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STUDY MATERIAL | Sociology | Social Stratification | 6th semester | Cluster University Srinagar

STUDY MATERIAL | Sociology | Social Stratification | 6th semester | Cluster University Srinagar 

syllabus  For 2017 Bach

Semester VI
Social Stratification
Discipline Specific Electives
DSE-SOC-2A (6 Credits)

Objectives: To acquaint the students with the concept and nature of social stratification and social mobility.
Unit I: Introduction
a)   Concept
b)  Types of Stratification: Caste, Class and Estate
c)   Change in the nature of Stratification
Unit II: Perspectives on Social Stratification
a)   Functional Perspective
b)  Marxian Perspective
c)   Weberian Perspective
Unit III: Stratification and Society
a)   Stratification in Agrarian Society
b)  Stratification in Capitalist Society
c)   Stratification in Contemporary Society
Unit IV: Social processes and Social Mobility
a)   Secularization
b)  Modernization
c)   Sanskritization
Unit V: Tutorial-I
a)Individual presentations on various topics from the main course content.
b)   Term end class test based on the main course content.
Unit VI: Tutorial-II
a)   Home assignments to be prepared on various topics from the main course content.
b)   Viva voce on home assignments.
·         Bateille. A. (1977).  Inequality among Men. New Delhi. Oxford University press.
·         Bendix, R. and S.M. Lipset. (1970). Class Status and Power (2nd edition). London. Routledge.
·         Haralambos, M. (1992). Sociology: Themes and perspectives. New Delhi. Oxford University press.
·         Singh Yogendra. (1977). Social Stratification and Change in India. New Delhi. Manohar Publications.
Note: List of readings provided is not absolute and additions may be made to it 

                                             UNIT 1

Concept of Social Stratification:
The concept of stratification describes the idea that people can be ranked differently in terms of their social importance or status. Social stratification is the hierarchical arrangement of large groups based on their control over basic resources. The Concise Oxford English Dictionary defines the word "strata" as: "A layer or set of successive layers, of any deposited substance; layer of atmosphere, biological tissue, or other structure; social grade (the various strata of society)".
To stratify, therefore, involves the ability to, “Arrange in strata; construct in layers, social grades, etc. ".Giddens (“Sociology”, 1993) for example, has defined it as: “Structured inequalities between different groupings of people”. Crompton (“Class and Stratification”, 1993) expands this simple definition when she notes that social stratification is: “A hierarchical system of inequality (material and symbolic),always supported by a meaning system that seeks to justify inequality. People are not only different from each other in terms of their assignments to a certain typology but they are ranked differently  in accordance with these assignments…this phenomenon of ranking is what sociologists call social stratification and the various ranks are called strata(Berger and Berger:1972,p117 ).Gisbert in his Fundamentals of Sociology defines social stratification as, “Social stratification is the division of society in permanent groups or categories linked with each other by the relationship of superiority and subordination”. For Sutherland, stratification is simply a process of interaction or differentiation, whereby some people come to be ranked higher than the other.”
Characteristics of Social Stratification:
1. It is a universal process and is found in some form or the other throughout the human society.
2. It causes unequal distribution of economic opportunities, social prestige ,respect and all other kinds of privileges.
3. It is not only limited to the individual rather it should be viewed in its totality.
4. The basis of stratification is not same everywhere. Though its nature is universal, basis is not universal. As for India it is the caste, whereas for the West it is the class distinction on which the individuals are stratified.
5. In social stratification there is always the feeling of superiority or inferiority among the members of different strata.

Basis of Social Stratification:
Broadly speaking, the bases of social stratification may be divided into two categories: Ascribed basis of stratification and achieved basis of stratification.
1. Ascribed basis of social stratification: Such basis of stratification is those which the members of the group acquire through do not have to strive for such statuses, e.g. Status inequality on the basis of sex, age, race or caste. This is basis of stratification is also known as closed type of stratification as it does not allow social mobility of the individuals. It is the prime feature of traditional feudalistic society.
2. Achieved basis of stratification: a member of any group can also achieve the status through his merit, hard work or entrepreneurship, as against the ascribed status by birth. In every society people who are highly qualified, politically and economically strong, and outstandingly skilled and all other such valued qualities being achieved by individual have always been given a higher status in the society. This is basis of stratification is also known as open type of stratification as it allows social mobility of the individuals. It is the prime feature of modern capitalist society.
Besides the above, Talcott Parsons a famous American Sociologist has identified six bases of Social Stratification: Membership in Kinship group, personal qualities, achievements, possessions, authority and power.

Functions of Social Stratification:
H.M. Johnson has identified following functions of Social Stratification in modern society:
1. It Encourages Hard work
2. It Ensures circulation of elites
3. It serves as economic function
4. It prevents waste of resources
5. It stabilizes and reinforces the attitudes and skills
6. It helps to pursue different professions or jobs
7. It ensures social control

Types of Stratification: Caste, Class and Estate
Caste System:
According to Mazumdar & Madan – 'Caste is a closed class' i.e. class refers to people based on property, business, occupation i.e. one can't change his own caste system by can change the class system & can be a member of many classes at the same time. According to Herbert Risely – "Caste is a collection of families or group of families bearing a common name which usually denotes or is associated with specific occupation, claiming descent from a mythical ancestor, human or divine, professing to follow the same heredity callings & regarded by those who are competent to give an opinion as forming a single homogenous communities." According to C. H. Cooley – "When a class is somewhat strictly hereditary, we may call it a caste."

