Sociology Daily Answer Writing For Mains 2021
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Sociology Daily Answer Writing For Mains 2021
This translation of a term coined by Michel Foucault, as with so much of his work, mis- leads as much as it informs.
He does not mean ‘technologies’ at all; he means social practices (a combination of ideas and activi- ties) which encourage people to see them- selves as requiring or benefiting from the assistance of psychiatrists, thera**sts, social workers and the like in becoming ‘normal’. ‘
Confessional’ is clear in that it borrows the Catholic Church notion that the burden of sin can be removed by admitting it to a pro- fessional who has the power to prescribe rituals for its discharge.
But ‘technologies’ seems to have been chosen to remind us of Foucault’s claim that such methods of polic- ing the self are peculiarly modern.
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Why have Western Europe and the USA developed consumer cultures? British sociologist Colin Campbell, emeritus professor at the University of York, discusses this question in his important study, The Romantic Ethic and the Spirit of Modern Consumerism (1987), intended as a sequel to Max Weber’s similarly named and hugely influential The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1904–05).
Weber claims that the values of self-discipline and hard work, which lie at the heart of modern capitalist societies, have their basis in the Protestant work ethic of the 16th and 17th centuries.
Campbell, building on Weber’s work, advances the theory that the emotions and hedonistic desires that drive consumer culture are firmly rooted in the ideals of 19th-century Romanticism, which followed on the heels of the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution.
The Enlightenment conceived of individuals as rational, hard-working, and self-disciplined. But the Romantics saw this as a denial of the very essence of humanity. They stressed intuition above reason, and believed that the individual should be free to pursue hedonistic pleasures and new and exciting feelings.
The Romantic ethic was inculcated into and carried forward by the burgeoning middle class, and by women in particular, Campbell argues. Within consumer culture this ethic is expressed as a self-perpetuating loop: individuals project their desire for pleasure and novelty onto consumer goods; they then purchase and make use of those goods; but the appeal of the product quickly diminishes as the novelty factor and initial excitement fade; the desire for excitement, fulfilment, and novelty is then projected onto, and re-stimulated by, new consumer items. And so the cycle of consumption, fleeting fulfilment, and ultimate disillusionment, repeats itself.
In his influential book on industrial society, Alienation and Freedom: The Factory Worker and His Industry (1964), US sociologist Robert Blauner draws heavily on Marx’s concept of alienation to examine the possibility that alienation in the workplace can be significantly reduced by the effective use of technology.
Blauner claims alienation is central to understanding the negative impact of automation on workers during and after the Industrial Revolution. His text critically assesses Marx’s claim that all workers are necessarily alienated due to the increased automation of work.
Blauner suggests, on the contrary, that automation can actually facilitate, empower, and liberate workers. Using a wide range of data (including statistics, interviews with workers, and attitudinal surveys), Blauner examines four types of industry: craft printing, car assembly lines, textile machine-tending, and chemical-processing. Alienation levels are tested according to four criteria: job control, social isolation, sense of self-estrangement, and meaningfulness of work.
According to his study, alienation is typically very low among print workers. He suggests that the use of machinery is empowering for these employees because it provides them with greater control and autonomy. The same is true for workers in chemical-processing plants: again, these individuals are empowered, he proposes, because they possess expert knowledge of the relevant technology, which in turn is meaningful and fulfilling because it furnishes them with a significant degree of control over their work experience and environment.
By contrast, the automated technology used in car production and in textile factories leads to relatively high levels of alienation.
These findings seem to contradict Blauner’s claim that greater automation diminishes alienation. To explain this, however, he argues that it is not technology itself that alienates workers, but a lack of control over the way it is used, how work is organized, and the nature of the relationships between workers and management.
Blauner concludes that under the right organizational conditions, automation increases the worker’s control over his work process and diminishes a sense of alienation in equal measure.
