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Sociology Notes and Topics on Sociology

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Old Tuesday, September 20, 2011
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Question Required VU sociology Notes by Dr. Anwar

Asslamoalikum all Dear Valued Members, I required Sociology notes by Dr. Anwar of VU, expecting seniors will favour me.
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Default I hope these short notes will prove to be helpful.

Question: What Is Culture?
Answer: Culture refers to the beliefs, values, behavior and material objects that, together, form a People’s way of life. Culture has two basic components: nonmaterial culture, or the intangible creations of human society, and material culture, the tangible products of human society.
Question: What is the difference between society and culture? Answer: Culture includes all the symbolic and material productions of people, groups, organizations, and institutions in society. Society refers to people who interact in a defined territory and share culture.
Question: How social ranking can be explained?
Answer: Social ranking is an important feature found to one degree or another in all societies. The degree to which societies rank individuals however varies and results in varying amounts of inequality to be found in the world.

Question: What is sociology?
Answer: The truth is, there can be several definitions of what sociology is. The rather clinical definition, according to Webster's dictionary, is "the study of the development and structure of society and social relationships."" Textbooks usually describe sociology as "the scientific study of human society and social behavior" or something very similar to that. These are the formal definitions of sociology.

Question: How do sociologists do their research?
Answer: Sociologists do research in basically one of two ways: qualitatively and quantitatively. Doing research qualitatively means one would get data by observing human interaction (and sometimes participating in those events yourself), doing interviews, or studying documents or other sources of data first-hand. Quantitative work involves using statistical procedures and mathematical programs to come up with various numerical measures of the issue one is trying to analyze.

Question: What is social work?
Answer: Social work is the profession of helping individuals, families, groups or communities to enhance or restore their capacity for social functioning and creating societal conditions favorable to that goal.
Question: What are the functions of families?
Answer: Families reduce competition for spouses. They also regulate the division of labor on the basis of gender. Families also meet the material, educational and emotional needs of children.
Question: What subjects or issues do sociologists deal with?
Answer: Human society itself is so complex and multidimensional; sociologists themselves deal with a wide variety of specific subjects and issues. A short list would include such issues as popular culture, the uses of language, social institutions, bureaucracies, social deviance and crimes, human sexuality, class differences, racial and
ethnic differences, gender differences, marriages and families, education, religion, economics and capitalism, types of political governments, social movements, population changes, and technology. Again, this is only a partial list of subject’s sociologists study.
Question: What is status quo?
Answer: The existing conditions or circumstances. There are always those who are interested in maintaining the status quo since they are doing well due to it and others who oppose the status quo since it tends to exploit them or puts them in a disadvantaged position.
Question: Why is sociology important?
Answer: It's important because what we're dealing with here is the nature of human society and the social environment that we're all a part of. Sociology frequently deals with some of the most critical and controversial issues concerning us today. No matter how we may feel about these issues or even about each other, we can probably all agree that society is constantly changing and that the need to understand each other is more crucial now than ever. In this sense, that is where sociology and sociologists can hopefully contribute some useful knowledge and wisdom.
Question: How is sociology different from anthropology?
Answer: Both sociology and anthropology study societies and cultures. Traditionally, anthropology was more likely to study hunting and gathering, herding, fishing, and other non-industrial societies, while sociology tended to focus more on industrial and postindustrial societies. There is also a whole division of anthropology called physical anthropology which examines teeth, bones, and other archeological evidence. Today, anthropologists may study aspects of contemporary culture in all types of societies. They are more likely than sociologists to use qualitative methods of research and less likely to use quantitative methods. Some sociologists use both qualitative and quantitative data.
Not all sociologists pay a lot of attention to culture, but most social anthropologists could never ignore culture.
Question: What is the function of kinship?
Answer: Vertical Function: Kinship systems provide social continuity by binding together a number of generations Horizontal Function: Kinships provide social solidarity and continuity within the same generation as well.

Question: How many residence patterns are there?
Answer: The most common types of residence patterns evidenced around the world are: Patrilocal: the couple can live with or near the relatives of the husband’s father (most prevalent)
Matrilocal: the couple can live with or near the relatives of the wife’s father
Avunculocal: the couple can live with or near the husband’s mother’s brother Ambilocal or
bilocal: the couple can live with or near the relatives of either the wife or the husband Neolocal: Where economic circumstances permit, the couple can also establish a completely new residence of their own.
Question: What is Gender stratification?
Answer: Gender stratification contrasts the status assigned by different cultures on the basis of gender. It is important to release that status is itself a multidimensional notion involving issues of economic, social and political empowerment. Stratification on the basis of gender is a common phenomenon.
Question: What is theory?
Answer: A theory suggests a relationship between different phenomenon’s. Theories allow us to reduce the complexity of reality into an abstract set of principles, which serve as models to compare and contrasts different types of realities.
Question: Name and explain important types of societies?
Answer: Stratified societies, which are associated with the rise of civilization, range from open class societies, which permit high social mobility, to more rigid caste societies, which allow for little or no social mobility Class societies are associated with achieved status, the positions that the individual can choose or at least have some control over.
Caste societies, on the other hand, are based on ascribed statuses into which one is born and cannot change.
Question: What are the prominent theories of stratification?
Answer: The Functionalists: Functionalists adopt a conservative position and maintain that social inequality exists because it is necessary for the functioning of society. Functionalists emphasize the integrative nature of stratification, which results in stability and social order. Conflict Theorists: Conflict theorists assume that the natural tendency of all societies is toward change and conflict. Conflict theorists believe that stratification exists because the upper classes strive to maintain their superior position at the expense of the lower classes.
Question: How cultural change occurs?
Answer: The two principal ways that cultures change are internally through the processes of invention and innovation and externally through the process of diffusion. It is generally recognized that the majority of cultural features (things, ideas, and behavior patterns) found in any society got there by diffusion rather than invention.
ABSOLUTE POVERTY : Poverty as defined in terms of the minimal requirements necessary to afford minimal standards of food, clothing, health care and shelter. BUREAUCRACY : A formal organization marked by a clear hierarchy of authority, the existence of written rules of procedure, staffed by full-time salaried officials, and striving for the efficient attainment of organizational goals.
CAPITALISM : An economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and distribution in which the goal is to produce profit.
ACHIEVED STATUS : A position attained through personal ability and effort.
AFFIRMATIVE ACTION : Government programs intended to assure minorities and women of equal hiring or admission opportunities.
AGE STRUCTURE : The relative proportions of different age categories in a population.
AIR POLLUTION : Refers to the contamination of the atmosphere by noxious substances
ARRANGED MARRIAGE : Marriage based on the family ties rather than the couple's personal preferences.
ASCRIBED STATUS: A social position that is given at birth (such as race or sex).

CAPITALISTS : Those who own companies, or stocks and shares, using these to generate economic returns or profits.
CARRYING CAPACITY : The number of a species that a particular ecosystem can support without suffering irreversible deterioration
CRUDE DEATH-RATE : A statistical measure representing the number of deaths per thousand population that occur annually in a given population.
CULTURAL LAG : A dysfunction in the sociocultural system caused by change occurring in one part of the system and the failure of another part of that system to adjust to the change. An example would be married women engaged in outside employment and the continuance of the domestic division of labor.
CULTURAL SUPERSTRUCTURE : Sociocultural materialism term used to refer to
the shared symbolic universe within sociocultural systems. It includes such components as the art, music, dance, rituals, sports, hobbies and the accumulated knowledge base of the system
CULTURAL TRANSMISSION : The socialization process whereby the norms and values of the group are internalized by individuals.
CULTURE : The values, norms and material goods shared by a given group. Your instructor prefers to restrict the term to refer to symbolic aspects (values and norms).
CULTURE OF POVERTY : The view that the poor have a different value system that contribute to their poverty.
ECONOMY : The organization of production and distribution of goods and services within a sociocultural system.
EDUCATION : The transmission of knowledge to members of society. The knowledge
passed on is in the form of technical and cultural knowledge, technical and social skills, as well as the norms and values of the society.
EDUCATION SYSTEM : The system of formalized transmission of knowledge and values operating within a given society.
EGALITARIAN FAMILY : Family arrangement in which power is shared more-orless equally by both the wife and the husband.
EMIGRATION : The movement of people out of their native land to other countries.
ENDOGAMY : A system in which an individual may only marry within the same social category or group.

ENVIRONMENT : The physical, biological and chemical restraints to which action is subject.
ETHNOCENTRISM : The tendency to judge other cultures by the standards one's own culture.
FECUNDITY : The number of children which is biologically possible for a woman to produce.
HIGHER EDUCATION : Usually refers to education beyond high school level, often in colleges or universities.
IDEOLOGY : Shared ideas or beliefs which serve to justify and support the interests of a particular group or organizations.
IMMIGRATION : The settlement of people into a country in which they were not born. LOCAL KNOWLEDGE : Knowledge of a local community possessed by individuals who spend long periods of their lives in them.
MALTHUSIANISM : Thomas Malthus' theory of population dynamics, according to which population increase inevitably comes up against the 'natural limits' of food supply. Population grows geometrically (1, 2, 4, 8, 16,. . .) while food supply grows arithmetically (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, . . .). The debate rages on, there are neo-malthusians and antimalthusians among us today!
MARRIAGE : A socially approved sexual and economic relationship between two or more individuals.

MATRILINEAL DESCENT : The tracing of kinship through only the female line
MINORITY GROUP (OR ETHNIC MINORITY) : A group of people who are defined on the basis of their ethnicity or race. Because of their distinct physical or cultural characteristics, they are singled out for unequal treatment within a society.
PROFESSIONS : Occupations requiring extensive educational qualifications, with high social prestige, subject to codes of conduct lay down by central bodies (or professional associations).
SELF (or SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS) : The individual's awareness of being a distinct social identity, a person separate from others. Human beings are not born with selfconsciousness, but acquire an awareness of self as a result of early socialization.
SERIAL MONOGAMY : The process of contracting several marriages in succession marriage, divorce, and remarriage.
SEX : The biological categories of females and males.
SEX ROLE : The gender specific role behavior that a person learns as a member of a particular society.
SOCIAL MOBILITY : Movement between different social positions within a stratification system.
SOCIAL MOVEMENT : A large grouping of people who are organized to bring about, or to block, a a change in the sociocultural system.
SOCIAL ROLE : The expected patterned behavior of an individual occupying a
particular status position.
SOCIALIZATION : The lifelong processes through which humans develop an awareness of social norms and values, and achieve a distinct sense of self.
STIGMA : A symbol (or a negative social label) of disgrace that affects a person's social identity.
STRATIFICATION : The existence of structured inequalities in life chances between groups in society.
STRUCTURE : Sociological term to refer to all human institutions, groups and organizations.
SUBCULTURE : A group within the broader society that has values, norms and lifestyle distinct from those of the majority.
SURPLUS VALUE : Marx's concept for the value of an individual's labor power (calculated by the amount of value the labor contributes to the product minus the amount of money paid to the worker by the capitalist). The conventional name for this difference is profit--thus the whole capitalist system is based on "expropriating" surplus value (or stealing labor) from workers.
THIRD WORLD : Societies in which industrial production is only developed to a limited degree. Many of these societies were former colonies of industrial states. The majority of the world's population (over 70 percent) lives in Third World countries.

TRANSITIONAL CLASSES : Marx's term to refer to social classes based on previous relations of production which linger on in the beginning stages a new one--such as peasants or landowners of a feudal system which has become capitalist.
CAUSATION : A 'cause and effect' relationship exists wherever a change in one variable (the independent variable) induces change in another (the dependent variable). Causal factors in sociology include individual motivation as well as many external influences on human behavior that often go unrecognized.
CLASS CONSCIOUSNESS : An objective awareness of the class system, including the common interests of people within your class.
COLONIALISM : The process whereby nations establish their political and economic rule over less powerful nations.
COMMODITY RIOTS : Riots in which the focus of violence is the destruction of property.
COMMUNICATION : The transmission of information from one individual or group to another.
COMMUNISM : A set of egalitarian political and economic ideas associated with Karl Marx in which the means of production and distribution system would be owned by the community. "Communism" as developed by Lenin and institutionalized throughout Eastern Europe (until 1990) and China bears little resemblance to Marx's vision.
DEVIANCE : Behaviors which do not conform to significant norms held by most of the members of a group or society. What is regarded as 'deviant' is highly variable across societies.
DYSFUNCTION : Refers to an institution's negative impact (or harmful effect) on the
sociocultural system.
ECOSYSTEM : A self-sustaining community of plants and animals within a natural
ESTATE : A form of stratification established by law.
ETHNICITY : An ethnic group is one of a common cultural identity, separating them from other groups around them. FEMINISM : Advocacy of the social equality of the sexes.
FERTILITY : The average number of live born children produced by women of childbearing age in a particular society.
FORCES OF PRODUCTION : Marx's term to refer to the technology used to produce economic goods in a society.
FUNCTIONS : The ways in which a sociocultural trait contributes toward the maintenance or adaptation of the entire sociocultural system.
FUNCTIONALISM : A theoretical perspective that focuses on the way various parts of the social system contribute to the continuity of society as well as the affect the various parts have on one another.
GANG : An informal group of individuals that engage in common activities, many of these activities may be outside the law.
GHETTO : A section of a city occupied predominantly by members of a single racial or
ethnic group, usually because of social or economic pressure.
HIDDEN CURRICULUM : Behavior or attitudes that are learned at school but which are not a part of the formal curriculum. For example, aspects of classism can often be "unintentionally" conveyed in learning materials.
INTERGENERATIONAL MOBILITY : Movement up or down the social hierarchy from one generation to another.
KINSHIP : The network of social relationships which link individuals through common ancestry, marriage, or adoption.
LATENT FUNCTIONS : The unintended consequences of one part of a sociocultural system. For example, the reform of big city political machines had a lot of unintended consequences on the governability of American cities
LEGITIMACY : The generally held belief that a particular social institution is just and valid.
LIFE EXPECTANCY : The number of years a newborn in a particular society can expect to live. Also refers to the number of further years which people at any given age can, on average, expect to live.

LIFE-SPAN : The maximum length of life that is biologically possible for a member of a given species.
MANAGERIAL CAPITALISM : A change in the control of capitalist enterprises from owners (which predominated in Marx's day) to control by (very well) salaried managers.
MANIFEST FUNCTION : The intended and known consequences of one part of a
sociocultural system. For example, the reform of big city political machines had the intended consequence of limiting (relatively) corruption by city officials
MASS MEDIA : Forms of communication designed to reach a vast audience without any personal contact between the senders and receivers. Examples would include newspapers, magazines, video recordings, radio and television
MATERIALISM : The view that 'material conditions' (usually economic and technological factors) have the central role in determining social change.
MECHANIZATION : The use of machinery to replace human labor.

