Society in India (Set of 8 Books)

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Item Code: NAG410
Publisher: Indira Gandhi National Open University
Language: English
Edition: 2010
Pages: 779
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 11.5 inch X 8 inch
Weight 2 kg
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Shipped to 153 countries
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Book Description

About the Book


Book 1: Social Structure Rural and Urban

Book 2: Family Marriage and Kinship

Book 3: Economy and Polity

Book 4: Social Organisation

Book 5: Caste and Class

Book 6: Tribes in India

Book 7: Women and Society

Book 8: Social Change


Book 1: Social Structure Rural and Urban


Block 1 on Social Structure - Rural and Urban introduces you to the ways you live, the ways also of those unlike you who live in India and how together we constitute society in India. Despite recent changes of technological nature, India's social and cultural life continues to be marked by traditional 'institutions and values and therefore, we examine in this Block the village and the city as well as the rural-urban continuum both in terms of their traditional aspects and their changing patterns. The Block thus prepares the ground for you to intensively view the major social institutions, such as, the family, marriage and kinship in Block 2 and rural-urban economy and national and regional polity in India in Block 3.


Unit 1 deals with the elements of Unity and Diversity in the country, In this unit we look at the variety of races, languages, religions, and social institutions found in India. These diversities lead us towards something common also, The factors that bring the people together are the Constitution pilgrimages a centralised administration and a common history. Thus the idea of a plural culture emerges. differences exist and are tolerated and accommodated, and unity is forged. These points are clarified in unit 1.


Unit 2 on Rural Social Structure discusses the theme of continuity and change in our rural society. The elements of social structure are examined in terms of basic institutions of the family, kinship, caste and class. The unit also shows how village social structure is undergoing a process of change, Unit 3 on Village and the Outside World examines the links which villages have maintained with the wider economic, political and religious systems. These linkages have been discussed in the context of the pre-British, British and independent India. The examples to explain the linkages have been drawn from village studies by sociologists and social anthropologists.


Unit 4 deals with Patterns of Urbanisation in India. The basic features of urbanisation and the historical growth of cities have been discussed in this unit. The problems associated with urbanisation are obtained along with a discussion of the impact of this process on rural society.


Unit 5 on Urban Social Structure requires you to reflect on the central elements of Indian urban social structure. The unit outlines commonly discussed features of urban social structure. These features are essentially conceived in a western context. We want you to see their relevance in the Indian context. We have described the organisational and socio-cultural aspects of urban communities. You would see how traditional institutions operate in urban social structures and how certain issues come before us for a sociological study.


Book 2: Family Marriage and Kinship


Block 2 on family, marriage and kinship deals with basic social institutions of Indian society. The previous Block on rural and urban social structures familiarised you with the social setting within which these institutional arrangements operate. The continuities and variations in the pattering of these institutions are the main focus of the four units in Block 2.


The institutions of family, marriage and kinship are associated with mating, reproduction, caring for children and old people and group formations on the basis of kin relationships. In the four units we have not only looked at various aspects of these activities but also discussed the norms and values linked with them. In this Block, you will also come across a host of interrelated concepts and terms to explain the implications of the activities around these institutions. Let us briefly look at the content of each unit in this Block.


Unit 6 on Family and its Types discusses the nature of the institution of family in India. It examines the concept of the continuum of nuclear and joint family system in Indian Social Life. Then it looks at the factors responsible for changes in these institutions and finally it also mentions the emerging patterns of family living in India.


Unit 7 deals with Marriage and its Changing Patterns. It discusses the concept of universality of the institution of marriage in India. Then it goes on to describe age at marriage, patterns of selection of spouse, marriage rites, transfer of wealth and prestige that accompany marriage and divorce and widow remarriage in India. Within this account, the unit mentions the changes, which have taken place in these aspects of marriage in India.


Unit 8 on Kinship-I defines the kinship system and then discusses the main approaches to the study of kinship system in India. Next, the unit focuses on major aspects of patrilineal kinship system in North India.


Unit 9 on Kinship-II describes the kinship system in South India and also compares the north and south Indian kinship systems. Finally, it gives a brief account of kinship organisation of matrilineal communities in north-east and south-west India.


Book 3: Economy and Polity


The five units in this Block deal with different aspects of India's economy and its political system. The previous Block dealt with some important social institutions in Indian society. These institutions, namely, marriage, kinship and family are largely responsible for maintaining the unity of Indian society, even though they are divergent in form in different parts of the country. The units in the present Block shift the focus from social institutions to other wider institutions and problems in the country. These units are complementary to the earlier ones because it is only after examining the linkages between economy, polity and society that we can attempt an understanding of the unity and diversity of the country.