Features of Caste:
1. Hereditary: Caste status of an individual is determined strictly by his heredity, i.e. the caste into which one is born. No amount of personal accomplishments or efforts can alter his caste status.
2. Endogamous: It endogamous character strictly prohibits inter-caste marriages. Accordingly a person born in low caste can never hope to marry someone in higher caste. Each individual is supposed to marry within his caste and sub-caste. Marrying outside caste makes an individual or ‘without a caste which is the lowest category even below Shudra’.
3. Hierarchal: Caste system has a system of superiority and subordination. According to Hindu Caste hierarchy. Brahmin occupies the highest followed by kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra.
4. Fixed Occupations: Members of any caste are obligated to adopt the professions of their caste. Having developed from Varna system the occupation in caste system is definite; son of blacksmith Perseus the occupation of his lather, son of carpenter becomes carpenter and so on. (With development of industries people belong to many castes have lost their occupation and have taken agriculture or some other occupation).
5. Restricted Food Habits: Higher castes try maintaining their traditional purity by different food habits. Thus Brahmins will only take ‘Satwil’ or ‘Pure’ food. Kshtriya and Vaishya will take ‘Royal’ food. A Shudra takes ‘Tamsi’ food. Each individual caste has its own laws which govern the food habits. There is no restriction against fruit, milk, butter, dry fruit etc. but food can be accepted only from the members of ounces own or higher caste.
6. Untouchability: In Indian caste system Shudra and out castes are considered to be untouchables. In certain times of day even seeing a shudra is considered to be pollution. Even if shadow of a low caste falls on a Brahmin, latter is said to have been polluted.
7. Absence of Vertical Mobility: In a caste system, there is no mobility movement of its members, up or down, the social status ladder. A person’s status at birth is his life time status.
8. Reinforcement by Religious Beliefs: Religious beliefs have played a significant role in making caste system unavoidable. Religion has described Brahmin as sacred and also an element of reverence and awe is attached to him. In absence of religious support such rigid caste system was not possible.

Six structural features of Caste System according to Prof. Ghurey:
Segmental division, Hierarchy, Pollution and purity, Civil and religious disabilities and privileges of different sections, Lack of choice of occupation, Restrictions on marriage

Dysfunctionality   of Caste system
(i)         C.S. is undemocratic & therefore contradictory to the Indian democratizes. Peoples sales, status etc. are fixed in C.S. but not in a democracy.
(ii)        Social Disparity – C.S. brings a social disparity in society. It minders social life or economic life. Due to fixed occupation person with I.Q in other occupation can't go into it & this hinders optimum productivity.
(iii)       Barrier to National Unity – In this all acc. equal whereas in C.S. there is no equality. It gives support to castism which is limited to their own caste. Ex –votes are given to the person of one's own caste. Every man wants the people of his caste to go ahead & this creates problems
(iv)       Untouchability – lower than shudras are untouchable &unseeble& they are exploited by the higher caste. There are certain privileges & disabilities in caste system. The Brahmin's get more privilege. Brahminsm there- C.S. came into being due to Brahmin supremacy.

Theories regarding the origin of Caste system:
Traditional Theory – (Vedas, mainly Rig Veda, Maha Bharat, Geeta, Upanishad, Manu Smiriti) It says caste system(C.S). Originated from the of body Bramha i.e. from the month came Brahmin, Keshahiya, arms, Vaishyas – thighs & Shudras from feet. And the place was given to the hierarchy of organs in the body. Varma, status & position is fixed according to this. Therefore 1st come Brahmins then Kshatriyas then Vaishayas & last Sudras. The month for preaching, learn, ceremonial performation, the arms – protections, thighs – to cultivate or business feet – helps the whole body therefore the duty of the Sundras is to serve all the others. Manu – C.S. has developed due to Anuloma & pratiloma.
Religious theory given by Hocart' C.S. Originated due to religious factor a due to performance of various religious rites. In India religion plays an imp. place. Everything is based on this religion. He gave – pure work i.e. to perform religious work. Those who do Yagya they are Brahmins, the ones who gather flower – messages – impure work – those who sacrificed the low caste (Dasas).
Political theory – Abbe Dubois, - C.S. originated due to the supremacy of Brahmins – the Brahmanism, theory. To maintain their superiority diff. castes & sub-castes came into being Ghuray – 'Caste is the Brahmin child of the Indo-Arjun culture, cradled in the Ganges & Yamuna & then transferred in other parts of the country'.
Occupational Theory by Nesfield C.S. is based on occupation. The hierarchy is according to occupation. The higher the occupation the higher the position & status in societies. If the according is considered good in a place that caste is high but it may necessarily be higher in another place.
Social Classes:
P.Gisbert - "A social class is a category or group of persons having a definite status in society which permanently determines their relation to other group – feeling of superiority & inferiorities. The relative position of the class in the social scale arises from the degree of prestige attached to the status.
MacIver & Page - "A social class is any portion of community marked off the from the rest by social status’
Ogburn & Nimkoff. A social class is the aggregate of persons having essentially the same social status in a given society." i.e. a class consciousness.
Max weber – held that "classes are aggregate of individuals who have the same opportunities of acquiring goods. The same exhibited standard of lining.
Hoebal defines "A social class is a group within a society, whose members hold a no. of distinctive status in common & who trough the operation of roles associated with these status, develop are awareness of the life interest as against the unlike trait & interest of other groups."
In general "A social class consists of group of individuals who are ranked by the members of the community in socially superior inferior position."

