Aiou Solved Assignments code 4682 Autumn & Spring 2020 asignments 1 and 2 Introduction to Sociological Theory I (4682) code 4682 spring 2021.
AIOU Solved Assignments 1 & 2 Code 4682 Autumn & Spring 2020
Course: Sociological Theory I (4682)
Semester:Autumn & Spring 2020
Level: M. Sc (Sociology)
ASSIGNMENT No. 1
Q. 1 Explain the criteria of sociological theory. Does sociological theory is a set of intentionally constructed propositions? Elaborate.
Sociologists develop theories to explain social phenomena. Aÿtheoryÿis a proposed relationship between two or moreÿconcepts. In other words, a theory is explanation for why or how a phenomenon occurs. An example of a sociological theory is the work of Robert Putnam on the decline ofÿcivic engagement.ÿPutnam found that Americans involvement in civic life (e.g., community organizations, clubs, voting, religious participation, etc.) has declined over the last 40 to 60 years. While there are a number of factors that contribute to this decline (Putnam’s theory is quite complex), one of the prominent factors is the increased consumption of television as a form entertainment. Putnam’s theory proposes:
The more television people watch, the lower their involvement in civic life will be.
This element of Putnam’s theory clearly illustrates the basic purpose of sociological theory: it proposes a relationship between two or more concepts. In this case, the concepts areÿcivic engagementÿandÿtelevision watching.ÿThe relationship is anÿinverseÿone – as one goes up, the other goes down. What’s more, it is an explanation of one phenomenon with another: part of the reason why civic engagement has declined over the last several decades is because people are watching more television. aiou solved assignments code 4682,
In short, Putnam’s theory clearly encapsulates the key ideas of a sociological theory. Sociological theory is developed at multiple levels, ranging fromÿgrand theoryÿto highly contextualized and specificÿmicro-range theories. There are manyÿmiddle-rangeÿandÿmicro-rangeÿtheories in sociology. Because such theories are dependent on context and specific to certain situations, it is beyond the scope of this text to explore each of those theories. The purpose of this chapter is to introduce some of the more well-known and most commonly used grand and middle-range theories in sociology.
AIOU Solved Assignments 1 Code 4681 Autumn & Spring 2020
Importance of Theory
In the theory proposed above, the astute reader will notice that the theory includes two components: The data, in this case the findings that civic engagement has declined and TV watching has increased, and the proposed relationship, that the increase in television viewing has contributed to the decline in civic engagement. Data alone are not particularly informative. If Putnam had not proposed a relationship between the two elements of social life, we may not have realized that television viewing does, in fact, reduce people’s desire to and time for participating in civic life. In order to understand the social world around us, it is necessary to employ theory to draw the connections between seemingly disparate concepts.
Another example of sociological theorizing illustrates this point. In his now classic work, Suicide, Emile Durkheim was interested in explaining a social phenomenon, suicide, and employed both data and theory to offer an explanation. By aggregating data for large groups of people in Europe, Durkheim was able to discern patterns in suicide rates and connect those patterns with another concept (or variable): religious affiliation. Durkheim found that Protestants were more likely to commit suicide than were Catholics. At this point, Durkheim’s analysis was still in the data stage; he had not proposed an explanation for the different suicide rates of the two groups. It was when Durkheim introduced the ideas of anomie and social solidarity that he began to explain the difference in suicide rates. Durkheim argued that the looser social ties found in Protestant religions lead to weaker social cohesion and reduced social solidarity. The higher suicide rates were the result of weakening social bonds among Protestants.
While Durkheim’s findings have since been criticized, his study is a classic example of the use of theory to explain the relationship between two concepts. Durkheim’s work also illustrates the importance of theory: without theories to explain the relationship between concepts, we would not be able to hypothesize cause and effect relationships in social life or outline processes whereby social events and patterns occur. And to propose cause and effect relationships and / or outline processes in social experience are the major components of sociological theory.
AIOU Solved Assignments 2 Code 4681 Autumn 2019
Types of Sociological theory:
Every sociologist has its own classification but most of them are agreed on the following various types of sociological theory.
Formal & Informal Theories
Formal theories are based on the structured and organized set of assumptions and propositions which are derived through systematic and Scientific Methods. Formal theories are open for verification in the field. In formal social theories are unstructured and unorganized based on the individual personal thinking and likes and dislikes. No strict logic and scientific methods are used in informal theories.
Descriptive & Explanatory Theories
The descriptive theories are simple and theoretical which gives answer to the questions, what, how, and where. Explanatory theories are clear, specific and logical. It gives explanatory theories are clear, specific and logical. It gives explanation through cause and effect relationship between two independent and dependent variables. These theories gives full explanation of the concepts.
