Mod-01 Lec-03 Nature of society: Individuals and groups


Well friends, today we are going to discuss
the nature of society. Actually before we take up concrete social issues like family,
economic institutions, religious institutions. It was necessary for us to talk about what
is society? What is a relationship between individual and society? What is the subject
matter of sociology? Who are finding fathers of sociology? What are groups? This we have
done, we will spend some more time on understanding the relationship between individual and society.
After that we will come to specific institutions or more concrete issues present in society. You have seen the definition of group, if
write the mean characteristics of groups, then groups are collections of individual.
This is one aspect that a number of individuals are present aggregates, they are aggregates.
Groups are aggregates of individuals
and if you remember that concept of degree of group formation, then any aggregate of
individuals including morph, crowds, passersby can be seen to be forming a group. So, what
is first degree of group? Sociologies are not so much concern with first degree of group,
we seldom have deal with first degree of group, we are more interested in higher order groups.
It is this higher order group which affect our thinking, our feelings, our behavior,
our believe, system, values and norms, so the other properties of group which will make
them sort of perfect group fourth degree group, some kind of perfect group. What do we need
to add to aggregates is interaction? That is the members of a group interact among themselves.
Second thing, we have to add is a unity essence of belonging dust group unity, we identify
with the groups. So, you identify with the groups you are part
of in Indian society in word society and all the groups have some internal organization
or a structure organization or structure aggregates, which meet all these requirements. That the
members of the groups interact, they have a sense of unity accordingly you have the
concept of in groups out groups and then there is some minimal degree of organization. The
groups are organize means there are certain rules of the game according to which behavior
of members in the group is regulated. It is not random or quadratic the behavior has to
organized, it must be in accordance with certain rules of behavior when you have the organization
also. Then you have fourth degree of group. So, Gisberts says that in in the first degree
of group, you can include crowds morphs. In the forth degree group you can include community
like village community like caste, which are anyway independent of individuals thinking,
feeling, acting. You have born in a community even when you withdrawn from the community
or you migrate from one community from another the community survives. You may you may be
born in Kanpur get early education in Kanpur, go for higher education to Mumbai, then go
to Bangalore for job, all that does not affect the community of Kanpur. Community of Kanpur
is independent of individual thinking, feeling, acting and in that sense it is the fourth
degree fourth degree group. In that connection I also made a difference
between values and norms. Values are the standards of behavior, values are the matters of right
and wrong, good and bad, beautiful and ugly, so aesthetics there are standards of behavior.
Norms are the guidance norms guide or regulate human behavior in pursuance of the values
of society. Another thing I mentioned I am saying sort of encapsulating it, so that there
is more clarity on the issues, but human behavior is learned human behavior is not distinct
it is not biologically determined as the behavior of plants and animals is human behavior is
completely learned. Some sociologist even goes to the extent of
saying that you cannot even give a single instance of human behavior, behind which you
can say that there are only biological factors and there is no role of socialization norms
culture, but the behavior is completely biological or distinct. In case of human beings there
is no distinct behavior, even when humans make their houses when unlike birds or animals
there is variety at the variety proofs. Whenever there is variety in human behavior
it proofs that human behavior is more of a learned behavior and it is not a centime there
is no bio grammar or biological reasons behind human behavior. When while talking about norms,
I also made a distinction between various types of norms folkways, moose, taboos. I
think for greater clarity if I say that there is a continual from folkways to taboos that
all kinds of laws of human behaviors can be put on a continual from folkways folkways.
Then moss and then taboos. This is in accordance with adherence to or emotions attached to
laws laws of human behavior. I said that there is a factual order in society and there is
a normative order just by knowing the factual order or by
understand both facts of society as well as
the normative pattern normative order factual order as well as the normative order, again
for greater clarity we can divide all the norms into into three main category; folkways,
moses and taboos. This is on the basis of adherence to or emotion
attached to although most of the time our behavior is regulated by folkways from that
point of view from the point of view of which things govern our behavior most of the time
it is folkway. Some sociologist say that folkways constitute the alpha and omega of human behavior.
Always wherever we are, whether we are in a class room or we are in a family or we are
with the or we are listening to political leaders or we are participating in a religious
ceremony in a temple our behavior is governed by folkways.
We get addicted to folkways, we do not have to think every day whether we should follow
certain norm regarding hair style, food, language, communication, cleanliness or hygiene, nutrition
greetings, antiquates, interaction with other people. Adherence to folkways happens automatically
because we are we get addicted to folkways we do not have to take as this sense everyday
food, life style, morning walk if there is a norm that people in some community in some
neighborhood get up early at 4 O Clock and go for a morning walk.
