “because of physical and mental characteristics of human beings, and, because of environmental factors’. Sorokin discusses stratification in both its structural and dynamic aspects.

The Structural Aspect. Sorokin points out distinction between two types of differentiation, ‘one of which is that which merely notes individual differences and rank, and the other which evaluates the differences so noted. He argues that these are different from stratification which presupposes that a group of individuals is similarly differentiated and then, differentiations are similarly evaluated. He points out that stratification is real as well as quasi-real. To quote him, “The organised real strata usually are defined by the official law of the group, like the ranks of the Pope-Cardinal-Archbishops-Bishop hierarchy in the Church groups, like the Full-Associate-Assistant- Professor-Instructor grading in the university, and so on for other groups”.

In real and organised stratum, “individuals possessing the same position, rights, duties, functions etc., in the hierarchy of strata, and who therefore think, feel and act similarly so far as such similarity is imposed on them by the similarity of their stratum position. But because of their unorganised nature, they may not even be aware of their co-belonging to the same stratum. Sorokin discusses at length, the concept of class. He argues that class should not be confused with rank, unibonded or muitibonded human groups. A social class, according to Sorokin, must possess following characteristics :

‘It is (1) legally open, but actually semi-closed; (2) ‘normal’; (3) solitary ; (4) antagonistic to certain other groups (social classes) of the same general nature,..(5) partly organized but mainly quasi-organised. (6) Partly aware of its own unity and existence and partly not; (7) characteristic of the western society of the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries ; (8) a muitibonded group bound together by two unibonded ties, occupational and economic…and by one bond of social stratification in the sense of the totality of its essential rights and duties’.

Sorokin opined that the social groups constitute the beast of every society, and for analytical purposes suggested following inter-related characteristics of social groups :

  1. each group is characterised by a central set of meanings or ideas or values;
  2. the central set of ideas and values must be consistent within itself—a principle closely approximating a theorem held by many functionalists.
  3. these consistent ideas and values assume the form of norms to be followed by the group members and finally ;
  4. these norms are ‘law norms’ must be effective, and therefore eventually enforceable.

Sorokin’s General Proposition about stratification. Sorokin conducted extensive research and on the vast data at his disposal, he pointed out following general propositions regarding social stratification :

  1. There has scarcely been any society whose strata were absolutely closed, or in which vertical mobility was not present in its forms—economic, political and occupational.
  2. There have never existed a society in which vertical social mobility has been absolutely free and the transition from one stratum to another has had no resistance.
  3. The intensiveness, as well as the generality of the vertical social mobility, varies from society to society.
  4. The intensiveness and the generality of the vertical mobility, the economic, the political and the occupational, fluctuate in the same society at different time.
  5. In the field of vertical mobility, in its three fundamental either an increase or a decrease of the intensiveness of generality or mobility. Thus Sorokin attributed social stratification to hereditary differences and environmental conditions.

Question 7.
Discuss briefly Sorokin’s contribution to the social thought.
OR
Critically evaluate Sorokin’s social ideas.
Answer:
Sorokin’s Contribution. Sorokin, undoubtedly is one of the greatest social thinkers. He contributed to the history of social thought many ideas and’ concepts and brought glory to Russia by producing magnificent analytical studies relating to social phenomena.

Sorokin, unlike his colleagues (in the field of social thought) did not ignore the most important philosophical issues and in addition to raising these issues he also revealed the ‘inescapable presence of these issues in the scientific as well as philosophical study of man and society. He did hot narrow or limit the scope of the study, rather he developed comprehensive theories of varied implications.

Sorokin is hailed as the true successor to Auguste Comte, Emile Durkheim and Kroptokin ; respectively because of his following studies :

  1. His studies and interest in the social consensus (like Comte).
  2. His contributions in the field of social solidarity (like Durkheim) and
  3. His in depth analysis and research into the concept of mutual aid. .

Pitirim A. Sorokin’s contribution to philosophy has been sum-marized by Ford as under :

‘Sorokin recognized the role of values and meanings directly. While holding to consistent concepts of “meang” and “value” on a socio-cultural level, he has effectively demonstrated their use in widely varying empirical fields. Using his tremendous knowledge of the historical social theories and the empirical studies of the day, Sorokin was able to demonstrate to value-free and meaning-free scholars in social science that their paths are variously blind or circular, and then hopes of avoiding the crucial issues illusory. While the so called value-free social scientists may scoff at his hopes for “creative altruism” in the “reconstruction of humanity”, few would doubt today the depth and seriousness of the “crisis of our age” which Sorokin delineated so ably.’ This is a prelude to Sorokin’s great contribution to sociology.

Despite severe criticism of philosophical bent of Sorokin’s social ideas, in recent years sociologists have started appreciating his systematic approach to the study of social change in general and the effect of war and revolution in such changes in particular.

Question 8.
Explain Sorokin’s thesis that social system is characterised by Logico-Meaningful Integration.
OR
Discuss critically the philosophical orientation of Sorokin.
Answer:
Sorokin in his early phases, was interested in philosophizing about the nature of man and reality. It was opined by him that total reality is a manifold infinite which transcends any single perspective. This clearly establishes that Sorokin was an agnostic but not an atheist. Sorokin proposes “integralist” conception of truth which is not identical with sensate, ideational or idealistic truth, but embraces all of them. According to Sorokin, “Each of the systems of truth, within its legitimate field of competency, gives us genuine cognition of the respective aspects of reality.” Such a position creates communication related problems besides other difficulties of a logical nature.

Sorokin’s sociological and philosophical position is considered as the integralist school and he expounded it in his ‘Society, Culture and Personality (1947)’. In his book Sorokin argued that reality of a supra-individual socio-cultural sort is objectified in material and other vehicles but it can not be reduced to the physical alone because the socio-cultural phenomena are integrated in cohesive fashion by their meaning structure. Sorokin, in his principle of Immanant change, discusses why no social and cultural system is static for any period of time.

Sorokin treates society as a socio-cultural system and points out that integration of the various elements present in the general frame- .work. Integration constitutes the vital point in the philosophical system of-Sorokin. He writes that meaningful socio-cultural systems are integrated and they function and change in important parts as a whole and in togetherness”. He argues that, ceteris paribus (other things remaining constant or equal) the highest amount of self determination belongs to those social and cultural systems which are most perfectly integrated casually and meaningfully.

Sorokin specifies four basic types of integration of some cultural systems: –

1. There is integration by “spatial or mechanical adjacent congeries.” These are compared to “a damp in which are fragments of a great variety of objects”.

2. Integration through “indirect association through a common external factor.”

3. Functional integration which is examplified by the relation of parts of a functioning automobile to one another. According to Sorokin, the relationships and parts, have “tangible, noticeable, testifiable, direct interdependence of the variables or parts upon one another and upon the whole system”.

4. The logico-meaningful integration “is integration in its supreme form”. Sorokin explains that it is illustrated by “the inner consistency and supreme integration of the Cathedral of Charters, or the Gregorian chart, of the musical composition of Bach or Mozart or Beethoven tragedies of Shakespeare, or the sculpture of Phidias, or the pictures of Duerer…” What it is not illustrated by a “highly developed ascetic monastic life and materialistic sensate philosophy”, side by side in the same cultural conglomeration, or by the strictest caste system and the equilitarian ideadology shared by all castes in the same cultural area.

Sorokin’s logico-meaningful integration is characteristically treated as a pointer ‘to what it is not’. Among the sensate systems, according to Sorokin, “true reality and true value is sensory , beyond the reality value perceived by our sense organs there is no other reality and no value”.