MIDDLE CLASS : A social class broadly defined occupationally as those working in
white-collar and lower managerial occupations; is sometimes defined by reference to
income levels or subjective identification of the participants in the study.
MIGRATION : The movement of people from one country or region to another in order to settle permanently.
MORTALITY RATE : The number of deaths that occur in a particular population in a specified period of time (usually a year).
NATIONALISM : An individual's internalization of the set of beliefs and values expressing love, pride and identification with a given nation state. Ritual and symbols are important tools in fostering nationalism among the citizenry.
NEO-LOCALITY : A family residential pattern in which the married couple lives apart from the place of residence of both the bride's and the husband's parents
NORMS : Rules and expectations of conduct which either prescribes a given type of behavior, or forbids it.
NUCLEAR FAMILY : A basic family group consisting of married female and male parents and dependent children, living away from other relatives.
OPEN LINEAGE FAMILY : A family system found in preindustrial Europe in which family relationships are closely intertwined with the local community.
POLITICAL PARTY : An organization of people with similar interests and attitudes established with the aim of achieving legitimate control of government and using that power to pursue a specific program.
POLYGYNY : A form of marriage in which a man may have more than one wife.
SECONDARY GROUP STRUCTURE : A term used in sociocultural materialism to refer to structural groups in which members tend to interact without any emotional commitment to one another.
SECONDARY LABOR MARKET : Refers to the economic position of individuals engaged in occupations that provide insecure jobs, poor benefits and conditions of work.
SECULARIZATION : A process of decline in the social influence of religion.
UNCONSCIOUS : Freudian concept refering to motives and ideas unavailable to the conscious mind of the individual.
UNION : A social organization set up to represent the worker's interests in both the workplace and in the broader society as well.
UPPER CLASS : A social class roughly composed of the more affluent members of society, especially those who have great wealth, control over businesses or hold large numbers of stocks and shares.
URBAN ECOLOGY : An analysis of urban life that examines the relationship between the city and its physical surroundings--based on an analogy with the adjustment of plants and organisms to the physical environment.
URBANIZATION : The increasing concentration of the human population into cities.
VALUES : Culturally defined standards held by human individuals or groups about what is desirable, proper, beautiful, good or bad that serve as broad guidelines for social life.
VARIABLE : A characteristic that varies in value or magnitude along which an object, individual or group may be categorized, such as income or age.
VERTICAL MOBILITY : Movement up or down a social stratification system.
WELFARE : Government aid (in the form of services and money) to the poor.
WEALTH : Accumulated money and material possessions controlled by an individual, group or organization.
ZERO POPULATION GROWTH (ZPG) : Population stability achieved when each woman has no more than two children.
ACID RAIN : The increased acidity of rainfall which is caused by emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides from power plants and automobiles.
ADAPTATION : Refers to the ability of a sociocultural system to change with the demands of a changing physical or social environment. The process by which cultural elements undergo change in form and/or function in response to change in other parts of the system.
AGE GRADES : System found in some traditional cultures which group the population by sex and age. Age grades go through rites of passage, hold similar rights and have similar obligations.
AUTHORITY : Power that is attached to a position that others perceive as legitimate.
BUREAUCRATIZATION : Refers to the tendency of bureaucracies to refine their procedures to ever more efficiently attain their goals. More generally, refers to the process of secondary organizations taking over functions performed by primary groups
CULTURAL PLURALISM : The more or less peaceful coexistence of multiple subcultures within a given society.
CULTURAL UNIVERSALS : Values or practices shared by all human cultures.
EXPERIMENT : A research method in which variables can be analyzed under carefully controlled conditions--usually within an artificial situation constructed by the researcher.
GESELLSCHAFT : According to Toennies, social organization based on loose personal ties, self interest, rationalization, and impersonality.
GREENHOUSE EFFECT : The accumulation of gasses in the atmosphere that act like the glass roof of a greenhouse, letting sunlight in but trapping the radiant heat.
IDEAL TYPE : Weber's construct of a 'pure type', constructed by emphasizing logical or consistent traits of a given social item. The traits are defining ones, not necessarily desirable ones. Ideal types do not exist anywhere in reality, rather they are "measures" that we can use in comparing social phenomena. One example is Weber's ideal type of bureaucratic organization (which are anything but desirable). More widely used (and understood) examples would include "ideal democracy" and "ideal capitalism."
INCOME : Payment of wages usually earned from work or investments.
INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION : Economic production carried on through the use of machinery driven by inanimate sources of power.
INDUSTRIALIZATION : The continual expanding application of sophisticated technology designed to efficiently draw energy and raw materials out of the environment and fashion them for human use.
INFANT MORTALITY RATE : The number of infants who die during the first year of life, per thousand live births. Infant mortality rates have declined dramatically in industrial societies.
INFORMAL RELATIONS : Relations in organizations developed on the basis of personal connections. These ties are often used to pursue organizational goals instead of the formally recognized procedures
IN-GROUP : A social group an individual belongs to and identifies with.
INSTITUTIONAL CAPITALISM : A condition that exists when large institutions such as pension plans, banks, and insurance companies hold large shares of capitalistic enterprises.
MEANS OF PRODUCTION : Marx's term referring to the means whereby the production of material goods is carried on in a society. Marx included in this concept both technology and the social relations among the producers (based on the ownership of that technology).
RACE : A socially defined category of people who share genetically transmitted physical characteristics.
RACISM : The attributing of characteristics of inferiority to a particular racial category. Racism is a specific form of prejudice focused on race.
REBELLION : Rebellions are aimed at removing particular rulers or regimes rather than bringing about significant structural changes in a society.
RELATIVE POVERTY : Poverty defined by reference to the living standards of the majority in any given society.
RESEARCH METHODS : The diverse strategies used to gather empirical (factual) material in a systematic way.
REVOLUTION : A process of change involving the mobilizing of a mass social movement in order to radically transform the society.
RIOTS : An outbreak of collective violence directed against persons, property or both.
SOCIAL CHANGE : Alteration in social structures or culture over time.
SOCIAL DARWINISM : An early and now largely discredited view of social evolution emphasizing the importance of "survival of the fittest" or struggle between individuals, groups, or societies as the motor of development. Social Darwinism became widely popular and was often used to justify existing inequalities.
SOCIAL DISORGANIZATION : A structural condition of society caused by rapid change in social institutions, norms, and values.
SOCIAL EVOLUTION : Theories of social change which generally hold that human msocieties move from simple to complex forms of organization.
SOCIAL INSTITUTIONS : Major structural entitities in sociocultural systems that address a basic need of the system. Institutions involve fixed modes of behavior backed by strong norms and sanctions that tend to be followed by most members of a society.
STEREOTYPE : A rigid and inflexible image of the characteristics a group. Stereotypes attribute these characteristics to all individuals belonging to that group.
ASSIMILATION : A minority group's internalization of the values and norms of the dominant culture.
CASTE : A closed form of stratification in which an individual's status is determined by birth and cannot be changed.
CIVIL DISORDERS : Social conflict (such as riots) that the government becomesinvolved in to restore public order.
CIVIL RIGHTS : Legal rights held by all citizens in a given state.
CLAN : A broad extended kin group found in many preindustrial societies.
CLASS : Most sociologists use the term to refer to socioeconomic differences betweengroups of individuals which create differences in their life chances and power.
COMMUNAL RIOTS : Riots in which the focus of violence is other groups (usuallyother race or ethnic groups)
.COMMUNITY : A group of people who share a common sense of identity and interact with one another on a sustained basis.
CONFLICT : A clash of interest (sometimes escalating to active struggle) between individuals, groups or society.
CULTURAL MATERIALISM : A macro-social theory that attempts to account for the similarities and differences between sociocultural systems by focusing on the environmental constraints to which human action is subject. Your instructor uses avariant of this theory constantly
DEMOGRAPHY : The scientific study of human population--including size, growth, movement, density, and composition.
DEPENDENCY THEORY : The thesis that many Third World countries cannot control major aspects of their economic life because of the dominance of industrialized societies.
DEVIANT SUBCULTURE : A subculture which has values and norms which differ substantially from those of the majority in a society.
DIFFERENTIAL ASSOCIATION : Theory of crime and delinquency that holds that deviance is learned as a result of long-term interaction with others.
DIFFERENTIATION : The development of increasing complexity and division of labor within sociocultural systems.
DIFFUSION : The spread of cultural traits from one sociocultural system to another.
DISCRIMINATION : The denial of equal access to social resources to people on the basis of their group membership.
DIVISION OF LABOR : The specialization of work tasks or occupations. All societies have some division of labor based on age and sex. But with the development of industrialism the division of labor becomes far more complex which affects many parts of the sociocultural system.
EXOGAMY : A system in which an individual may only marry outside their social category or group.
EXTENDED FAMILY : A family group consisting of more than two generations of the same kinship line living either within the same household or, more usually in the west, very close to one another.
FAMILY : A group of individuals related to one another by blood ties, marriage or adoption. Members of families form an economic unit, the adult members of which are responsible for the upbringing of children. All societies involve some form of family, although the form the family takes is widely variable. In modern industrial societies the main family form is the nuclear family, although a variety of extended family relationships are also found.
FAMILY OF ORIENTATION : The family into which an individual is born.
FEMININITY : The characteristic behaviors expected of women in a given culture.
GEMEINSCHAFT : According to Toennies, social organization based on close and personal ties and traditional norms and values.
GENDER : Socially defined behavior regarded as appropriate for the members of each sex.
GLOBALIZATION : The development of extensive worldwide patterns of economic relationships between nations.
GREEN REVOLUTION : The tremendous increase in farming productivity that occurred beginning in the 1950s with the application of pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers and the development of plant varieties especially bred to respond to these chemical inputs.
HUNTING AND GATHERING SOCIETIES : Societies whose subsistence is based primarily on hunting animals and gathering edible plants.
HYPOTHESIS : A tentative statement about a given state of affairs that predicts a relationship between the variables, usually put forward as a basis for empirical testing.
IMPERIALISM : The establishing of colonial empires in which domination is both political and economic.
INSTINCT : A genetically fixed pattern of complex behavior (that is, beyond reflex)which appears in all normal animals within a given species. The behavior of humans is not instinctual.
INTERNAL COLONIALISM : The economic exploitation of a group within a society whereby their labor is sold cheap and they are made to pay dear for products and services.
LONGEVITY : A long duration of life Or a long tenure in an organization. MASCULINITY : The characteristic forms of behavior expected of men in any given culture.
MASTER STATUS : A position that is so central to the identity of the individual that it overshadows all other statuses.
MATRIARCHY : Social organization in which females dominate males.
MODE OF PRODUCTION : The technology and the practices employed for expanding or limiting basic subsistence production, especially the production of food and other forms of energy. Examples would include the technology of subsistence, technological/environmental relationships, and work patterns.
MODERNIZATION : The process of general social change brought about by the transition from an agrarian to an industrial mode of production.
NEO-COLONIALISM : The informal dominance of some nations over others by means of unequal conditions of economic exchange (as between industrial and Third World countries)..
ORGANIZED CRIME : Criminal activities carried out by organizations established as businesses.
PASTORAL SOCIETIES : Societies whose subsistence is based on domesticated animals
PEASANTS : People in agrarian societies who produce food from the land, using traditional farming methods of plow and animal power. Farm workers in agrarian societies.
PEER GROUP : A friendship group with common interests and position composed of individuals of similar age.
POLITICS : Attempts to influence governmental activities
POLLUTION : One of the principal constraints of the environment. Refers to the contamination of soil, water, or air by noxious substances
POLYANDRY : A form of marriage in which a woman may have more than one husband.
PRIMARY GROUP STRUCTURE : A term used in sociocultural materialism to refer to structural groups in which members tend to interact on an intimate basis. They perform many functions such as regulating production, reproduction, socialization, education, and enforcing social discipline. Examples include family, community, voluntary organizations, and friendship networks.
RATIONALIZATION : Weber's concept to refer to the process by which modes of precise calculation based on observation and reason increasingly dominate the social world. Rationalization is a habit of thought that replaces tradition, emotion, and values as motivators of human conduct. Bureaucracy is a particular case of rationalization applied to human social organization.
RECIPROCITY : A system of the exchange of goods based on social ties.
RELIGION : A set of beliefs involving symbols regarded as sacred, together with ritual practices in which members of the community engage.
RITUAL : Formalized ceremonial behavior in which the members of a group or community regularly engage.
SAMPLING : Taking a small representative part of a population for purposes of drawing inferences from the analysis of the sample characteristics to the population as a whole.
SANCTION : A reward for conformity or a punishment for nonconformity that reinforces socially approved forms of behavior.
SAPIR-WHORF HYPOTHESIS : The conjecture that people perceive their world through the framework of language.
SCAPE GOATING : Blaming, punishing, or stigmatizing a relatively powerless individual or group for wrongs that were not of their doing.
SCIENCE : The application of systematic methods of observation and careful logical analysis; the term also refers to the body of knowledge produced by the use of the scientific method.
SECONDARY GROUP : A group of individuals who do not know each other on a personal level interacting in pursuit of a goal.
SOCIAL FORCES : The term refers to the fact that society and social organizations exert an influence on individual human behavior.
SOCIAL GROUPS : Two or more individuals who interact in systematic ways with one another and share a high degree of common identity. Groups may range in size from dyads to large-scale societies.
SOCIOBIOLOGY : An approach which attempts to explain the social behavior of humans in terms of biological principles.
SOLID WASTE: Refers to the accumulation of noxious substances.
STATE : Government institutions ruling over a given territory, whose authority is backed by law and the ability to use force.
STATUS : A social position within a society. The term can also refer to the social honor or prestige which a particular individual or group is accorded by other members of a society.
SYMBOL : One item used to meaningfully represent another--as in the case of a flag which symbolizes a nation.
TABOO : A sociocultural prohibition on some act, person, place, animal, or plant.
TECHNOLOGY: The application of logic, reason and knowledge to the problems of exploiting raw materials from the environment. Social technologies employ the same thought processes in addressing problems of human organization. Technology involves the creation of material instruments (such as machines) used in human interaction with nature as well as social instruments (such as bureaucracy) used in human organization
TERRORISM : The use of violence to achieve political ends. Many would restrict the definition to include only those acts committed by non-government groups, but state terrorism is also a major factor in the social world.
THEORY : Summary statements of general principles which explain regularly observed events.
TRADITIONAL STATES : Societies in which the production base is agriculture or pastoralism.
CONFORMITY: Human behavior which follows the established norms of a group or society. The bulk of human behavior is of a conforming nature as people accept and internalize the values of their culture or subculture
CONSENSUS: Agreement on basic social values by the members of a group or society.
CONTRADICTION: Marx's term to refer to mutually antagonistic tendencies within institutions or the broader society such as those between profit and competition within capitalism.
CORPORATIONS: A legally recognized organization set up for profit--the powers and liabilities of the organization are legally separate from the owners or the employees.
CRIME: Any action that violates criminal laws established by political authority.
CRUDE BIRTH-RATE: A statistical measure representing the number of births per thousand population within a given year.
DEFORESTATION : The removal of all trees from an area
DEMOCRACY: A form of government that recognizes the citizen as having the right to participate in political decision-making, or to elect representatives to government bodies.
DEMOGRAPHIC TRANSITION: A stabilization of population level in industrial society once a certain level of economic prosperity has been reached. Population is thought to stabilize because of economic incentives on families to limit the number of children.
DENSITY : A measure of human crowding usually expressed as the number of people per square mile.
ECOLOGY : The study of the system of relationships between organisms and their environment.
ECONOMIC INTERDEPENDENCE: Comte and Durkheim both refer to the fact that in societies with a high division of labor individuals depend more on others to produce most of the goods they need to sustain their lives.
FAMILY OF PROCREATION : The family we create through marriage.
LAW : A written rule established by a political authority and backed by government.
MARXISM : Contemporary social theory deriving its main elements from Marx's ideas. Marxist theory strongly emphasizes class struggle and material causation.
MATRILOCALITY: A family residential pattern in which the husband is expected to live near to the wife's parents
MONOGAMY : A form of marriage that joins one male and one female at any given time.
MORES : Norms that have strong moral significance, violation of which cause strong social reaction (murder, sexual molestation of children).
OBJECTIVITY : Objectivity means striving as far as possible to reduce or eliminate biasing the conduct of research.
ORGANIZATION : A large group of individuals that is formally organized for the purpose of attaining a goal.
PATRIARCHY: Social organization that structures the dominance of men over women.
PATRILINEAL DESCENT: The practice of tracing kinship only through the male line.
POLYGAMY: A form of marriage in which a person may have more than one spouse.
POSITIVISM : A philosophical position according to which there are close tiesbetween the social and natural sciences, which share a common logical framework.
POSTINDUSTRIAL SOCIETY : A society based on the production of services and information rather than material goods. A notion advocated by those who believe that the industrial order is passing.
POWER : The ability to achieve aims or further the interests you hold even when opposed by others.
POWER ELITE: According to C. Wright Mills the power elite are men in the highest positions of government, corporations and the military who hold enormous power in modern industrial societies.
PREJUDICE: The holding of unfounded ideas about a group, ideas that are resistant to change.
PRESTIGE: Social respect accorded to an individual or group because of the status of their position.
PRIMARY DEVIANCE : The deviant act itself, the violation of a norm.
PRIMARY GROUP: A typically small group of individuals standing in an enduring personal relationship to one another examples would include parents, spouse, or close friends.
SOCIALISM : An economic system in which the means of production and distribution of goods and services are publically owned.
SOCIETY: A society is a group of people who live in a particular territory, are subject to a common system of political authority, and share a common culture.
SOCIOLOGICAL IMAGINATION: A term used by C. Wright Mills that refers to the application of imaginative thought to the asking and answering of sociological questions.
SOCIOLOGY: The study of human behavior and societies, giving particular emphasis to the industrialized world.
SURVEY: A questionnaire or interview.
SYMBOLIC INTERACTIONISM: A theoretical approach in sociology which focuses on social reality as constructed through the daily interaction of individuals and places strong emphasis on the role of symbols (gestures, signs, and language) as core elements of this interaction.
WELFARE STATE: A government system which provides a range of human services for its citizens.
WHITE-COLLAR CRIME : Criminal activities carried out by white-collar or professional workers in the course of their jobs.
WORKING CLASS : A social class of industrial societies broadly composed of people involved in manual occupation. The bulk of these jobs are unskilled, poorly paid and provide few benefits or job security.
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Old Wednesday, September 21, 2011
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Originally Posted by shrd View Post
Asslamoalikum all Dear Valued Members, I required Sociology notes by Dr. Anwar of VU, expecting seniors will favour me.
Dear if u required notes of Sociology of VU, then just send me a mail, i'll send it to u

Every day is a new beginning. Treat it that way. Stay away from what might have been, and look at what can be.
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Originally Posted by Shazi76 View Post
Dear if u required notes of Sociology of VU, then just send me a mail, i'll send it to u

which topics?
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I can send it to u 2 all topics of vu sociology. one can find the topics on vu.edu.pk-->Academic Programs-->Course Catalogue--> then write SOC in search course code/title. You will find following topics in VU notes:

SOC101 : Introduction to Sociology 03 Credit Hours
Course Content

The Origins of Sociology, The Sociological Perspective, Theoretical Paradigms, Sociology as Science, Steps in Sociological Investigation, Social Interaction, Social Groups, Formal Organizations, Culture, Socialization: Human Development, Understanding the Socialization Process, Agents of Socialization, Socialization and the Life Course, Social Control and Deviance, The Social Foundations of Deviance, Explanations of Crime, Social Distribution of Crime: Explanations, Social Stratification: Introduction and Significance, Theories of Class and Stratification, Social Class as Subculture, Social Mobility, The Family: Global Variety, Functions of Family, Family and Marriage in Transition, Gender: A Social Construction, Gender Socialization, Explanations of Gender Inequality, Functions of Schooling, Issues in Education, Population Study and Its Significance, Theory of Population Growth, Population Profile of Pakistan, Implications of Population Growth, Population policy, Environment and Society, Environmental Issues, Social Change, Causes of Social Change, Modernity and Post Modernity
Recommended Books/Material

* Sociology by Jhon. J. Macionis
* In Conflict and Order: Understanding Society. by Eitzen, Stanley D. and Mazine Baca Zinn
* Sociology by Anthony Giddens
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Default Soc101

Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 1
Lesson 1

Sociology is the scientific study of human social life, groups and societies.

There was no sociology as a distinct discipline before the advent of 19th century. As a distinct discipline it
emerged about the middle of the 19th century when European social observers began to use scientific
methods to test their ideas. It looks that three factors led to the development of sociology.

The first was the Industrial revolution.

• By the mid 19th century Europe was changing from agriculture to factory production. There was
the emergence of new occupations as well as new avenues of employment away from the land.

• Masses of people migrated to cities in search of jobs. Pull and push factors were instrumental in
such migrations. In the countryside, due to the nature of agricultural society, there were no
occupations that could be alternatives to agriculture. Hence people got pushed to look for new
places whereas the urban/industrial places with new job opportunities provided a pull to the same

• At the new places there was anonymity, crowding, filth, and poverty. Ties to the land, to the
generations that had lived there before them, and to the ways of their life were abruptly broken.
Eventually the urban life brought radical changes in the lives of people.

• The city greeted them with horrible working conditions: low pay; long and exhausting working
hours; dangerous work; foul smoke; and much noise. To survive the vagaries of life, families
had to permit their children to work in these uncongenial conditions.

• People in these industrial cities developed new ideas about democracy and political rights. They did
not want to remain tied to their rulers. Therefore the ideas about individual liberty, individual
rights to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness emerged, which actually laid the foundation to future
political revolution.

The second factor that stimulated the development of sociology was imperialism. Europeans successfully
conquered many parts of the world. They were exposed to radically different cultures. Startled by these
contrasting ways of life, they began to ask why cultures differed.

The third impetus for the development of sociology was the success of the natural sciences. People moved
to question fundamental aspects of their social world. They started using the scientific method (systematic
observation, objectivity) to the study of human behaviour.

Auguste Comte

The idea of applying the scientific method to the social world, known as positivism, was apparently first
proposed by Auguste Comte (1798-1857). He was French. He migrated from a small town to Paris. The
changes he himself experienced, combined with those France underwent in the revolution, led Comte to
become interested in the two interrelated issues: social order (social static) and social change (social
What holds the society together (Why is there a social order)? And once the society is set then what causes
it to change? Why its directions change?

Comte concluded that the right way to answer such questions was to apply the scientific method to social
life. There must be laws that underlie the society. Therefore we should discover these principles by applying
scientific method to social world. Once these principles discovered then we could apply these for social
reform. Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 2
He advocated for building new societies on twin foundations of science and industry rather than on religion
and landowner-serf relationship.

This will be a new science and Comte named it as Sociology (1838) – the study of society. Comte is
credited with being the founder of sociology.

Other early pioneer names are:

Herbert Spenser (1820-1903)

He was an Englishman and is sometimes called second founder of sociology. He too believed that society
operates under some fixed laws. He was evolutionary and considered that societies evolve from lower to
higher forms. In this way he applied the ideas of Darwin to the development of human society, and hence
this approach may be called as Social Darwinism.

By following the basic principle of Social Darwinism Spenser advocated that ‘let the fittest survive’. There
should be no reform because it will help in the survival of lower order individuals. (Charity and helping the
poor were considered to be wrong). Spenser was a social philosopher rather than a social researcher.

Karl Marx (1818-1883)

Karl Marx was a German. According to him the key to human history is Class Conflict.
Not really a sociologist but wrote widely about history, philosophy, economics, political science.

Because of his insights into the relationship between the social classes, he is claimed to be an early
sociologist. He introduced one of the major perspectives in sociology – conflict perspective.

Emile Durkheim (1858-1917)

He was French. His primary goal was of getting sociology recognized as a separate academic discipline. His
systematic study comparing suicide rates among several countries revealed an underlying social factor:
People were more likely to commit suicide if their ties to others in their communities were weak. He
identified the key role of social integration in social life.

Max Weber (1864-1920)

Max Weber was a German. He used cross-cultural and historical materials in order to determine how
extensively social groups affect people’s orientations to life.