We do not have to take this sense every day, whether they will go for morning walk or not
this is just automatic people become addicted folkways are the alphas and omegas alpha and
omega human behavior. All the time the biggest and the most important of the folkways for
us is perhaps for example of language. Whatever language rules of grammar, we know that they
are arbitrary there is no reason why the rules of grammar should be the way they are and
different languages have their own customs. Grammars of German language, French language,
English language, Hindi language, Bengali, even in Hindu, Arabian languages, in European
languages, in groups of languages grammars are different, but grammars are folkways.
If there is a violation of folkways, if there is a violation of rules of grammar nothing
serious happens to society. So, society also does not bother about that. Moses are more
important and taboos although some people can say that the only difference between moses
and taboos is that when they are stated positively they are called moses. When they are stated
negatively, they are called taboos, but some people think that the very fact that there
are not only prescription, but also prescriptions you will not do this, you will You will must
desist from doing something, you must refrained from doing something. you must not even think
of something that shows that such norms are a greatest consequence to society.
That is why there is prescription, if there is no norm regarding regulation of factual
behavior if there is nothing like insets, if there are no norms moses and taboos regarding
sets, then organized social life would become impossible. Actually from sociological point
of view the norms have been made not to satisfy your needs not to satisfy needs of individuals,
but to satisfy the needs of society. Norms exist for society and it is from that
perspective sociology quote we should see at everything on the perspective of society
may be sometime violation of social norms may lead to promotion of interest of some
individuals, but the fact that they are called norms shows that somewhere deviation from
the norms damages the interest or needs or laws of society. So, we are looking at norms
from the point of view of needs of society and since emotions since we are suppose to
adherence most these things, so there are also emotions attached to them.
If you ever violate a folkways if you speak incorrect English in classroom or may be in
some interview or while you are talking to your friends in the hostel you speak in incorrect
English. Some time while in India you should drive your left, but you drive to the right
there is no great consequence, there is no emotional flaw there is no emotional flaw,
although you are deviating from the norms of society. Suppose someday from your family
suppose the norms of your community or family or such there should you should take only
vegetarian food. The norms are very strong, so you never take
non vegetarian food you take only vegetarian food sometime in the company of your friends.
You take one piece of chicken or one piece of mutton somewhere you have violated the
norms of your community, your family your community, but again you were forget about
it you remain vegetarian and you can even tell yourself that I am a vegetarian person.
It just happen once in my life that in the company of my friends I took a piece of mutton,
but that does not show that I have a inclination of non vegetarian food.
I am a vegetarian person because if a vegetarian person takes a piece of meat, a piece of mutton
or even beef someday ham with bread, you take ham you are not suppose to take, but you take
ham, you may forget about it. But when you violate the taboos ever things which are prescribe
you should not indulge them, but if you ever violate taboos, then there is a guilt that
you carry in yourself throughout your life. There is a guilt at because the emotions attached
to taboos are lost. So, you suffer from guilt and you suffer from guilt throughout your
life. Some people after violating taboos may suffer from guilt, so intensely that they
may become a psychotics case. They go to a psychiatric and in sitting with psychiatric.
Psychiatric comes to know them you ever violated a taboo, you ever behaved in a manner you
should have behaved. Then when if psycho analysis is correct you recover there is great emotion
attached to taboos. This this also shoe that in something which I keep on saying in sociology.
There is nothing absolutely correct or absolutely incorrect, it is not mathematics there is
no right or wrong answer it all depends on the perspective and the concept. We use are
only to help us in analyzing understanding interpreting social behavior.
