Discussion of previous year questions – 1| UPSC Sociology

Comment on the social and cultural determinants of sexual division of labour.

-women considered more feminine if they confine themselves to domestic work
-Ann Oakley- the division of labor is cultural, not biological as claimed by other sociologists
-patrilocal culture of marriag forces women to leave their job and settle with their husband
-culture that wives have to make most of adjustments
-cultural norms that make female income supplementary in nature, not main income
-Sherry B. Ortner-culture is the means by which men control nature. And women are considered closer to nature. Hence, women are inferior to men
-culture of male dominance-works carrying more prestige and recognition are reserved for men
-men do not like being subordinate to females at work

-Early socialisation of men and women constrict them to specific category of jobs
-formal/informal sanctions direct women towards a particular job. e.g difficult for women to be truck drivers, work late night in factories etc.
-women are given the kind of education that leaves them eligible only for “female jobs”
-women’s social role as mother, stabilisation of adult personality, socialisation of children leaves them with upaid and unrecognised work
-institutionalisation of mother-housewife role as primary role for all women- Ann Oakley
-resocialisation of women after marriage
-“Intimate groups” can be composed of members of same sex, not both

Distinction between concepts of family and household.

-composed of one or more people who occupy a housing unit
-can be family or non-family household
-e.g UPSC aspirants sharing a flat
-Not all households are family
-size and compositon of household varies depending on various factors
-single-person households increasing due to rise in divorce

-members of a family do not necessarily live together
-members of a family have some kinship relationship
-members have some obligation towards each other decided by religious/social/cultural norms
-family- socialises children/stabilises adult personality
-recent trend- increase in single parent family


U must add thinkers .. See AM shah study on house hold and his definition and Kolenda classification .. and dont leave hanging statements ( size and compositon of household varies depending on various factors ) like this one .. u need to substantiate

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What has been the impact of globalisation on the cultural aspects of family?

-cultural aspects bole toh – rules, roles, habits, activities, interactions etc.
-parental authority over children has undergone modification
-intergenerational conflict in terms of attitude towards marriage, caste, sexuality etc.
-change in ways decision is taken about education, profession, marriage of children
-female members now have greater say in decision making
-source of power has shifted from culture to resource
-husbands no longer treat their wives as inferior, now consult their wives on most matters
-grandfather has lost his authority
-parents do not use old methods to punish children. Now economic, psychological methods used.
-daughter in laws in urban areas do not observe purdah anymore


points are good .. but again dont make sweeping statements .. like grandfather one .. its not all India phenomena .. substantiate few things .. thinkers missing .. importantly u shud explain why globalisation has influenced family life

Changes that the agrarian social structure in India is undergoing. Comment.

P C Joshi-
-decline of feudalistic/cutromary types of tenancy and its replacement by more exploitative and insecure lease agreement
-increaed importance of commercial tenancy based on rich and middle strata of peasantry

-conflict among various sections of peasants
-Daniel Thorner – Malik, Kisan, Majdoor in village. Govt. interventions like MGNREGA, PDS, tribal sub-plan etc empowering majdoors – reduces their exploitation
-feminisation of agriculture due to migration to urban areas
-now daughters also have a say in ancestral properties
-no. of agricultural labourers increasing due to eviction of tenants, mechanisation of farms
-diverse land tenure systems coming up based on local legal/commercial trends
-impact of land reforms not much positive in many parts of country, however, exploitation checked by govt. schemes
-earlier control over land determined rural hierarchy – now some change due to increase in non-farm employment
-govt. land acquisition increasing landlessness, no compensation of tenants with no document to claim compensation


U need to first define what Agrarian social structure is ( check Andre Beteille ) … in India Feuadal , semifeudal , capitalist all exists .. in different areas .. check studies on them .. feminisation/land reforms / non farm  good point .. you should talk about impact of Green revolution , politics /dominant caste on Ag soc stru .. and end with how state intervention has aided this change ..

Must read for UPSC Sociology

What is the idea of Indian village? Explain.