The Fields of Sociology

There is a big diversity in fields of interest in Sociology. There is long list of fields that have been provided
by the American Sociological Association as a Guide to Graduate Departments which is given below:

Biosociology Occupations/Professions
Collective Behaviour/Socioal Movements Penology/Corrections
Community Political Sociology
Comparative Sociology/Macro sociology Race/Ethnic/Minority Relations
Criminal Justice Religion
Criminology/Delinquency Rural Sociology
Cultural Sociology Small Groups
Demography Social Change
Development/Modernization Social Control
Deviant Behaviour/Social Disorganization Social Networks
Economy and Society Social Organizations/formal/complex Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 3
Education Social Psychology
Environmental Sociology Socialization
Ethno methodology Sociological Practice/Social Policy
History of Sociology/ Social Thought Sociology of Aging/Social Gerontology
Human Ecology Sociology of Art/Literature
Industrial Sociology Sociology of Knowledge
International development/Third World Sociology of Language/Social Linguistics
Law and Society Sociology of Markets
Leisure/Sports/Recreation Sociology of Mental Health
Marriage and the Family Sociology of Science
Mass Communication/Public Opinion Sociology of Sex and Gender
Mathematical sociology Sociology of Work
Medical Sociology Sociology of World Conflict
Methodology: Qualitative Approaches Stratification/Mobility
Methodology: Quantitative Approaches Theory
Micro computing/Computer Applications Urban Sociology
Military Sociology Visual Sociology

Source: American Sociological Association Guide to Graduate departments, 1992: 290-308. Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 4
Lesson 2

Sociology is a reasoned and rigorous study of human social life, social groups, and societies. At the heart of
sociology is a distinctive point of view called “the sociological perspective”. Thus sociology offers a
perspective, a view of the world. For example: why do human lives seem to follow certain predictable
pattern? The truth is that:

• Our lives do not unfold according to sheer chance,
• Nor do we decide for ourselves how to live, acting on what is called ‘free will’.

We make many important decisions everyday, of course, but always within the larger arena called “society”.
The essential wisdom of sociology is that:

Our social world guides our actions and life choices just as the seasons influence our activities and

This is sociological perspective. Perspective means a view or an outlook or an approach or an imagination (of
the world). Hence sociological perspective means an approach to understanding human behavior by placing it within
its broader social context.

People live in a society. Society is a group of people who share a culture and a territory. People’s behavior
is influenced by their society. To find out why people do what they do, sociologists look at social
location, where people are located in a particular society.

For human beings the existence of society is essential. It is essential:
• For the survival of human child at birth; and also
• For social experience – for purposes of ‘nurturance’.

The human child is so helpless at the time of birth that without the help of other members of society
(family for example) the mere survival is at stake. Then the other important aspect is to ‘nurture’ this
human being into a ‘social being’ i.e. a participating member of the society. For developing the child into a
regular participating ‘social being’ the role of society is crucial. The cases of isolated children (Anna,
Isabelle, and Genie) provide evidence to the fact that without the interaction with members of society the
natural potentials are lost and the child may not become a normal ‘social being’. Each society nurtures the
child into a ‘social being’ within its own societal perspective.

Seeing the general in the particular:

Peter Burger (1963) described the sociological perspective as seeing the general in the particular. It means
identifying general patterns in the behavior of particular people. Although every individual is unique, a
society shapes the lives of its members. People in the USA are much more likely to expect love to figure in
marriage than, say, people living in a traditional village in rural Pakistan. Nevertheless, every society acts
differently on various categories of people (children compared to adults; women compared to men, rich
compared to poor).

General categories to which we belong shape our experiences. Children are different from adults, more
than just biological maturity. Society attaches meaning to age, so that we experience distinct stages in our
lives i.e. childhood, adolescence, early adulthood, late adulthood, and old age. In fact all these stages with
respect to the lines of demarcation (years as cutting points) are determined by society. What is the position
of a particular age category in the society and what are the roles and responsibilities assigned to members of
that age group are all determined by that society. Therefore age is social construction.

Children are often considered as dependent, whereas adults as responsible. What about the old? What is the
cutting age point for this group and what are the society’s expectations about this group in Pakistani rural Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 5
society? Are these expectations in Pakistani rural society different from Pakistani urban society? [Give some
thought to this issue.]

Although societies define the stages of life differently, yet there are differences by social class within
the same society. Here a particular social class may be considered as a sub-society in itself and may have
their own distinct definition of stages of life. For example concept of ‘childhood’ may be different in the
lower class than what one finds in the middle class of Pakistani society. In the lower class, child shoulders
the adult responsibilities much earlier (starts at around age 10 years) than a child from the middle or upper
class. In the lower class there is a “hurried childhood” and that is how we come across the concept of
“child labor”. This concept of “child labor” is not only associated with the lower class within the national
boundaries but also internationally with the low-income countries compared with the high-income

Gender is also a social construction

Male and female is a biological distinction but there are different role expectations attached to these two
categories of human beings in different societies. Societies give them different work and different family
responsibilities. The advantages and opportunities available to us differ by gender. Not going into the
rationale of such differences, for the present one could simply say that it is the society that determines the
image of a gender. Further to the societal variations in gender outlooks, one could see gender differences
by social class in the same society.

Society affects what we do

To see the power of society to shape individual choices, consider the number of children women have. In
the US the average woman has slightly fewer than two children during her lifetime. In Pakistan it is four, in
India about three, in South Africa about four, in Saudi Arabia about six, and in Niger about seven. Why
these striking differences? Society has much to do with decisions women and men make about

Another illustration of power of society to shape even our most private choices comes from the study of
suicide. What could be a more personal choice than taking one’s own life? Emile Durkheim showed that
social forces are at work even in the apparently isolated case of self-destruction. One has to look into such
individual decisions in social context. You may look at the social forces that are at work for the suicide
cases in Pakistan.

Applying the sociological perspective

People should develop the ability to understand their own lives in terms of larger social forces. This is called
sociological imagination, a concept given by C. Wright Mills. Sociological imagination is the strategies that
can help you sort out the multiple circumstances that could be responsible for your social experiences, your
life choices, and your life chances. Therefore, think sociologically, which implies to cultivating the
sociological imagination.

It is easy to apply sociological perspective when we encounter people who differ from us because they
remind us that society shapes individual lives. Also an introduction to sociology is an invitation to learn a
new way of looking at familiar patterns of social life.
Benefits of Sociological Perspective

Applying the sociological perspectives to our daily lives benefits us in four ways:

1. The sociological perspective helps us to assess the truth of community held assumptions
(call it “common sense”).
Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 6
We all take many things for granted, but that does not make them true. A sociological approach encourages
us to ask whether commonly held beliefs are actually true and, to the extent they are not, why they are so
widely held. Consider for yourself: gender differences; ethnic differences; racial differences; and social class
differences. Where do these differences come from?

2. The sociological perspective prompts us to assess both the opportunities and the
constraints that characterize our lives.
What we are likely and unlikely to accomplish for ourselves and how can we pursue our
our goals effectively?

3. The sociological perspective empowers us to participate actively in our society.

If we do not know how the society operates, we are likely to accept the status quo. But
the greater our understanding, the more we can take an active hand in shaping our social
life. Evaluating any aspect of social life – whatever your goal – requires identifying
social forces at work and assessing their consequences.

4. The sociological perspective helps us recognize human variety and confront the challenges
of living in a diverse world.

There is a diversity of people’s life styles, still we may consider our way of life
as superior, right, and natural. All others are no good. The sociological perspective
encourages us to think critically about the relative strengths and weaknesses of all ways
of life, including our own.
Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 7
Lesson 3

Theory is a statement of how and why specific facts are related. The job of sociological theory is to
explain social behavior in the real world. For example why some groups of people have higher suicide rates
than others?

In building theory, sociologists face two basic facts: What issues should we study? How should we connect
the facts? How sociologists answer these questions depends on their theoretical “road map” or paradigm.
(It is pronounced as para-daia-um.)

Paradigm is a basic image of society. A theoretical paradigm provides a basic image of society
that guides thinking and research. For example: Do societies remain static? Do they continuously keep
changing? What keeps them stable? What makes societies ever changing?

Salient Paradigms

Sociology has three major paradigms reflecting different images of society:

1. The Structural-Functional
2. The Social-Conflict
3. The Symbolic-Interaction

1. The Structural-Functional Paradigm:

It is a framework for building theory that sees society as a complex system whose parts work together to promote solidarity and
The paradigm is based on the idea that:

1. Our lives are guided by social structure i.e. relatively stable patterns of social behavior. Social
structure gives our lives shape, whether it be in families, the workplace, or the classroom.
2. Social structures can be understood in terms of their social functions, or consequences for the
operation of society as a whole. All social structures – from simple handshake to complex religious
rituals – function to keep society going. All social structures contribute to the operation of

Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) compared society to the human body. The structural parts of human body –
the skeleton, muscles, and various internal organs – show interdependence, each contributing to the survival
of the entire organism. Similarly various social structures, such as the family, educational system, and the
economy are interdependent, working in concert to preserve the society.

Talcott Parsons (1902-1979) saw society as a system, and sought to identify the basic tasks that any and all
societies must perform to survive and the way they accomplish these tasks.

Robert K. Merton (1910-2003) looked at functions in a different way:

1. The consequences of any social pattern are likely to differ for various categories of people.
For example conventional family pattern provides for the support and development of children,
but it also confers privileges on men while limiting the opportunities for women.
2. People rarely perceive all the functions of a social structure. He therefore distinguishes
between manifest functions – the recognized and intended consequences of a social pattern
--- and latent functions – the largely unrecognized and unintended consequences. Manifest functions of
educational institution – imparting knowledge, preparing young people for job market – Latent
function could be keeping so many young people out of the labor market. Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 8
3. Not all the effects of any social system benefit everyone in society. There could be social
dysfunctions i.e. undesirable consequences for the operation of society. Not everyone agrees on what is
beneficial and what is harmful. Is women empowerment functional?

Critical Evaluation

The chief characteristic of structural-functional paradigm is its vision of society as orderly, stable, and comprehensible. Goal is
to figure out ‘What makes the society tick.’

How can we assume that society has a “natural” order? If that is natural then there should be no variation
in the social pattern of people at different places, and there should be no change over time.

How about the inequalities in society that generate tension and conflict?

Approach appears to be conservative.

2. The Social-Conflict Paradigm

The social conflict framework sees society as an arena of inequality that generates conflict and
change. Unlike structural-functional paradigm, which emphasizes solidarity, this approach highlights
division based on inequality.

Factors like gender, ethnicity, social class, and age are linked to the unequal distribution of money, power,
education, and social prestige.

A conflict analysis suggests that, rather than promoting the operation of society as a whole, social structure
typically benefits some people while depriving the others

ÆThere is an on-going conflict between dominant and disadvantaged categories of people – rich
and poor, white and the colored, men in relation to women.

ÆPeople on top strive to protect their privileges, while the disadvantaged try to gain more
resources for themselves.

ÆSchooling perpetuates inequality by reproducing the class structure in every new generation.

ÆWho goes to school, to college, to university, to vocational training institution?

How do the structural-functionalists look at the above analysis? Structural- Functionalists assert that such
tracking benefits all of society because students receive training that is appropriate to their academic

Conflict sociologists counter the argument saying that ‘tracking’ often has less to do with talent than with a
student’s social background, so that the well to do are placed in higher tracks and the poor children end up
in lower tracks.

Young people from privileged families gain the best schooling, and, when they leave college, they pursue
prestigious, higher income careers. That is not the case for children from poor families. In both cases the
social standing of one generation is passed on to another, with the schools justifying the practice in terms of
individual merit.

Conflict sociologists not only try to understand the inequality in society but also try to influence to reduce
inequality in society. They want to change the system.

Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 9
Critical Evaluation

This school of thought has a large following.
This paradigm highlights inequality and division in society, but it largely ignores how shared values and
interdependence can generate unity among members of a society.

To a great extent, this paradigm has political goals, therefore it cannot claim objectivity. Conflict theorists
counter that all approaches have political consequences.

3. The Symbolic-Interaction Paradigm

The structural-functionalists and social-conflict paradigms share a macro-level orientation, meaning a focus
on broad social structures that shape society as a whole.

The symbolic interaction paradigm provides a micro-level orientation, meaning a focus on social interaction in
specific situations.

The symbolic-interaction paradigm sees society as the product of the everyday interactions of individuals. “Society”
amounts to the shared reality that people construct as they interact with one another.

ÆHuman beings are the creatures who live in the world of symbols, attaching meaning to
virtually everything.

ÆSymbols attached to reality (material or non material).

ÆMeanings attached to symbols.

ÆSymbols are the means of communication. Therefore:

ÆSymbols as the basis of social life

• Without symbols we would have no mechanism of perceiving others in terms of relationships
(aunts and uncles, employers and teachers). Only because we have these symbols like aunts and
uncles that define for us what such relationships entail. Compare these symbols with symbols like
boyfriend or girlfriend; you will see that the relationships change quite differently.

• Without symbols we cannot coordinate our actions with others; we would be unable to plan for a
future date, time, and place. Without symbols there will be no books, movies, no schools, no
hospitals, and no governments. Symbols make social life possible.

• Even self is symbol, for it consists of the ideas that we have about who we are. May be changing.
As we interact with others we may constantly adjust our views of the self, based on how we
interpret the reactions of others.

We define our realities. The definitions could vary. The definitions could be subjective. For example who
is a homeless? Who is a police officer – a provider of security or creator of anxiety. It has a subjective

Max Weber is an exponent of this paradigm. He emphasized the need to understand any social setting from
the point of view of the people in it.
A person is the product of his experiences with others

Critical Evaluation

Without denying the usefulness of abstract social structures like the family, and social class this paradigm
reminds us that society basically amounts to people interacting. How individuals experience society.

This approach ignores the widespread effects of culture as well as factors like social class, gender, and race. Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 10
Lesson 4

Science is knowledge but every kind of knowledge is not science. Science is a method for the discovery of
uniformities in this universe through the process of observation and re-observation; the results are
organized, systematized, and made part of the body of knowledge. In this way science is a logical system
that bases knowledge on direct, systematic observation. Following this method creates scientific knowledge,
which rests on empirical evidence, that is, information that we can verify with our senses.

Goals of Science

The goals of science can be:

• To explain why something happens.
• To make generalizations. Discovery of uniformities/principles/laws.
• Look for patterns in the phenomenon under observation, or recurring characteristics.
• To predict. To specify what will happen in the future in the light of current knowledge.

For the attainment of the stipulated goals the procedure followed is to collect information through sensory
experiences. Hence we call it observations and there is repetition of observations.

Researcher would like to be positive about his findings. Therefore he would like to be definite, factual, and
positively sure. Hence the researcher would develop clear observational criteria i.e. measuring indicators
for adequate explanations. This approach is called Positivism. Auguste Comte coined the term
‘positivism’, which means knowledge based on sensory experience.

Characteristics of Scientific Method

1. Empirical The focus of attention is that phenomenon which is observable by using five senses
by the human beings. If one person has observed others can also make that observation which
implies that it is repeatable as well as testable.

2. Verifiable Observations made by any one researcher could be open to confirmation or refutation
by other observers. Others could also use their sensory experiences for the verification of the
previous findings. The replicability of the phenomenon is essential for repeating the observation.
In this way the intuitions and revelations are out of this process because these are having been the
privileges of special individuals.

3. Cumulative The knowledge created by this method keeps on growing. The researchers try to
develop linkages between their findings and the findings of previous researchers. The new
findings may support the previous researches, refute them, or may modify but certainly there is an
addition to the existing body of knowledge. The new researchers need not start from scratch,
rather they have a rich reservoir of knowledge at their disposal and they try to further build on it.

4. Self-Correcting Possibility of error is always there but the good thing is its identification and
correction. The research findings are shared with other professionals in seminars, conferences,
and by printing these in professional journals. The comments are received and errors, if any, are
corrected. Even the scientists are not categorical in their statements. They would usually make a
statement as is supported by the evidence available at the time. Hence the statement is open to
challenge by the availability of new evidence.

5. Deterministic Through scientific method the scientists try to explain why things happen? There
could be number of factors producing a particular effect but the researchers try to find out the
contribution of each factor as well as of different combinations of the same factors. In this way
he tries to identify the factor or combination of factors that produce the maximum effect. In this Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 11
way he tries to locate the minimum number of causal factors that explain the variation in the
effect. This is the principle of parsimony. Such an exercise is an effort to determine cause-and-
effect relationship.
6. Ethical and ideological neutrality Researchers are human beings who have values, beliefs,
ideologies, and norms. Effort is made that the personal values, beliefs, and ideologies do not
contaminate the research findings. If these influence then the purity of the information is
adulterated and the predictions made by the scientists will not hold true. Hence the scientific
work should objective and unbiased. Since the human beings are studying the human beings to
what extent they can be unbiased?

7. Statistical Generalization Statistics is a device for comparing what is observed and what is
logically expected. They are subjecting information to statistical analysis.

8. Rationalism The collected facts have to be interpreted with arguments. Therefore the scientists
try to employ rigorous rule of logic in their research work.

Any knowledge that is created by applying scientific method is to be called as science. Sociology uses
scientific method for the understanding, identifying the patterns, and predicting the human behavior.
Therefore, sociology is science of human social life. Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
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Lesson 5

The research process requires a sequence of steps. By and large, the following steps are undertaken in a
sociological investigation.

1. Broad Area of Interest Identified: Broad problem area refers to the entire situation where one
sees a possible need for research and problem solving. The specific issues that need to be
researched within this situation may not be identified at this stage. For example the broad area of
interest may be the entire field of education, or within education could be the examination system,
student teacher relations, the extra-curricula activities, course contents, and so on. Within the
broad area of education, look at one observation about the mass failure of students in their
graduate examination of different universities. Such identification may be based on ones
experiences and or on general observations in which one may have sensed that certain changes are
occurring or certain changes need to take place for the improvement of the situation. When the
observed phenomena are seen to have potentially important consequences, then one could proceed
to the next step.

2. Exploration/Consultation: This step involves preliminary information gathering on the issue
that has been observed. In our example of students’ mass failure at graduate level, this could be
done by having informal consultations with several people in the education department (teachers,
examiners, administrators), students, as well as with their parents exploring the perceived reasons
for the existing situation. Additionally one could go to Internet and see if some previous studies
relevant to the issue have been conducted nationally or internationally. Professional journals,
research reports, students research work in the library could be a big help in clearly identification of
the research problem.

3. Problem Definition: Problem definition or problem statement, as it is often referred to, is a clear,
precise, and succinct statement of the question or issue that is to be investigated with the goal of finding an answer or
solution. In our example, problem definition could pertain to finding the reasons for such a mass
failure of students at the graduate level.

4. Theoretical Framework: Theoretical framework is an attempt to integrate all information in a
logical manner, so that the factors responsible for the problem can be conceptualized and tested.
In this step the critical factors are examined as to their contribution or influence in explaining why
the problem occurs and how it can be solved. The network of associations identified among
different factors (variables) would then be theoretically woven together with justification as to why
they might influence the problem under study. This will give us a theoretical model of the study.

5. Hypothesis (es)/ Research Question (s): The formulation of hypothesis (which is a testable
statement) or a number of hypotheses is the next logical step. From the theorized network of
associations among the factors (variables), certain testable hypothesis or hypotheses can be
generated. In place of hypothesis one could also go for the formulation a question or questions to
be researched. For example is students’ mass failure due the existing examination system? Is mass
failure due to the existing study patterns of the students? One could go for many more questions.