Characteristics of class system:
1. Class system is based on occupation, wealth, education, age, sex
2. Hierarchy of status group. In general there are 3 class – upper middle & tower. Status, prestige & role is attached. Upper class are less in no in comparison to the other two whereas their status & prestige is most. This is like a pyramid. Karl Marx (Rich & poor) preliterate &
3. Feeling of superiority & inferiority. In these 3 classes there are such feelings the upper class people feel they are superior to the other two whereas the lower class feels it is inferior to the upper class.
4. Class consciousness – wherever a class is formed this feeling a consciousness is a must. There should be feeling of in group i.e. I belong class conflict is due to this the people of the preliterate class feel the upper class exploits them their they unite revolt. The behavior action is determined by this class consciousness..
5. Class system is an open system.
There's social restriction in this too. In general there is endogamy in a class. To maintain their status & position they mix among themselves & it is seldom that marriage between upper & lower class is wished.

Estate System:
Estate system has a long history .it emerged in the ancient Roman Empire and existed in Europe until very recent times. The estate system consists of three main division of the society: the clergy or the first estate, the nobles or the second estate and the commoners or the third estate. This estate based stratification had two typical features, each estate was to some extent characterized by a distinctive life styles and it was hierarchical.

Characteristics of Estate System:
T.B.Bottomore has mentioned about three important characteristics of the feudal estates of the medieval Europe:
1. Legal Basis of estates: estates were legally defined, each had a status of its own and the status was associated with the rights and duties, privileges and obligations. In comparison to the clergy and the nobility, for example, the third estate comprising of the serfs or commoners had the inability to appeal before the king for the justice .moreover they had no rights over their possessions and holdings. They had the liability of paying the fines of merchet (fine paid to the lord for the marriage of a daughter) and heriot (fine paid to the lord on the death of the tenant).
2. Division of labour: according to the law of the land, the nobility had to fight and defend all , the clergy had to pray and the commoners had to pay taxes  and  provide food for all.
3. Estate as a political group: the feudal estates were political groups .an assembly of the estates possessed political powers. The estates functioned like three political groups. As far as the participation in govt. was concerned the clergy used to stand by the nobility and the third estate had very weak political status. It was only until French Revolution took place ,the exploitative political system got replaced by democracy.

                                                                UNIT 2         
Unit II: Perspectives on Social Stratification
1. Functionalist Perspective
2. Marxist Perspective
3. Weberian Perspective

1. Functionalist Perspective: the functionalist theories of stratification must be seen in the context of general functionalist theories of society. Functionalists assume that there are certain basic needs or functional prerequisites which must be met if the society is to survive. They therefore look to social stratification to see how it meets these functional prerequisites.
Arguments of some key functionalist on importance of Social stratification:
Talcott Parsons: Like many functionalists parsons believes that Oder, stability and cooperation in the society are based on value consensus. He argues that stratification systems derive from common follows from the existence of values that individuals will form rank order .in parsons words stratification in its valuation aspect is the ranking of units in a social system in accordance with the common value system. Thus those who perform successfully in terms of society’s values will be ranked highly to receive a variety of rewards. Parsons argument suggests that stratification is an inevitable part of all human societies. If value consensus is an essential component of all societies, then it follows that some form of stratification will result from the ranking of individuals in terms of common values. Parsons argues that there is a general belief that stratification systems are just, right and proper, since they are basically expressions of shared values. Thus he views social stratification both as an inevitable and functional for the society.
Kingsly Davis and Wibert E.Moore: Davis and Moore begin with the observation that stratification exists in every known human society. They attempt to explain in functional terms, the universal necessity which calls forth stratification in any social system. Davis and Moore argue that all societies need some mechanism for insuring effective role allocation and performance. This mechanism is social stratification which they see as a system which attaches unequal rewards and privileges to the different positions in society.
To summarize all the functionalists are primarily concerned with the functions of the social stratification, with its contribution to the maintenance and well-being of the society.
Criticism: Melvin M.Tumin has produced a comprehensive criticism of the functional theory of social stratification propounded by Davis and Moore. He argues that they have ignored the influence of power on the unequal distribution of rewards. Thus differences in pay and prestige between occupational groups may be due to differences in their power rather than their functional importance. Tumin agrees that stratification by its nature can never adequately perform the functions which Davis and Moore assign to it. He also questions the view that social stratification functions to integrate the social system. He argues that differential rewards can encourage hostility, suspicion and distrust among the various segments of a society.