In order to understand these linkages we have to examine separately the different aspects of our society. The economic and political aspects are important features. Most of us are aware that the overwhelming majority of our population lives in the villages. An understanding of the rural economy is a must for studying Indian society. The first unit in this Block (unit 10) therefore deals with the rural economy. This unit attempts to provide an understanding of the agrarian structure and the changes the structure has undergone since 1947. However, in order to assess agricultural development at present we have to go back to the past occasionally. Many of our current problems have their roots in past policies. This unit briefly deals with agriculture in ancient and medieval India so that we get a picture of our history and the continuity in the process of change. The colonial rule, which came after this period, was a complete departure from the earlier mode of development. The main objective of the foreign rulers was to extract as much as possible out of the economy in order to expand the growing industrial base in England. This process created severe distortions in our economy, something which we have not been able to overcome even after decades of independence. This is why an understanding of the past becomes essential in our study.


In spite of India's pronounced agrarian background the towns have played an important role in the society's development. The next unit is hence on the urban economy. There have always been linkages between the urban sector and the rural sector. In early times the towns were centres of administration or places of pilgrimage. The craftsperson's too flourished in the urban centres and they supplied goods to the villages. The urban economy at present plays a vital role in influencing the rural economy though not in the same way as it did earlier. Urban areas are centres of industry and they draw on rural folk for their supply of labour. The towns and cities, especially the metropolis, attract large number of rural immigrants in search of work. There are also new types of activities developing in the urban economy, which gives rise to new social classes. These are substantially different from the traditional caste-based occupations. At the same time a lot of the present problems were created by the colonial urban policy. It is, therefore, necessary to understand how colonialism changed the course of urban growth. These are some of the aspects covered in this unit.


Book 4: Social Organisation


Block 4 provides you with an understanding of the patterns of social organisation in India. By social organisation we mean the systematic ordering of social relations. It implies the interdependence of parts, which is an essential and important feature of all enduring collectivises such as, groups, communities, and societies. These interdependent parts consist of a set of roles and social positions, values, norms and beliefs found in society. The social values of a society are usually based on religious beliefs. Behaviour is based on values, and hence religious beliefs play an important role in determining social behaviour. There are many religious groups in India and the country has declared itself to be secular. This means that all religions are to be treated equally by the state. The units in this block are intended to give a description of the social organisation of different religious groups. This will help us to have a better understanding of these religious groups. It was not possible to include all religions. Five groups have been described, namely, Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Sikh and Zoroastrian.


Religion is a system of beliefs, emotional attitudes and practices, by means of which a group of people attempt to cope with the ultimate problems of life. Religion and social life are interrelated and it plays an important role in social control. Religious values impose a certain type of behaviour. The rituals of religion make one to have respect for the sacred. Religion also has a bearing on other social institutions. It lays down norms and values, which should guide the relationships within a family and other social groups. The sacred texts often indicate how a people should be governed. Religious beliefs also have an effect on economic behaviour, e.g. the concept of artha and the protestant ethic.


Religion has acted both as hindrance and help in social change. Where religion has tended to be traditional, it has resisted change. However, where it has moved with the time it has often advocated change.


In all Units of this block reference has been made to some beliefs. A full description of the beliefs is not given - this is not necessary for our purpose. Special references to those beliefs that have a direct influence on social life of a particular community have been referred to. It is expected that this would enable you to have some idea of the behaviour patterns- of these five communities. All the units have outlined some of the important rituals; their meaning and importance for a particular community. Each one of them describes the forms of worship in the religion discussed. In some cases, the religious order has also been referred to. The approaches have been different. Case study - a micro analysis which produces an understanding of the entire group, has been used in one. In some others, a historical approach has- been used. The emphasis has been different. No comparisons have been made unless they are used to emphasise a particular aspect of a specific religious group.


The facts covered in these units are sufficient to give an idea of the social organisation in five different religious communities of India.


Book 5: Caste and Class


The focus of this Block is on caste and class. Some aspects of caste and class have already been mentioned in Blocks 1 and 3 of this course, ESO 12, Society in India. In the previous blocks, so far we have explained the rural and urban social structure, the important social institutions like family, marriage and kinship, the economic and political processes, and the social organisations of some of the major religious communities found in India. For an understanding of society in India, it is very important to understand its system of social stratification, which includes both caste, as well as class. In this block, therefore, attention is now given to the understanding of the nature and components of caste and class in India. Let us see how the various units in the block 'deal with this topic.


Unit 20: Caste - Structure and Regional Patterns attempts to explain the structure of caste and its regional patterns found in various parts of India.