Ideological & Scientific Theories
Ideological theories are based on some ideologies. It is a biased type of theories and qualifies the philosophy of biasness. It have its own aims and contents those particular contents which are in favour and support the some ideology while it does not contain. The propositions which goes against its philosophy. Scientific theories are empirically testable, objective and neutral and also is a source of information. These theories are based on scientific observations and philosophy.
Intuitive & Objective Theories
Intuitive means immediate understanding without reasoning. These theories are based on the personal experience and long concentration of the scholar. In intuitive theory the contents cannot be repeated by scholar in a particular discipline. Intuition has been a source of many discoveries and inventions both in natural and social services but this cannot be repeated by an average researcher. The objective theories maintain the fundamental requirements of objectivity of all costs. The researcher or scholar does not include his personal feelings and attitudes into the theory. The researcher remains a neutral person and deeps the objectivity of the theory in mind. These are basically the experimental theories.
Inductive & Deductive Theories
In sociology the inductive theories are used commonly. These are based on observations. Inductive theories focus on from particular to general. Deductive theories are based on classical logic and self-evident truth. It focus on from general to particular.
Microscopic & Macroscopic Theories
The microscopic theories study the minutes things. These theories focus on a few individuals, small groups, role, status etc. These theories goes into depth and study the small things thoroughly. While the macroscopic theories are general theories which covering all human societies. These study things at large and high level. These theories work on the global basis and making generalization.
Structural Functional & Conflict Theories
Structural functional theories are the explanation of functionalist who are trying to bring order, integration, equilibrium and harmony in the social structure. These theories gives explanation about the structural aspects of a social situation and describes that how the normative order is functioning is that social structure. Dynamic aspects of the social phenomena. The normative order is consider as a problem and social system is not based on harmony, peace and order. There exists opposition, conflict and tension in the social structure. So, these theories defines the conflict aspect and situation of the social system. We conclude from the above discussion that every types of sociological theory is workable in a given time and place. All types of social theories are very important for the structure and function of a social system.
AIOU Solved Assignments Sociological Theory I Code 4681 Autumn & Spring 2020
Q. 2 Define Functionalism. Discuss organismic analogy by structural functionalist theorists.
Functionalism is a sociological theory that attempts to explain why society functions the way it does by focusing on the relationships between the various social institutions that make up society (e.g., government, law, education, religion, etc).
The structural-functional approach is a perspective in sociology that sees society as a complex system whose parts work together to promote solidarity and stability. It asserts that our lives are guided by social structures, which are relatively stable patterns of social behavior. Social structures give shape to our lives – for example, in families, the community, and through religious organizations. And certain rituals, such as a handshake or complex religious ceremonies, give structure to our everyday lives. Each social structure has social functions, or consequences for the operation of society as a whole. Education, for example, has several important functions in a society, such as socialization, learning, and social placement.
Thus, one of the key ideas in Structural Functionalism is that society is made-up of groups or institutions, which are cohesive, share common norms, and have a definitive culture. Robert K. Merton argued that functionalism is about the more static or concrete aspects of society, institutions like government or religions. However, any group large enough to be a social institution is included in Structural Functionalist thinking, from religious denominations to sports clubs and everything in between. Structural Functionalism asserts that the way society is organized is the most natural and efficient way for it to be organized.
Gender inequality offers a good illustration. According to Structural Functionalist thought, women being subordinate to men allows the cogs of society to function smoothly as everyone in the society knows his or her respective position in the hierarchy. The implication, of course, is that, because society is functioning smoothly with gender stratification, such stratification is acceptable and efforts should not be made to change the arrangement. This example illustrates that Structural Functionalism is generally seen as being supportive of the status quo.
Another key characteristic of Structural Functionalism is that it views society as constantly striving to be at a state of equilibrium, which suggests there is an inherent drive within human societies to cohere or stick together. This is known as the cohesion issue. Societies strive toward equilibrium, not through dictatorial mandate by the leaders of society but rather because the social structure of societies encourages equilibrium.
For example, Jim Crow laws in the southern United States were a formalized version of informal structural advantages that empowered whites. Because of the history of slavery in the southern United States, whites had amassed more wealth than blacks. During slavery, whites controlled the government and all of the major institutions in the South. After slavery ended, whites continued to control many of these institutions, but because they were outnumbered in some areas by blacks, threatening their dominance, they instituted formal laws, Jim Crow laws, that allowed them to maintain their structural advantages. And whites were able to pass these laws because they already controlled many of the social institutions instrumental in the passage of laws (e.g., courts, government, businesses, etc.). Thus, the advantages whites had prior to a change in society allowed them to maintain their advantages after the change through both informal and formal means because of the structure of society.