2. Marxist Perspective: Marxian perspective provides a radical alternative to the functionalist views of the nature of social stratification. They regard stratification as a divisive rather than an integrative structure. They see it as a mechanism whereby some exploit others rather than a means of furthering collective goals. According to Karl Marx, in all stratified societies, there are two major social groups: ruling class and subject class .the power of the ruling class derives from its ownership and control of the forces of production. The ruling class (haves) exploit and oppress the subject class (have not’s). As a result there is a basic conflict of interest between the two classes. And it is a historical phenomenon. From Marxian perspective, systems of stratification derive from the relationships of social groups to the forces of production. Marx used the term class to refer the main strata in all stratification systems. From Marxian view a class is a social group whose members share the similar relationship to the forces of production. Thus during ancient period there were masters and slaves, in the feudal epoch there were lords and serfs and in the present capitalistic period there are bourgeoisie and proletariat. The former in every case exploited the latter except in the primitive communistic stage of human history. Marxian advocated the end of the stratification system and pitched for the inauguration of communism.
Prof Yogendra Singh outlines the main features of Marxian analysis of social stratification as follows: “the treatment of stratification in Marxist theory has distinctive features, it is systematic, it is dialectical, it treats structures(stratification)as historical product, it locates historical forces in the mode of production, reflection of the specific nature of man which under certain historical conditions creates contradictions of classes, it is essentially evolutionary and developmental, since mode of production and relationship it generates are endowed with dialectical quality of self-transformation,” thus mode of production is the key of the Marxian theory of social stratification.
3. Weberian Perspective:  the work of the German sociologist Max Weber represents one of the most important developments in stratification theory since Marx. Weber’s perspective on social stratification derives from three components: class, status and power. Therefore, his theory is an improvement over Marx. Andre Beteille writes “in Weber’s scheme, class and power appears to be generalised categories: the former arises from unequal life chances in the market situation and the latter form the nature of domination which is present in one form or another in all societies. Status, on the other hand, seems to be a kind of residual category”. Much of his views are similar to those of Marx .Both define class in economic terms. Weber defines class as a group of individuals who share a similar position in the market economy and by virtue of that fact receives similar economic rewards. The class situation is determined by market situation. People belonging to the same class share similar life chances. Class division is the base of ownership or non-ownership of the forces of this context weber has pointed out that different occupations provide different market values, forming different categories of social class. Weber has distinguished four different categories according to their hierarchy:
1. The propertied upper-class
2. The property less white collar workers
3. The petty bourgeoisie
4. The manual working class.
Weber, in addition to ownership and non-ownership of forces of production, has added several other factors in the formation of classes. This implies that weber did not discard the Marx’s economic determinism but has added several other factors to it. The classifications of classes into four types show that there is little possibility of polarization of classes which has virtually little or no potential for class struggle. This is supported by the process of embourgeoisement. Weber argues that those who share similar class situations may lead similar life styles in terms of purchasing power, but he saw no reason in the development of common identity and shared interest. The manual workers may respond in variety of ways to their dissatisfaction .weber rejects Marx’s view that class is the only basis of power; he added several other factors particularly status situation. Status refers to unequal distribution of social honor. Weber argues that a member of a class may not be necessarily aware of their class situation, but members of the status group always do so. The basis of the analysis of the stratification according to Weber is the status group. Unlike class group the members of the status group share similar life styles and common addition to presence of status group within a single class and of status group which cut across class divisions can weaken the class solidarity and reduce the potential for class consciousness. Those points are illustrated by Weber’s analysis of parties. Weber defines parties as groups which are specifically concerned with influencing policies and making decisions in the interest of their membership. In Weber’s words parties are concerned with acquisition of power.
Weber’s analysis of classes, status groups and parties suggests that no single theory can pinpoint and explain their relationship. The interplay of class, status and party in the formation of social groups is complex and variable and must be examined in particular societies during particular time periods .weber argues that the evidence provides a more complex and diversified picture of social stratification.


 Social Processes and Social Mobility
a.         Sanskritization
b.         Westernization
c.         Modernization

Meaning of Sanskritisation: The “term “Sanskritisitation” was introduced into Indian Sociology by Prof. M.N. Srinivas.The term refers to a process whereby people of lower castes collectively try to adopt upper caste practices and beliefs, as a preliminary step to acquire higher status. Thus it indicates a process of cultural mobility that is taking place in the traditional social system of India.M.N. Srinivas in his study of the Coreg in Karnataka, found that lower castes, in order to raise their position in the caste hierarchy, adopted some customs and practices of the Brahmins, and gave up some of their own which were considered to be "impure" by the higher castes. For example, they gave up meat-eating, drinking liquor and animal sacrifice to their deities. They imitated Brahmins in matters of dress, food and rituals. By doing this, within a generation or so they could claim higher positions in the hierarchy of castes. In the beginning, M.N. Srinivas used the term “Brahminisation” (in his book “Religion and Society among the Coorgs” -1971) to denote this process. Later on, he replaced it by “Sanskritisation”.

Definition of Sanskritisation
M.N. Srinivas, in fact, has been broadening his definition of the term ‘Sanskritisation’ from time to time. Initially, he described it as- “the process of mobility of lower castes by adopting vegetarianism and teetotalism to move in the caste hierarchy in a generation or two” - (1962). Later on, he redefined it as “a process by which a low caste or a tribe or other group changes in caste” - (M.N. Srinivas in his “Social Change in Modern India - 1971). The second definition is much broader for it includes ideologies also (which include ideas such as ‘Karma’ ‘dharma’, ‘papa’ (sin), ‘punya’ ‘moksha’ etc.)
Sanskritisation and Brahminisation
Sanskritisation is a much broader concept than Brahminisation. M.N. Srinivas preferred it to Brahminisation for some reasons:
(i) Sanskritisation is a broader term and it can subsume in itself the narrower process of Brahminisation. For instance, today, though by and large, Brahmins are vegetarians and teetotalers, some of them such as Kashmiris, Bengalis and saraswath Brahmins eat non-vegetarian food. Had the term ‘Brahminisation’ been used, it would have become necessary to specify which particular Brahmin group was meant.
(ii) Further, the reference groups of Sanskritisation are not always Brahmins. The process of imitation need not necessarily take place on the model of Brahmins. Srinivas himself has given the example of the low castes of Mysore who adopted the way of life of Lingayats, who are not Brahmin but who claim equality with Brahmins. Similarly, the smiths (one of the lower castes) of Mysore call themselves Vishwakarma Brahmins and wear sacred threads and have sanskritised some of their rituals. (Still, some of them eat meat and drink liquor. For the very same reason, many castes, including some untouchable castes do not accept food or water from their hands).The lower castes imitated not only Brahmins but also Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, Jats, Shudras,etc. in different parts of the country. Hence the term Brahminisation does not completely explain this process. M.N. Srinivas himself acknowledged this fact and wrote: “I now realise that, I emphasized unduly the Brahminical model of Saskritisation and ignored the other models Kshatriya, Vaishyas and Shudra...” (“Social Change in Modern India - 1971).