Sarokin argued that there is possibility of only five or six main integrated systems of truth. These are based on :

  1.  faith
  2. reason
  3. the senses ;
  4. their idealistic synthesis, and
  5. an “integrated, sceptical and antagonistic or critical system”

Sorokin also argues that there can not be more than five integrated forms because of the above five possible main integrated systems of truth. They are :

  1. The ideational premise that true reality is super-sensory ;
  2. The sensate premise, that is sensory ;
  3. The idealistic premise that the two aspects are integrated and inseparable;
  4. The Skeptical premise that is unknown and unknowable  and
  5. That it is “known only in its phenomenal aspect, while in its intrascendental aspect (if it has such an aspect) it is unknowable the premise of Hume Kants’ Criticism and Agnosticism”’

Sorokin further explains that because of the limited possibilities of integrated systems, the three major systems of truth and reality – Ideational, Sensate and Idealistic – recur in any long-standing culture leading to the super-rhythms in historic social change’. According to Sorokin, the historical process of change is manifested with lack of direction or purpose and this change is related” to a man who is “circling in various directions without any definite goal or point of arrival”. Sorokin also points out that sensate systems are less viable and that “a considerable proportion of idealism is a prime requisite for the durable existence of society”.

Sorokin accepted the moral philosophies of great saints and mystics and put trust in the ‘truth of faith’. He believes that the “truth of faith, derived from and based upon intuition, is the genuine truth as much as the truth is the senses and of reason”.

Question 9.
What is Sorokin’s concepts of social mobility ?
OR
What does Sorokin opine about social mobility ? Discuss critically.
Answer:
Sorokin’s social and cultural Mobility is considered as a classic in the field of sociological studies. The study of Social Mobility is one of the greatest contributions of Sorokin in the analysis of social dynamics. Social Mobility was termed by Sorokin to signify the dynamics of social stratification. Sorokin defined social mobility as “any transition of an individual or social object or value anything that has been created or modified by human activity from one social position to another.” Thus, social mobility is “to find the position of a man or a social phenomenon in social space means to define his or its relations to other men or other social phenomena chosen as the ‘point of reference’. Sorokin, in his study of transition of human beings from one social level to another, discovered that social mobility through the stratified structures of society occur in two types. These are (*) horizontal and (ii) vertical.

Horizontal. This is the social mobility involving the transition of an individual or social object from one group to another which occupies the same level. Thus under horizontal movement we are concerned with the movement from one social position to another situated on the same level, as for example membership in comparable religious tradition. Thus though mobility has taken place from the individuals point of view, but without any fall or rise in status.

Vertical Mobility. This form of mobility refers to individuals transition from one social stratum to one higher or lower upon the social scale sue!’ as an advance upper working class from the lower middle class or vice versa. Thus vertical mobility signifies qualitative movement. According to Sorokin it is in two forms. “The case of individual infiltration into an existing higher stratum or of individuals dropping from a higher social layer into a lower one are relatively common and comprehensible. They need no explanation. The second form of social ascending and descending, the rise and fall of k groups, must be considered more carefully.”

Sorokin endeavoured to locate the media of vertical mobility and analysed mechanisms of social selection and the distribution of persons in different social strata, as well as the “channels”, “elevators” or “holes” which permit individuals ascend or descend from one stratum to another. Sorokin points out that in the history of humanity, the family, army, church, school, political, economic and professional organisations have been the main channels which permit individual to move up and down the social ladder from stratum to stratum. These same channels are also the “sieves” which test and sift, select and distribute the individuals within different social strata or positions”’ Some of these, such as school and family, have the function of testing for the genery qualities of the person, such as intelligence, health and social characteristics. Some others, such as occupational organisations, test for the specific qualities of individuals necessary for successful performance of various functions in the society. Western society has also exhibited an extensive amount of horizontal mobility.

Effects of Mobility on Social System. One of the effects of mobility on social system is that “behaviour becomes more elastic and versatile”. “Increase of mobility tends to refuse narrow-mindedness and occupational and other idiosyncracies”. “Mobility facilitates inventions and discoveries.” “Mobility, under some conditions, facilitates a better and more adequate social distribution than in an immobile society”. At the same time it is said that “Mobility tends to increase mental strain”. “Mobility diminishes intimacy and  increase psycho-social isolation and loneliness of individuals.”

Question 10.
Discuss Sorokin’s views on the modalities of interaction.
OR
What are the types of relationship that appear during the social interaction in the society ? Discuss.
Answer:
Sorokin firmly believed that interaction must be the single most important and determinative unit in terms of which social phenomena should be analysed. Sorokin defined social interaction without any reference to culture. Protesting against this tendency Sorokin wrote, “tripped of their meaningful aspects, all the phenomena of human interaction become merely biophysical phenomena and, as such, properly form the subject of the bio-physical sciences”. For him interaction is a casual-functional process.

Sorokin, while defining interaction, writes, “any event by which one party tangibly influences the overt action or the state of mind of the other”. He further explained that, ‘in its developed forms, the superorganic is found exclusively in the realm of interacting human beings and in the products of their interaction.’ He developed a specialised type of interaction termed it as socio-cultural interaction and put forth a restricted meaning of the term, saying that, “the most generic model of any socio-cultural phenomena is the meaningful interaction of two or more human individuals.

Components of Socio-cuitural interaction. According to Sorokin, interaction has following three components : “1. Thinking, acting and reacting human beings as subjects of interaction ; 2. meaning, values and norms for the sake of which the individuals interact, realizing and exchanging them in the course of interaction; 3. overt actions and material phenomena as vehicles or conductors through which immaterial meanings, values and norms are objectified and socialized”. Sorokin mentions following three interrelated components of socio-cultural interaction : “1. Personality as the subject of interaction ; 2. Society as the totality of interacting personalities ; and 3. culture as the totality of the meanings, values, and norms possessed by the interacting personalities and the totality of the vehicles which objectify, socialize and convey these meanings”.

1. Familistic Relationships. Sorokin maintains these relation-ships as ideal and based on mutual love, sacrifice and devotion among the members of the family. Characteristics of this type of relationships are : “(a) predominantly solidary; (b) total or broad in extensity; (c) of high intensity; (d) durable; (e) direct; (f) mutual, or two. sided; (g) marked by the fundamental, normative, and purposive types of motivation, all working harmoniously with one another; (h) based upon a deep sense of the socio-cultural oneness of the parties; (i) possessing leadership or government that is natural and spontaneous and truly paternalistic with a leader who is merely a primus inter pares”.

Sorokin pointed out that familistic relationships are ‘all-embrac-ing, all-forgiving and all-bestowing, and involve a fusion of the ego into ‘we’.

2. Contractual Relationships. Sorokin wrote, “In almost every contractual variety of mixed relationship the main motivation of solidarity is one of the purposive, implicitly egoistic, utilitarian type, often supplemented and moderated by the legal normative motivation”. The contractual relationships by their very nature limited and specified and only a portion of the lives of the members are covered under it. It is self-centred and instrumental, each party trying to take maximum advantage of it. In the modern days societies, these relationships occur in the field of commerce and trade.

3. Compulsory Relationships. This type of relationship bears the ingredient of antagonism which may be mild or even intense. Explaining the nature of compulsory relationship, Sorokin wrote, “It may be rooted in the fundamental, the normative, or the purposive type of motivation or in a combination of all three.” The relationship between leader and follower is a typical example.

Sorokin differs from Durkheim and Weber on the issue of the rule of individuals personality. According to him, “The immediate and most decisive factors of either solidarity or antagonism of the interacting parties are –

  • the character of their law and ethical convictions ;
  • the concordance or discordance of the law and moral convictions of each party with those of the others ;
  • the degree to which these norms are consistently and adequately practised by the overt actions and vehicles of the parties”.

He opposed the behaviouralistic approach in his ‘Society, Culture and Personality’ “all the phenomena of human interaction become merely biophysical phenomena and as such, properly form the subject of the biophysical sciences.”

Thus, Sorokin’s definition of interaction necessarily focussed upon human conduct that influences others and derive the proposition that any group of interacting individuals is first of all a causal- functional unity in which aH components are mutually and tangibly interdependent.