Unit 21: Caste - Continuity and Change discusses the reasons for continuity of caste and the nature of change that it has undergone to adapt to new conditions in India.


Unit 22: The Scheduled Castes describes-the meaning and nature of the Scheduled castes and discusses the kind of social problems' they have faced in the past and are still facing in India.


Unit 23: Class hi India discusses the class formation which is not ruled out by the exist rice of caste. The nature of class composition in India is briefly surveyed in this Unit.


Unit 24: Backward Classes attempts to explain the nature of those castes, and classes, which are considered backward in socio-economic, political and educational senses. Powerful movements have been launched in some regions to improve their lot. This unit is, therefore, devoted to understanding this category.


Altogether this block should give you a comprehensive understanding of some aspects of the social reality of India.


Book 6: Tribes in India


In this course, we have so far discussed such key elements of Indian culture and social structure as unity in diversity, rural and urban patterns of living, social organisation, polity and economy, and the nature of caste and class. The tribal population of India, constituting nearly 8.10 percent of the total population, is' the subject of this Block. It represents an element in Indian society, which is in many ways distinctive though, at the same time, integrated with the cultural mosaic of our civilisation. The special contribution as well as the process of harmonic integration of tribal culture in the pattern of Indian civilisation can be captured by examining the definitions, external and internal features of social structure, religious beliefs and practices, and dynamics of change and modernisation in the tribal population of India.


The social structure of tribes is discussed in Units 25 and 26. In addition to outlining the external features of tribal social structure, Unit 25 deals with the concept of social structure and the definitions of tribe in the Indian context. The definitions of tribe are examined both from the point of view of the governments dealing with them (British and Indian) and that of the academics. The governmental definition, finally, is that which provides a list of 533 groups, which have been recognised as 'scheduled tribes'. (The exact number of scheduled tribes in government documents is unfortunately not uniform so you may come across another figure.) The academic definitions emphasise features like a specific territory, language, simple technology etc. of the tribes as also their relative isolation from the centres of civilisation. This last characteristic is, however, to be treated with utmost caution. In the Indian context, unlike the situation of tribes in Australia and North America for example, there has been constant contact and interaction between the tribals and the non-tribals. However, interestingly enough, in India, this contact and interaction has not resulted in the loss and submergence of tribal identity or in the physical elimination of the tribes.


The external characteristics of the social structure in of tribes in India (Unit 25) refer to their geographical distribution, racial and linguistic affinities, demographic features, interaction with other groups and economic pursuits. On the basis of economic pursuits, an important indicator of tribal identity, Indian tribes can be divided into eight categories ranging from food gatherers and hunters to wage-labourers.


The internal characteristics of tribal social structure in India (Unit 26) refer to the habitat, groupings, family, marriage, kinship, and patterns of political and ritual authority. In other words, those features which define the detailed constitution of particular tribes are included in this unit. The task of illustrating the internal characteristics of tribal social structure has been done by providing case studies of particular tribes: the Cholanaicken, the Khasi, the Toda and the MuIlukurumba. These four tribes are illustrative, respectively, of foodgathering and hunting, shifting cultivation, pastoralism and settled agriculture. Besides this, the Khasi are matrilineal and the Toda polyandrous. The important point to be understood in this representation is, as repeatedly emphasised by that great anthropological observer of Indian civilization, the late Prof. N.K. Bose, that the mode of livelihood or economic infrastructure of tribal life has a determining role in defining tribal culture. This is clearly illustrated by the fact that the economic pursuit of the tribal are discussed both as internal and external characteristics of their social structure.


Book 7: Women and Society


The purpose of this Block is to provide a sociological perspective for studying women in contemporary India. In the earlier blocks of this course you have learnt about the basic features of Indian social structure, institutions, religious organisations and social groups or categories like caste, class and tribes. This block introduces you to the way women are affected by the structural, institutional and organisational set up of our society.


Work participation, literacy rates, access to property and health facilities and legal provisions for equality and justice are important indicators of status in the society. This Block examines the status of women in our society in terms of these given indicators. At present, women appear to have low access to these major indicators of status in our society. This is the core of women's issues and women's movement in India. Let us briefly look at the content of each unit of this Block.


Unit 29 on Status of Women gives you a broad idea of the women's position in Indian society. It discusses how traditional concepts of role and status, social customs, familial expectations, gender role stereotyping affect women's work, health and education status. In this unit, you will also learn how women are projected in the media. It will provide you with a background for further discussion on women's movements, their work, education and other issues.