When the concept of sanskritisation emerged in sociological literature in 1952, it created much academic uproar among social anthropologists and sociologists. It was agreed that the concept is useful to analyse social change among villagers, especially in terms of culture change.
Both Indian and foreign social anthropologists reacted to the usefulness of concept on the basis of whatever is available in sociological research material, we give below a few of the basic characteristics of sanskritisation:
1. It is a cultural paradigm:
Ideas, beliefs, traditions, rituals and things of this kind constitute the culture of a caste. When there is a change in these aspects of social life, it is a change in cultural life. Thus, sanskritisation is a cultural change among the lower castes and non-caste groups.
2. Sanskritisation is a change directed to twice-born castes:
Though, initially, sanskritisation meant Brahminisation, but later on, Srinivas included other models of higher castes for imitation. It was Milton Singer (1964) who had drawn attention of Srinivas by saying that there existed not one or two models of sanskritisation but three if not four. He said that the local version of Sanskritic Hinduism may use the four labels Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra but the defining content of these labels varies with locality and needs to be empirically determined for any particular locality. For instance, a particular village may imitate Brahmins as their model of change but looking to the historicity and contextuality, another village may decide Kshatriya or Vaishya as their model. Brahmins not in all cases are homogeneous. Nor are the Kshatriyas.
There are Brahmins, such as the Kashmiri, Bengali and Saraswat who are non-vegetarians. Similarly, there is variation among the Kshatriyas and Vaishyas. It is, therefore, the local history and the contexts which determine the sanskritic model for the lower castes. However, the Shudras do not make any model for imitation.
3. Sanskritisation also applies to tribals or non-caste groups:
In his refined definition Srinivas has stated that sanskritisation is not confined to Hindu castes only but it also occurs among tribal and semi-tribal groups, such as the Bhils of western India, the Gonds and Oraons of central India, and the Pahadis of the Himalayas. These tribal groups claim to attain the status of a caste, i.e., to become a Hindu.
4. Sanskritic values, ideology, beliefs belong to Indian tradition:
When Srinivas talks of sanskritisation of the lower castes, he has in his view the caste-Hindu traditions. Hinduism draws heavily from its scriptures, such as Ramayana, Mababbarata, Upanisbads and Brabmanas. The values and beliefs held in these scriptures become the content material for the imitation of the lower castes. The Brahmins, i.e., the priestly caste, naturally interpret the traditions and, therefore, they become the model of imitation for the lower castes.
Surely, acquisition of wealth and power makes a group or person belonging to a caste, important. But, only wealth and power do not enhance the status of a caste. The improvement in the ritual status can only help the lower caste to improve their hierarchy in the caste system. The imitation of the customs and habits of the higher caste, therefore, goes a long way in imparting sanskritic status to the lower caste, if the later has wealth and power.
5. Sanskritisation, in other words, also means teetotalism:
Srinivas, to be fair to him, has always refined and redefined his understanding of sanskritisation. At a later stage, he found that the lower castes in sanskritisation have a tendency to move higher in the caste hierarchy and in a generation or two they could improve their status in caste hierarchy by adopting vegetarianism and teetotalism.
Empirically no researcher has reported that a lower caste has improved its rank in the hierarchy despite having three generations. Though, there is no improvement in the rank it must be said that the lower castes have taken to the prohibition of alcoholism and many of the evils which traditionally characterised their caste.