DU SOL BA 3rd Year History of Social Thought Notes

DU SOL BA 3rd Year History of Social Thought Notes Chapter 8 Max Weber (1864—1920)

DU SOL BA 3rd Year History of Social Thought Notes Chapter 8 Max Weber (1864—1920)

Question 1.
The concept of social action constitutes the core of Sociology, according to Max Weber. Examine this statement.
OR
Discuss the definition of Sociology as given by Max Weber and explain his concept of social action.
Answer:
Definition of Sociology. Max Weber strongly believed that Sociology is the study of social action and its relationships. Thus while defining Sociology Weber ‘was obessed with the possibility, even the necessity of analysing human action and relationships scientifically. Yet he recognised, more that many of his contemporaries, that a scientific approach to human behaviour must enter into the subject matter for an authentic analysis.’

It has been pointed out by Berger and Luckmann, “The central question for sociological theory can be put as follows : How is it possible that subjective meanings become objective facticities ?”

Weber defines sociology (in his book The Theory of Economics and Social Organisation) “as the science which attempts the interpretive understanding of social action in order to arrive at casual explanation of its course and results.” It is true that society comprises qualities of objective facticity and is beyond any doubt, constituted of activities that express ‘Objective meaning’. Max Weber has written, “Both for sociology in the present sense and for history, the object of cognition is the subjective meaning complex of action.” About this explanation, Berger and Luckmann point out that, “it is precisely the dual character of society in terms of objective facticity and subjective meaning, that makes its reality ‘sui generis’.” Thus Weber’s concept of ‘Social action’ forms the central point of the study of sociology.

Social Action. Weber further explains that, “in no case does it refer to an objectively correct meaning or one which is true in some meta-physical sense”. To repell the false allegations that the term of social action was value-laden, Weber proposed the term ‘non-meaningful behaviour’ defined as “reactive behaviour to which no subjective meaning is attached” to include all forms of human action, a term which admittedly covered a large range of social action.

According to Max Weber, “Action is social in so far as, by virtue of the subjective meaning attached to it by acting individual (individuals) it takes account of the behaviour of others and is thereby oriented in its course.”

In his attempt to identify precisely and analyse what he considered to be the matrix of meaningful action within human behaviour, Weber coined the concept “social relationship” to describe patterned human interaction which is intentional, meaningful and symbolic.

One more thing that went a long way in Weber’s concept of social action is the behavioural complex. The behavioural complex or matrix fall into one of four types in Weber’s work :

(a) Week rational action or rational action in relation to a goal. The action determines the goal and chose his means purely in terms of their efficiency to attain the goal.

(b) Wertrational action or rational action in relation to a value. Here means are chosen for their efficiency but the goals are determined by value. The action of a captain who goes down with the sinking ship or that of a gentleman who allows himself to be killed rather than field in a war are examples.

(c) Affective or emotional action. Here emotion or impulse determines the ends and means of action as in the case of a mother who slaps her child or a player who throws a punch at a partner in a game.

(d) Traditional actions. Where both ends and means are determined by custom, rituals, ceremonies and practices of tradition of all in this category.

Thus a blind imitation devoid of any understanding of the nature of act being imitated is no social action and it can be termed as social action only if there exists some understanding of what is being done, a social action is the result. Max Weber was of the opinion that a correct casual interpretation of a concrete cause of action is arrived at when the overt action and the motives have both been correctly apprehended and at the same time their relation has become meaningfully comprehensible.

Individual is the unit of study. Max Weber holds that individual is the unit of sociological study. “Interpretive sociology considers the individual and his action as the basic unit as its atom. In this approach, the individual is also the upper limit and carrier of meaningful conduct…in general, for sociology such concepts as the state, association, feudalism and the like designate certain categories of human interaction. Hence it is the task for sociology to reduce the concepts to understandable action that is without exception to the action of participating individuals (men)”.

Thus according to Max Weber the term social action implies action of individuals which are some how influenced, guided or determined by the action of other individuals.

Characteristics of social action. Max Weber attempted an indepth analysis of the concept of social action. Following characteristics can be deduced of his concept of social action :

1. It may be influenced by an action of Past, Present or Future. A social action is a result or a modification of some action of other individuals in the society. But the modifying action need not necessarily be contemporaneous with the modified action. In other words it may not be happening at the same time or just before in order to influence the action of an individual. Indeed such an action may be a past occurrence or even an expected action in the future. Thus it may be pointed out that a social action is a result or a modification of some action of some other individual; but the casual or modifying action may be an occurrence of past, present or future depending upon the circumstances and other factors.

2. It presupposes the existence of other individual’s action. According to Weber, a social action is a result of some action by some individual and this points out that there can be no social action in isolation. To say in other -words an individual living in complete wilderness removed from all inter-personal contacts cannot exert a social action and social action excludes the contemplation and medi¬tation of a recluse.

3. Subjective Meaning. In a social action it should have subjective meaning to the doer of a particular social action. Thus for instance, “If two persons collide accidentally and without any motive whatsoever the collision will not be a social action. On the other hand, if a notorious smuggler causes a collision of a truck with a police jeep resulting in injuries or death, then such a collision would be a case of social action.”

Importance of Types of Action. The classification of social action type is important because of following reasons :

(1) Weber conceives of Sociology as a comprehensive science of social action. The typology of actions is therefore the most abstract level of the conceptual system applicable to the social field. The classification of types of domination – e.g., rational domination, traditional domination, charismatic domination depends on the previous classification, on an even higher level of abstraction, of the four types of action.

(2) Sociology is also a comprehensive science of social action, with the ascent this time on the word comprehensive. Comprehension implies an understanding of the meaning man gives his conduct. Pareto judges true logic of actions in terms of the knowledge of the observer, but Weber’s aim is to understand the meaning each man gives his own conduct, so that it becomes essential to the comprehen¬sion of subjective meanings to proceed to a classification of types of conduct, as an introduction to the understanding of the intelligible structure of behaviour.

(3) The classification of types of action to a certain extent governs the Weberian interpretation of the contemporary era. For, according to Max Weber, the prime characteristic of the world we live in is rationalisation. The rationalisation characteristic of modern societies is expressed by a widening of the sphere of Zweckrational actions, actions rational in relation to goods. Economic enterprise is rational, so is the control of the state by bureaucracy. Society as a whole tends towards Zweckrational organisation and the philosophical, existential, human problem is to define that sector of society in which another type of action can and should exist.

(4) This classification of types of action’ may be correlated with what constitutes the heart of Weber’s philosophical thought; namely the relations of solidarity or independence between science and politics.

Question 2.
Distinguish according to Max Weber between social science and physical science.
Explain sociological methodology evolved by Weber.
Answer:
Max Weber though did not recognize any fundamental difference between social and physical sciences explained in his own way the scientific nature of the sciences of culture – history i.nd society, lie tried to raise the social sciences to the level of physical, sciences in matters of rigour and precision, but a number of contemporary thinkers held views divergent.

Max Weber is of the view that there exists no fundamental difference between the physical and social sciences and each needed an independent approach and methodology. He believed that the social laws could be generalized in the same way as the physical laws, and in this direction he endeavoured to evolve scientific method for the development of sociological studies. The law of casuality applied as much to social events as to physical order of things and once we discovered the definite causes of social events, it was easy to evolve definite social laws, and this led to the creation of the concept of ideal type.

Thus the methodology adopted by Max Weber depends upon ins belief that the social scientist is capable of ‘understanding’, ‘meaningful’ ‘social relationships’. He employed the term “sympa¬thetic introspection” to designate this central point of this approach. Weber wrote, “for the verifiable accuracy of interpretation of the. meaning of a phenomena, it is a great help to be able to put one’s self imaginatively in the place of the actor and thus sympathetically to participate in his experience”.