May be making some degree of prediction, but there are there is more fuzziness in study
of society than in natural sciences. So, when I giving with the examples of vegetarian person
sometime in the company of friends taking a piece of mutton, is that student violating
folkways or moses or taboos. So, I was telling you that it is a small thing may be once in
life in the company of your friends, you smoke or you take ham or you take a piece of mutton
and you forget about it and you continue to think that you are non smoker, teetotaler
and you are a vegetarian person. May be vegetarian for a religious cause, but
when I said that may be you sometime take beef also if you are a devote Hindu and you
are from outside Kerala. Then to take beef is to indulge in very serious simple activity,
you may take a piece of mutton in the company of your friends, but you will never think
of taking a piece of beef in company of your friends. If you ever take beef then you suffer
from a guilt lifelong. May be in your life illegal time or otherwise you read more of
religious literature or you take interest in religious spiritual discourses. Then you
are gone you will always remember that I have violated a very important rule a very important
rule of conduct of Hindu life. That is that I should not have taken beef,
if you have taken mutton… So, again you see in vegetarian and non vegetarian also
there is hierarchy. From that point of view I can say that taking eggs or not taking,
for vegetarian people ever take eggs it is a violation of a kind of folkways. If you
come from a family in which even onion is not taken, at one time in several families
onions were not taken garlic were not taken anything grown inside the earth were not taken
potatoes also not taken. If you take onion, you take potato you cannot
escape from potato, if you are living in IIT Kanpur and eating in the mess. So, there is
no sink emotions attached to onions or emotions attached to garlic are not so significant,
but emotions attached to taboos are so great that we should not even think of ever involving
in taboos. You should not even think of saying that, we can never seed with China more rationally,
after all the line of control if the result of policy pursued by the British government,
there is nothing great about them. Then there are many areas which are under the possession
of Indian government, but Indians or India has no benefit from possessing those areas.
We are unnecessarily spending defense money on keeping several areas of Arunachal Pradesh
under our possession. Let us give them to China, if China want lets China take our,
if the Pakistan wants let the Kashmir go to Pakistan or may be some people can even rational
or rational basis mathematical economic or other basis. Then it will be better if certain
part of Kashmir go to Pakistan, but even the very thought on this kind will create a shock
and guilt in my mind what kind of Indian I am as a patriotic Indian I am responsible
for preserving every inch of mother land. It it will be taboo to think like that, so
it is a matter of degree. If you attached more importance to some norms or if some norms
are more important for the survival, maintenance, growth, adaptation, maturity, evaluation of
society, then they are towards taboos. They are least important they only make a an organize
predictable like possible they are folkways when they are no emotions attached. Again
to give you an an example of groups from India before coming to class our thinking that what
example I can give in the class to explain what kind of groups we are part of. So, let
us take village India more than 70 percent population of India is slaves in villages
and nearly 80 percent population lives in villages or village like situation. In village traditionally the system is, some
village is a community we are part of a community village is a community. Almost all of us have
come from village community not in this generation, than in the previous generation. Many of you
or most of you born in cities only, but if you ask your parents perhaps both your parents
or at least one of them was born in the village. Village is a community village were not formed
village was not formed by your parents, they were born in a village this is a community.
Forth degree of social group interaction, aggregate, structure, organization, meaning,
identity, unity, identity with the village can be, so great that there are matches, football
matches between two villages. You must encourage motivate team of your village.
It is like India IIT system, hall hall two and hall three strong identity with hall two
and hall three. When our old student comeback after 20 years 25 some after 30, 40 years
with their, they have grown old. They come with their spouses they are also old children
grown up sons and daughter. The first thing they would like to do is to go to hall because
they were either in hall two or in hall three. Their identity with hall two or hall three
remains so strong when they are working in New York, when they meet other IIT’s from
Kanpur, they will first ask whether you are in hall two or hall three, so as as for IIT
Kanpur students this hall two hall three identities very important.
For a common Indian in village society was the village identity, perhaps next to village
was cast. If a villager asking you who are you perhaps or in most cases he is asking
about your caste and you say I am Sind the villager will not be happy because there are
Sinds of all types. So he will ask for the what kind of a Sind you are? Are you a Rajput?
Are you a Kurume? Are you a Yadhav? Are you a Dalit? What kind of Sind you are? There
are all kinds of Sind, all kinds of Laurens. Unless our villager comes to know that you
are Lauren of this type you are sink of this type even not be satisfied.
So, village village was a community and village community was further divided into you can
call it a group. Also community is a group any any aggregate of individuals is a group,
society is also a group, world is also a group, you can see world as a group as a society.
The only difference the society is the largest distinguishable unit, it is largest as compared
to other groups you are part of IIT, group of males or females, age, group, caste, regional
groups, linguistic groups, cultural groups, religious groups, all these groups are within
within society. Society is the largest group, so society is the largest distinguishable
you can distinguish the group from other groups from other societies.
Certainly Indians are not Pakistanis and Indians are not Malays, Indians are not German. So,
society is the largest distinguishable unit of interacting it must satisfy all the requirements
of group formation of interacting individuals who share a pattern of social organization.