Structural Functionalism does much to explain why certain aspects of society continue as they always have, despite some phenomena being clearly less beneficial for society as a whole (e.g., Jim Crow laws). However, Structural Functionalism falls short in explaining opposition to social institutions and social structure by those being oppressed.
Organismic analogy by Herbert Spencer:
It is said that Spencer undertook to create what Comte envisaged to do. It means he made sociology an all encompassing Science. Spencer was a self-thought man and hence his learning was highly selective. According to Herbert Spencer, Society is not merely a collection of individuals; it is more than that; just as an organism is more than a mere collection of cells. He established the hypothesis that society is like a biological organism and then proceeded to defend it against all objections with great logical force.
The Organic analogy which is a staple of ancient and medieval thought was reformulated by Spencer. He regarded the recognition of the similarity between society and organism as the first step towards a general theory of evolution. The same definition of life applies to both biological and social organism.
?Only when one sees that the transformation passed through during the growth, maturity and decay of a society, conforms to the same principles as do the transformations passed through by aggregates of all orders, in-organic, organic is there reached the concept of sociology as a science.?
Spencer maintains that we can understand society best, if we compare it with an organism. He thinks that society is like a biological system, a greater organism, alike in its structure and its functions. Like an organism society is subject to the same process of gradual growth or development from a simple to complex state. Like any organism, society also exhibits ?differentiation in functions and integration structure.? In this connection, it must be noted that Spencer does not subscribe to the view that society is an organism; he maintains it only as an analogy.
AIOU Solved Assignments Sociological Theory I Autumn & Spring 2020
Q. 3 What is the AGIL scheme of Talcott Parsons? Elaborate and discuss with reference to the progress and development of Pakistani society.
Talcott Parsons has suffered from his success. He was the chief exponent of the US-style structural-functionalism that has come closest yet to constituting a Kuhnian dominant paradigm for sociology. HisÿThe Social Systemÿwasÿtheÿtext through the 1950s and ?60s. The rejection of his work since has in my view been overdone: to fly high is to risk falling fast. Who reads Parsons now?
As with most theorists, Parsons? work evolved, his early work merely sowing the seeds for later displays. We are all of us entitled to learn and amend or revise our stances. From the outset Parsons opposed positivist social science, primarily because it failed to recognize the purposeful nature of human action. He sought an approach that acknowledged that people are both ?goal-oriented? and ?constrained?. The notion ofÿsocial systemÿbecame central to his thought and provides the focus for this blog. A social system denotes a durable organization of interaction between ?actors? and ?contexts?; and its reach extends from mundane or everyday micro-systems to macro-level systems like the nation-state and global society.
Social systems are structured, Parsons maintained in 1951 inÿThe Social System, by ?value patterns? without which actors? behaviour would be directionless. Value patterns, in turn, are structured by ?pattern variables?.ÿPattern variables refer to universal dichotomies that represent the basic choices underlying social interaction.ÿThere are four of these dichotomies:
universalism versus particularism: actors relate to others on the basis of general criteria or criteria unique or specific to the individual concerned;
performance versus quality: actors relate to others on the basis of criteria of performance or ?achievement? or criteria of some form of endowment of ?ascription?;
specificity versus diffuseness: actors relate to others for a specific, restricted purpose or in a general or holistic manner;
affective neutrality versus affectivity: actors relate to each other in a detached or instrumental fashion or with the engagement of affect and emotion.
Parsons argued that modern society or ?modernity? has seen a general shift in favour of universalism, performance, specificity and affective neutrality.
Social systems are also characterized by needs of ?functional prerequisities?. If the notion of pattern variables addresses the voluntaristric dimension in Parsons? work, that of functional prerequisities refers to the extent to which people?s relations to others are embedded in or constrained by social subsystems.
Social systems can only exist, Persons contends, if four functional prerequisities are satisfied:
adaptationÿ(A): that is, to the external or natural environment;
goal-attainmentÿ(G): or the mobilization of resources to meet relevant ends;
integrationÿ(I): or the achievement of regulation and coordination for coherence and stability;
latencyÿor ?pattern maintenance?(L): or the provision of means to sustain the motivational energy of actors.
This is Parsons?ÿAGIL? scheme. Social systems that develop institutions capable of performing all four AGIL functions enjoy an evolutionary advantage over their rivals.