Thus, as Weber opines, if the sociolo¬gist attempts to grasp the ‘meaning’ of human behaviour, he must put himself face to face to the casual motivation behind the action itself. According to Simpson ‘A motive’ in the Weberian setting of idea, “is a complex of subject meaning which seems to the actor himself or to the observer an adequate ground for the conduct in question”.

In addition to ‘sympathetic introspection 0there is another – complementing analytical device called the ‘typological analysis’. It was expressed by Weber of the ideal types as a categorizing process enabling the scientist to contrast ‘actual types’ with their common ideals. According to Larson, “whereas the former types were limited to historical circumstances, the ‘ideal types’ was an attempt to deal with the problem of the historical relativity of conceptual types by means of the construction of a limited number of terms which could be used as constant generalizable abstractions”. Simpson has explained in the following English words, the nature and purpose of ideal types as a methological instrument :

“As far as individual social action is concerned the sociologist seeks to arrive at an understanding of individual motives, in groups he seeks to arrive at motives which are typical of the group. In both cases, the sociologists seeks to arrive at ideal types which establish what the action of individuals or groups would be if it were strictly rational, unaffected by errors or emotional factors, and if, further¬more, it were completely and unequivocally directed to a single end. Actual behaviour of individuals and groups is then studied as a devia¬tion from such ideal-typical behaviour.”

What is science, according to Weber? Max Weber, in his attempt to explain the social phenomena, had from the outset, ‘hoped to demonstrate the scientific capabilities of sociology by adhering to the multi verification axions of physical sciences. Thus he attempted in countless ways and on many occasions to demonstrate that ‘history can be written as a rational science based on repetitive verification and confirmation.’ He argued that historical and sociological statements can accurately describe facts which reflect definite reality i.e., human behaviour, in terms of meaning assigned to it by the actors themselves. As Raymond Aron puts it, ‘Weber’s ambition was to understand how individuals have lived in different societies as a result of different beliefs’.

Weber argued to the end that ‘social facts are in the last resort intelligible facts. To quote Weber, “today one usually speaks of science as ‘free from pre-suppositions’. Is there such a thing ? It de¬pends upon what one understands thereby. All scientific work presupposes that the rules of logic and method are valid, these are the general foundations of our orientation in the world, and, at least for our special question, these presuppositions are the least problematic aspect of science.

Science further presupposes that what is yielded by scientific work is important in the sense that it is worth being known. In this, obviously, are contained all our problems. For only that presupposition cannot be proved by scientific meaqs. It can be interpreted with reference to its ultimate meaning, which we must reject or accept according to our ultimate position towards life”,

Weber, then comes to his own idea of about science and writes, “Science, ‘free from presuppositions’ in the sense of a rejection of religious bonds, does not know of a ‘miracle’ and the ‘revelation’. If it did, science would be unfaithful to its own ‘presuppositions’. The believer knows both, miracle, and revelation. And science, ‘free from presuppositions’ expects from him no less – and no more – than acknowledgment that if the process can be explained without those supernatural interventions, which an empirical explanation has to eliminate as causal factors, the process has to be explained the way science attempts to do. And the believer can do this without being disloyal to his faith”.

Question 3.
Explain the concept of ideal types. How are they useful in Sociological research ?
Answer:
The concept of ideal types is considered as the most distinguished contribution of Weber, to the Sociological theory. The development of this methodological device acquires so effective a place in Weberian analysis that ‘he has himself taken the time to re¬cord in detail his initial and formative thinking on its emergence’. The following words written by Weber vindicate the value of this device “We have in abstract economic theory an illustration of those synthetic constructs which have been deorginated as ‘ideas’ of historical phenomena. It offers us an ideal picture of events cn the commodity market under conditions of a society organised on the principles of an exchange.economy, free competition and rigourosly rational conduct.

This conceptual pattern brings together certain relationships and events of historical life into a complex, which is conceived as an internally consistent system. Substantively, this construct in itself is like a utopia which has been arrived at by the analytical accentuation of certain elements of reality. Its relationship .to the empirical data consists solely in the fact that where market-conditioned relationships of the type referred to by the abstract construct are discovered or suspected to exist in reality to some extent, we can make the characteristic features of this relationship pragmatically clear and understandable by reference to an ideal type”.

Lewis Coser defines an ideal type as “an analytical construct that serves the investigator as a measuring rod to ascertain similarities as well as deviations in concrete cases”.

It has been assumed by Martindale that a scientific theory is a logically inter-related body of empirical laws. It is said that the ideal type bears the character of a theoretical mode. According to Martin- dale’s requisites for a theory, is not present here and hence the ideal types are not theories because they are not logically interrelated bodies of empirical laws. Whereas Mckinney, Watkins, and Parsons accept ideal types as theories. But Martindale agrees with Weber, Maclver and Merton in holding that ideal types are not theories but mental constructs.

Scientific method comprises the systematic processes that institute an empirical proof. According to Weber, the scientists goal is to arrive at proposition of fact or at relations of casuality or at comprehensive interpretation that are universally valid. There are three general kinds of systematic procedures for instituting a proof. The oldest procedure of science is comparison. Comparison is an act intended to establish an item of empirical knowledge about which one is uncertain. Some ideas guide the comparisons, and there is some idea, however, crude in the background. Thus scientific behaviour is, a combination of rational action in relation to a goal and rational action in relation to a value. The value is truth, the rationality is that of the rates of logic and research, a respect for which is indispensability to the variety of the results obtained.

In Max Weber’s eyes, with Raymond Aron, incompleteness is a fundamental characteristic of modern science. Never would he have envisioned, as Durkheim liked to do, a time when sociology would be fixed and a system of social laws would exist. Nothing is more alien to Weber’s way of thinking than the image so deal to Auguste Comte of a science which possesses the essential and had set up a closed and definitive system of fundamental laws.

Martindale’s fundamental position taken in his essay is that ideal types are ‘neither experimental mathematical models, nor theories, but devices intended to institute comparison as precise as the stage of one’s theory of precision of his instruments will allow. Comparative procedure occurs most frequently in new sciences. The evolution of the ideal type in sociology was determinded by the attempts to transform comparative method into a more precise procedure.

There are thinkers who have made basic use of the concept of “social action” for the analysis of social life, and have been most sympathetic to the use of ideal types have consciously attempted to improve them. Ideal types are not abstract concepts. To quote Martindale, “An ideal type is formed by the one sided accentuation of one or more points of view and by the synthesis of a great many diffused, discrete individual phenomena which are arranged according to these one sidedly emphasised view points into a unified analytical construct. In its conceptual purity, this mental construct cannot be found anywhere in reality”.

Max Weber pointed out that the basic purpose of the ideal type is “to analyse historically unique configurations or the individual components in terms of genetic concepts”. He explained that science has universal truth for its objective, but historical or sociological science begins with a procedure. They are used as conception instru-ments for comparison with and the measurement of (factual position) reality.

Weber’s ideal types were procedures by which historical material, were made useful for the general purposes of science applied to historical materials. Weber characterised ideal types as devices for descriptions, as implements for comparison and measurement and under special circumstances, as procedures for instituting and testing hypothesis. In case when applied to historical material, he explained that, if the objective of universal truth is to be attained, therefore, the subjectivity conditioned prove of reference must be followed by procedures of universal validity.

For, Weber, has also argued that the ideal type is not a description, not a general concept, not a law, not a rural or ethical judgment but are procedures that depend upon the personality situation of the observer, his mode of reference, the way he organises the material as the result of values previously established or discovered in the material itself.

In this way, the ideal type contains both conceptual and observational materials, which are not put together arbitrarily. The ideal type being conceptual tool is items and relations actually found in historical and social life supply the materials.