Labor and Monopoly Capital is considered a classic contribution to the discipline of sociology, but it is the only academic book that Braverman ever wrote. The book’s influence on the application of critical Marxist thinking to the empirical study of industrial work has been profound. Like Marx, Braverman never held a university post and it is perhaps for this very reason that he was able, without fear of censorship, to write such a penetrating and biting critique of the injustices of industrial capitalism and their impact on the majority of the workforce. While Braverman was not the first or only thinker to identify and denounce the relationship between automation and de skilling, his work was crucial for revitalizing the analysis of work across a broad range of disciplines, including history, economics, and political science.
Since the publication of Labor and Monopoly Capital, Braverman’s ideas have continued to generate debate among sociologists of work. Writing in 1979, US sociologist Michael Burawoy was strongly supportive of Braverman’s work, as was US sociologist Michael Cooley in his study of computer-aided design. While the conviction with which Braverman presented his arguments has led to criticism from some quarters (in the work of Robert Blauner, for example), his central ideas have survived and been carried forward in the work of Manuel Castells, the highly influential Spanish sociologist of globalization and the network society.
"Marxism is not hostile to science and technology… but to how they are used as weapons of domination."
Rich challenges preconceptions about what a le***an is – it is not someone who hates men or sleeps with women, but simply a woman who loves women.
This idea is known as “political le***anism”: Rich and others saw it as a form of resistance to patriarchy rather than simply a s*xual preference.
Lesbianism can, then, be placed on a continuum, which includes those who are s*xually attracted to women and those who may be heteros*xual but are politically connected to other women.
Suggest that, far from being natural, heteros*xuality is imposed on women and must be seen as a system of power that encourages false binary thinking – heteros*xual/homos*xual, man/woman – in which “heteros*xual” and “man” is privileged over “homos*xual” and “woman”. Compulsory heteros*xuality, she says, presents “scripts” to us that are templates for how we conduct relationships and “perform” our gender. We are, for example, encouraged to think of men as being s*xually active and women as s*xually passive, even though there are no studies to prove this. Women are therefore expected, according to Rich, to behave in restrictive ways, as passive and dependent on men; behaviour that does not conform to these expectations is considered deviant and dangerous. Sexually active women, for instance, are labelled as abnormal or called promiscuous.
The first step toward becoming rational is to understand our fundamental irrationality.
In July 2016, residents of four border villages (Muthian Wali, Channan Wala, Chudiwala Chisti and Kerian) in Fazilka district announced a campaign for ‘Vikta Punjab’, seeking to sell all four villages and their associated land to the highest bidder, given the woeful scenario of poor soil and lack of irrigation. Ninety-nine per cent of the residents of the villages face heavy debt, with increasing crop failure pushing them to bankruptcy and potential su***de.
‘A farmer cannot work without applying his mind. He must be able to test the nature of his soil, must watch changes of weather, must know how to manipulate his plough skilfully and be generally familiar with the movements of the stars, the sun and the moon. The farmer knows enough of astronomy, geography and geology to serve his needs. Physically, it goes without saying, he is always sturdy. He is his own physician, when ill. Thus, we can see, he does have an educated mind.’ — Mahatma Gandhi1
HOW TO TACKLE RURAL DISTRESS
There are other ways to mitigate their plight. We need more subsidies on the purchase of agricultural equipment, fertilizers and pesticides, along with expanding medical insurance coverage.
In addition, the scope of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) could be increased. Allowing marginal farmers to be paid for tilling their own fields could reduce their input costs; they can’t afford other agricultural labourers and find it socially awkward to till someone else’s field.
Such measures could increase their net income, while reducing the scope of rural distress. Small steps like these can make a meaningful contribution to their lot.
Institutional support for mitigating the plight of farmers has been provided in various forms since Independence.
The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) was established in 1982, seeking to provide financing support to tube well irrigation, farm mechanization and other ancillary activities.