This is nowhere near the end of Parsons? ?Germanic? predisposition for schema or typologies! He argues that in modernity the macro-level social system of the nation-state can be divided into four subsystems as follows:
theÿeconomicÿsubsystem is concerned withÿadaptation;
theÿpoliticalÿsubsystem is concerned withÿgoal-attainment;
theÿsocial communityÿsubsystem is concerned withÿintegration;
theÿculturalÿsubsystem is concerned withÿlatencyÿor pattern maintenance. Aiou Solved Assignments code 4682
Furthermore, the AGIL-scheme and the patterns variables are interrelated. To take an example, subsystems like the economy, where adaptation is the functional prerequisite, are characterized by universalism, performance, specificity and affective neutrality. On the other hand, subsystems like social community, where integration is the functional prererquisite, are characterized by particularism, quality, diffuseness and affectivity.
And there is more. Returning to the issue of the evolution to modernity, and sticking with the macro-level subsystem of the nation-state, Parsons introduces another family of concepts:ÿdifferentiation,ÿadaptive upgrading,ÿinclusionÿandÿvalue generalization. In hisÿSocial Theory in the Twentieth Century, Baert shows how it all binds together in Parsons? theory:
?First, with time, a process of ?differentiation? occurs in that different functions are fulfilled by subsystems within the social system ? Second, with differentiation goes the notion of ?adaptive upgrading?. This means that each differentiated subsystem has more adaptive capacity compared to the non-differentiated system out of which it emerged. Third, modern societies tend to rely upon a new system of integration. Process differentiation implies a more urgent need for special skills. This can only be accommodated by moving from a status based on ?ascription? to a status based on ?achievement?. This implies the ?inclusion? of previously excluded groups. Fourth, a differentiated society needs to deploy a value system that incorporates and regulates the different subsystems. This is made possible through ?value generalization?: the values are pitched at a higher level in order to direct activities and functions in various subsystems.?
The thrust of Parsonian structural-functionalism can be illustrated in a number of different sociological fields. In this pr‚cis of a blog I will visit the sociology of the professions, health and of sport.
Parsons? structural-functionalism and his concept of pattern variables actually grew out of his study of professions. Professions are not only, even primarily, ?self-interested economic actors? he maintained: rather, they are regulated by a normative code of conduct towards clients. There is a stability to doctor-patient relations that is simply inexplicable in terms of the market. In fact the role of the postwar US physician epitomized modernity?s trend towards universalism, performance, specificity and affective neutrality. Aiou Solved Assignments code 4682
And this wasÿfunctionalÿfor the physician-patient relationship, the more so since both physician and patient were committed to terminating rather than building and consolidating their relationship.
Alongside his analysis of the physician?s role Parsons wrote of what he called the ?sick role mechanism?. The problem of health, he argued, ?is intimately involved with the functional prerequisities of the social system?. Health, in other words, is not just functional for the individualÿbut for the social system too. Too low a level of population health, too high a level of illness, is dysfunctional because illness undermines the effective performance of social roles. Illness, which Parsons actually felt had a psychic dimension, is therefore a form of ?social deviance? that needs to be managed. The sick role, entry to which is overseen by physicians, affords rights (not to be blamed and to be temporarily relieved of normal responsibilities) but also carries obligations (to be motivated to get well and to seek expert help). Thus physicians ?police? the citizenry in general, and the workforce in particular, to ensure they continue to satisfy system requirements. Aiou Solved Assignments code 4682
Now a no less annotated example from the field of sport. A structural-functional analysis of football has used the AGIL scheme to suggest that football can be viewed as a social system. The rules of football fit in with Parsons? functional prerequisities plausibly enough: training rules and regimes serve an adaptive function; the technical rules of football promote goal-attainment; rules of refereeing assist integration; and rules of competition and eligibility meet the requirement of latency or pattern maintenance. More generally, Parsonian structural-functionalism helped sociologists to consider sport (1) as a social institution reflective of the wider society, and (2) in terms of its relations with other institutions. Modern sport, it has been suggested, has five basic functions: (a) aÿsocio-economic, contributing to the maintenance of psychosocial stability; (b)ÿsocialization, aiding the transmission of cultural beliefs and norms; (c)ÿintegrative, facilitating the harmonious integration of disparate individuals and groups; (d)ÿpolitical, serving ideological needs; and (e)ÿsocial mobility, acting as a promise and source of upward social mobility. Aiou Solved Assignments code 4682,
What does this all amount toÿin a sentence? Ok, I know that far too much has been left out! My suggestion would be that while Parsons? functionalist agenda (via Spencer and Durkheim) remains more than suspect, his contention that social systems have their own ?logics? and operate ?behind people?s backs? and ?beneath-the-surface? is important. While it has often been said that individuals are sacrificed to systems in Parsons? structural-functionalism, there has been an ideologically expedient tendency in today?s neo-liberal ?individualistic? world to neglect social structure and the systemic properties of society. We are done to as well as doing! Check out Talcott Parsons.