When Weber’s classified action, he held the ideal type as purely rational action and contended that it was because of the influence of irrational factors that deviations from the ideal type were seen. The ideal type is related to the motion of comprehension in that every ideal type is an organisation of intelligible relations within historic entity or sequence of events. This facilitates the comparison of complex and seemingly unrelated phenomena and helps to make comparisons between two points in time. Inferences could be made by the relative approximation of the phenomenon, past and present ideal type.

It was never claimed by Max Weber that his ideal type would completely exhaust every conceivable empirical structure. Weber write about the content of the ideal type, what the content of the ideal type, be it an ethical, a legal, an aesthetic or a religious norm, or a technical, an economic or a culture maxim or any other type of valuation in the most rational form possible, it has only one function in an empirical investigation. Its function is the comparison with empirical reality in order to establish its divergences or similarities, to describe them with the most unambiguously intelligible concepts, and to understand and explain them casually.

While emphasizing that the ideal types were only a metrological device and continued against this tendency to consider the ideal typology as a carte blanche solution to each and every social analysis. He explained it as a strictly ‘methodological device’. He opined that ‘since the fundamental task of the social sciences is understanding, first at the level of ‘observational understanding’ and then at ‘deeper level of explanatory understanding’

Max Weber explained the practical application of the ideal types in the following words :

“The ideal type is an attempt to analyse historically unique configurations or their individual components by means of genetic concepts. Let us take, for instance, the concepts ‘Church’ and ‘sect.’ They may be broken down purely classificatorily in complexes of characteristics, whereby not only the distinction between them but also the content of the concept must constantly remain fluid. If however I wish to formulate the concept of ‘sect’ genetically, e.g., with reference to certain important cultural significances which the sectarian spirit has had for modern culture, certain characteristics of both become essential because they stand in an adequate causal relationships to those influences. However, the concepts thereupon become ideal-typical in the sense that they appear in full conceptual integrity either not at all or only in individual instances. Here as elsewhere every concept which is not purely classificatory diverges from reality.”

Raymond Aron, points out that Weber uses ideal types to desig¬ned three kinds of concepts :

1. First, ideal types of historical particulars, such as capitation or the (European) city. These two examples represent a species of ideal type, namely the intelligible reconstruction of a global and particular historical reality global since the term capitalism designates a whole economic regime particular since according to Weber capitalism as he defines it has been fully realised only in modern western societies.

2. A second species is that of ideal types which deorigioate abstract elements of the historical reality elements which are found in a large number of cases. In combination, these concepts enable us to characterise and understand actual historical wholes.

3. The third species of ideal types include those that constitute rationalising reconstructions of a particular kind of behaviour. For example, according to Weber, all propositions in economic theory are merely ideal-typical reconstruction of the ways men would behave if they were pure economic subjects. F.conomic theory vigorously conceives economic behaviour as consistent with its essence, this essence being defined in a precise manner.

This aspect of ideal types leads Lewis Coser to say that “an ideal type is an analytical construct that serves the investigator as.a meaning rod to ascertain similarities as well as deviations in concrete cases”.

Thus an ideal type is not a statical average and it is certainly not a hypothesis. In fact, it is mental construct.

Question 4.
What are the factors and forces according to Max Weber that give rise to capitalism ?
OR
“Sociologists consider that Max Weber became a sociologist in a long and intense debate with the ghost of Marx”. Explain the statement illustrating from the writings of Max Weber.
OR
Write Weber’s idea about sociology of religion.
Answer:
Max Weber was of the opinion that existed, a paradoxi¬cally positive relationship between ascetic religious belief and econo¬mic enterprise. In his Protestant Ethic and Spirit of Capitalism, Weber sought to demonstrate that economic factors do not represent a constant and independent variable to which all others stand independence. The concept of social organization was treated along with the concept of social class. He regards economic factor important in social organization but considers other social factors -as also

What is Social Organisation ? In his concept of social organization, Weber makes clear the concept of ‘power’. ‘The power’, he says, ‘is that situation of an individual or individuals in which they can experience and apprehend their goals and easily achieve them.’ In other words, power is the capacity to achieve one’s objective with care.

Social stratification, according to Weber, says Collins and Makowsky, is essentially “a theory of group formation, a set of hypothesis about the conditions that bring men together into soli¬darity groups. These conditions are found in the way men relate to the institutional orders that link groups together into a society”. Weber discussed following ‘three orders’ within society :

  1. Economic
  2. Social, and
  3. Political.

He mentioned three dimensions, as class, status and power corresponding to these three orders. According to Weber, the vital characteristics of a class are :

  1. 1. individuals share a particular casual facet of their lives
  2. these facets are represented exclusively by economic drive in the possession of goods and opportunities for properly accrual; and
  3. class situation is essentially a market situation. Classes merely represent probable grounds for communal action and these are not communities.

Status situation is not necessarily attached with class situation but are determined by a specific, positive or negative, social assess¬ment of honour. Thus ‘the highest prestige in a particular social group does not always belong to the richest’. Status groups in their powers, are distinguished by status symbols, special attire, exclusive clubs and distinct life styles. Weber believed that a striking quality of modern society was its channeling of legitimate authority through the bureaucratic coordination of activities for bureaucracies and intentionally, organised upon rational principles’. Weber pointed out three types of legitimate authority (as expressed by him in Conventional Social Action).

  • Rational Legitimacy, resting on a belief in the ‘legality’ of patterns of normative rules and the right of those elevated to autho¬rity under such rules to issue commands (legal authority).
  • Traditional Legitimacy ‘resting on an established belief in the sanctity of immemorial traditions and the legitimacy of the status of those exercising authority under them (traditional authority)’, and
  • Charismatic Legitimacy, ‘resting on devotion to the specific and exceptional sanctity, heroism or exemplary character of an individual person, and of the normative patterns or order revealed or ordained by him (Charismatic authority)”.

Sociology of Religion. Max Weber believed that there existed a strong correlation between religion and economics. Economic factors, according to Weber, are “one variable, a very important one, in close relationship with others affected by them as in fact it in turn can affect them”.

It was conceived by Weber that the Protestant ethic was a sub-species of social phenomena within the category ‘religion’ which was distinct from magic, as the religion was rational whereas magic lacked this characteristic. As Rossides puts it, “for Weber religion was not rational in the sense of being true or scientifically valid, but rational to this degree that it departed from magic”.

Max Weber used the concept of ideal type to overcome the methodological problem of defining capitalism and Protestant Ethic. Weber conceived capitalism, in its ideal type to be that complex activity designed specifically to maximise profit through the careful and intentional exercise of rational organisation and management of production. Weber thought that there existed complex and multi-dimensional relationship bet¬ween religion and economics. In his Protestant Ethic and Spirit of Capitalism (1904-1905) he centred his discussion of this correlation between religion and economics around two general observations. These were :

  1. in countless places in the world great material achievements had resulted from the work of monastic orders dedicated to the life of a spirit and
  2. specifically ascetic Protestant sects were noted for their economic success.

Factors, present in Protestantism, in harmony with the spirit of Capitalism. Max Weber identified a number of values which were inherent in Protestantism and are in harmony with the spirit of capitalism. These values are :

  • The shift from ritualistic and other-worldly orientation to down-to-earth pragmatism.
  • Changed Attitude Toward Work. It was proclaimed by Protestant Ethic that ‘virtue’ is not only a good quality but it rather contributes to the glory of God as well.
  • The Concept of Calling. The new (Protestant) doctrine exhorts individual (men) to strive ahead, seek profitable and useful enterprises, accumulate wealth and march ahead towards their destiny.
  • The new attitude toward the collection of interest on loans.
    This idea has given spurt to economic activity, new investments and has given rise to new floating capital as well as emergence of lending houses.
  • Views against Alcoholism. The consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited by the Protestant ethic, which has always spearheaded any movement of prohibition in the Western societies.
  • Promotion of Literacy and Learning.
  • Discouraging Holidays. In Protestant ethics, since work adds to the glory of God, there is no place for holidays and ‘celebrations’.
  • ‘Protestant Asceticism’. Protestant ethic exhorts men to accumulate wealth but prohibits; its use merely for the sake of enjoyment. This has led to the rapid development of capitalism.