6. Research Design: At this stage the researcher spells out the procedure for data collection with
the help of which the formulated hypothesis could be tested or the answers to the questions could
be found. The researcher clearly tells whether he will set up an experiment, or conduct a survey, or
follow some other technique of data collection. He will also tell what tools of data collection will
be used and how the data shall be analyzed.

7. Data Collection: Once the technique of data collection has been finalized then the next step is the
actual data collection in the field.
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8. Testing the Hypothesis (es) / Answering question (s): Once the data have been collected
then it has to be processed, analyzed, and hypothesis (es) tested. The same data is to be used to see
the extent to which it is possible to find answers to the research questions. In our example the data
are likely help in identifying the factors for the mass failure of students.

9. Report Writing: Report writing is the last step, which is expected to contain information on each
one of the steps that was taken for carrying out this research process. On the basis of the results of
the study one could diagnose the forces operating in the students’ mass failure in our example.
This diagnosis will be utilized for making recommendations for the solution of the problem that
was in focus.
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© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 14
Lesson 6

Social act is the goal directed (oriented) activity of human beings. Social interaction is the reciprocal
influencing of the acts of persons and groups. Reciprocal social relationship is that situation in which the
actual or expected behavior of one person affects the behavior of others. As a result there is an exchange of
acts between or among individuals. In this way social interaction is the process by which people act and
react in relation to each other. Through interaction we create the reality.

Understanding what reciprocal social relationships are is vital to understanding human society and what it
means to be a participant in it.

Awareness of the people with whom you interact is a necessary component of any social relationship.

People interact in some expected way and try to follow it in their day-to-day activities. In this way the styles
of interaction get established, hence we social interaction gets patterned. People tend to behave and act
toward one another in pretty much the same way most of the time. Therefore social behavior tends to be repetitious,
and to this extent is predictable. For example greetings among people tend to follow a pattern. Assalam o
alaakum. Wa Aalaookum u Salam. How are you? Alhamdoo-lilla. And how are you? At some other place
greetings may be more elaborate as inquiring about the health of all family members.

Components of Social Interaction

1. Social Status

Social status is a recognized social position that an individual occupies in a social situation.
In common usage status might indicate the power, prestige and privileges associated with one’s position.

Sociological meaning of social status is different from every day meanings that are usually associated with


Status is also a key component of one’s identity and thereby of interaction. Occupation is such a
major part of most people’s self-concept that is often part of a social introduction as well as interaction.
Even long after retirement people continue to introduce themselves in terms of their life’s work.

There are some other concepts related with social status. These are:

a. Status Set:

Status set refers to all the statuses a person holds at a given time. You might be a son/daughter of your parents, a
brother/sister to your siblings, a friend to your social circle, a player in a team. Then in life you occupy
other status sets by virtue of your occupation, marital status (husband/wife), and a parent. Over lifetime,
individuals gain and lose dozens of statuses.

How do we attain our status? Broadly two ways and thereby these are called two types of statuses.

b. Ascribed and Achieved Status

A social position that someone receives at birth or someone assumes involuntarily later in life is an ascribed status. These
are those statuses about which one has little or no choice. Examples can be a son, a Pakistani, a teenager.

Achieved status refers to a social position that someone assumes voluntarily and that reflects personal ability and effort.
Examples include being a student, a player, a spouse, and a singer. Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 15
Many statuses are a combination of both an ascription and achievement. People’s ascribed statuses
influence the statuses they achieve. A person’s social class influences his/her occupational achievements.

C. Master Status

A master status is a status that has an exceptional importance for social identity, often shaping a person’s entire life. One’s
occupation is an example.


Role is a behavior expected of someone who holds a particular status. Role is the dynamic aspect of one’s status: an
individual holds a status and performs a role.

There are a number of other aspects of role like:

a. Role Set

Since we occupy many statuses simultaneously therefore we perform multiple roles. The performance of
such multiple roles related to a status is referred to as role set. Role set refers to a number of roles attached to a single
status. You have a status of student, think of how many roles do you have to perform.

b. Role Conflict and Role Strain

Role conflict is incompatibility among roles corresponding to two or more statuses. Roles of a woman being a mother
and an employee in an office may conflict with each other.

Roles connected with a single status may make competing demands on an individual, therefore may create
strain in the performance of those roles simultaneously. Hence role strain refers to incompatibility among roles
corresponding to a single status. A teacher being friendly with the students as well as the maintainer of discipline
in the class could be an example.

c. Role Exit

A person begins the process of role exit by reflecting on his life and coming to doubt his ability to continue
in a certain role. He may imagine alternative role and may go for it. It may be linked status exit, which may
be voluntary or involuntary. A person decides to leave a job voluntarily and has a role exit. A person retires
and again has a role exit. “Process of becoming ex”, an ex- chairman, an ex-director are the examples.

3. The Social Construction of Reality

Reality of one’s self. We construct our reality. Let me explain. I enter this room and immediately I become what I have to
become, what I can become. I construct my self. That is, I present myself to you in a form suitable to the relationship I wish to
achieve with you. And, of course, you do the same with me.

The whole of this process of construction of one’s self/reality is based on learning through social

Social construction of reality is the process by which people creatively shape reality through interaction. Through
social interaction we negotiate the reality i.e. some agreement about what is going on, though people may
have different perceptions of the event.

Social construction of the life span of people into childhood, adulthood, and old age can be the examples.
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Situations that we define as real become real in their consequences or in their being functional. Reality as perceived by the
people as they have constructed. What is the reality of a commonly used phrase: How are you? Do we
mean physically? Mentally? Spiritually? Financially?
4. Communication

Communication is another important component of interaction for which we need to have a language –
verbal as well as non-verbal. Human beings develop symbols, signs, and codes that they associate with the
realities of life. These signs, symbols, and codes stand for the reality or phenomenon (material/non
material), they are not the phenomenon itself. Meanings are attached to the symbols and there is some
agreement on the meanings. Meanings can be situation specific and may vary by different cultures.
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Lesson 7

Different meanings of group:

1. Any physical collection of people. Group shares nothing but physical closeness. It is just an
aggregation, a collectivity.
2. Number of people who share some common characteristic – which is often called as category.
3. Number of people who share some organized pattern of recurrent interaction. It can be an
educational institution where people come and work, study, play.
4. Number of people who share consciousness of membership together and of interaction.

Two essentials of social group Æ social interaction and consciousness of membership.

A social group is two or more people who identify and interact with each other. Human beings come together in
couples, families, circles of friends, neighborhoods, and in work organizations. Whatever it form, a group is
made up of people with shared experiences (through social interaction), loyalties, and interests.

Not every collection of individuals can be called a social group. Let us look at some other concepts that are
often mixed up with social group. For example:

Category: People with a status in common, such as women, Muslims, Pakistanis, students, teachers, and
workers. They may know others who hold the same status; the vast majority may be strangers to each
other. So there is no interaction on the whole. Nevertheless, there are always pockets of small groups
within any broad category who interact with each other and are conscious of membership.

Crowd: A temporary cluster of individuals who may or may not interact at all. They are too transitory, and
are too impersonal. It might be students sitting together in a class, or people waiting for a train on the
railway platform. Change in circumstances may turn the crowd into a social group.


Primary and Secondary Groups

Primary group is a small social group whose members share personal and enduring relationships. They are bound
together by primary relationships. The relationships are informal, intimate, personal and total. These
groups are among the first we experience. The examples can be: Family, play group, friends. They provide
sense of security to the members. People usually have an emotional attachment, they are loyal, and the
relationships are end in itself.

Secondary group is a large and impersonal social group whose members pursue a specific interest or activity. Just the
opposite of primary groups their relationships are secondary. Such relationships involve weak emotional ties and
little personal knowledge of one another. Most secondary groups are formal, impersonal, segmental, and
utilitarian. These groups are goal oriented. The interaction may be impersonal though pleasant. Example
can be students taking sociology course in the present semester. They might be together only for the
semester and may never see each other. Co-workers at a place of work, members of a political party could
be other examples.

In-Groups and Out-Groups

In-group is social group commanding a member’s esteem and loyalty. My pronouns: I feel I belong to
them. Others: I am outside them. In-group exists in relation to an out-group.

Out-group is a social group toward which one feels in competition or opposition. Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 18
In modern societies the membership may overlap. In the National Assembly members are elected on the
tickets of different political parties. They have competed against each other (out-group to each other) but
after the election they are members of the one group i.e. National Assembly.
Exclusion from in-group may be brutal in simple society—Social boycott. In-group expects loyalty,
recognition, and helpful to its members.
These groups are important because they affect our behavior.

Group Size

Size of the group plays an important role in how group members interact. In small size groups the
members can have highly intense relationships but such groups are less stable. Look at the group of two
persons having a highly emotional interaction, but if one of them leaves, the group comes to an end.
The Dyad is social group with two members.
The Triad is a social group with three members. It is more stable than the dyad.
As groups grow beyond three people, they become more stable and capable of withstanding the loss of
even several members. At the same time, increase in-group size reduces the intense personal interaction,
which is possible only in the smaller groups.

Reference Group

How do we assess our own attitudes and behavior? Frequently, we use a reference group, a social group that
serves as a point of reference in making evaluations and decisions. A young person might assess the rewards for his
work by comparing the rewards given to other coworkers for similar work.

Reference groups can be models, which could be ideals for individuals. Parents can be reference groups for
their children. Individuals can also be models and we can call them as reference individuals. A teacher
can be a reference individual for students.

Reference groups and reference individuals can be living or non-living persons; they can also be from the
fiction. Quaid –I-Azam can be a reference individual for Pakistanis. Children pick up many of their
reference individuals from the cartoons they watch on television.

Reference groups or individuals can also be negative models whereby some individuals don’t want to adopt
the behavior patterns of such individuals.


It is a group-shared image of another group or category of people. It is an exaggerated description applied
to every person in some category. Such images could be about a minority group, about youth, about
Muslims, about Christians, about Pakistanis, about laborers. Stereotypes could become the basis of
prejudice, which is a rigid and unfair generalization about an entire category of people.

Social Distance

One measure of prejudice is social distance, that is, how closely people are willing to interact with members of
some category. It is the degree of closeness or acceptance we feel about other groups.


A network is a web of weak social ties. Think of a network as “fuzzy” group containing people who come into
occasional contact but who lack a sense of boundaries and belonging. Network is “social web” expanding
outward, often reaching great distances and including large numbers of people.
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© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 19
Some networks are close to being groups, as is the case with college fellows who stay in touch after
graduation by e-mail and telephone. Usually a network includes people we know of – or who know of us –
but with whom we interact rarely.

A New Group: Emergence of Electronic Communities

In the 1990s, due to technology, an entirely new type of human group made its appearance through
Internet. These are the people who have a relationship with one another and who think of themselves as
belonging together.

Internet is a series of thousands of computers hooked together worldwide. On the Internet, thousands of
newsgroups, called use nets, people who communicate on almost any conceivable topic. This new way of
communicating has developed out of new technology.

New forms of electronic communication, sometimes called the information superhighway or cyberspace,
have made our homes “less bounded environment”. While remaining within the walls of our homes, we
can instantly “travel” electronically to previously remote settings around the world. There, we can share
information with people who have never met, or seen, and even develop friendship with them. The result is
a new type of group known as an electronic community. In some cases, the term “electronic primary
group” seems more appropriate to refer to this new type of group, for people regularly interact with one
another, share personal information, identify with one another, and develop a sense of intimacy – even
though they have “met” only electronically.
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© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 20
Lesson 8

Formal organizations are large, secondary groups that are organized to achieve their goals efficiently. They
are the product of rationalization of society, which means the acceptance of rules, efficiency, and practical
results as the right way to approach human affairs. Past is the best guide for the present i.e. traditional
orientation tends to be abandoned. Rationality was a totally different way of thinking that came to
permeate society. This new orientation transformed the way in which society is organized. As a result,
formal organizations, secondary groups designed to achieve explicit objectives, have become a central
feature of contemporary society. Examples can be business corporations, government departments, colleges
and universities, hospitals, prisons, and military organizations.

Such organizations are deliberately created ‘social machines with human parts’. In these organizations
social relations are impersonal, formal, and planned. These organizations have major influence on the
everyday lives of members of modern societies.

[They] permeate virtually every aspect of modern life. … We are usually born and die in organizations, are educated by them,
and we work, play, and pray in them. We pay taxes to and obey the laws of a supra-organization, the state. Indeed the latter
“certifies” our birth, our death, and much that happens in between. (Etzioni and Lehman, 1978)

Formal organizations operate in a deliberate way, not to meet personal needs, but to accomplish complex
jobs. Offices/statuses remain intact but the members come and go.

Types of Formal Organizations

Three types of organizations have been distinguished on the basis of why people participate i.e. Utilitarian,
Normative, and Coercive.

Utilitarian Organizations

Just about everyone who works for income is member of utilitarian organization, which pays its members to
perform the jobs for which they were hired. Large business enterprises, for example, generate profits for
their owners and salaries and wages for their employees. Most people must join an organization for making
a living.

Normative Organizations

People join normative organizations not for income but to pursue goals they consider morally worthwhile.
They are also called voluntary organizations. The interests of such organizations can be community services,
social action, and environmental protection. They are concerned with specific social issues. Examples can
be Edhi Trust, Red Crescent, The Lions Club.

Voluntary organizations strive for participatory democracy, in which all members have an equal opportunity to
discuss and decide important questions affecting the organization.

Coercive Organizations

These organizations have involuntary membership. These are total institutions that feature very strict
control of members by top-ranked officials. Members are physically and socially separated from ‘outsiders’
or ‘civil society’. The examples can be prisons, psychiatric hospitals, and military units. Total institutions
transform a human being’s overall sense of self.

From differing vantage points, many organizations may fall into all these categories. A psychiatric hospital,
for example, serves as a coercive organization for a patient, a utilitarian organization for a health
professional, and a normative organization to a hospital volunteer. Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 21

Bureaucracy is an organizational model rationally designed to perform complex tasks efficiently. In a
bureaucratic business or government agency, officials deliberately enact and revise policy to make the
organization as efficient as possible.

Characteristics of Ideal-Typical Bureaucracy

1. Specialization. There is division of labor in the bureaucracy and each member has a specific task
to fulfill. All the tasks are coordinated to accomplish the purpose of the organization.

2. Hierarchy of offices. Bureaucracies arrange the personnel in a vertical ranking. Each person is
supervised by ‘higher ups’ and in turn supervising others in lower positions. Usually with fewer
people in higher positions, the structure takes the form of a bureaucratic ‘pyramid’. In this
hierarchy assignments flow downward and accountability flowing upward. Each level assigns
responsibilities to the level beneath it, while each lower level is responsible to the level above for
fulfilling these assignments.

3. Written rules and regulations. Rationally enacted rules and regulations control not only the
organization’s own functioning but also its larger environment. In general, the longer a
bureaucracy exists and the larger it grows, the more written rules it has.

4. Technical competence. A bureaucratic organization expects its officials and staff to have the
technical competence to carry out their duties, and regularly monitors worker performance.
Evaluation is based on performance and not on favoritism.

5. Impersonality. Rules take precedence over personal whims. Members of a bureaucracy owe
allegiance to the office, not to a particular person. The impersonality ensures that the clients as
well as workers are all treated uniformly. Each worker in bureaucracy becomes a small cog in a
large machine. Each worker is a replaceable unit, for many others are available to fulfill each
particular function. From this detached approach stems the notion of the “faceless bureaucrat”.

6. Formal, written communication. Heart of bureaucracy is not people but paperwork.
Rather than casual, verbal communication, bureaucracy relies on formal, written memos
and reports. Over time, this correspondence accumulates into vast files.

Problems of Bureaucracy

Bureaucracy can dehumanize and manipulate individuals, and it poses a threat to personal privacy and
political democracy.

Bureaucratic Alienation

Efficiency vs. potential to dehumanize the people it is supposed to serve. The very same impersonality that
fosters efficiency keeps officials and clients from responding to each other’s unique, personal needs. Follow
bureaucratic procedure. Bureaucratic environment gives rise to alienation where a human being is reduced
to a part (cog) of big bureaucratic machinery.

Bureaucratic Inefficiency and Ritualism

Red tape: The tedious preoccupation with organizational routine and procedures. Rule is a rule.
Bureaucratic ritualism (Merton): Preoccupation with rules and regulations to the point of thwarting an
organization’s goals.

Ritualism stifles individual’s creativity and strangles organizational performance. Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 22
Modest salary – no stake to perform efficiently – no incentive – all ritualism – and the resultant corruption.

Bureaucratic Inertia
Bureaucratic inertia refers to the tendency of the bureaucratic organizations to perpetuate them.

If bureaucrats have little motivation to be efficient, they certainly have every reason to protect their jobs.
Thus the officials typically strive to perpetuate their organization even when its purpose has been fulfilled.
Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 23
Lesson 9

Culture is people’s way of life. It is their pattern of behavior, which has been created by human beings.
Culture includes: Intangible (non-material) items like values, beliefs, norms, language, and ideas (ideologies:
perception of reality) that govern the way of life. The way we play our roles.
+ Tangible things – material objects. Human beings have created this way of life, which includes both
material and non-material objects. Hence some Anthropologists call it as man- made part of the
environment. Culture is the patterns of behavior and the products of the patterns of behavior

Do non-humans have a culture?

Non-humans guided by instincts. They have a biological programming. Humans guided by culture, which
may be called as social programming. Culture is learned, shared, transmitted, and it is changing.

Some specific features of culture:

• Universality: Culture is universal. There is no society without culture. As part of the cultures
there are many aspects that are found in almost all the societies. For example the institutions like
marriage and family, religion, education, polity, economy, and sports are found all over the world.
Societies have developed values, norms, beliefs, and other patterns of behavior that govern the
system of marriage and family. One could find such a pattern all over the world, and the same is
applicable to religion, education, political behavior, economic behavior, and so on.

• Variability: There is variability in the universals of culture. By looking at the institution of
marriage and family one could see so much of variation in it within Pakistan, notwithstanding the
differences in other societies. The arranged marriages, love marriages, exchange marriages,
marriages by purchase, marriages within as well as outside the kin network, are all variations that are
found in Pakistan. Then one could see the differences in wedding ceremonies all over the country.
Joint families and nuclear families, single earner families and dual earner families, patriarchal
families and egalitarian families, patrilocal families and matrilocal families are some other aspects
reflecting the variability of family in Pakistani society. Similarly one comes across variations in
religion all over the world. Kingship, dictatorship, democracy, parliamentary form of democracy or
presidential form, adult franchise or selective voting rights, voter age are all variations in the
political systems followed by different nations. Economic systems also vary from the extremes of
socialism and capitalism to any variation on the scale.

• Learned: Culture is learned through the process of interaction with others. It is not inherited
through the biological process. We learn to talk, to walk, and to act as our elders train us. Nature
has given us the potential to talk but we speak variety of languages, which are all created by human
beings and there is so much of variation within as well as outside Pakistan. Also human being have
the capacity to learn a variety of languages. Similarly other ways of life, which is culture, are

• Shared: Culture is not the property of one individual or of a group. It is shared with other
members of society. You are sharing T V transmission with others, sharing a classroom with
others, sharing the road with others, and sharing the knowledge with others. You are sharing
culture with others because you are a social being.

• Transmitted: Culture does not end with the death of a person or a group. During its lifetime that
individual or group tries to pass on its culture to the future generation. This is how every new crop
of babies does not start from a scratch rather they build on what they have already received. That
is how culture grows and that is how our culture becomes richer ad richer.
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• Changing: Culture is continuously changing. The patterns of behavior transmitted by one
generation to another are continuously in the process of modification for catering to the changing
needs of time and demands of people. New technologies are developed and are borrowed from
other groups and societies. With the increase in the contact between different societies the cultures
are changing very fast and may be moving toward some kind of global culture.