AIOU Solved Assignments Autumn & Spring 2020 Code 4681
Q. 4 Discuss in detail the contribution of Robert K. Merton towards the explanation of society?
Robert King Merton (July 4, 1910 ? February 23, 2003) was a distinguished American sociologist, who spent most of his career teaching at Columbia University.
He coined several phrases that entered into common parlance, including “self-fulfilling prophecy” and “unintended consequences.” His work included development of the concept of anomie, derived from Emile Durkheim. Merton, however, focused on the discontinuity between cultural goals and the legitimate means available for reaching them. Applied to the United States, he saw the American dream as an emphasis on the goal of monetary success but without the corresponding emphasis on the legitimate avenues to achieve this goal. Merton recognized that this imbalance leads to “strain,” which in turn may generate deviant, even criminal behavior. His theories have been applied in the area of criminology, to understand causes of criminal behavior, and in the development of government programs, such as affirmative action, that seek to redress the balance between society’s goals and the means by which all members of the society can achieve them. Aiou Solved Assignments code 4682
Through his research into the dysfunctions in society, Merton’s goal was to contribute to the betterment of human society and improvement in the lives of all its members.
Merton (1938) concluded that Americans were socialised into believing in the American Dream; that a consensus existed about what people’s social goals should be: success and material wealth.ÿ However, equal access to those goals did not exist: there was aÿstrain between the socially-encouraged goals of society and the socially-acceptable means to achieve them.
People were socialised into believing that to achieve the American Dream they had to work hard and they would succeed because the society was a meritocracy.ÿ Individuals made various adaptations in response to this strain, some of which were likely to lead to crime. The different adaptations were based on either accepting or rejecting the means and/or the goals:
So while some people will conform, work hard and try to achieve success despite the difficulties, others will adapt.ÿ The clearest adaptation that might lead to criminal activity is that of the innovator: they still want the material success, but they don’t want to work hard at school so they find another route to their ends. While this might mean appearing on X Factor, it could also be robbing a bank.ÿ Either could lead to a criminal record. Aiou Solved Assignments code 4682,
Some might reject both the means and the goal, and drop out of society altogether. These are the retreatists, and Merton thought they might commit crimes such as illegal drug use. The other adaptation that might lead to criminal behaviour is rebellion: some people might want to replace the means and the goals with new ones and this could, in some cases, lead to illegal protest or political violence.
While Durkheim’s concept of anomie was rather vague, Merton explains the idea in quite a detailed way: as the product of a strain between socially-accepted goals and the socially-accepted means to achieve them. While Merton’s theory was based on 20thÿcentury America, it is transferable to any contemporary, western, developed capitalist society. Aiou Solved Assignments code 4682,
Merton does not consider the source of social goals, nor in whose interests society is socialised into believing. Marxists would argue that the former is bourgeois ideology; that the latter is in the interests of capitalism. Everyone wants money to purchase consumer goods; they’re also socialised into believing the best way to achieve that goal is to work extra hard for their bosses.ÿ This is not a value consensus ensuring social solidarity, of the sort that functionalists describe, but rather capitalist ideology or hegemony, serving the interests of the bourgeoisie at the expense of the proletariat.
Nor does Merton spend any time considering why some people find it harder to achieve society’s goals than others. He does not pursue the idea that inequality and unequal opportunities in society are a social problem, nor what the cause of that problem might be. Similarly, Merton does not consider why different people have different adaptations.ÿ While many people feel that the socially-accepted means to achieve their goals are too difficult, only a small number of them go on to commit crimes.ÿ Why? What makes the majority law-abiding most of the time?ÿ Are there sociological explanations for some people choosing to innovate while others retreat?ÿ Merton does not provide us with answers to those questions.
Continuing from the previous point, Merton does not explain why groups of people are deviant in the same way.ÿ As previously mentioned, most people conform most of the time, but those who don’t often socialise together (e.g. gangs). Merton does not address this, but it is taken up by functionalist subcultural theorists who have developed Merton’s theory.
Finally Merton presents a possible explanation for some crime; but what about non-utilitarian crime (crime from which the criminal does not materially benefit)?ÿ Although Merton suggests an explanation for some non-utilitarian crime (like drug abuse), there is nothing in his theory that would explain fighting or vandalism. While not being able to achieve the American Dream might encourage someone to rob a bank, there is no apparent reason why it would lead to someone to draw graffiti on a bridge or to beat someone up.