Question 4.
Examine Max Weber’s ideas about Bureaucracy.
OR
How did bureaucracy developed according to Max Weber ?
What were its causes and consequences ?
Answer:
Max Weber led the whole array of social thinkers in giving elaborate accounting of the development, causes and conse¬quences of bureaucracy. Weber formulated following characteristics of bureaucracy :

1. Fixed Jurisdiction and rules. Bureaucracy observes the principle of fixed and official jurisdictional areas prescribed by rules and regulations. This involves distribution of regular activities linked with each status in a fixed way. The ‘structure of authority’ is strictly laid down by the rules.

2. The Principle of Hierarchy. There exists a well ordered system of office hierarchy as well as levels of graded authority wherein exists well graded super-ordination and sub-ordination and also the supervision of lower officials by those up in the hierarchy.

3. Division of Labour. The division of labour is‘ based on specialisation and fixed responsibilities linked with every post.

4. Written Documents. According to Weber oral discharge of duties or issue of* oral orders should be given no place. There exists a system of files which define the rights and* duties attached to every post in the organisation.

5. Training. Weber favours efficient office management based on thorough and expert training.

6. Selection and promotion. Selection of personnel and their promotion is based on their competence in the technical field, specialised knowledge (or skill). Thus selection and promotion is based strictly on merit of an individual.

7. Office holdings is a Vocation. Max Weber conceived that holding a post does not remain merely a secondary activity. It requires application of full working efficiency of each and every official.

8. Fixed Salary. The reward for dedicated work in the form of pecuniary compensation is pre-determined and fixed salary which is paid periodically. ,

9. Appointment and not Election. Max Weber preferred appointment of personnels by higher officials instead of by election.

10. Tenure. In order to provide sense of job security, Weber favoured a system of tenure for life. Normally the position of the bureaucrat is held for life as specified by conti act.

11. Official position dislinked from private position. Max Weber clearly laid down that ‘there exists a clear distinction between the sphere of office and that of the private affairs of the individual. The bureaucratic official is not an owner of the enterprise and therefore not entitled to the use of official facilities for personal needs except as defined by strict rules.’

12. Impartial discharge of official functions. The performance
of duty according to objectives, according to rules without any regard to petsons. It has no place for favours.

Factors contributing to the Development of Bureaucracy. Max Weber believed in the superiority of an efficient buieaucr&cy over all other forms. He writes, “Precision, speed, unambiguity, knowledge of the files, continuity, discretion, unity, strict subordination, reduction of friction and of material and personal costs – these are raised to optimum point in the strictly bureaucratic administration, and especially in its monocratic form. As compared with all collegiate honorific and avocational forms of administration trained bureaucracy is superior on all these points. And as far as complicated tasks are concerned, paid bureaucratic work is not only more precise but in the last analysis, it is often cheaper than even formally honorific service.”

Weber suggests the following as the most important factors leading to the development of bureaucracy :

1. Development of money economy. Weber was of the view that development of money economy enabled the payment of constant income needed to maintain bureaucracy through a stable system of taxation it also encouraged a pecuniary compensation for the officials and a purely economic conception of the office as a source of the officials private income.

2. Extension of Administrative tasks. Another factor contributing to the development of bureaucracy is the quantitative increase in administrative tasks, particularly in the sphere of politics, where “the great state, and mass party are the classic soil for bureau cratisation.”

3. Qualitative changes in the Administrative work field. There has been qualitative extension by the administrative tasks, such as the demand for order and protection (police) and for the so called Welfare State the development of modern means of communication, particularly the rail, road, mass media, all these have led to bureaucratisation

4. Technical Superiority. Bureaucracy is technically superior to any other form of organisation, and hence, it has developed quickly.

5. Modern Culture. Max Weber terms modern culture as ‘complicated and of specialised nature’ requiring ‘personally detached and strictly objective’ expert, in lieu of the master of older social structures, who was moved by personal sympathy and favour by grace and gratitude. ”

6. Rational Interpretation of law and adjudication. The urgent need to act and adjudicate against arbitrariness has led to well organised buieaucracy in the modern age. ‘This is in contrast to old form of adjudication that was bound to sacred traditions and characterised by traditionalism, arbitrariness and the personally free discretion flowing from the ‘grace’ of the old patrimonial do¬mination.

7. Rise of big enterprises. Another factor contributing to the development of bureaucracy is the concentration of the material means of management in the hands of the master as exemplified in the development of big capitalist enterprises and the giant public organisations as the modern state or army. These organisations require bureaucratic setup for apt handling of their affairs at all levels of the organisational set up.

8. Social and Economic Equality. In the modern societies the concept of ‘welfare state’ necessitates the restoration of social and economic equality. Weber asserts that the modem state – its industry, economics, standard of living—is only possible with the emergence of a rational organisation on a large scale. Weber writes, “once it is fully established buieaucracy is among those social structures which are the hardest to destroy. Bureaucracy is the means of carrying ‘com¬munity action’ over into rationally ordered ‘social action’.

Therefore, as an instrument for societalizing relations of power, bureau¬cracy has been and is a power instrument of the first order – for the one who controls the bureaucratic apparatus. Under otherwise equal conditions, a ‘societal action’, which is methodically ordered and led, is superior to every resistance of ‘mass’ or even of ‘communal action’. And where the bureaucratization of administration has been completely carried through, a form of power relation is established that is practically unshatterable.”

Criticism of Weber’s Theory. Weber’s theory of bureaucracy has been criticised by many thinkers. It is said that it is not feasible to divide bureaucracy into three points as contemplated by Weber. The three forms of authority are always found in mixed forms and no form of authority is purely either traditional or rational or charis¬matic, rather tend to overlap or found present together in each and every instance of authority. –

It is doubted that continuity of authority shall be maintained, as continuity of authority can be interrupted from time to time. In Military organization normally all orders are in the written form, but in times of war these orders are oral, thus to conceive everything in writing in all circumstances is not possible. It has also been criticised that the persons holding highest office do have charismatic authority. Weber himself had accepted the vices of bureaucracy viz. the inevitable de-personalisation of human relationships in government and industry. He refers to the formation and the rule bound and cool matter of factness of bureaucratic organisation a crypto- plutocrate distribution of power and increasingly concentration of the materials of management. Despite all these shortfalls, the bureaucracy is inevitable, irrepressible and inescapable according to Max Weber.

Question 6.
Write a note on the contribution to sociological thought by Wax Weber.
Answer:
Max Weber’s Contribution. Max Weber has been held as the sociologist of highest order and a man of a eellence. In the opinion of Raymond Aron, “Max Weber is the grea of sociologist. I would even say that he is the sociologist. I shall not attempt to argue the truth of this opinion, which is affirmed to jay by the – majority of sociologists the world over.”

On the other hand, there are thinkers like Bendix, who call Weber’s sociological ideas as premature. To quote Bendix, “A final assessment of Weber’s importance is premature. Comparison of Weber’s work with that of Marx and Freud shows that his work lacks the central idea or theorem that could have served as the nucleus for the development of a school, nor does it have the same direct intellec¬tual impact on the modern weltanschaung that theirs does. Yet in the •development of the social sciences, Weber’s influence may in the end surpass that of Marx or Freud He developed a remarkably probing and sympathetic understanding of alike world views, while affirming the cultural significance of his own civilization. Such work may well become increasingly relevant to the generation now growing to matu¬rity, as it must come to terms with a world in which the values of western civilization are challenged.”

Max Weber in his writings dealt with historical factors in such a way that it came to profoundly well on that score. His manner of dealing with historical aspects in such a “conceptual precision which is unsurpassed by any historian or sociologist so far.”