Three similar terms: Culture, Nation, and Society

Culture: Shared way of life.

Nation: A political entity within designated borders.

Society: The organized interaction of people in a nation or within some other boundary.

Pakistan: nation and society, but may have many cultures.
Multicultural: Includes various ways of life that blend together.

Components of Culture

Symbols: Anything that carries a particular meaning recognized by people who share culture. Whistle,
flashing light, thumbs up are all symbols.
Human beings have the capacity to create symbols with different meanings associated with each. These
symbols are used as means of communication and thereby become part of our language.

Even the buildings, dress, the flag, and a type of color may be taken as symbols indicating some aspect of
human behavior as well as society’s outlook. Red, green, white, blue, pink, each of the colors stands for
something in the society. Blue jeans are quite commonly used in Pakistan. Can you find out that these are
symbol of what?

Language: System of symbols that allows members of a society to communicate with one another.
Symbols may be oral and these could be written words. We have oral cultural traditions. Human beings
have developed different alphabet as part of written language. Language is the major means of cultural
transmission. Is language uniquely human? Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
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Lesson 10
CULTURE (continued)

Values: Culturally defined standards of desirability, goodness, and beauty that serve as broad guidelines for
social living. What ought to be.

Examples of values: Equal opportunity, Achievement or success, Material comfort, Activity and work.
Science, Freedom, Physical fitness, Health, Punctuality. Wealth, Education, Competition and Merit.
Honesty, Dignity of labor, Patriotism. Justice and Democracy. Environmental protection, Charity and
Sometimes there could be inconsistency in the values which can lead to conflict.

Beliefs: Specific statements that people hold to be true. Values are broad principles that underlie beliefs.
Values are abstract standard of goodness, while beliefs are particular matters that individuals consider to be
true or false.

Norms: Rules and expectations by which a society guides the behavior of its members. These are the
shared expectations of the people that govern their behavior.
Proscriptive norms: Mandating what we should not do. Forbidding from certain actions.
Prescriptive norms: What we should do.

Mores and Folkways: W. G. Sumner gave these concepts.

Mores (MORE-ays): Society’s standards of proper moral conduct. Such standards have been considered as
essential to maintaining a way of life. These are the notions of right or wrong developed by society.
Violation of mores brings a strong reaction from others.

Folkways: Society’s customs for routine, casual interaction. These are of less moral significance. Examples
can be: proper dress, appropriate greetings, and common courtesy. People usually ignore the violation of

“Ideal” culture and “Real” Culture

Ideal culture: Social patterns that are mandated by cultural values and norms. The ideal values and norms,
which are prevalent in the society.

Real culture: Actual social patterns those only approximate cultural expectations. The norms and value that
people actually follow. It can also be how many people follow these cultural patterns. Or how much a
person observes a cultural pattern. Since this can be explained in numbers therefore it may also be called a
statistical norm.

Material and Non-Material Culture

Tangible and intangible culture as explained earlier.

Cultural Diversity

There are many ways of life; hence there are differences in culture. In one society there could be
differences in patterns of marriage and family, patterns of education, patterns of worship, and patterns of
earning a living. One finds cultural difference within the province and across the provinces in Pakistan.
Countries like Canada, which are inhabited by immigrants, display a big cultural diversity. People have
migrated from all over the globe to Canada and brought cultural differences with them and in many cases
are trying to continue with them. Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
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Lesson 11
CULTURE (continued)

Culture by social class

Cultural diversity can involve social class. In everyday life, we usually use the term “culture” to mean art
forms such as classical literature, music, dance, and painting. We describe people who regularly go to the
theater as “cultured,” because we think they appreciate the “finer things in life.” We speak less generously
of ordinary people, assuming that everyday culture is somehow less worthy. Such judgments imply that
many cultural patterns are readily accessible to only some members of society. This is how particular
cultural patterns are associated with certain classes. We can further stretch the argument to other
components of culture for finding variations in different classes.

People often divide society in different social classes and find that each class represents differences in their
norms, values, beliefs, attitudes, and thinking. These norms, values, and attitudes may relate to the
institutions of marriage and family, religion, education, earning a living, or their political behavior, one could
find the differences. In this perspective culture is often divided into as:

High culture: Cultural patterns that distinguish a society’s elite.

Popular culture: Cultural patterns those are widespread among a society’s population.

Culture of poverty: Cultural patterns shared by the poor.


Cultural patterns that set apart some segments of a society’s population. Cluster of patterns which both are
related to the general culture of the society yet distinguishable from it. The example could be: student sub-
culture, business sub-culture.


A policy followed by some governments whereby they recognize cultural diversity in the society and
promote the equality of all cultural traditions. Canadian government is following such a policy.


It is a subculture, which is in active opposition to the dominant culture. Cultural patterns that strongly
oppose widely accepted patterns within a society. Example could be of hippies, and drug users.

Cultural change

Cultural change is the process of alteration of culture over time. Any difference in a particular pattern
between two points in time may be called cultural change. This may be a change in the family pattern,
which is changing from ‘joint family system’ to a ‘nuclear family system’ in Pakistani society.

Cultural Lag

All parts (elements) of culture do not change at the same rate; some of them change faster than the other.
For example material culture may change faster than the non-material culture. We often see it is difficult to
change the habits quickly.

The different rate of change in the two integrated elements of culture can result in one element lagging
behind the other. William F. Ogburn called this gap between the two parts of culture as ‘cultural lag’. Such
a cultural lag usually disrupts the system. For example we see so many automobiles on the road. There is Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 27
an increase in their speed as well. There is a sharp increase in mobility. Let us look at another related
aspect; these automobiles need a similar change in the quality of roads, which has not changed accordingly
or you can say that it has lagged behind. Resultantly there is a lot of disruption leading to traffic jams,
accidents, and pollution. You can also look at the ‘traffic sense’ among the public, be they the drivers, the
passengers, the cyclists, or the pedestrians. This lag between the increase in automobiles and the inculcation
of traffic sense in public also creates disruption in the system.

Causes of cultural change

Three factors bring change in the culture of a society. These are:

Inventions: The process of creating new cultural elements out of the existing elements. Since the modern
man has a comparatively richer reservoir of cultural elements at his disposal, therefore he creates more
inventions than the man in the olden times. The modern man does not have to reinvent the wheel; he has
to use this wheel, improve upon it and bring something new.

Discovery: It is the process of finding that already exists.

Diffusion: It means the spread of cultural traits from one society to another. It is the borrowing of culture
by one group from another. For purposes of diffusion contact between the two groups or societies is
necessary. In the olden times, due to the lack development of means of transportation and communication,
contact between different societies was limited. Therefore the diffusion was also limited. Whatever the
diffusion took place it was more a result of physical contact. But in the modern times there is a revolution
in the means of transportation and communication. Presently people don’t have to be in physical contact
with other societies for knowing about each other’s culture and for borrowing from each other. With the
help of electronic media people get exposure to other cultures and may like to borrow their cultural traits.
With the facilitation of diffusion process cultural change is quite rapid now days.


The practice of judging other’s culture by the standards of one’s own culture. People consider their own
culture as superior to others and apply their standards for evaluating the patterns of behavior of others.
The whole judgment is centered on one’s own culture.


Considering other’s culture as superior to one’s own.

Cultural relativism

The practice of judging a culture by its own standards; a particular pattern of behavior is right or wrong as it
is declared by the people who follow it. Since those people are follow a particular practice, supposedly it
might be serving some useful function in that society. Nevertheless, the same practice may be useful for
one group and may be harmful for the other in the same society.

A global culture

Today, more than ever before, we can observe many of the same cultural practices being followed the world
over. We find people wearing jeans, hear the familiar music, and see advertising for many of the same
products in different countries. People learn some international language for purposes of communication.
Are we moving toward the single global culture?

Societies now have more contact with one another than ever before, involving the flow of goods,
information, and people. We are globally connected through:
Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
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• The global economy: the flow of goods.
• Global communication: the flow of information.
• Global migration: the flow of people.

These global links make the cultures of the world more similar. But there are three limitations to the global
culture thesis. First, the global flow of goods, information, and people is uneven. Generally speaking,
urban areas have stronger ties to one another, while many rural villages remain isolated. Then the greater
economic and military power of the Western society means that this society influences the rest of the world
more than happens the other way around. Second, the global culture thesis assumes that people everywhere
are able to afford various new goods and services. That is not so as the poor countries cannot afford it.
Third, although many cultural practices are now found throughout the world, people everywhere do not
attach the same meaning to them. People have to interpret the other’s cultural practices from their own

Culture and Human Freedom

Culture may put all kinds of constraints on the behavior of people and at the same time there is the
freedom, which may be provided by the same culture.
Culture as constraint: Cannot live without culture therefore we have to accept it. We are the prisoners of
Culture as freedom: Culture provides the opportunity to make and remake our world.
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Lesson 12

Human development is based on two assumptions:

1. The newborn having the capacity to become a member of human society. The infant has
the capacity to learn human social behavior. This capacity is provided by nature to every normal
child. But
2. The newborn child cannot become social being unless there is interaction with other
human beings.

Helpless at birth, the human infant depends on others to provide nourishment and care. Human infants are
the most helpless of all; a human child cannot survive unaided for at least four or five years of life. It is a
matter of survival of human child; and then to transform the human child into a social being he needs
interaction with other members of human society without which learning capacity is lost. This process of
transformation is socialization.

Socialization is process whereby people learn through interaction with others that which they must
know in order to survive and function within society. In this process, as defined by the local culture,
they learn what roles are associated with their status. Also, as prescribed by the culture, they learn how to
play those roles. Therefore it is a matter of NATURE and NURTURE.


Nature implies the contribution of heredity to the human being, which may include physical- characteristics
and what is inside the human body. Presumably physical and psychological characteristics can be
transmitted through heredity. Whatever is being transmitted through heredity may be considered as human
potential given by nature.

Biological determinism prevailed in the late 19th century. Proponents of this position opined that inborn
factors exerted greater influence on human behavior and personality. In the second decade of the 20th
century biological determinism was displaced by socio-cultural determinism. For the sake of argument the
twins, having the same heredity, should show the same behavior even if they were raised apart, but it does
not happen like that. In fact their behavior, to a great extent is affected by environment [physical, cultural,
social], which may be part of the process of nurture. Nevertheless, lot of genetic engineering has also come
into operation for tinkering with the physical and psychical make up.


As said earlier, in the 20th century, the biological explanations of human behavior were challenged. It was
assumed that much of the human behavior was not instinctive; rather it was learned. Thus, people
everywhere were equally human, differing only in their learned cultural patterns, which highlighted the role
of nurture.

Today social scientists are cautious about describing any behavior as instinctive. This does not mean that
biology plays no part in human behavior. Human life, after all, depends on the functioning of the human
body. We also know that children often share biological traits (like height, hair color, and complexion) with
their parents and that heredity plays a part in intelligence, aptitude, and personality. Ignoring the
contribution of genetic engineering, by and large, the physical characteristics are biologically determined;
though having social interpretations. We learn these social interpretations through interaction with other
members of human society. Without denying the importance of nature, then, nature matters more in
shaping human behavior. More precisely, nurture has become our nature.

As part of nurturing, opportunities are to be provided for the development of human potentials. If the
society does not provide learning opportunities, the human potentials given by nature may be lost. Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 30
Social Isolation

Tragic cases of children isolated by abusive family members show the damage caused by depriving human
beings of social experience. Three such cases quoted in your textbook have already been referred to earlier.
These cases are of:
• Anna – discovered at age 5 years.
• Isabelle – discovered at age 6 years.
• Genie – discovered at age 13 years.
(These cases may be studied in the textbook).

All the evidence points to the crucial role of social experience to human development. Human beings can
recover from abuse and short-term isolation. But there is a point at which isolation in infancy causes
permanent development damage.

Provision of Learning Situations

The provision of learning situations is very crucial in the development of human potentials. Human group
plays a pivotal role in this respect by:

• The provision of learning situations;
• The provision of guidance; and
• Controlling the behavior.

Human groups like the family with whom the child normally has the first contact provide these learning
opportunities. These learning situations are provided automatically in the day-to-day routine activities in
the family. The children listen to people talking around them, see them walking, and playing different roles.
A girl looks at her mother the way she looks after the cooking arrangements, the way she cooks the food,
the way she looks after the guests, and other household chores. She is very likely to copy the behavior of
her mother.

Provision of automatic learning situation is necessary but may not be sufficient to learn to talk, to walk, and
to perform certain role. The group (family) has to provide guidance to the child by intentionally arranging
the learning situations. The parents may have to provide real guidance to the children for in the
pronunciation of certain words, taking steps in walking, wearing of clothes, answering the telephone, and so
on. Parents try to nurture their child as it is considered appropriate under the cultural norms.

Since all behavior is governed by the cultural values and norms, the parents make it sure that the child acts
as it is culturally permissible. Therefore they try to control the actions of their child by applying rewards
and punishments. For an appropriate behavior just giving a pat on the shoulder may reward the child, or
placing a kiss on the face, or giving a big hug, each may be rewarding. There could be other ways of
appreciating the role being played by the child, a socialize in this situation. Similarly the group may apply
punishments to the socialize in case the behavior is not in accordance with cultural expectations. Such
punishments may be the withdrawal of love and affection, social boycott, withholding of pocket money,
corporal punishment, and so on as permissible under the cultural norms.

Whereas the group provides the learning situations to the child, the child also takes certain actions about
what he or she experiences in the learning situations. These actions are:
• Imitation;
• Experimentation; and
• Adjustment.

In many cases the socialize tries to copy the behavior of others in the learning situations. The socialize may
be talking like others, walking like them, shouting like them, and so on. To what extent he or she can
imitate can be determined by the outcome of the experience of giving a trial to any imitative behavior. The Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 31
experimentation of the performance of any role may take place in the presence of the primary group, be it
the parents, or the peer group. This primary group gives its evaluation of the performance, whereas the
socialization is likely to make adjustments in the role performance, and, by and by, develops his/her self-

In this way, as explained in the preceding discussion, the nature provides the potentials, which are
developed through nurture. This whole process may be called socialization, which is a lifelong learning
experience by which individuals develop their human potentials and learn the patterns of their culture. As a
result of socialization process the individuals develop their self-concept. Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
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Lesson 13

Socialization is a complex, lifelong process. In this lecture we shall focus on the works of three pioneer
researchers, namely Sigmund Freud (1856 -1939), George Herbert Mead
(1863 -1931), and Charles Horton Cooley (1864 -1929)

Freud’s Model of Personality
Freud believed that biology plays a major part in human development, though not in
terms of human instincts. He theorized that humans have two basic needs that are there
at birth. First is the need for bonding, which Freud called the “life instinct”. Second, we
have an aggressive drive he called the “death instinct”. These opposing forces operate at
unconscious level and generate deep inner tension.

Freud joined basic needs with the influence of society to form a model of personality
with three parts: id, ego and superego.

The id (the Latin word for it) represents the human being’s basic drives, which are unconscious and demand
immediate satisfaction. Rooted in biology id is present at birth, making a new born a bundle of demands
for attention, touching, and food. But society opposes the self-centered id, which is why one of the first
words a child learns is “no.”
THE ID (“It”): functions in the irrational and emotional part of the mind. At birth a baby’s mind is all Id -
want. The Id is the primitive mind. It contains all the basic needs and feelings. It is the source for libido
(psychic energy). And it has only one rule --> the “pleasure principle”: “I want it and I want it all now”. In
transactional analysis, Id equates to "Child".
Id too strong = bound up in self-gratification and uncaring to others
To avoid frustration, a child must learn to approach the world realistically. This is done through ego (Latin
word for I), which is a person’s conscious effort to balance innate pleasure-seeking drives with the demands of society. Ego
is the balancing force between the id and the demands of society that suppress it. The ego develops as we
become aware of ourselves and at the same time realize that we cannot have everything we want.
Ego too strong = extremely rational and efficient, but cold, boring and distant
Finally, the human personality develops the superego (Latin meaning “above” or “beyond” the ego), which
are the cultural values and norms internalized by an individual. The superego represents culture within us i.e. the
norms and values that we have internalized from our social groups. The superego operates as our
conscience, telling us why we cannot have everything we want. As a moral component of the personality,
the superego gives us the feelings of guilt or shame when we break social rules or pride and self- satisfaction
when we follow them. The superego begins to form as a child comes to understand that everyone’s
behavior must take the cultural norms into account.
Superego too strong = feels guilty all the time, may even have an insufferably saintly personality
To the id-centered child, the world is full of physical sanctions that being either pleasure or pain. As the
superego develops, however, the child learns the moral concepts of right and wrong. Initially, in other
words, the children can feel good or bad according to how they judge their behavior against cultural norms
(doing “the right thing”).

The id and superego remain in conflict, but in a well-adjusted person, the ego manages these two opposing
forces. Culture, in the form of superego, serves to repress selfish demands, forcing people to look beyond

When conflicts are not resolved during childhood, they may surface as personality disorders later on.

Freud emphasized the role of socialization in the personality i.e. that the social group into which we are
born transmits norms and values that restrain our biological drives.

George Herbert Mead: The Social Self

G. H. Mead (1863-1931) developed a theory of social behaviorism to explain how social experience creates
individual personality. There is the power of environment to shape behavior. Mead’s central concept is self
that part of an individual’s personality composed of self- awareness and self-image. For Mead: Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 33
1. The self develops only with social experience. The self is not part of the body, and it does not exist at birth.
Self develops only as the individual interacts with others. In the absence of interaction (as is
evident from the cases of isolated children like Anna, Isabelle, Genie) the body grows, but no self

2. Social experience is the exchange of symbols. Only people use words, or the wave of the hand, or a smile
to create meaning. These symbols are parts of the language, which plays a vital part in the
development of self. Self is a product of socialization experiences and that it develops along with
our ability to think symbolically.

3. Understanding intention requires imagining the situation from the other’s point of view. Using symbols we
imagine ourselves “in another person’s shoes” and see ourselves as the person does. We can
therefore anticipate how others will respond to us even before we act. A simple toss of a ball
requires stepping out of ourselves to imagine how others will catch our throw. You may call it as to
think symbolically.

Thinking consists of the conversations we carry on in our minds with ourselves
about all sorts of things, especially about ourselves. As a child, you eventually
developed cognitively to the point at which you were able to use one symbol (a
doll, for example) to represent a parent and another symbol (another doll, for
example) that represent you. Only then you could engage in role taking –
imagining being someone else and looking from that person’s perspective back at
yourself as a social object. That is the imitation of the role of others. Out of the
early social interactions we develop our ability to communicate, our ability to
think, and our social self emerge.

4. By taking the role of the other, we become self-aware. The self then has two parts.
As subject, the self is active and spontaneous. Mead called the active side of the
self as “I” (the spontaneous form of the personal pronoun). “I” is the self as
subject the active, spontaneous, creative part of self. But the self is also an
object, as we imagine ourselves as others see us. Mead called the objective side of
the self the “me” (the objective form of personal pronoun). All social experience
have both components.