It must be admitted that Srinivas has made a serious attempt to analyse social change not only in villages but in the wider society at large. Concepts are not theories they are only formats of a theory. There is a possibility of a format to suffer from several weaknesses. Response of Srinivas’ concept of sanskritisation has been much encouraging, notwithstanding its drawbacks. For instance, in 1965, the University of Chicago organised a seminar on ‘Social Change in India’.
The seminar was important in the sense that it was attended by Srinivas himself and a number of social anthropologists, such as Bernard S. Cohen, David G. Mandelbaum, McKim Marriott, Owen M. Lynch, Milton Singer and a few others.
All these had rich experience of working in Indian villages. Sanskritisation was discussed thoroughly in this conference. Besides, some of the Indian sociologists also conducted intensive field studies to verify the concept.
The critique which we give below is drawn from all these comments:
1. Religion is sui generis for Srinivas:
Whether we consider dominant caste, sanskritisation on westernization, in all these concepts the major thrust of Srinivas is caste. Caste is related to religion and, therefore, when Srinivas talks about caste he means religion.
His fundamental assumption is that caste has originated from religion. It is the Brahma who created four varnas out of the different parts of his body. Religion and caste, therefore, for Srinivas, are the two sides of the same coin. Viewed from this perspective, the concept of sanskritisation is the concept of religion. And when he focuses on caste, he is concerned with hierarchy. K.L. Sharma (1986) rightly observes:
Srinivas’ study of the role of religion among the Coorgs is clearly an extension of Radcliffe-Brown’s functionalism. Religion is sui generis for Srinivas. Caste and religion are intertwined. Hence religion becomes the basis of caste hierarchy (emphasis ours).
The weakness of the concept of sanskritisation is that it is only concerned with the culture. It would not be wrong to say that Srinivas is concerned only with the cultural and normative criteria which bring change in rural society. The economic and political parameters of change have largely been overlooked by him.
2. Hierarchy is supreme:
The concept of sanskritisation is based on hierarchy. The idea in the process of sanskritisation is that the lower castes might rise to higher caste by imitating the sanskritic rights of the twice-born. Such a social change is hierarchical. When today, in contemporary India, democratisation has become a new value, hierarchical transformation is increasingly becoming weak.
Parvathamma brings out this weakness of sanskritisation when she observes:
In all the writings of Srinivas, the Brahmin non-Brahmin values are juxtapose, hierarchy remains basic to Srinivas.
3. Social tensions and contradictions by-passed:
For Srinivas, the idea of India society is that of caste society. He altogether forgets that Indian society is a plural society; it does not discriminate individuals on the basis of caste. By giving the concept of sanskritisation he very rigidly adheres to caste model of Indian society. K.L. Sharma comments harshly on this weakness of Srinivas:
A scholar of the eminence Srinivas does not take cognizance, perhaps inadvertently, of the continuity of ‘social formation’ of India society, and prefers to adhere to caste model of Indian society. He refers to ‘rural caste’ and ‘urban caste’, like some American scholars, such as Rosen and Marriott.
Caste and class, theoretically speaking, are principles of social status determination, hence not concerned with ‘rural’ or ‘urban’ people as such. ‘Rural’ and ‘urban’ are patterns of living and not principles of ranking (emphasis ours).
4. Sanskritisation may lead to inter-class hostility:
Yogendra Singh has yet another weakness in the concept of sanskritisation given by Srinivas. His guess is that sometimes sanskritisation may manifest suppressed inter-class hostility. In support of his guess Yogendra Singh refers to the observation made by Harold Gould:
One of the prime motives behind sanskritisation is this factor of repressed hostility which manifests itself not in the form of rejecting the caste system but in the form its victims trying to seize control of it and, thereby, expiate their frustrations on the same battlefield where they acquired them. Only then can there be a sense of satisfaction in something achieved, i.e., tangible, concrete, and relevant to past experience.
Not only Yogendra Singh but Srinivas himself has admitted that sanskritisation subsumes many meanings. Some of the meanings are mutually antagonistic.
5. Sanskritisation is a limited concept:
Surely, one of the weaknesses of sanskritisation is its limited usefulness. It refers only to social change in the caste hierarchy. Caste hierarchy is basically ritual-cultural hierarchy. But beyond caste, i.e., in secular hierarchy sanskritisation ceases of exist. In any case the concept is not comprehensive enough in explaining social change.
6. It is a process confined too little tradition only:
Admittedly, sanskritisation is a process of social change. Theoretically, “sanskritisation may represent changes in cultural structure, of the little as well as the great tradition. But most empirical observations of this process are confined to the little tradition”.
In other words, changes in the great tradition, i.e., in epics like Puranas can be made by a comprehensive cultural renaissance that can be effected at the local level. And, therefore, sanskritisation though wider in scope rem ains restricted to a few castes found in a specific region. For instance, if there is a movement of sanskritisation among the potters, it does not necessarily mean that the movement would spread among the potters at national level. Obviously, a caste varies from place to place, region to region.
7. Sanskritisation sometimes is a protest against the normative structure:
There are empirical observations in some parts of rural India that the lower castes have rebelled against the sanskritic values of the higher castes. Such protests have resulted out of the democratic values given by education, party ideology and idiom of equality.
Emphasising this point Yogendra Singh observes:
Looked at from an ideal-typical value frame, sanskritisation is a form of protest against the normative structure and principles laid down by the great tradition. It, amongst to a rejection of the Hindu theory of karma which integrates the various levels of role institutionalisation supposed to be ascribed by birth, is thus a process of usurpation of a position higher in hierarchy as defined by the great tradition, by rejection of fundamental principle of hierarchy {great tradition).
The protest against sanskritisation thus gets manifested in the denial of the karmakanda practised by Brahmins. The ritual status of Brahmin in this process gets eroded. Similarly, the former ruling class of Rajputs is also looked down by the rebels. And, therefore, it would be erroneous to understand that on all occasion’s sanskritisation is looked with favour.
8. Weakening dominant caste also lowers sanskritisation:
The concept of dominant caste is a supplement to the concept of sanskritisation. In modern India, the construct of dominant caste is fast becoming irrelevant. No more are Brahmins a dominant caste in many of the villages. Dominance carries power, professional status and party association. Quite like the construct of dominant caste sanskritisation also suffers certain weaknesses. The developed villages now hardly consider dominant caste as their reference models for sanskritisation.
9. Power acquisition and political participation are more important than cultural status:
Milton Singer has brought out a new empirical evidence (1968) to suggest that the contemporary upward mobile group has rejected sanskritisation for political participation. Singer, in this regard, refers to the studies of Owen M. Lynch and William Rowe. Lynch conducted a study among the Jatav of Agra.
While rejecting Srinivas, Lynch observes:
The concept of sanskritisation describes the social changes occurring in modern India in terms of sanskritisation and westernization. The description is primarily in cultural and not in structural terms. Lynch argues that in place of sanskritisation the process of ‘elite emulation’ applies well so far the Jatavas, i.e., Chamars are concerned.
He says that the Jatavas have given up claims to a ‘dominant’ status of Kshatriya and sanskritic cultural behaviour, and have become antagonist of castes and caste system; in effect, they have reversed their old position against the Adi-Hindu movement. The reasons for rejection of sanskritisation, i.e., caste cult urology, as given by Lynch, are:
The change is due to the fact that sanskritisation is no longer as functional as is political participation for achieving a change in style of life and a rise in the Indian social system, now composed of both caste and class elements.
The object of sanskritisation was ultimately to open and legitimise a place in the opportunity and power structures of the caste society. The same object can now be better achieved by active political participation. It is no longer ascription based on caste status, but rather achievement based on citizenship status that, manifestly at least, is the recruitment principle for entrance into the power and opportunity structures.
For Lynch, Rowe, Singer and others sanskritisation is basically a concept of social mobility. Quite like these American scholars Y.B. Damle has also applied Merton’s reference group reference group theory to analyse social change in rural India. It is argued that sanskritisation is very limited in its scope, whereas reference group theory is quite comprehensive.
Concluding our description on sanskritisation it could be said that the nature of sanskritisation is definitely empirical. It focuses on localised culture. It is concerned with the culture of the twice-born. Its weaknesses are several. The difficulty with the concept is that rural India is changing fast and the concept has not received any corresponding change.