The wealth of material contained in his writings the painstaking study of concrete situations and historical processes, his analysis of the structure of social action, typology of behaviour, comparative study of religious as well as economic, political and social systems and his insights into the contemporary processes of rationalisation and bureaucratization could well be used by generations of sociologists to come. None can deny the originality of ideas of Weber. A prolific writer, using extensively his preception of history, philoso¬phical tradition, religious systems and social structure, in producing a refined version of ideas relating to social phenomena.

Danniel Rossides, has given an excellent assessment of Max Weber’s ideas. To quote Max Weber, “While repudiating the Anglo-French-American tradition of monistic naturalistic positivism, Weber also repudiated the German tradition that sought knowledge about; human existence in metaphysical analysis. The unique amalgam he created out of these rival traditions may be called historical positivism. His contribution to sociological theory may be put into broader perspective by saying that he combined the instrumental concept of the human mind that emerged from the Enlightenment with Vico’s maxim that humanity can know the truth about itself because human behaviour is a human creation and therefore amenable to human understanding. Basically, Weber’s position was that science cannot lead to unified or metaphysical or suhstantialist knowledge, and that It cannot validate any system of values. His position made him unique and separated him from the essentially metaphysical tradition of modern social science, liberal and Marxian, as well as from all forms of religious and philosophical opposition to science and modernity in general.”

Unlike the conceptual reification of Karl Marx and Emile Durkheim, Mai Weber declined to conceptualise the whole social reality because it has varying complex and comprises manifold ramifications. It has attempt to give a picture of the whole social set up, Weber analysed studied structures, processes and their inter-relationships, but while doing so he retained the functional independence of elements. ‘Weber was a men of values but not a man of faith ; while he passionately uphold certain values, he insis¬ted on objectivity in scientific enterprises.’

Though Weber did not created any ‘school’ yet, his writings containing his erudite ideas has influenced every school and branch of sociology.

DU SOL BA 3rd Year History of Social Thought Notes

DU SOL BA 3rd Year History of Social Thought Notes Chapter 7 Georg Simmel (1858—1918)

DU SOL BA 3rd Year History of Social Thought Notes Chapter 7 Georg Simmel (1858—1918)

Question 1.
What is the subject matter, of sociology according to Georg Simmel ?
OR
How did Georg Simmel try to solve social problems ?
Answer:
Georg Simmel favoured comparative method as the most suitable for scientific analysis of group behaviour and held it as the core ingredient in sociological methodology. At the same time he preferred to avoid large scale analysis.

Georg Simmel was confronted with two contemporary socio-logical theories regarding the nature of society, (f) Sociological realism which regarded society as a real entity, and (n) Sociological ionisation which thought of society as a fictitious abstraction. Simmel rejected these theories and also the views of Comte and Spenser and took a rather middle path. He opined that, ‘society is neither great collective being, nor a fictitious entity, rather it exists in the process of interaction among social units,* both individuals and groups. He supported the conception that society consists of a web of patterned interactions and that the state of a genuinely scientific sociology was to study the forms of these interactions as they occur and reoccur in diverse historical periods.’ Thus according to Simmel society comprises a bunch of complex interactions between individuals.

For Simmel, the central part of study in sociology is sociation which means ‘particular patterns and forms in which men associate and interact with one another’. In comparison to other social thinkers, Simmel was practical and realistic in his approach to the study of social problems. According to him, the legitimate subject matter of sociology, entails in the description and analysis of practical forms human interaction and then crystallisation in group characteristics. To quote his words, “Sociology asks what happens to men, by what rules they behave, not in so far as they unfold then understandable individual existence in their totalities, but in so far as they form groups and are determined by the groups existence because of interaction ’.

Three forms sociology. Georg Simmel gave following three forms of sociology.

(i) General Sociology. It involves the study of a social problem or a social phenomena in .terms of development, for example^ the study of the expansion of the groups and the development of individuality conducted by Simmel.

(ii) Philosophical Sociology. Philosophy according to Simmel is not confined to a particular subject matter. Rather it is a distinct mods of treating any given subject matter, characterised of receptive¬ness to the totality being and at the same time of expressive of a fundamental attitude or world orientation on the part of the philosophizing person. Thus according to Simmel philosophical sociology studies ‘philosophy of social sciences and the study of epistemological and metaphysical aspects of society’.

(iii) Formal Sociology. It attempts to study classification and analysis of forms of sociation, being Simmel is regarded as one of the founders of formal sociology.

Simmel’s idea of Formal Sociology can be studied under follow¬ing heads :

1. Distinction between form and content. According to Simmel, formal sociology keeps away (isolates) ‘form’, from the com piexitres of ‘content’ of human sociation and attempts to generalise it higher level of abstraction. The ‘content’ of interaction includes individual drives, purposes and other motive powers. The forms of interaction on the other hand, ‘maybe thought of as basic struc¬tural configurations or abstract, analytical aspects of social unity and not concrete entities.’

2. Forms of Sociation. Sociation is a type of reciprocal relationships established by the individuals through interactions with one another. Out of the numerous forms of ‘sociation’ identified by Simmel following three are important.

(a) Dyad,
(b) Triad, and
(c) Superordination-Subordination.

(a) Dyad is the simplest form of sociation between two persons, The limitation to two members is a condition under which alone several forms of relationship exist; monogamous marriage is one of the example.

It has been emphasised by Simmel that the difference, between the dyad and larger groups consists in the fact that in dyad has a different relation to each of its two elements than have larger group o their members. The dyad is not an autonomous, super individual unit in relation to its participants.

(b) Triad occurs when a new member is added into the dyad as for instance, a child is born in a family constituting of wife and husband. this addition of a member being about profound structural changes. The third element, the child closes the circle by ying the parents to each other, strengthens the union of the two and produces a new bond between them.

Simmel writes: ‘The yad represents both the first social synthesis and unification, and irst separation and antithesis. The appearance of the third party e indicates transition conciliation and abondanment of absolute contrast although, on occassion, it introduces contrast.” The difference between triad and dyad is that fixed in it has potential existence independent’ of each of its members does not automatical dissolve the group also it is possible for two members to form a coalition against the third member. One of the special things about the analysis of dyad and triad that Simmel used this analysis not only “to explain patterns of interaction in every day life but also forms of political alliances, historical constellation and pressure group situation”.

(c) Superordination and Subordination is one of the significant form of sociation discussed by Simmel and because of this his essay, ‘Superordination and Subordination’ is termed as a classic. According to Walter, “Power in the form of subordination and superordi¬nation is a constitutive force without which society would lose its coherence. Superiority and subordination are found in every human association and they are by no means necessarily subsequent to the formation of society. It is rather one of the forms in which society comes into being.” Simmel points out that ‘societal form of superordination’ involves a sense of readiness on the point of the superordinate to consider himself bound by his own orders or words.

Georg Simmel insists that there is reciprocal relationship bet¬ween subordinate and superordinate, “rather than one of implicit obedience by the farmer and aboslute domination by the latter,” The reciprocal relation exists even in the cases* of extreme domination.

3. Social Types. Simmel evolved a large number of social types for ‘analytical purposes’. The term social types may be defined “as a conception abstracted from the structural components of a particular social relationship and involves the essential qualities of the person as well as the awareness and expectation of the status role involved.’ Simmel gave a classical treatment to the social type ‘stranger’. He wrote, “to be a stranger is naturally a very positive relation ; it is a specific form of Interaction.

The inhabitants of Sirius are not really strangers to ns, at least not in any sociologically relevant sense they do not exist for ns at all they are beyond far and near. The stranger, like the poor and like sundry “inner enemies” is an element of the group itself. His position as a full-fledged member involves both being outside it and confronting it…elements which increase distance and repel, in the relations of and with the stranger, produce a pattern of coordination and consistent interaction” In addition to this type, Simmel described in great detail such diverse types as “the mediator,” “the poor,” “the adventurer,” “the miser,” “the man in the middle,” “the modem cynic” and the “renegade”.