The emergence of self consists of three stages:

1. The Play Stage. During the play stage, a child begins to develop a sense of him/herself as a social object
by taking the role of significant others in relation to him/herself. A girl child plays at being her mother or
father, which requires investing herself imaginatively into a doll, for example. She then makes the doll
behave as she behaves and evaluates and reacts to this behavior of the doll. She mimics the way in which
her father or mother reacts to her own behavior. In this way, she begins to make sense of why the parents
react to her as they do. At this stage, the child’s self consists exclusively of the ideas she has about herself
based on her perceptions of how significant others, one at a time, view that self. (Significant others are
the persons who are very important for the individual)

2. The Game Stage. In the play stage, the child took the role of one significant other at a time. In order to
play games, however, the child must be able to take the roles of other players in the game simultaneously.
In a game (cricket, for example) each player must know what all the other players expect of him in any
situation that might come up. Being able to evaluate oneself from the perspective of several significant
others simultaneously results in more sophisticated self-concept.

3. The Stage of the Generalized Other. The generalized other represents the imagined perspective of the
community or society at large. At this stage of development, the child is capable of evaluating himself from
the perspective of community, sub-cultural, or cultural norms and expectations. The child tries to shape his Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 34
behavior in accordance with the expectations of the others and tries to become what others what him to

Charles H. Cooley: The looking Glass Self

Others represent a mirror (which people used to call a “looking glass”) in which we can see ourselves.
What we think of ourselves, then, depends on what we think others think of us. For example, if we think
others see us as clever, we will think ourselves in the same way. But if we feel they think of us as clumsy,
then that is how we will see ourselves. Cooley used the phrase looking glass self to mean a self-image based
on how we think others see us.

Our sense of self develops from interaction with others. The term looking glass self was coined by Cooley to
describe the process by which a sense of self develops. The looking glass self contains three elements:

1. We imagine how we appear to those around us. For example, we may think that others see us witty or

2. We interpret others’ reactions. We come to conclusions about how others evaluate us. Do they like us
being witty? Do they dislike us for being dull?

3. We develop a self-concept. Based on our interpretations of the reactions of others, we develop feelings
and ideas about ourselves. A favorable reflection in this “social mirror” leads to a positive self-
concept, a negative reflection to a negative self-concept.

Note that the development of the self does not depend on accurate evaluations. Even if we grossly
misinterpret how others think about us, those misjudgments become part of our self-concept. Note also
that self-concept begins in childhood; its development is an ongoing, lifelong process. The three steps of the looking
glass self are a part of our everyday lives, and as we monitor how other people react to us, we continuously
modify the self. The self, then is never a finished product, but is always in process, even into old age. Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 35
Lesson 14

Socialization agents are the sources from which we learn about society and ourselves. People and groups
that influence our self-concept, emotions, attitudes, and behavior are called agents of socialization. They
are our socializes. People who serve as socializing agents include family members, friends, neighbors, the
police, the employers, teachers, political leaders, business leaders, religious leaders, sports stars, and
entertainers. Socialization agents also can be fictional characters that we read about or see on television or
in the movies.

Every social experience we have affects us in at least a small way. However, several familiar settings have
special importance in the socialization process. Some of the important agents of socialization are as below.

The Family

The family has the greatest impact on socialization. Infants are totally dependent on others, and the
responsibility to look after the young ones typically falls on parents and other family members. It is a matter
of child survival.

There is an automatic provision of learning situations to the young ones. Family begins the lifelong process
of defining ourselves of being male or female and the child learns the appropriate roles associated with
his/her gender.

Who we are? The perceptions about ourselves and the family status are conferred on us. The class
position of parents affects how they raise their children. Class position shapes not just how much money
parents have to spend, but what they expect of their children. In the lower class there is lot of emphasis on
conformity and obedience. The children are told “ Don’t get into trouble.” There is more use of physical
punishment in lower class than in other classes. People of lower class standing usually have limited
education and perform routine jobs under close supervision. They expect their children will hold similar
positions, so they encourage obedience. Well-off parents, with more schooling, usually have jobs that
demand imagination and creativity. They try to inspire the same qualities in their children. Therefore in the
middle class there is emphasis on developing curiosity, self- expression, self-control, and reasoning.

The School

Schooling enlarges children’s social world to include people with backgrounds different from their own.
Among the manifest functions, the schools teach children a wide range of knowledge and skills. Schools
informally convey other lessons, which might be called the hidden curriculum. Through different activities
schools help in inculcating values of patriotism, democracy, justice, honesty, and competition. Efforts are
made to introduce correct attitudes about economic system/political system.

Peer Groups

Peer group is the one whose members have interests, social position, and age in common. Unlike the family
and the school, the peer group lets children escape the direct supervision of adults. Among the peers,
children learn how to form relationships on their own. Peer groups also offer the chance to discuss
interests that adults may not share with their children (such as clothing or other activities).

In a rapidly changing society, peer groups have great influence on an individual. The attitudes of young and
old may differ because of a “generation gap.” The importance of peer groups typically peaks during
adolescence, when young people begin to break away from their families and think of themselves as adults.

Neighborhood and schools provide a variety of peer groups. Individuals tend to view their own group in
positive terms and to discredit others. People are also influenced by peer groups they would like to join, a
process sociologists call anticipatory socialization, learning that helps a person achieve a desired position. Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
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In fact peer groups have a compelling influence on its members, whereby the individuals conform to group

The Mass Media

The mass media are impersonal communication aimed at a vast audience. Mass media arise as communication
technology (first the newspapers and then radio, television, films, and the Internet) spreads information on
a mass scale. The mass media have an enormous effect on our attitudes and behavior, and on shaping
people’s opinions about issues as well as what they buy.

Where television provides lot of entertainment, at the same time it is a big agent of socialization. The
portrayal of human characters in different programs and in advertisements on television helps in projecting
the gender perceptions prevalent in the society; thereby helping in gender construction. The same programs
help in shaping the attitudes, values, and basic orientation of people to life.


Religion plays significant role in the socialization of most Pakistanis. It influences morality, becoming a key
component in people’s ideas of right and wrong. The influence of religion extends to many areas of our
lives. For example participation in religious ceremonies not only teaches us beliefs about the hereafter but
also ideas about dress, concepts of pak and pleet, and manners appropriate for formal occasions.
Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 37
Lesson 15

Life course is a biological process. In this process there is a personal change from infancy through old age
and death brought about as a result of the interaction between biographical events and social events. The
series of major events, the stages of our lives from birth to death, may be called life course. Movement
through life course is marked by a succession of stages by age.

Analysts have tried to depict the typical stages through which we pass, but they have not been able to agree
on standard division of the life course. As such life course is biological process, which has been divided
into four distinct stages: childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and old age.

Life course stages present characteristic problems and transitions that require learning new and unlearning
familiar routines. Through the process of socialization society tries to prepare its members for taking up
the roles and statuses associated with life course stages.

Each life course stage by age is also affected by other factors like social class, gender, ethnicity and human

People’s life experiences also vary depending on when, in the history of society, they were born. Some
specific historical events like the creation of Pakistan, terrorist attacks of 9/11, economic
prosperity/depression, war, or some other natural calamity (an earthquake, epidemic, and flood) may
become significant in the personal development of individuals as well as their attitudes toward life and other

Although childhood has special importance in the socialization process, learning continues throughout our
lives. An overview of the life course reveals that our society organizes human experience according to age –
childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and old age.


Childhood usually covers the first 12 years of life: time for learning and carefree play. Nevertheless, what a
child “is” differs from one culture to another. Presently we defend our idea of childhood because children
are biologically immature. But a look back in time and around the world shows that the concept of childhood is
rooted in culture.

The concept of childhood as such is of recent origin, which appears to be more pronounced in the
developed countries compared with the developing countries. Even in the developed countries, say a
couple of centuries back, children of four or five years were treated like adults and expected to earn for
themselves. A century back, children in USA, Canada, and Europe had much the same life as children in
poor countries. That is how we come across the issue of child labor, which is associated with the
developing countries.

Children in lower class have always assumed adult responsibilities sooner than their other class counterparts.
Due to the demands of the circumstances children in the lower class start earning earlier than the children
in other classes. Their childhood finishes too quickly and may be their childhood remains invisible.
In childhood an individual is made to learn the skills needed in adult life.


Just as industrialization helped create childhood as a distinct stage of life, adolescence emerged as a buffer
between childhood and adulthood. In earlier times, and in Pakistani society even today, societies did not
mark out adolescence as distinct time of life. People simply moved from childhood into young adulthood
with no stopover in between. Adolescence usually overlaps teen age though it is also a social construction.
Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 38
We generally link adolescence, or teenage years, to emotional and social turmoil, when the youth try to
develop their own individual identities. As they try to carve out an identity distinct from both the “younger”
world being left behind and the “older” world still be out of their range, adolescents develop a subculture of
their own. Again we attribute teenage turbulence to the biological changes of puberty. Adolescence is more
a phenomenon of industrial societies. Although these outward patterns are readily visible, we usually fail to
realize that adolescence is a social creation; it is contemporary industrial society, not biological age that
makes these years a period of turmoil. In these emotional and social spheres the young people appear to be
in conflict with their parents.

Establishing some independence and learning specialized skills for adult life.
Adulthood again depends on culture, and accordingly there could be a smooth or difficult change from
childhood to adolescence. The 18 years old may have different statuses and roles in Pakistani society. They
have the voting rights, they can get an ID card, they can get a driving lenience, and they work in offices.


Adulthood, which begins between the late teens and the early thirties, depending on the social background,
is a time for accomplishment. They pursue careers and raise families. These youth embark on careers and
raise families of their own. They reflect on their own achievements---Did the dreams come true?

Early Adulthood: It covers the period from 20 to about 40 years, and during this period personalities are
formed. They learn to manage the day-to-day responsibilities personally. They try to make an adjustment
with spouse, and bring up their children in their own way. They often have many conflicting priorities:
parents, partner, children, schooling, and work.

Middle Adulthood: Roughly covers the period from 40 to 60 yrs. During this period the individuals assess
actual achievements in view of their earlier expectations.

Children are grown up.

Growing older means facing physical decline. During the late middle years (50 to 65 years), people attempt
to evaluate the past and come to terms with what lies ahead. They compare what they have accomplished
with how far they had hoped to get.

During this time of life, many people find themselves caring for their own children and also their aging
parents. Health and mortality also begin to loom large. People feel physical changes in their bodies, and
they may watch their parents become frail, ill and die.


Old age – the later years of adulthood and the final stage of life itself – begins about the mid sixties. The
societies attach different meaning to this stage of life. Pakistani society often gives older people control
over most of the land and other wealth. Since the rate of change in Pakistani society is not very fast, older
people amass great wisdom during their lifetime, which earns them much respect. On the other hand in
industrial societies old are considered as conservative, unimportant, obsolete. In a fast changing society
their knowledge appears to be irrelevant.

Old age differs in an important way from earlier stages in life course. Growing up typically means entering
new roles and assuming new responsibilities; growing old, by contrast, is the opposite experience – leaving
roles that provided both satisfaction and social identity. Like any life transition, retirement from
employment or even the handing over of the personal business to one’s heirs, demands learning new,
different patterns while at the same time unlearning familiar habits from the past.
Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 39
This survey of the life course leads us to two major conclusions. First, although each stage of life is linked
to the biological process of aging, the life course is largely a social construction. For this reason, people in
other societies may experience a stage of life quite differently, or for that matter, they may not recognize it
at all. Second, in any society, the stages of life course present characteristic problems and transitions that
involve learning something new and, in many cases unlearning familiar routines.

Societies organize the life course according to age; other forces, such as social class, ethnicity, and gender,
also shape their lives. Thus the general pattern that has been described earlier, apply somewhat differently
to various categories of people.


Childhood is a social construction. More so it is a creation of an industrial society. Pakistani society is also
experiencing the issue of child labor.

What do you understand by childhood in Pakistani society? Why has it become an issue?

Tips for handling this assignment: [Not for transmittal to the students]

Who is a child? Is he or she under 12 years? How do we in Pakistani society determine childhood period?
This period could be different from one social class to another or from one ethnic group to another.

In the lower class children start taking adult responsibilities earlier than in a middle class. In the lower class
they start following their parents’ occupation or they are employed as early as 10 years and start earning. In
Pakistan as well as in the industrial countries, human rights activists have started calling it as child labor.

Childhood is usually considered as time for learning and carefree play. Children at this age are biologically
immature. They are to be provided educational opportunities for their development. Education is being
considered as their basic human right. In stead of sending them to school, if we employ them for earning, it
may be considered as human rights violation, hence it is referred to as child labor.

But when we look back in time and around the world, we see that the concept of childhood is rooted in culture.

In Pakistan children are put to work at a very young age. This observation is highly applicable to the lower
class families because it is part of the culture of poor people. Due to the demands of their circumstances
children in the lower class assume adult responsibilities sooner than their other class counterparts. Their
childhood finishes too quickly. Even for labor force calculations, the age is 10 years and above.

Children in the past, even in the developed countries, had much the same life course as children in the poor
countries. Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 40
Lesson 16

Every group within society, and even human society itself, depends on norms for its existence. These very
norms make social life possible by making behavior predictable. We can count on most people most of the
time to meet the expectations of others. As a result there is some kind of social order in the society.

Social order is a group’s usual and customary social arrangements, on which members depend and on
which they base their lives. Without social order there is likely to be chaos.

Social Control

Every society or group develops its mechanism for making its members to obey the norms for the smooth
functioning of its life. These are the attempts of society to regulate people’s thoughts and behavior. This
process, may be formal or informal, is referred to as social control. Hence social control is a group’s formal
and informal means of enforcing its norms.


Sociologists use the term deviance to refer to the violation of norms. How a society defines deviance, which is
branded as deviant, and what people decide to do about deviance all have to do the way society is organized.

… it is not the act itself, but the reactions to the act, that makes something deviant.

In other words, people’s behavior must be viewed from the framework of the culture in which that takes
place. Therefore it is group’s definition of behavior, not the behavior itself that makes it deviant.

Perhaps everybody violates the norms of society, but every violation may not be defined as deviance. So
“what is deviance”, is the creation of the society i.e. an act to which people responds negatively is deviance.
Social creation of deviance and crime is also called social construction of deviance and crime.

The preceding discussion can also be called as “relativity of deviance.” An act, which is called deviance by one group in
one culture, is considered as praise worthy by another group in another culture. Similarly what is deviance
at one time may not be considered so at another time. Look at somebody who is called by one group as a
terrorist and by another as a freedom fighter. Sociologists usually use the term deviance non-judgmentally

The concept of deviance can be applied to individual acts and to the activity of groups.
Deviant group behavior may result in deviant sub-culture.


Crime is the violation of norms that are written into law. An act approved in one group may be a crime
punishable by death in another group, which suggests the cultural relativity of crime. Look at honor killing,
homosexuality, polygamy, and cousin marriages; these are all examples of cultural relativity of crime. Acts of
suicide bombers may be considered as positive (acts of bravery) in one situation and negative in another.

Deviance and crime are not synonymous but these may overlap. In fact deviance is much broader than
crime because it can apply to all those acts, which violate the norms of society; norms may be unwritten.
The crimes are such acts that violate those norms that are enacted into the laws of society with special
agencies for their enforcement.


Deviants are those people who violate the norms and rules of society. People usually react negatively against
such violations.
. Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 41

To be considered as deviant, a person may not have to do anything. Sociologist Erving Goffman used the
term stigma to refer to attributes that discredit people. These are the “blemishes” that discredit a person’s
claim to a “normal” identity. Without the choice of a person these are the violations of norms of ability
(maazoor i.e. handicapped due to blindness, deafness, mental disability), and norms of appearance (facial
birthmark, obesity). It can also be involuntary membership in groups such as relatives of criminals or
victims of AIDS. The stigma becomes a person’s master status, defining him or her as deviant.

A stigma operates as a master status overpowering other aspects of social identity so that a person is
discredited in the minds of others, becoming socially isolated, and may start following a deviant behavior.
In this perspective, as individuals develop a stronger commitment to deviant behavior they typically acquire
a stigma, a powerfully negative label that greatly changes a person’s self-concept and social

Juvenile Delinquency

Juvenile delinquency refers to the violation of legal standards by the young. Who is young is again a relative
concept and has social construction. Nevertheless, it is defined under the law of the country.


Labeling implies giving “bad-name” (budnaam) to individuals. It implies that the labels people are given affect
their own and others’ perceptions of them, thus channeling their behavior either into deviance or into

A labeling theory has been developed by Howard Becker, under which there is an assertion that deviance and
conformity result not so much from what people do as from how others respond to those actions.

Some people are tagged with a negative social label that radically changes a person’s self-concept and social
identity. This very label could act as a ‘master status’ as discussed earlier.

No act is intrinsically deviant; it is the people’s creation. In fact it is the creation of people in power, who
impose the labels (categories of deviance). Deviant behavior is behavior that people so label. Individual accepts the
label and acts accordingly.

Labeling a child as delinquent is actually stigmatizing him as criminal, and resultantly he is likely to be
considered as untrustworthy. Society isolates him and he gets isolated.

Primary and Secondary Deviation

The action that provokes only slight reaction from others and has little effect on a person’s self-concept is
primary deviance. For example skipping school or initial act of stealing may be ignored. But when people
notice some one’s deviance and make something of it and give a label on repeated violations, may be as a
reaction the person repeatedly violates a norm and begins to take on a deviant identity. This may be called
as secondary deviation.
Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 42
Lesson 17

In the sociological perspective all behavior – deviance as well as conformity – is shaped by society.
Therefore the society lays the foundation of deviance and that is how the title of this discussion. The social
foundations of deviance may be looked at from three dimensions:

1. Cultural relativity of deviance

No thought or action is inherently deviant; it becomes deviant only in relation to particular norms.
Sociologists use the term deviance to refer to a violation of norms of culture. One may look at three basic
principles: (1) It is not the action itself, but the reactions to the act that makes something deviant. In other words
people’s behavior must be viewed from the framework of the culture in which it takes place. (2) Different
groups are likely to have different norms therefore what is deviant to some is not deviant to others. (3) This
principle holds within a society as well as across cultures. Thus acts perfectly acceptable in one culture – or
in one group within a society – may be considered deviant in another culture, or in another group within the
same society.

Sociologists use the term deviance non-judgmentally, to refer to any act to which people respond negatively.
When sociologists use this term, it does not mean that they agree that the act is bad, just because others
judge it negatively. If we have to understand a particular behavior, we must understand the meanings
people give to that event. Consequently we must consider deviance from within a group’s own framework,
for it is their meanings that underlie their behavior.

2. Who defines deviance?

People become deviant as others define them that way. If deviance does not lie in the act, but in definition
of the act, where do these definitions come from? The simple answer is that the definitions come from
people. May be through trial and error process people determine the appropriate patterns of behavior for
the smooth functioning of their society. They themselves decide what is desirable and what is undesirable
for having social order in their society. These are actually the social norms of the people. These norms are
incorporated in the mechanics of social control. The process may be a little different in a simple and small
society than in a complex and large society having ethnic variations.

3. Both rule making and rule breaking involve social power.

Each society is dominated by a group of elite, powerful people, who make the decisions for making rules,
which become part of the social control system in the society. The powerful group of people makes sure
that their interests are protected. The machinery of social control usually represents the interests of people
with social power.

A law amounts a little more than a means by which powerful people protect their interests. For example
the owners of an unprofitable factory have the legal right to shut down their business, even if doing so puts
thousands of workers out of work. But if a worker commits an act of vandalism that closes the same
factory for a single day is subject to criminal prosecution.