The role ‘Westernisation’ has been very significant in understanding the socio-cultural changes of modern India. British rule produced radical and lasting changes in the Indian society and culture. The British brought with them, (unlike the previous invaders) new technology, institutions, knowledge, beliefs, and values. These have become the main source of social mobility or individuals as well as groups. It is in this context, M.N. Srinivas, a renowned sociologist of India, ‘introduced the term’ ‘Westernisation’ mainly to explain the changes that have taken place in the Indian society and culture due to the Western contact through the British rule.

Definition of the Term “Westernization”
According to  M.N.  Srinivas,  ‘Westernisation’ refers to ‘the  changes  brought  about  in
Indian society and culture as a result of over 150 years of British rule and the term subsumes changes occurring at different levels - technology, institutions, ideology, values (Ref.: “Social Change in Modern India” By M.N. Srinivas.
M.N. Srinivas criticises Lerner’s concept of ‘modernisation’ on the ground that it is a value loaded term. According to him, “Modernisation” is normally used in the sense that it is good. He, therefore, prefers to use the term ‘Westernisation’. He describes the technological changes, establishment of educational institutions, rise of nationalism and new political culture, etc. as almost the bye-products of Westernisation or the British rule of two hundred years in India. Thus, by Westernisation, Srinivas primarily meant the British impact.
“During the 19th century the British slowly laid the foundations of a modern state by surveying land, settling the revenue, creating a modern bureaucracy, army and police, instituting law courts, codifying the law, developing communications - railways, post and telegraph, roads and canals-establishing schools and colleges, and so on...” (Srinivas). The British brought with them the printing press which led to many-sided changes. Books and journals made possible the transmission of modem as well as traditional knowledge to large number of Indians. Newspapers helped the people living in the remote corners of the country to realize their common bonds and to understand the events happening in the world outside. More than any other thing the Western education had an impact on the style of living of the people. They gave up their inhibition towards meat-eating and consumption of alcohol. They also adopted Western style of dressing and dining. As Gandhi ji wrote in his “Autobiography”, educated Indians undertook the task of' 'becoming English gentlemen in their dress, manners, habits, choices, preferences, etc.” It included even learning to appreciate Western music and participating in ball dancing. Western education resulted in a big change in the outlook of those educated.
M.N. Srinivas says that it is necessary “to distinguish conceptually between Westernisation and two other processes usually concouilait with it. - Industrialization and Urbanisation.” He gives two reasons for this: “'(i) Urbanization is not a simple function of' 'industrialisation'” and there were cities in Pre-industrial world” also. “'(ii) There are cases of rural people who are more urbanised than urban people”.

1. In comparison with Sanskritisation, Westernisation is a simpler concept. As it is already
made clear, it explains the impact of Western contact (particularly of British rule) on the Indian society and culture. M.N. Srinivas defends the uses of the term when he says that there is “need for such a term when analysing the changes that a non-Western country undergoes as a result of prolonged contact with a Western one”.
2. Westernisation Implies, according to Srinivas, “certain value preferences”. The most important value, which in turn subsumes several other values, is “humanitarianism”. It implies “an active concern for the welfare of all human beings irrespective of caste, economic position, religion, age and sex”. He further observes that equalitarianism and secularisation are both included in humanitarianism. Humanitarianism underlay many of the reforms introduced by the British in the first half of the 19th century. As British rule progressed "rationality and humanitarianism became broader, deeper and more powerful...”           The humanitarian outlook among the Westernised elite led first to social reform movement and later on to the independence movement. They were actually aware of existing social evils like child marriage, taboos against widow remarriage, seclusion of women, hostility to women's education, taboos against intercaste marriages, intercaste dining, untouchability etc. Social reform movements started with the efforts of Raja Ram Mohan Roy who founded the “Brahma Samaj”,Arya Samaj, Prarthana Samaj, Sri Ramakrishna Mission and such other movements that followed later, too had imbibed in them the humanitarian values.
3.         Westernisation not only includes the introduction of new institutions (for example, newspapers, elections, Christian missionaries) but also fundamental changes in old institutions. For example, India had schools long before the arrival of the British. But they were different from the British-introduced schools in that they had been restricted to upper caste children and transmitted mostly traditional knowledge. Other institutions such as the army, civil service and law courts were also similarly affected.
4.         The form and pace of Westernisation of India varied from region to region and from one section of population to another. For example, one group of people became Westernised in their dress, diet, manners, speech, sports and in the gadgets they used. While another absorbed Western science, knowledge and literature, remaining relatively free from certain other aspects Westernisation. For example, Brahmins accepted the Western dress habits and educational systems and also used gadgets such as radio, television, car, telephone etc. But they did not accept the British diet, dancing, hunting and such other habits. This distinction is, however, only relative and not absolute.
5.         According to Srinivas, Westernisation pervades political and cultural fields also. He writes “In the political and cultural fields, Westernistion has given birth not only to nationalism but also to revivalism communalism, ‘casteism’, heightened linguistic consciousness, and regionalism. To make matters even more bewildering, revivalist movements have used Western type schools and colleges, and books, pamphlets and journals to propagate their ideas”