Unit 30 deals with Women's Movements in India. This unit begins with some aspects of women's status in traditional Indian society and then shows how people like Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Mahatma Gandhi and many others tried to improve women's position. You will learn about different reformist movements in India during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries which raised the issues of women's equality and improvement in their social status. These movements grew in size and content, and the notions of equality evolved over time to cover women's right to education, work and property.


Independence movement brought women out from the homes and they fought for independence along with men. As a result, the Constitution of free India granted equal rights to women in all spheres, social, political and economic. This led to a kind of complacency among men and women in India, as to provide constitutional guarantees was considered a sufficient achievement.


But as time passed, it began to be realised that those guarantees were not converted into actions, and the age-old discrimination against women continued. This realisation led to the setting up of a National Commission on Women to look into the status of women in India. The Commission published its report in 1974. The Report almost shocked the nation, as it established the unfortunate fact that women continued to be discriminated against in all spheres of national life. The report gave rise to more serious thinking, on the part of the Government, as well as among social workers and intellectuals. After all women are almost half of the population and a growing nation cannot afford to lose their contribution towards the development of the country. In addition independent India adopted a policy of equality and social justice for all, therefore, it could not neglect women and let them remain in ignorance and subservience.


Book 8: Social Change


This is the eighth and last Block of ESO-12. So far, in the previous seven Blocks, various aspects of Indian social life have been examined in detail. The aspects examined have been rural and urban social structure, family, marriage and kinship, economy and polity, social organisation, caste and class, tribes and position of women. This Block deals with certain aspects of social change in India. The focus has been on ethnic relations and conflicts, social movements, development planning and ecology.


Unit 34 describes ethnic relations and conflicts in India. At the outset, clarification of terms associated with ethnic relations has been made to facilitate an easy understanding of the phenomenon in the Indian context. Region, language, religion and caste have been identified as the major premises on which ethnic relations operate in India. The governmental role towards ethnic groups during the British rule as well as after Independence has also been outlined. While examining the phenomenon of ethnic conflicts attention has been focused mainly on conflicts emerging manifestly on the basis of language and religion. The essential features exhibited by these conflicts in India are presented towards the end of the unit along with a list of suggestions offered by way of solutions to the problem of ethnic conflicts.


Unit 35 discusses the phenomenon of social movements. This unit defines and describes the essential features of social movements with suitable examples from India, where possible. The aspects described are types, functions, origins, role of leadership 'and ideology and life cycle of social movements. This unit gives a comprehensive picture of social movements in general as well as the way they are brought about in India.


Unit 36 deals with another important element of social change in India namely development planning. The unit entitled Development Planning and Change, focuses on the link between planning and change. It points out how social planning is an important factor in social change. The unit has been divided into two parts. The first part provides a general sociological background to understand development planning in a specific context. In part 11, development, planning and change have been defined and described in the Indian context. In part I the contributions of some social thinkers towards the phenomenon of development and change have been presented. While examining the Indian situation in the second part, the focus has been on approach and schemes of development planning in India, including the latest 73rd and 74th amendment in the Constitution. The mixed economy approach, the rural development schemes, approaches of the five-year plans and the significance of planned socio-economic development for caste, rural and urban life, as well as, for women have been discussed.


Unit 37 deals with Ecology and the Future of Society. The relation between human beings and their environment has been explained mainly in terms of the way in which nature has been exploited by technology and the consequent problems that we are facing today. The unit describes the health hazards that emerge from water and air pollution, from food contamination toxins, chemical effluents and pesticides. The indiscriminate felling of trees has contributed to the reduction of forest cover. The unit discusses the growing social movement to check this in certain parts of India.





Block 1 Social Structure Rural And Urban



Unity and Diversity



Rural Social Structure



Village and the Outside World



Patterns of Urbanisation



Urban Social Structure






Block 2 Family, Marriage And Kinship



Family and its Types



Marriage and its Changing Patterns












Block 3 Economy and Polity



Rural Economy



Urban Economy



Rural and Urban Poverty



National Politics



Regional and State Politics






Block 4 Social Organisation



Hindu Social Organisation



Muslim Social Organisation



Christian Social Organisation



Sikh Social Organisation



Zoroastrian Social Organisation






Block 5 Caste And Class



Caste - Structure and Regional Patterns



Caste - Continuity and Change



The Scheduled Castes



Class in India



Backward Classes






Block 6 Tribes In India



Tribes: Social Structure-I



Tribes: Social Structure - II



Religion in Tribal Societies



Tribes and Modernisation in India






Block 7 Women And Society



Status of 'Women



Women's Movement



Women and Work



Women and Education



Contemporary Women's Issues: Health and Legal Aspects






Block 8 Social Change



Ethnic Relations and Conflicts



Social Movements



Development Planning and Change



Ecology and the Future of Society






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