S C Dube:
-no village completely autonomous and independent
-villagers have one foot in village and another in cities
-individuals are not the member of village community alone, they belong to their caste, religious groups, tribe etc.
-economic system of rural India founded mainly of caste’s functional specialisation, interdependence and occupational mobility
-elements of classical hinduism of all-India spread are mingled with regional beliefs and practices of hindus of Deccan
-3 major types of religious ceremonies – family ceremony, village/communal ceremony, hindu-muslim interaction during festivals


U can start with perceived Idea of village in british period and how sociologists countered it .. Bring in M. Gandhi ( fetches marks ) .. MNS , FG bailey have spoken a lot abt villages .. talk about 73 CAA and how it is altering village landscape and u can end with smart villages and Rurban .. and its future potential .. other points are good

Write an analytical note on slums in cities.

-slums are consequences of unbalanced regional growth.

-demographic dynamism of a city attracting more people from rural areas offering greater potential for employment.
-incapacity of cities to meet the rising demand for housing
-existing urban land policies that prohibit the access of the poor to urban land market

-high density population, overcrowding
-lack of public utilities
-slum dwellers functionally integrated with mainstream of city life. but suffer from high incidences of deviant behaviour, crime, juvenile delinquency etc. not everyone in slums delinquent, slums provide social/physical opportunity for deviant behaviour
-crowding/depersonalsation/diseases/mental illness etc
-almost every posh colony in Delhi is served people living in nearby slums. This underscores the functional importance of slums in urban life
-schemes like RAY/JNNURM/AMRUT etc aim at solving the problems of slum


Looks to me more like a GS answer than sociological .. case studies ( Check AR Desai ) , impact of slums on different social institutions .. deviance part good ( there is a major study done by WIlliam F whyte on Italian Slums .. very Important ) .. Please check that .. in India Dharavi slum study .. check that ..

Examine the influence of industrialisation on caste.

-We can group our points – impact on structure of caste, socio-cultural aspects of caste, economic aspects of caste
-occupational mobility – people from different castes work together in factories – new transportation facilities made mobility possible
-Kingsley Davis – anonimity,congestion, mobility, secularism, changeability of city makes operation of caste virtually impossible
-Ghurye – city life changed the rigidities of caste system
-inter-caste marriage
-industrialisation – secularisation – religious basis of caste cramped
-dominance of a caste no longer depends only on its ritual status
MNS – migration of brahmins to city – non-brahmins refused to show them the same respect in cities

– industrialisation gradually giving class like character to caste
-caste councils, caste panchayats declining
Caste system not in process of abolition, but is making adequate adjustments with industrialisation.


Good points .. Just few additions .. in fact caste is getting a new arena to bloom in cities, alebit in different forms .. for instance .. caste based hostels .. also a phenomena where people working in medium and small scale industries are recommending people of their caste ( referals ) in their factories…

Yes cases of Dalit entrepreneurs and capitalists can be used to support perspective that industrialization is still not able to dismantle caste / caste based occupations

E.g. caste based hotels where people are still wary of a dalit owner

From a sociological perspective, examine the effects of BPO industry on the youth.

-Business Process Outsourcing – operation/responsibilities of a specific business outsourced to a third party
-e.g call centres, content development, animation centres etc.
-new avenues of employment – empowerment – upward social mobility
-requires low skills – youths from relatively poor background can gain
-kind of social reform movement for women – financial independence – improvement in socio-economic status
-gives achieved status in an ascriptive society

-interaction with foreign clients -acculturation – imitation of western culture,accent,lifestyle
-night shifts affects health
-customer care-harsh customer reactions-irritation among employees – needs families for personality stabilisation which is absent – alcoholism, deviance
-work pressure, stress, depression
-low patience – infants handled in violent ways
-socialisation of children affected

Recent changes like work from home is expected to improve the situation.


U can use blaumers hypothesis.. Sometimes it is difficult to get sociological perspective in every answer but u have to supplement it by case studies..

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