6. As M.N. Srinivas claims, “The term Westernisation unlike ‘Modernisation’ is ethically neutral. Its use does not carry the implication that it is good or bad, whereas modernisation is normally used in the sense that it is good.”
7. According to Srinivas, “the increase in Westernisation does not retard the process of Sanskritisation. Both go on simultaneously, and to some extent, increase in Westernisation accelerates the process of Sanskritisation. For example, the postal facilities, railways, buses and newspaper media, which are the fruits of Western impact on India render more organised religious pilgrimages, meetings, caste solidarities, etc., possible now than in the past”
8. The term Westernisation is preferable to ‘Modernisation’, M.N. Srinivas asserts. “He contends that modernisation presupposes' rationality of goals' which in the ultimate analysis could not be taken for granted since human ends are based on value preferences and "rationality could only be predicted of the means not of the ends of social action". He considers the term "Modernisation" as subjective and the term 'Westernisation' as more objective. (Whereas writers such as Daniel Lerner, Harold Gould, Milton Singer and Yogendra Singh consider the term 'Modernisation as more preferable in place of Westernisation).

Meaning of Modernisation:
The term modernisation “does not denote any philosophy or movement, but it only symbolises a process of change. In fact, “Modernisation” is understood as a process which indicates the adoption of the modern ways of life and values”. The term was being used previously to refer only "to change in economy and its related effect on social values and practices". It was also described as a process that changed the society, from primarily agricultural to primarily industrial economy. As a result of the change in the economy, the society itself underwent changes in values, beliefs and norms. But, today the term is given a broader meaning.
Today, the term, ‘Modernisation’ is understood as an attempt, on the part of the people, particularly those who are custom-bound, to adopt themselves to the present time, conditions, styles, and ways in general. It indicates a change in people's food habits, dress habits, speaking styles, tastes, choices, preferences, ideas, values, recreational facilities and so on. It is also described as “social change involving the elements of science and technology”. The scientific and technological inventions have brought about remarkable changes in the whole system of social relationship and installed new ideologies in the place of traditional ones.
M.N. Srinivas, however, criticises the concept of Modernisation, according to him, it is a value-loaded term. He says that “Modernisation is normally used in the sense that it is good. He, therefore, prefer to use the term ‘Westernisation’ which characterises the changes brought about in Indian society and culture as a result of over 150 years of British rule”.
Yogendra Singh, on the other hand, defends the concept of modernisation. According to him, it is broader than the two processes of Sanskritisation and Westernisation. It is, indeed a 'cultural universal' and not necessarily confined to any single society. Like science, modernity is not an exclusive possession of any one ethnic or cultural group. It belongs to the humanity as a whole. This does not mean that everywhere it should reveal the same pattern. It need not always take place on the model of England, Germany, France or America. It can take place on the model of Russia, India, Japan, Australia, or any other country for that matter. What is essential to modernisation is this - a commitment to “scientific world view” and a belief in the humanistic and philosophical viewpoint of science on contemporary problems.

Definition of “Modernisation”
1. Daniel Lerner. Daniel Learner who introduced the term "Modernisation" for the first time in his study of the middle-Eastern societies—uses it to refer to the changes brought about in a non-Western country by contract, direct or indirect with a Western country. To quote his own words : “Modernisation is the current term for an old process of social change whereby less developed societies acquire the characteristics common to more developed societies”.
2. Smelser. Modernisation refers to “a complex set of changes that take place almost in every part of society as it attempts to be industrialised. Modernisation involves ongoing change in a society's economy, politics, education, traditions, and religion”.
3. Alatas. “Modernisation is a process by which modern scientific knowledge is introduced in the society with the ultimate purpose of achieving a better and a more satisfactory life in the broadest sense of the term as accepted by the society concerned”.
4.         Rutow and Ward (1964) have said that the basic process in Modernisation is the application of modern science to human affairs.
5.         Eisenstadt says that Modernisation refers to both (a) structural aspects of social organisation, and (b) socio-demographic aspects of societies.

Characteristics of Modernisation
As it has already been mentioned, the process of modernisation has different dimensions. The spirit of modernisation is expressed in different areas such as - social organisation, culture, political field, economy, education, etc., in different ways. Broadly speaking, the process of modernization reveals the following important characteristics:
Modernisation includes – “a temple of science, reason and rationalism, secularism, high aspiration and achievement orientation, overall transformation of attitudes norms and values, creation of new functional institutions, investment In human resources, a growth oriented economy, a national interest rather than kin, caste, religion, region or language oriented interests, an open society, and a mobile person” - (Ram Ahuja in his “Indian Social System”).
According to B. Kuppuswamy, “the main feature of Modernisation is the building up of an ‘open society’ in which individuals of talent, enterprise and training can find places in the society appropriate to their achievement... The process of Modernisation involves an increase in social unrest till the social system is responsive to the new aspirations built up by the Modernisation process”. It should, however, be noted that the same process of modernisation institutes appropriate change in the social system to meet the rising expectations of the people.

What factors condition modernisation? What conditions lead to modernisation? What conditions hinder it? In exploring suitable answers to these questions sociologists look within the society to discover the various factors, groups, people and agencies and instruments that contribute to modernisation. Modernisation is not caused by any single factor. It is the net result of a number of factors. Myron Weiner speaks of five main instruments which make modernisation possible: education, mass communication, ideology based on nationalism, charismatic leadership and coercive governmental authority.

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