When we think of deviance, its dysfunctions are likely to come to mind. Most of us are upset by deviance,
especially crime, and assume that society would be better off without it. Surprisingly for Durkheim there is
nothing abnormal about deviance; in fact it contributes to the functioning of the society in four ways:

1. Deviance affirms cultural values and norms.

Living demands that we make moral choices. To prevent our culture from dissolving into chaos, people
must show preference for some attitudes and behaviors over others. But any conception of virtue rests
upon an opposing notion of vice. And just as there can be no good without evil, there can be no justice
without crime. Deviance is indispensable to creating and sustaining morality. Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 43
2. Deviance clarifies moral boundaries and affirms norms.

A group’s ideas about how people should act and think mark its moral boundaries. Deviance challenges those
boundaries. To call a deviant member to explain, say in effect, “ you broke a valuable rule, and we cannot
tolerate that,” affirms the group’s norms and clarifies the distinction between conforming and deviating
behavior. To deal with deviants is to assert what it means to a member of the group. For example there is
a line between academic honesty and cheating by punishing students who do so.

3. Deviance promotes social unity.

To affirm the group’s moral boundaries by reacting to deviants, deviance develops a “we” feeling among
the group’s members. In saying “you can’t get by with that,” the group collectively affirms the rightness of
its own ways.

4. Deviance promotes social change.

Deviant people push a society’s moral boundaries, pointing out alternatives to the status quo and
encouraging change. Groups always do not agree on what to do with people who push beyond their
acceptable ways of doing things. Some group members even approve the rule-breaking behavior.
Boundary violations that gain enough support become new, acceptable behavior. Thus deviance may force
a group to rethink and redefine its moral boundaries, helping groups and whole societies, to change their
customary ways. Today’s deviance can become tomorrow’s morality. Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 44
Lesson 18

Since norms are essential for society, then why do people violate norms? Why people commit crime? There
are biological, psychological, and sociological explanations for such behavior.

Psychologists and socio-biologists explain deviance by looking for answers within individuals. They assume
that something in the makeup of the people leads them to become deviant. They focus on genetic
predisposition of individuals toward deviance and crime.

In contrast, sociologists look for answers in factors outside the individual. They assume that something in
the environment influences people to become deviant.

Biological explanation

Biological explanations focus on genetic predisposition toward deviance. Biological explanations include
the following three theories:

1. Body type: People with squarish, muscular bodies are more likely to commit street crime
(mugging, rape, burglary).
2. ‘XYY’ theory. Extra Y chromosome in males leads to crime.
3. Intelligence: low intelligence leads to crime.

In 1876, Ceasare Lombroso, an Italian physician, compared 400 prisoners with 400 army soldiers. He
proposed that criminals had distinctive physical features -- low foreheads, prominent jaws and cheekbones,
protruding ears, excessive hairiness, and unusually long arms. All these features taken together the criminals
resemble apelike ancestors of humans. They are genetically abnormal.

This theory has flaws. For example Lombroso’s study sample is not representative of the general
population. His focus was on comparing the declared criminals with the army soldiers. How about those
criminals who committed crime but have never been caught? Also, criminals may have abnormality because
of poverty and malnutrition. These are class based characteristics and not criminal characteristics.

Sheldon (1949) suggested that body type may predict criminality. He crosschecked hundreds of young men
for body type and criminal history, and concluded that criminality was most likely among boys with
muscular, athletic build. There appears to be no conclusive evidence.

Despite such researches genetic researchers are still seeking links between biology and crime.

Regarding the chromosome theory, it has been found that most criminals have the normal “XY”
chromosome combination. So they are not different from those who do not commit crime. Therefore this
could not be the reason. Similarly, most men with “XYY” combination do not commit crime. Hence
having an extra “Y” does not necessarily lead to a person to criminal activity. Furthermore, no women have
this combination of genes, so there should be no women criminals. But that is not true. Such an
explanation based on “XYY” chromosome combination is not acceptable.

The intelligence theory has its own flaws because some criminals are highly intelligent. Also their intelligent
acts may have been declared as crime. How about breaking a computer code for national purposes? Will
we call it a crime or a patriotic service to the nation? Furthermore, most people with low intelligence do
not commit crime.

The biological explanations may present some limited but not conclusive explanation for criminal behavior.
Biological factors may have to interact with other factors.

Psychological explanations:

Psychological explanations of deviance focus on abnormalities within the individual, focusing on what are
called personality disorders. The supposition is that deviating individuals have deviating personalities, that
various unconscious devices drive people to deviance. The emphasis is that personality disturbance of some
sort causes individual to violate social norms.
Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 45
Psychologists have shown that personality patterns have some connection to deviance. Recent research
shows that some serious criminals qualify for psychopaths, that is, they do not feel guilt or shame, they have
no fear of punishment, and they have little sympathy for the people they harm. Even so, the fact is that the
most serious crimes are committed by people who do not have personality disorders, but by such
individuals whose psychological profiles are normal.

Sociological explanations:

Sociologists are trying to find the explanatory factors for crime outside the individual deviant.
According to sociologists the act of deviance is relative; what is deviance in one group may not be so in
another group; what is deviancy today may not be considered as deviancy at another time. With the change
in circumstances and needs of time, the definitions of crime may change. There is nothing constant within
the society to account for behavior that is conforming in one society and deviant in another.

There is variation in social influences and there is the resultant variation in behavior. The behavior of an
individual, whether it is conformist or it is deviant, is the product of external influences, which may come
from the variations in socialization patterns, subculture of the people, and the differences in social class.

As part of the sociological explanations, sociologists have proposed number of theories. We shall try to
cover some of the important ones here.

Theory of Differential Association by E. Sutherland

Sutherland stressed that people learn deviance. He coined the term differential association to indicate that
learning to deviate or to conform to society’s norms is influenced most by the people with whom they
associate. Learning deviance is like learning any thing else, and this approach goes directly against the
thinking that deviance is biological or due to deep personality needs.

The main idea is that the different groups to which we belong (our differential association) give us messages
about conformity or deviance. We may receive mixed messages, but we end up with more of one than the
other (an excess of definitions that are favorable/unfavorable). Consequently our attitudes favor conformity
or deviance, and our behavior follows. Families, friends, neighborhoods, sub-cultures, and mafia groups all
provide its members the learning situations and socialize them in accordance with their cultural norms. In
this way the groups we join are crucial for making our behavior as deviant or conformist.

Discussion of sociological explanations shall continue in the next lecture. Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 46
Lesson 19

Sociological Explanations (continued)

Control theory by W. Reckless

Inside most of us, it seems, are strong desires to do a lot of things that would get us in trouble. Yet most of
the time we don’t do these things. We mostly keep them to ourselves, and the temptation, urge, hostility, or
desire to do something passes. To explain this restraint, Walter Reckless (1973) developed control theory.

According to this theory two systems work against our motivations to deviate.

1. Inner control system: It includes our internalized morality --- call it conscience, ideas of right and wrong,
reluctance to violate religious principles. It also includes fears of punishment, feelings of integrity,
and the desire to be a ‘good’ person.
2. Outer control system: It involves groups --- such as friends, family, sub-cultures, police that influence
us not to deviate.

How strong are the controls, inner as well as outer, determine deviancy of a person.

Control theory by T. Hirschi

Travis Hirschi (1969) developed a control theory, which states that social control depends on imagining the
consequences of one’s behavior. He assumes that everyone finds at least some deviance tempting. But the
prospects of a ruined career could be sufficient to deter most people; for some simply imagining the
reactions of family and friends is enough. On the other hand individuals who feel they have little to lose by
deviance are likely to become rule-breakers.

Hirschi linked conformity to four different types of social control:

1. Attachment. Strong social attachments encourage conformity; weak relationships, especially in the
family and in school, leave people freer to engage in deviance. An individual can well understand
that the deviance is likely to bring bad name to his/her family; therefore due to the strong
attachment with the family he/she would not violate the norms of society.
2. Opportunity. The greater the person’s access to legitimate opportunity, the greater the advantages of
conformity. By contrast, some one with little confidence in future success is more likely to drift
toward deviance.
3. Involvement. Extensive involvement in legitimate activities – such as holding a job, going to school,
and playing sports – inhibits deviance. People without these activities have time and energy for
deviant activity.
4. Belief. Strong belief in conventional morality and respect for authority figures restrain tendencies
toward deviance. People who have a weak conscience have more temptation to violate the norms.

Strain theory: How social values produce crime

Functionalists argue that crime is a natural part of society. Some crime represents values that lie at the very
core of society. To be employed is a social value and thereby it can be a culturally approved goal of every
youth. To achieve the goal a society also specifies the culturally approved means. The acceptance of goals
and the non-availability of culturally approved means to achieve the goals can create strain, and can lead to
the deviation from the norms. The ineffectiveness of the norms to control behavior is a situation of anomie
or norm-less-ness. As anomie increases, the amount of deviance rises to dysfunctional levels.

R. K. Merton (1968) pointed out that the people who experience strain are likely to feel anomie, a sense of
norm-less-ness. Because the dominant norms (for example work, education) don’t seem to be getting them
anywhere, they have difficult time identifying with them. They may even feel wronged by the system, and Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 47
its rules may seem illegitimate. Matching culturally approved goals to culturally approved means creates
strain and people deviate from the norms. So

When ever people perceive that they cannot attain their life goals through the use of legitimate (normative, culturally permissible)
means available they use illegitimate
(culturally not approved) means.

Look at the following scenario in Pakistani society:

Material success: It is culturally defined (approved) goal.
Education Jobs: Culturally approved means to pursue the goal.
Central belief: Egalitarian ideology.

Access to the approved means to achieve the material success varies by the social class structure. It creates
stress especially for the lower class youth.

As part of the survival youth will look for success in getting work through legitimate or illegitimate means
because “success (goal) is more important than how (means) success is achieved.” For this purpose they
could adopt different ways, and Merton called these as modes of adaptation.

Modes of Adaptation: How people match their goals to their means

Feel stress
That leads to anomie mode of adaptation Cultural Goals Cultural means

No Conformist Accept Accept

Innovators Accept Reject
Ritualists reject Accept
Yes Retreatists Reject Reject
Rebels Reject/accept Reject/accept

Innovation: Robbery, burglary, drugs.
Ritualism: Lack of interest in success but supports the means.
Retreatism: Escapism, narcotic addiction
Rebellion: Vandalism, senseless violent crimes (counter culture).

Access to higher education and eventually to good job or career is available to class members is known.
There are obstacles for certain class or an ethnic group. How to over come these obstacles? So they
disregard some norms because the lower class chap knows that it is simply impossible to follow the
normative means to reach the goal.

Labeling theory by Howard S. Becker

According to labeling theory it is assumed that deviance and conformity result not so much from what people do as
from how others respond to these actions. People may define the same behavior in number of ways, hence
deviance is a relative concept and is determined by the society. Hence deviance is not a set of
characteristics of individuals or groups but it is a process of interaction between deviants and non-deviants.
These are the reactions of social audiences to alleged acts of deviance.

Why some people come to be tagged with a ‘deviant’ label? Why some acts, ideas, feelings, attribute is considered as
deviant? Once a child is labeled as delinquent, he is stigmatized as a criminal. According to Becker, ‘deviant
behavior’ is behavior that people so label. Deviant behavior itself is not the determining factor in becoming
deviant. It all depends on whether or not a person is labeled as deviant. Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 48
The link between the behavior and the label is conditional, not automatic. A crucial condition is having the power
to resist being labeled for alleged/or actual deviant behavior. Deviant behavior is behavior that people so label. Labeling itself is
means to amplification.

Labeling not only affects how others see an individual, but also influences his sense of self-identity. Individual
accepts the label and acts as deviant and also learns to be a deviant.

Deviancy Amplification: Deviant identity may start the process of deviancy amplification i.e. Unintended
consequences that can result when, by labeling a behavior as deviant, an agency of control actually provokes
more of that same deviant behavior. The labeled person incorporates the label into his/her identity through
secondary deviance and resists change to conformity

Illegitimate Opportunity: Explaining Social Class and Crime

One of the interesting sociological findings in the field of deviance is that social classes have distinct styles
of crime. Most delinquent youth emerge from the lower working class. The boys most at risk are those
who have internalized middle class values and have been encouraged, on the basis of their ability, to aspire
toward middle class future. When such boys are unable to realize their goals, they are particularly prone to
delinquent activity. The delinquent gangs arise in sub-cultural communities where the chances of achieving
success legitimately are small. Lack of opportunity for success in the terms of wider society is the main
differentiating factor between those who engage in criminal behavior and those who do not.

Failure of the lower class boys makes them open alternative doors to meeting their needs, and these new
avenues have been referred to as illegitimate opportunity structures (Cloward and Ohlin, 1960). They go for
robbery, burglary, drug dealing, prostitution, and other remunerative crimes. They develop their own

White-Collar Crime

The other social classes are not crime-free, but they find a different type of opportunity structure. For them
other forms of crime are functional. The more privileged classes avail opportunities for income tax
cheating, bribery of public officials, embezzlement, and false advertising. Sutherland coined the term
white-collar crime to refer to crimes that people of respectable and high social status commit in the
course of their occupations.

Although the general public seems to think that the lower classes are more prone to crime, studies show
that white-collar workers also commit many crimes. This difference in perception is largely based on
visibility. While the crimes committed by the poor are given much publicity, the crimes of the more
privileged classes seldom make the news and go largely unnoticed.

Conflict Theory

According to Marxist thinkers, deviance is deliberately chosen and is political in nature. They rejected the
idea that deviance is ‘determined’ by factors such as biology, personality, anomie, or labels. They argued,
individuals actively choose to engage in deviant behavior in response to the inequalities of the capitalist
system. Thus, members of the ‘counter-cultural’ groups regarded as ‘deviants’ engage in distinctly political
acts, which challenge the social order. Such acts may take the form of kidnapping, mugging, and terrorism.
Conflict theorists considered crimes as a disguised form of protest against inequality, injustice, power, and
political system.


Despite the fact that crime is only one subcategory of deviant behavior as a whole, it covers such a variety
of forms of activity – from shoplifting a bar of chocolate to mass murder – which it is unlikely that we
could produce a single theory that would account for all forms of criminal conduct. Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 49
The contributions of the sociological theorists of crime are two fold. First, these theories correctly
emphasize the continuities between criminal and ‘respectable’ behavior. The contexts in which particular
types of activity are seen as criminal and punishable by law vary widely. This is almost certainly linked to
question of power and inequality within society. Second all agree that context is important in criminal
activities. Whether someone engages in criminal act or comes to be regarded as criminal is basically
influenced by social learning and by social surroundings. Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 50
Lesson 20


There is a growing and widespread perception among the population that, over time, crime has grown more
prevalent and serious. During the last half century it has been reported that people are now much more
fearful of crime than in earlier times. They are experiencing heightened anxiety about going out after dark,
about their homes being burgled, and about becoming the victims of violence.

Statistics about crime and delinquency are probably the least reliable of all officially published figures on
social issues. We cannot take official statistics at face value, but must pay attention to the way in which
those statistics were generated.

The most basic limitation of official crime statistics is that they only include crimes actually recorded by the
police. There is a long chain of problematic decisions between possible crime and its registration by the
police. The majority of crimes, especially petty thefts, are never reported to the police at all. Even in the
case of violent crimes, more than one third of the victims choose not to contact the police, claiming that it
is a private affair or something they have dealt with themselves. As a result of partial reporting and partial
recording of crimes, the official crime statistics reflect only a portion of overall offences.

Police forces have been expanded in response to growing crime. When crime rates are on the rise, there is
almost inevitably public clamor for putting more police ‘on the street’. But the greater number of police has
not translated into lower crime rates. Preventing crime, and reducing fear of crime, are both closely related
to rebuilding strong communities. Police should work closely with citizens to improve local community
standards and civil behavior, using education, persuasion, and counseling instead of incarceration.
‘Community policing’ implies not only drawing in citizens themselves, but also changing the characteristic
outlook of police forces.

Social Distribution of Crime

There is a variation in the distribution of crime by social characteristics i.e. gender, age, social class,
ethnicity, locality. Does it mean that some individuals or groups more likely to commit crimes, or to
become the victims of crime. Research and statistics show that crime and victimization are not randomly
distributed among the population. For example men are more likely than women to commit crimes; the
young are more often involved in crime than older people; poor areas generally have higher crime rates than
better off areas; the ethnic minorities experience higher rates of victimization; individuals living in inner city
run a greater risk of becoming victims than those living in suburban areas.

Gender and Crime

National and international data show that:
• Crimes are highly concentrated among men.
• There is an imbalance in the ratio of men to women in prison.
• There are contrasts between the types of crimes men and women commit. (Women are rarely
involved in violence. Petty thefts, prostitutions are typical female offenses).

In reality gender differences in crime rates may be less pronounced. Reasons may be:
• Certain crimes perpetrated by women go unreported. Domestic role provide them the opportunity
to commit crimes at home and in private sphere and these go unreported.
• Women regarded as naturally deceitful and highly skilled at covering up their crimes. Supposedly
grounded in their biology that they can hide their pain and discomfort.
• Women offenders are treated more leniently because male police officers tend to adopt a
‘chivalrous’ attitude towards them. Questionable. Since women appear to be less dangerous,
therefore officers may let them go. Also they are less likely to be imprisoned than male offenders. Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
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• Leniency toward women shown by criminal justice system is also questioned because women are
treated more harshly than men in cases where they allegedly deviated from the norms of female
sexuality. They may be considered as ‘doubly deviant’ i.e. broken the law plus flouted appropriate
female behavior. For sexually promiscuous girls are more often taken onto custody than boys.
Here one could refer to double standards where male aggression and violence is seen as natural
phenomenon, explanations for female offences are sought in psychological imbalance.
• Female lawbreakers often escape because they are able to persuade the police and other authorities.
They try to get special treatment under “gender contract’ – an implicit contract between men and
women whereby (1) to be a woman is to be erratic and impulsive, and (2) women need protection
by men.

Women victims don’t report crime due to the humiliating process of medical examination, police
interrogations and courtroom cross-examinations.

Some studies have shown some correlation between an increase in female criminality and the movement for
women’s liberation.

Age and Crime

Official crime rates rise sharply during adolescence and peak during the late teens, and thereafter fall. In the
USA young people are becoming responsible for serious crimes. Between 1987 and 1996, arrests of
juveniles for violent crimes shot up to 60 percent. The offenses like theft, burglary, assault, and rape (called
street crimes) are all associated with young working class males. Is it due to moral breakdown? Is it due to
increasing permissiveness? May be both.

In UK there are high rates of offence among youth. In 1997, 40 percent of all offenders cautioned or
convicted were under 21 years. The peak age for offending boys and girls was 18.

There could also be the matters of definition of crime. Youth revolts may be erroneously considered as

Social Class and Crime

There is an impression that criminality is more widespread among people of lower social class. It is a
mistake to assume that being socially disadvantaged means being criminal. Many wealthy and powerful
people carry out crimes whose consequences can be much more far-reaching than the often petty crimes of
the poor.

If we extend our definition of crime beyond street offences to include white-collar crime, then the ‘common
criminal’ looks affluent.

White-Collar Crime

The concept of white-collar crime was first introduced by Sutherland in his book White-Collar Crime in 1949.
It refers to the crimes carried by those in the more affluent sectors of the society. ‘Crimes committed by persons
of high social status and respectability in the course of their occupation’ (Sutherland).

The term covers many types of criminal activity, including tax frauds, illegal sale practices, securities and
land frauds, embezzlement, the manufacture and sale of dangerous products as well as straight theft. The
distribution of white-collar crimes is even harder to measure than that of other types of crime.