The institution of a nationwide agriculture loan waiver in 1990 had a deleterious impact, breeding credit indiscipline and hampering rural credit growth.
The 2004– 05 Union budget sought to double agricultural credit, while a 2 per cent interest subvention was provided in 2006, allowing farmers to avail of Kisan Credit Card (KCC) loans at per cent per annum (up to 3 lakh). Another agricultural loan waiver was provided in 2009, just prior to the Lok Sabha elections.
Small and marginal farmers certainly deserve greater support from the government.
However, India’s historic agricultural policy has disincentivized the creation of a formal credit culture amongst Indian farmers. If waivers are so common, why would any farmer seek to pay off their loan on time?
Things make us just as much as we make things
Methodological Pluralism and the Possibilities and Limits of Interviewing - Qualitative Sociology
Methodological Pluralism and the Possibilities and Limits of Interviewing - Qualitative Sociology Against the background of recent methodological debates pitting ethnography against interviewing, this paper offers a defense of the latter and argues for methodological pluralism and pragmatism and against methodological tribalism. Drawing on our own work and on other sources, we discuss some of th...
Delphy sees capitalism and patriarchy as two distinct social systems, both of which share the appropriation of labour, and which influence and shape each other.
Her materialist feminist approach to the family marks a departure from earlier forms of feminist analysis, which did not consider the role of capitalism.
Liberty is portrayed as a woman in France, as in Eugène Delacroix’s painting depicting the July Revolution of 1830.
Yet Frenchwomen did not gain the vote until 1944.
“The idea of the incapability of women is… in this enlightened age, totally inadmissible.”
Judith Sargent Murray
The word “salon” was first used in France in the 17th century, derived from the Italian salone, meaning “large hall”. Catherine de Vivonne, the marquise de Rambouillet (1588–1665), was one of the first women to establish a salon, located at her Paris home in a room that became known as the Chambre bleu (Blue Room). Her success as a literary hostess inspired women to adopt roles of intellectual and social leadership as salonnières. Salons provided a respectable space in which women could exhibit their intellectual curiosity. At first, they featured discussions about literary works, then drew both men and women into discourse about political thought and scientific ideas. Salons thrived across Europe throughout the 18th century, including the scientific salon hosted by Julie von Bondeli in Bern, Switzerland, and the literary salon of Henriette Herz, an emancipated Jewish woman, in Berlin, Germany.
One of the first women to declare publicly that women deserved the same rights as men was Swedish writer Sophia Elisabet Brenner, an educated aristocrat. In 1693, she had published the poem “The justified defence of the female s*x”, asserting women were intellectually equal to men, and in 1719, in a poem to Queen Ulrika Eleonora of Sweden, she argued that men and women were the same except for outward appearance.
Sociologists identify three main “waves”, or time periods, of feminism, with some feminists hailing a fourth wave in the second decade of the 21st century. Each wave has been triggered by specific catalysts, although some view the metaphor as problematic, reducing each wave to a single goal when feminism is a constantly evolving movement with a wide spectrum of aims.
The goals of first-wave feminism dominated the feminist agenda in the US and Europe in the mid-19th century, and arose from the same libertarian principles as the drive to abolish slavery. Early feminists (mainly educated, white, middle-class women) demanded the vote, equal access to education, and equal rights in marriage. First-wave feminism lasted until around 1920, by which time most Western countries had granted women the right to vote.
With energy centred on the war effort during World War II (1939–45), it was not until the 1960s that a second wave began to flourish, nonetheless influenced by writings that emerged during the war period. The slogan “the personal is political” encapsulated the thinking of this new wave.
Women identified that the legal rights gained during the first wave had not led to any real improvement in their everyday lives, and they shifted their attention to reducing inequality in areas from the workplace to the family, to speaking candidly about s*xual “norms”. Spurred on by the revolutionary climate of the 1960s, the second wave has been identified with the fearless Women’s Liberation Movement, which further sought to identify and to put an end to female oppression.