4. The Significance of the Numbers. Simmel in his approach to the study of society, emphasises classically the effects of sheer numerical size on the forms of sociation. The number or size of this group provides greater opportunities for interaction. He points out, “beyond a certain size, individualism and structural differentiation develop. In larger groups, face to face interaction is replaced by “formal arrangements consisting of offices, written rules and well defined tasks and responsibilities whereas interaction in small groups involves the total personality of individual members, participation in large groups is weak and restricted to a segment of personalities.”

Simmel, though emphasised the significance of numbers but was strictly against the practice to treat individuals in sociological analysis as free-standing entities—“social atomos” nor as merely social organs devoid of their integrity as persons.

Question 2.
Briefly discuss Simmers Theory of Conflict. What is its relevance today ?
Answer:
In society several forces are acting and reacting on each other and it is a continuous process. Conflict is an intense reaction and cannot be restricted in any way. As long as the people love, hate and envy each other and have unlimited desires, in the society the conflicts will continue.

Georg Simmel on Social Conflict. It is everywhere accepted that conflict is sociologically important. It helps in modifying interest groups and in them unification. Conflict cannot be carried on alone but it can be only in a group situation. According to him, the causes of conflict are hate, envy, needs, and desires. Behind every- conflict there either of the causes mentioned above must be present. Conflict aims at resolving divergent dualism and is a method of achieving some kind of unity. In the process, it is just possible that one of the parties may be eliminated. In his own words, “It is roughly parallel to the fact that it is the most violent symptom of disease which represents the efforts of the organism to free itself of disturbances and damages caused by them.”

Simmel believes that conflict resolves tensions between con¬trasts. Conflict is not always negative but it is sometimes positive. In fact both positive and negative aspects are integrated in the conflict. These can be separated only conceptually and ‘ not empirically.

According to Simmel, a harmonious group is an impossibility but that is also not always essential for life process. That is also not likely to provide a stable social structure. It is wrong to believe that opposition of one individual to another in the same asssociation is a negative factor. On the other hand, it is a way for achieving co¬existence. He has also said that if one has no power and right to oppose tyranny, one will suffer desperation which will ultimately end social relationship. According to Simmel, disagreeable circumstances get intensified if these are borne quietly without protests and there are no conflicts of views and opinions. In fact, it is conflict which provides subjective satisfactions, diversion and belief.

Unity and Discard. Unity and discard, according to Simmel, are two important interactions, but it is usually misunderstood that these two kinds of interactions tear down what the others build up. This misunderstanding arises because of two fold meaning of the concept of unity. Unity is understood usually as consensus of inter¬acting individuals as against discards. Similarly, unity is also under¬stood to mean group synthesis of persons and energies, i.e., ultimate wholeness of the group. Thus by unity we understand unitary relations and while so doing we usually forget larger meaning of the term.

Like unity, the meaning of discard is also misunderstood and this aggravates the relationship of unity and discard. Discard is understood to have negative and destructive character. According . to Simmel, “In reality, however, something which is negative and damaging between the individuals, if it is considered in isolation and as aiming in a particular direction, does not necessarily have the same affect within the total relationship of these individuals”.

He has pointed out that a different picture emerges when conflict is viewed in conjunction with other interactions not effected by discard. In that situation, the negative elements play an important positive role.

Group Membership and Conflicts. According to Simmel when a group has antagonistic relationship with a power outside the group that results in the tightening of relationship between group membership. The members of the group come closer and nearer to each other. Group consciousness and sense of unity then develops quicker and faster. Though the members of the group may other¬wise be quarrelling with each other but when they are challenged by some outside group of individual they unite to face that challenge. They then forget their internal differences. A moment comes which one decides whether co-operation of personalities in the group is possible or not. It is conflict which defines the boundaries of group against the enemy. It brings all those persons together, who otherwise , would never have come closer. It is in the process of conflict that unification is achieved. Sometimes when some elements outside one group collect the other group considers that as a step towards conflict and disharmony.

Simmel has opined that it is a common knowledge that when two nations come in conflict with each other the people in both the nations become more united than they would have during peace time. These states either form a federation or a confederation to face their common enemy. The stales can also completely unite. The unity can be either because of conflict or for the purpose of conflict. It does not end when the conflict is over. It is because some other interests develop, which had not come to the force when the conflict started. Conflict, he feels in significant because it helps in the articulation of latent relation and unity. It is also important because it helps in bringing group unity.

Conflict and Unification. In every society conflict is unavoidable, but every individual or group of individuals wishes to come out victorious out of the conflict situation. When a group is in conflict with an outside group, the need for unity and unification is badly felt. This need is badly felt when the group is not homo¬geneous. In the process, the number of conflicting groups is very much reduced.

This association of groups can be for single or multiactions. In the former case unity comes without residue. In that irrespective of the purpose for which unity was forged had been achieved or not, the members get separated. But there can be multi-action unity as well. In that the group unity continues because there is more than one purpose of conflict. Unity arising out of conflict can be lasting when the uniting parties are in a position to find out a common ground out of hostile relationship.

Sociological ‘Relevance of Conflict. For quite some time con¬flict was considered as a negation of unity and socially irrelevant. The sociologists therefore, laid no stress on the study of conflict, but studied only the individual and the society. According to Simmel, conflict is socially relevant and useful because the individual .cannot ‘attain the unity of his personally exclusively by an exhaustive harmonisation based on logical, objectives, religious or ethical norms.

On the other hand, he has held the view that contradiction and conflict not only preceded this unity but are operative in it at every moment of its existence. He has gone to the extent of saying that there is perhaps no social unit in which convergent and divergent currents among its members .are not inseparably interwoven. The discards in society are not negative, but are needed for the health of the society.

Simmel has thus very clear views about conflict. In his opinion, social conflicts are hot only unavoidable but essentially needed for waking, the society both progressive and dynamic. A perfectly harmonious society is not in the interest of the social progress and advancement.

Question 3.
Discuss Georg Simmers ideas about Human Culture.
OR
What place does Simmel assign to human culture ? Examine.
Answer:
Simmel was instinctively in favour of high culture and he himself was an example of high culture. He in spite of this, regarded modem condition of alienation and specialisation of cultural development. Each culture according to Simmel develops a multiplicity of cultural objects, these are to great extent, unrelated to each other. It is not possible for individuals to ignore these vast elements of cultural differentiation.

He writes. “Society strives to be a whole, an organic unit, of which the individuals must be mere members. Society asks of the individual that he employ all his strength in the service of the special function which he has to exercise as a member of it; that he so modify him¬self as to become the most suitable vehicle for his function. Yet the drive toward unity and wholeness that is characteristic of the individual himself rebels against this role. The individual strives to be rounded out in himself, not merely to help to round out society. He strives to develop his full capacities, irrespective of the shifts among them that the interest of society may ask of him. This conflict between the whole, which imposes the one-sideness of partial function upon its elements, and the part, which itself strives to be a whole, is insoluble.

Simmel points out that the cause of this growing alienation is the division of labour which is inevitable in the process of urbanization and industrialisation. Discussing the role of division of labour in the process of alienation, Simmel explains that it divisions the ‘creator’ from ‘creation’ so that the latter attains an autonomy of its own. By virtue of this gradual emergence of the reifiescation or objectification of cultural products; which is necessary accentuated by it. Here it sounds like the Marx philosophy of social alienation; but there exists a crucial difference for Marx alienation can be resolved in a future society based on communism; but for Simmel; the contradiction flowing from the antimony of life, hence alienation is eternal and ineradicable. Simmel very deeply studied the life of people
in metropolis.

DU SOL BA 3rd Year History of Social Thought Notes