There is a pattern of social organization their behavior in Indian society is not aquatic
is not random there is a pattern of social organization that regulates the interaction
between them. This means that there are organizations and there are norms. Society is the largest
group largest survival in group this can be distinguish from other groups in which you
are member of various organizations and you are interaction with others is governed by
the norms of society. So, for example, in a group like village.
Village is a community a in village there are sub groups for example, the sub groups
in a in a village of India around independence you could write groups like there are land
owners there are other groups like tenants share croppers who works on others farms,
owner cultivators. You can distinguish land land owners from owner cultivators land owners
means usually they posses land, but they do not cultivate there are land owner, there
are owner cultivator, there are tenants, share croppers, there are priests.
So, a number of groups like priests carpenters, blacksmiths each plays has its own… Blacksmith,
potter there are potters there are barbers service, cost barbers, there are launderers,
there are menial workers or menial workers there are sweepers. So, these are Indian society
is a large group within Indian society, there are so many groups. One of the group is village,
all Indians in the beginning of last century, 90 percent population lived in villages only
10 percent population lived in urban areas, 90 percent population was lived in village.
So, almost all Indians 9 Indians out of 10 the member of some village and this village
was further divided into a number of groups. You call them land owners, tenants, priests,
carpenters, blacksmith, potters, barbers, launderers or washer men, menial workers and
sweepers. In each village you find that all these groups are there, within each group
again there are sub groups there may be two or more houses of land owners family. You
may call it family one, family two, this is again a group. Family is also a group in family
there is much more face to face interaction. Therefore, family is a kind of primary group
when we when charge certain made a different between primary groups and secondary groups.
Is that primary groups shape our life mold they are small in size most of the interaction
is face to face and family is one such group, family one, family two, land owner. Similarly,
in the group of tenants there may be 10, 50, 40 family priests several families f 1, f
2, f 3, three families in a category of priests like that. In sweepers again there are families
families also a group it is a primary group as compared to family the casters of caste
is more secondary. As, compared to a caste, a village is more secondary as compared to
village the or district is more secondary as compared to that your state is more secondary,
so primary and secondary group. Then there is another village, there also
we call it village one and village two, in village two also you have all these things.
In village two also you have land owners family one, two, three, tenants family one, two,
three, priests family one, two. Within family also you have identifiable social groups,
in family you have males and females and this division into males and females is a very
significant division for students of sociology, because in all societies including India rights
and obligations are heavily dependent on the sex.
What we are expected to do in society, what are our entitlements, what kind of person
we will shape into when we grow up, our what will be our interactions with other member
of society they are own heavily dependent on our sex or gender that is where you talk
of patriarchy, patriarchal society in which males or fathers are more powerful. Matriarchy
in which mothers are more powerful they have been lot of research into this area, but for
thousands of years humans lived in matriarchal society in which mother was more powerful.
But gradually with industrialization economic development modernization urbanization and
impact of world religions all world religions are patriarchal Islam is heavily patriarchal,
Christianity is heavily patriarchal, Hindus is heavily patriarchal.
So, when our tribal’s or our village people accepted all these world religions or converted
to other world religions all religions are equal culprit. All religions have taken away
industrialization modernization and religions have taken away power from females and given
into males. So, this female male distinction is also important within each family you have
female, female one, female two, several females of different age groups age group is also
a group. Male, male one, male two, male three, these males are further divided according
to age. All are note equally powerful all males are
not equally powerful when we say that males are more powerful than females it means the
oldest male the oldest male who is the owner of movable and immovable property at least
a symbolic head, that symbolic head is more powerful. Among females symbolic mother in
law is more powerful, a daughter in law is not supposed to do anything without taking
permission from mother in law. Whom she will mix with what activities she will do she will
follow the whole day when she should go for sleep when she should wake up what activities
she supposed to do after waking up is completely structured by mother in law.
So, all all as a rule in patriarchal society males are more powerful than females, but
all males are all females are not equally powerful or equally powerless. Mother in law
is more important there have been studies among tribes in Australia and several other
areas they have been documented. Our introductory sociology books also talk about them, but
there is a hierarchy of importance power. In most bread winning person adult male adult
males who are responsible for bread are seen to be important. So, in times of crisis all
societies also have to decide about what to do with powerless people, children are powerless,
old people are powerless, they are not even needed by society.
Old people are not needed, children are needed they are the future citizens. But old people
are not needed. So, society has to think about there are extremes in western society today
the richest persons are the old people they are called senior citizens and society is
protecting all their health food financial all kinds of interest. They are surviving
on social security pension provident funds, mutual funds in our country also all these
things are becoming source of dependents in old days they are not working.