While new courses in feminist theory at universities examined the roots of oppression and analysed the shaping of ideas of gender, grassroots organizations sprang up to tackle injustices. Women wrenched back control of childbirth from the male-dominated medical profession, fought for the right to legal abortion, and stood up to physical assault.
The vitality of the second wave waned during the 1980s, weakened by factionalism and the increasingly conservative political climate. Yet the ’80s saw an emergence of black feminism (also termed “womanism”) and the idea of intersectionality – a recognition of the multiple barriers faced by women of colour, which feminism, dominated by white, middle-class women, had failed to address. This concept, first put forward in 1989 by Kimberlé Crenshaw, resonated not only in the US and UK, but also across former colonial countries worldwide.
When American feminist Rebecca Walker responded to the acquittal of an alleged ra**st in the early 1990s, she vocalized the need for a third wave, arguing that women still needed liberation, and not just the equality that postfeminists thought had already been achieved. The third wave comprised diverse and often conflicting strands. Areas of division included attitudes towards “raunch culture” (overtly s*xual behaviour) as an expression of s*xual freedom, the inclusion of trans women in the movement, and the debate over whether feminist goals can be achieved in a capitalist society. This rich exchange of ideas continued into the new millennium, aided by feminist blogs and social media. Addressing issues from s*xual harassment in the workplace to the gender pay gap, feminism is more relevant now than it ever has been.
For centuries, women have been speaking out about the inequalities they face as a result of their s*x. However, “feminism” as a concept did not emerge until 1837, when Frenchman Charles Fourier first used the term féminisme.
Its use caught on in Britain and the US during the ensuing decades, where it was used to describe a movement that aimed to achieve legal, economic, and social equality between the s*xes, and to end s*xism and the oppression of women by men.
As a consequence of differing aims and levels of inequality across the globe, various strands of what constitutes feminism exist.
DNA is a highly stable molecule, but sometimes mistakes, known as mutations, occur. These can be in the form of an error, duplication, or omission in the order of the nucleotides A, C, G, and T. Mutation can be spontaneous – the result of errors that occur when the DNA is copied – or may be induced by external influences such as exposure to radiation or cancer-causing chemicals. Some mutations have no effect, but others may change what the gene produces or inhibit the functioning of a gene. This can lead to problems in the organism as a whole. Examples of disorders caused by gene mutations include cystic fibrosis and sickle-cell disease. Although many mutations are harmful, occasionally a mutation will confer an advantage on an individual, enabling it to survive in its environment better than others of the same species. This type of mutation may end up being passed on through the process of natural selection. Over many generations, mutation is a mechanism for diversification, survival of the fittest, and ultimately evolution.
Geological discoveries in the late 17th and early 18th centuries began to challenge the idea of essentialism. Geologists noted that some fossil species suddenly disappeared from the geological record, to be replaced by others, suggesting that organisms change over time, and even become extinct.
The Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Lamarck proposed the first cohesive theory of evolution – the transmutation of species by the inheritance of acquired characteristics – in 1809. However, some 50 years later it was Charles Darwin – influenced by his experiences on the epic expedition of HMS Beagle – and Alfred Russel Wallace, who developed the concept of evolution by means of natural selection, the theory that organisms evolve over the course of generations to adapt better to their environment.
Darwin and Wallace did not understand the mechanism by which this happened, but Gregor Mendel’s experiments on peas pointed at the role of hereditary factors later known as genes, representing another giant leap in evolutionary theory.
For while the headlines and popular debate suggest it is politics, technology, and economics that are the vital forces shaping our common future, it is in the end ecology that is the most important context determining societies’ prospects, and indeed the future of civilization itself.
Ambedkar’s scepticism about the potential of village democracy in India is echoed in the works of scholars like Jürgen Habermas.
Habermas views deliberation as rooted in equality, rationality and a free exchange of ideas.
Despite Amartya Sen’s strong belief in India’s argumentative traditions, the deliberative nature of India’s democracy has been under threat for some time. Our legislative bodies do not meet, and when they do, rarely engage in robust debates over policy.
The sixteenth Lok Sabha only sat for 331 days—way below the average. The total number of working hours of the Lok Sabha in the last fifteen years is roughly half of what it was in the first fifteen years of our democracy. The trend of important policies being sanctioned by executive fiat rather than legislative deliberation has only steadily risen over the years.
The advent of the Internet and social media has meant that millions of people interact with each other and debate issues every day. While it was supposed to lead to a more informed public, more citizen-led forms of engagement and a democratization of the media, we don’t seem to have a surge of better or more informed thinking about important issues.
It has only led to superficial thinking, and unthinking adoption of ideological positions, marked with parochialism, sectarianism and racism.
"Women’s domesticity is a circle of learnt deprivation and induced subjugation."
Oakley’s studies reveal that women report feelings of alienation from their work more frequently than factory workers.
This is due in part to their sense of social isolation as housewives – many of them had careers before marriage, which they subsequently gave up. These women, Oakley says, have no autonomy or control; responsibility for the work is theirs alone and if it is not done they risk an angry husband or sick children.
Viewed in this way, housework prevents women from reaching their full potential. Oakley’s findings remain significant today: recent research by, among others, British sociologist Caroline Gatrell shows that 40 years later women are still doing most of the housework, despite engaging more in paid employment.
"People marry for… love and get divorced for… love."
Ulrich Beck & Elisabeth Beck-Gernsheim
According to Giddens, in the past, when marriages were economic partnerships rather than love matches, expectations were lower and disappointments fewer.
Now that men and women are increasingly compelled to reflexively create their identity through day-to-day decisions, Giddens argues that they are able to choose partnerships on a basis of mutual understanding, leading to what he describes as “pure relationships” – entered for their own sake and only continuing while both parties are happy.
Such partnerships, he says, bring greater equality between individuals and challenge traditional gender roles.
Individualization has facilitated new forms of personal and social experimentation. The couple’s views echo those of Anthony Giddens who, in The Transformation of Intimacy (1992), argues that in contemporary society we make our identity rather than inherit it. Such a change has, he says, altered how we experience the family and s*xuality.
In an uncertain society, “stripped of its traditions and scarred by all kinds of risk”, as Beck and Beck-Gernsheim put it, love “will become more important than ever and equally impossible”.
One way in which this yearning for the past exerts itself is through the increased significance placed upon children in contemporary society.
While love between adults might be viewed as temporary and vulnerable, love for children becomes more important, with both parents investing emotionally in their children, who are seen as providing unconditional love.
In this respect, Beck and Beck-Gernsheim suggest that men may be challenging women for the role of emotional caretakers in the family. This can be seen in the increased numbers of fathers who seek custody of their children post-divorce and the rise of groups advocating equal parenting rights for fathers, such as Fathers4Justice.
The feminist academic Diana Leonard supports this view, saying that parents are “spoiling” their children with gifts to keep them close to them. Connection with the child in this context becomes ego-driven and intense, providing a feeling of permanence not found in the chaos of adult relationships.
Jeffrey Weeks, arguably the most influential British writer on s*xuality, offers a detailed historical account of how s*xuality has been shaped and regulated by society.
He sees s*xuality not so much as rooted in the body, but as a social construct that is ideologically determined.
“Queer” is still a contentious term for some. In its widest sense it includes any category that debunks the heteros*xual male–female “natural” model – not just g**s and le***ans, but transgendered people, cross-dressers, and others, including heteros*xuals who reject the “norm”.
A report by Gartner, one of the world’s leading advisory companies, highlighted ‘increased fake news’ as one of its predictions for the next few years to come. The report states that by 2022, ‘a majority of individuals in mature economies will consume more false information than true information’.
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