But the society have to keep them alive it is a wasteful expenditure from social point
view from one perspective society spending unnecessarily and of the conflicts in western
society like Europe and in America is, so interest, but people have actually started
talking about these things that as the process of ageing his own as life expectancy has grown
up. Proportion of old people has also grown up. So, proportion of people who are unproductive
and they are just survival and the society has to pay for their food medicine housing
this and that enormous. There are other cases examples of tribal’s
of Australia like where in times of crisis old people, who were expected to commit suicide
when in times of crisis children who were killed particularly female the practice female
infanticide. In some extent cases there are records that in drought situations they not
only killed babies they also ate them extreme society consists of extreme cases. Nothing
and I do know what is right or wrong, as a student of sociology we can only observe we
can say that society is like that society is a values norms culture.
In village two again you have all these things so there is a priests, family priests and
in priests there are f 1, f 2, f 3. Family in our society because you practice village
exogamy we do not marry within the village. So, some people of f one have connected to
f 2 of village two likewise village three and so on. This kind of relationship is called
kinship, blood relations. Kinship this is another group relationships are not confined
to village and caste and family or household or males or females or age groups, there are
relationships of various kinds now you have kinship.
Similarly, all these people all these cause sub cause in community are part of some state.
There is a king there may be a small kingdom there were part of that small kingdom. So,
the whole society like this consist of a political unity alpha there is a on these basis and
when say Britishers have come to India and develop their own administration. They develop
some economic activities some new occupations mostly connected with administration and education.
So accordingly new types of groups are formed some are educated some are uneducated some
are less educated some are literate some are illiterate new groups are formed some become
peon some become clerk some become civil servants ICS officers. So, there is a hierarchy of
Burgonets, new groups are formed and all these groups exist within society called India.
All these groups in bigger group that bigger group is the society of India. There are interactions
between these groups will talk about these interactions in the next class there is cooperation
there is conflict there are interest there are emotions. On the basis of this people
conduct themselves, so this is what a complex configuration of groups and sub groups within
a larger entity the biggest group society exist. Some people today are talking of world global
society, global village can we say that world is a society? World society, does it make
sense to say that there is a world society or a world society is emulsion or world society
exist. If you apply the criteria use for the definition of group including society world
may be seen as a society provided, what are the consideration for group, one consideration
is aggregate, yes. World is in aggregate, 7 billion people are inhabiting Earth today.
Aggregate, there is identity. Many people today identify will identify there is world
citizenship. And they feel that national considerations are narrow. We are all members of the same
world, there are international conventions conventions organizations to regulate behavior
and there is flow mobility mobility of men and capital.
When there is a mobility of men and capital from one country to another, then you can
and that means interaction interaction between companies interaction between people interaction
between organizations, united nations summits, international conferences, international conference
of sociologies, international conference of chemists, international conference of business
men, there are interaction between individuals and groups at the international layout. There
are human rights proposed by United Nations and almost all the countries of the world
are morally applies to except you and chatter for human rights.
A few years ago a group countries matted one place and developed millennium development
goals, but by this year in terms of certain socio economic indicators all the countries
have to reach there. We have to reduce poverty we have to reduce infant modernity etcetera,
etcetera and all the countries which are signatory to millennium development goals. Even even
those countries which are not signatory feel compact to moving the direction.
If all these things are happening, then you can say that today world society is emerging
when there was no movement of people when there was no movement of people from one country
to another. When there was no interaction, when there was no identity of world citizenship,
there was no world society. But today you can say that starting from individual, we
can go up to world world society has become the largest group. So, your life is not confined
to your village or your caste or sub caste or kinship, you remember of world society
increasingly, we can talk about world society.

8 thoughts on “Mod-01 Lec-03 Nature of society: Individuals and groups

  1. people think groups are greater than the sum of their parts, but they are the sum of their parts combined, in society the individuals are not independent and depend on the group and therefore weaken it over time when compared to a group of strong individuals that rely on their own mind, not others to provide a unique contribution. – groups are good but it depends on those in the group, overtime when people put emphasis on the whole they live for roles, cease to create roles to fit their natural talents, these roles provided for by society by taking from the individuals, slowing new innovations as everyone is trained by another's mind that has nothing new to find, when we do certain things with our brain's like cease being creative then the brain will be impaired in that area. the "problems" we see that arise are natures way to maintain balance and prevent the species devolving, through the folly the more obvious it becomes and the more people will go their own way and develop their creativity/ natural talents.

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