White-collar crimes can be divided into two categories by power of the affluent. Firstly those crimes that
mainly involves the use of middle class or professional position to engage in illegal activities. Secondly
Crimes of the powerful are those in which the authority conferred by a position is used in criminal ways – as
when an official accepts a bribe to favor a particular policy. Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
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The cost of the white-collar crimes is much higher than the crimes by the lower class. In the USA in 1986, it
has been calculated the amount of money involved in white-collar crime (defined as tax fraud, insurance
frauds, home improvement frauds and car repair frauds) is forty times as great as that in ordinary crimes
against property (robberies, burglaries, latency, forgeries, and car thefts)

Corporate Crime

Offenses committed by large corporations in society. Pollution, mislabeling, violations of health and safety
regulations affect much larger number of people than petty criminality. The increasing power and influence
of large corporations, and their rapidly growing global reach means that our lives are touched by them in
many ways. Corporations are involved in producing cars that we drive and the food we eat. They also have
an enormous effect on the natural environment and financial markets, aspects of life, which affect all of us.

Slapper and Tombs (1999) have listed six types of violations by corporations:
• Administrative (non-compliance of rules).
• Environmental (pollution, permits violations resulting in disasters. Victims).
• Financial (tax violations, permits violations).
• Labor (working conditions, hiring practices).
• Manufacturing (product safety, labeling).
• Unfair trading practices (anti-competition, false advertising)

Victims of corporate crime don’t see themselves as such.
Difficult to see as a victim of whom? Who is the perpetrator? Great distance in time and space when the
offence was committed and its appearance.

Don’t know who has victimized, how to seek redress for crime.
Effects of corporate crime are often experienced unevenly in society.
Poor workers are victims of pollution, safety hazards.
Violent aspects of corporate crime are less visible than in cases of homicide.
Pollution leading to physical harm/death, and there are side effects of drugs as well as contraceptives. Such crimes are often seen
as ‘complaint-less’.

Organized crime syndicate such as the mafia may choose to resemble legitimate business but employ corrupt or illegal
organizations to secure loan repayment, avoid taxes or to discipline labor.

Organized crime refers to the forms of business that appears to be legal but actually is illegal. It embraces
smuggling, illegal gambling (sports, lotteries, and horse races), drug trade, prostitution, large-scale theft, and
protection rackets. It often relies on violence or threat of violence to conduct its activities.

It has become increasingly transnational networks in scope. It provides illegal goods and services to mass
consumer (Money laundering, sale of nuclear material)
International organized crime greatly facilitated by recent advances in information technology. Advances in
technology have provided exciting new opportunities and benefits, but they also heighten vulnerability to
crime. Cyber-crime i.e. criminal acts committed with the help of information technology are already there.
The examples of technology based crimes are: eves-dropping, electronic vandalism and terrorism,
pornography, telemarketing fraud, stealing telecommunications services, electronic funds transfer crimes,
electric money laundering, criminal conspiracies

Ethnicity and Crime

Both race and ethnicity are strongly correlated to crime rates.
In UK and in USA far more blacks than whites brought to court and sent to prison.

Explanation: Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
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Prejudice related to color or class prompts white police to arrest black people more readily and leads
citizens more willingly to report African Americans to police as suspected offenders, which means that
people of color are overly criminalized. It is just racism.

Race in USA closely relates to social standing and affects one’s likelihood of engaging in street crime. Blacks
mostly belong to working class (or under class). Poor people living in midst of affluence come to perceive
society as unjust. They are more likely to suffer from the feeling of relative deprivation and are more likely
to turn to crime.

Black and white family patterns differ. In US 2/3rds of the black children (compared to one-fifth of white
children) are born to single mothers. They have less supervision and high risk of growing up in poverty,
hence more chances of criminality.

Official crime index excludes white-collar crimes, which are more committed by whites. This omission
contributes to the view of the typical criminal as a person of color.

Different ethnic backgrounds are related to crime rates. In UK the Asians and the Africans differed in their
expectations at new place.

Also they had different cultural and colonial background. It has been seen that the local Asian communities
support the new entrants but for blacks there appears to be no such resource. Blacks have been found in
situations that encountered racism. Blacks’ resistance to discrimination got politicized in mid 1970s. The
young blacks got stereotyped with mugging problem, hence got extra attention by police with the
impression that the black immigrants had difficulties in observing the rule of law. Therefore they got to be
disciplined and punished. It amounted to racism

The black’s behavior may have been due to their sense of relative deprivation, their subculture, their
marginalization, and willingness to challenge law and order by the youth.
[Marginalization: Young blacks feel that they have been pushed to the edge of society –Doing less well in
school, getting badly paid jobs, -being likely to be unemployed, few outlets for political expression.

Relative deprivation: greater expectation of material success.
[Subcultures emerge due to mismatch between aspirations and the constraints of reality.]

Some categories of population have usually low rates of arrest, and Asians are one of those. They have
higher than average educational achievements, good jobs, and above average income. Also the Asian culture
emphasizes family solidarity and discipline, and both these factors inhibit criminality. Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
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Lesson 21

Social strata are levels of social statuses. Members of a society who possess similar amount of wealth,
power, and privileges occupy each social stratum. We can see layers of social statuses occupied by members
of society. Organized systems of such strata are conceptualized as social stratification system.

Social stratification refers to a system by which a society ranks categories of people in a hierarchy.

Four basic principles of stratification:

1. Social stratification is characteristic of society, not simply a reflection of individual
differences. Children born into wealth families are more likely than born into poverty to enjoy
good health, achieve academically, succeed in their life’s work, and live well into old age. Neither
rich nor poor people are responsible for creating social stratification, yet this system shapes the
lives of them all.

2. Social stratification persists over generations. In all societies parents pass their social position
along to their children, so that patterns of inequality stay much the same from generation to
generation. Some individual experience change in their position in the social hierarchy. For most
people, social standing remains much the same over a lifetime.

3. Social stratification is universal but variable. Social stratification is found everywhere. At the
same time, what is unequal and how unequal people are vary from one society to another.

4. Social stratification involves not just inequality but beliefs. Any system of inequality not only
gives some people more resources than others but also defines certain arrangements as fair. Just as
what is unequal differs from society to society, then so does the explanation of why people should be
unequal. People with the greatest social privileges express the strongest support for their society’s
social stratification, while those with social resources are more likely to seek change.

Closed social system: A system of stratification where the status of person is determined by birth. There
is a rigid social hierarchy. Social stratification is based on ascription and there is little social mobility. Such a
system is supported by its culture. (Traditional Indian caste system).

Open social system: A social system based largely on individual achievement; therefore it permits
considerable social mobility. Here strata are called as social classes. Social class is a stratum of people of
similar social standing. They have their own way of life.


Subjective Method: Ask people what their social class is.
This approach has limitations. For example there may be just denial of social class. Similarly people may
classify themselves by aspiration. But the most commonly observed situation is where everybody belongs to
middle class. Is this method useful?

Reputational Method. We ask the informants to classify others. They do it by using their own criteria.

Objective Method. Develop some objective criteria so that the others know exactly what measurements
were made. If others like to verify they could do so. The components of these criteria could be the
income, education, occupation (prestige), and other wealth related items.

Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
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Social class determines the life chances of an individual: It implies that the social class determines the
probabilities concerning the fate we can expect in life. From before one is born until one is dead,
opportunities and rewards are affected by class position. Poor nutrition for the mother may affect the
health and vigor of the fetus before birth, while poverty thereafter continues to handicap the poor. The
lower class person is not only likely to die prematurely but will also endure more days of illness during a
lifetime. Even the poor are more exposed to accidents.

Social class influences physical and mental health: Underlying the differential death rates is unequal
access to medical care and nutrition. Medical care is expensive, and even with government-funded plans for
the poor; the higher classes receive better treatment.
Social class also affects mental health. Lower class experiences stress from unemployment, dirty and
dangerous work, the threat of eviction, expenses of life, and so on. People higher up the social class ladder
also experience stress in daily life, but their stress is generally less and their coping resources greater. Their
class position gives them greater control over their lives, a key to good mental health.

Social class and family life: Social class influences the mate selection, age at marriage, number of
children, child rearing patterns, women empowerment, educational aspirations and achievements. Lower
class children supposed to be obedient at home and at work, whereas middle class children are trained to be
creative, independent, and tolerant. The vision of children about future varies by social class.

Social class and education/employment opportunities: Education increases as one goes up the social
class ladder. It is not just the amount of education but also the type of education. Public schools are for
the poor and private schools are for the rich. In private schools the children are trained to take
commanding role in society. With better qualifications from prestigious institutions children from affluent
families have better employment opportunities.

Social class and crime and the criminal justice system: The upper and lower classes have different
styles of crime. The treatment by the judiciary and by the police also varies by social class.

Social class and lifestyles: Social class determines the lifestyle of the people. In the current age ‘symbols’
and markers related to consumption are playing an ever-greater role in daily life. Individual identities are
structured to a greater extent around lifestyle choices – such as how to dress, what to eat, how to care one’s
body, and where to relax. One is distinguished on the basis of cultural tastes and leisure pursuits. They are
aided in process by the proliferation of ‘need merchants’ (advertisers, marketers, fashion designers, style
consultants, interior designers, web-page designers) involved in influencing cultural tastes and promoting
lifestyle choices among the ever-increasing community of consumers. Therefore class divisions can be
linked to distinctive lifestyle and consumption patterns. Although in the modern societies have become
consumer societies. Consumer society is a mass society where class differences are overridden. All watch
the same programs; all shop at the same plazas, yet class differences become intensified through variations
in lifestyles and taste. Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
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Lesson 22

The ideas developed by Karl Marx and Max Weber forms the basis of most sociological analysis of class
and stratification. Broadly theories have been divided into conflict and functionalist perspectives and these
two will be the focus of our discussion.

Stratification and Conflict

Social conflict perspective argues that, rather than benefiting society as a whole, social stratification benefits
some people at the expense of others. This analysis draws heavily on the ideas of Karl Marx, with
contributions from Max Weber.

Karl Marx: Class and Conflict

Marx (1818-1883) argued that the distinctions people often make between themselves – such as clothing,
speech, education, or relative slavery – are superficial matters that camouflage the only real significant
dividing line: people either (the bourgeoisie) own the means of production or they (the proletariat) work for
those who do. This is the only distinction that counts, for these two classes make up modern society.
Means of production refer to the sources by which people gain their livelihood.
Hence people’s relationship to means of production determines their social class.

Before the rise of modern industry, the means of production consisted primarily of land and the
instruments used to tend crops or pastoral animals. In such societies the two main classes were those who
owned the land (aristocrats, gentry or slave-holders) and those actively engaged in producing from it (serfs,
slaves and free peasantry).

In modern industrial societies, factories, offices, machinery and the wealth or capital needed to buy them
have become more important. The two main classes are those who own these new means of production –
the industrialists or capitalists called as Bourgeoisie (boorzhwahze) – and those who earn their living by
selling their labor to them – the property-less working class called as proletariat.

According to Marx in Das Kapital three great classes exist in modern societies:
The owners of mere labor power, the owners of capital, and the landlords, whose respective sources of
income are wages, profit, and ground-rent.

The relationship between classes is an exploitative one. In feudal societies, exploitation often took the form
of the direct transfer of produce from the peasantry to the aristocracy. Serfs were compelled to give a
certain proportion of their production to their aristocratic masters, or had to work for certain number of
days in the lord’s fields to produce crops consumed by the lord.

In modern industrial societies, the source of exploitation is less obvious, and Marx devoted much attention
to trying to clarify its nature. In the course of the working day workers produce much more than is actually
needed by employers to repay the cost of hiring them. [Value of product of labor – value of labor = the
surplus value] This surplus value is the source of profit, which capitalists are able to put to their own use.
The labor becomes a commodity. Wealth is produced on a scale far beyond anything seen before, but
workers have little access to the wealth their labor creates.

The capitalist becomes richer while the proletariat gets poorer. Marx used the term pauperization to describe
the process by which the working class grows increasingly impoverished in relation to the capitalist class.
Even if the workers become more affluent in absolute terms, the gap separating them from the capitalist
class continues to stretch ever wider.

These inequalities between the capitalist and working class were not strictly economic in nature. Work itself
becomes dull and oppressive in the modern factories resulting in dehumanizing the work environment. Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
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The capitalist class draws its strength from more than the operation of the economy. Through the family,
opportunity and wealth are passed down from generation to generation. Moreover, the legal system
defends this practice through the law of inheritance. Similarly the exclusive schools bring children of the
elite together, encouraging informal social ties that will benefit them throughout their lives. In this way
capitalist society reproduces the class structure in each new generation.

Marx saw great disparities in wealth and power arising from this productive system, which made class
conflict inevitable. Over time, Marx believed, oppression and misery would drive the working majority
(labor class) to organize, challenge the system, and ultimately overthrow the capitalist system. Such a class
struggle has been part of the history of societies. According to Marx; through this revolution the capitalist
system is replaced by socialist system resulting in a classless society. In such a society, humans will be able
to live in a world where they are not prevented from realizing their full potential by the constraints of class
societies. In a classless society the principle of “from each according to his ability, to each according to his
need” comes into operation.

Critical evaluation:

How do we motivate people to do their job efficiently? Motivating people to perform various social roles
requires some system of unequal rewards. Severing rewards from performance generates low productivity.

In capitalist societies the wages of workers have increased. Here people talk of The Affluent Worker.
Between the two classes a third class of petite bourgeoisie – small owners, managers, supervisors, and
autonomous workers has emerged. Such a situation is not going to let the capitalist system to collapse.

All workers don’t support the Labor Party, as it is evident from the voting behavior pattern of laborers in

Also people talk about the collapse of USSR.

Religion used as the pain-killer for oppression. (Religion as opiate of the people)
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Lesson 23

Max Weber (1864-1920) built his approach to stratification on the analysis developed by Marx, but he
modified and elaborated it. Like Marx, Weber regarded society as characterized by conflicts over power and
resources. Yet where Marx saw polarized class relations and economic issues at the heart of all conflict,
Weber developed a more complex, multidimensional view of society.

Social stratification is not simply a matter of class, according to Weber, but is also shaped by two other
aspects: status and power. These three overlapping elements of stratification produce an enormous number
of possible positions (inequality) within society, rather than the rigid bipolar model, which Marx proposed.

According to Weber class divisions derive not only from control or lack of control of the means of
production, but from economic differences, which have nothing directly to do with property. Such
resources include especially the skills and credentials, or qualifications, which affect the types of job people,
are able to obtain.

Weber believed that an individual’s market position strongly influences his or her ‘life chances’. The market
positions (capacities) people have in terms of the skills they bring to the labor market as employees, explains
the rewards they will receive. Where people have good market capacity they will have very good life chances:
these chances include income, perks, and pensions together with less tangible benefits such as security of
job, pleasant working environment and considerable autonomy at work.

Those in managerial or professional occupations earn more, and have more favorable conditions of work,
for example, than people in blue-collar jobs. The qualifications they possess, such as degrees, diplomas and
the skills they have acquired, make them more ‘marketable’ than others without such qualifications.
Managers of corporations control the means of production although they do not own them. If managers can
control property for their own benefit – awarding themselves huge bonuses and magnificent perks – it
makes no practical difference that they do not own the property that they so generously use for their own

Status in Weber’s theory refers to differences between social groups in the social honor or prestige they are
accorded by others. Presently status is being expressed through people’s styles of life. Markers and symbols
of status—such as housing, dress, manner of speech, occupation – all help to shape an individual’s social
standing in the eyes of others. People sharing the same status form a community in which there is a sense
of shared identity.

While Marx believed that status distinctions are the result of class divisions in society, Weber argued that
status often varies independently of class divisions. Possession of wealth normally tends to confer high
status, but there are many exceptions. Olympic gold medalists, for example, may not own property, yet they
may have very high prestige. Property and prestige is not one way street: although property can bring
prestige, prestige can also bring property.

Power, the third element of social class, is the ability to control others, even against their wishes. Weber
agreed with Marx that property is a major source of power, but he added that it is not the only source.

With time, industrial societies witness the growth of the bureaucratic state. This expansion of government
and other types of formal organizations means that power gains importance in the stratification system.

Party formation is an important aspect of power, and can influence stratification independently of class and
status. Party defines a group of individuals who work together because they have common backgrounds,
aims or interests. Party can be influenced by class but can also influence the economic circumstance of party
members and thereby their class. Party membership cuts across class differences. There are parties based
on religious affiliations and nationalist ideals and may include the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’. There could also Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 59
be groups possessing effective political power without economic leverage (military, trade union). Therefore
inequality could there due to political power.

In Weberian perspective society can be divided in 2+ classes as below:
Upper class UPPER CLASS
Upper middle class
Middle-middle class MIDDLE CLASS
Lower middle class
Skilled manual workers
Semi-skilled workers. WORKING CLASS
Unskilled manual workers.
The poor THE POOR

Weber’s theory comes closer to explaining the dynamics of stratification in modern societies.

Weber anticipated the proliferation of classes, with a new class of white-collar employees, administrators,
technicians and civil servants, who are growing in number and importance.

Property relations are important (Marx) but the market position and marketability is decisive in determining
an individual’s class position.

Weber rejected Marx’s view that the workers (or employees) have nothing but their labor to sell to the
highest bidder. The reality is that:

• Workers possess skills.
• The distribution of skills can be controlled (keep it scarce).
• Increase skill marketability.

Comparative picture of the conflict approach by Marx and Weber

Marx Weber

Relationship to means of Focused more on the market
production is all important. position of those in employment.

Increasing polarity Growth of white-collar class that
between classes and would mitigate against the
revolution. collapse of capitalism.

Class all embracing Separate political status factors
fact of life. to come into play.
Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
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Lesson 24

Why are societies stratified? One answer consistent with structural functional paradigm is that social
inequality plays a vital part in the operation of society. This argument was put forth by Kingsley Davis and
Wilbert Moor in 1945. The assertion is that social stratification has beneficial consequences for the operation of a society.
That could be one explanation for the fact that some form of social stratification has been found

Davis and Moore approach (1945) explain it like this:
• Some positions are functionally more important.
• Some roles can only be taken by certain individuals.
• High skills to be paid higher rewards.
• They have to be provided higher status.
• Stratification ensures that the most appropriate people are selected for high reward jobs.
• System is functional. To alter it is misguided.


• Why some positions are considered as functionally more important than others?
• Who decides what is important?
• Does meritocracy work? Does everybody get the same opportunities?
Inequality is in-built in stratification.
(Private schools. Status to be bought)
Everybody does not achieve status (ascribed)

The wealthier a person becomes the lesser he/she needs to render any service to society.

Davis-Moore approach lacks empirical basis.

Functionalist view of social class is little more than an ideological justification of inequality in society.
Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
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Lesson 25

“The language, beliefs, values, norms, behaviors, and the material objects that are possessed by people and
are passed on from one generation to the next” is the usual definition of culture. Within the broad culture
we also come across subcultures where a group displays distinct patterns of behavior and the related values,
norms, beliefs, and material possessions. These subcultures may relate to an ethnic group, an occupational
group, an age group, and even to a social class. Therefore, it can be assumed that each social class has a
subculture with a system of behavior, a set of values, and a way of life.

The subculture of a social class serves to adapt people to the life style they lead and to prepare their children
to assume their class status. The passing of sub-cultural patterns of behavior and the related values and
norms to the next generation takes place through the process of socialization.

Notwithstanding with some overlapping and some exceptions, it remains true that the average middle class
child has socialization very different from that of the average lower class child. Let us take just one aspect
of socialization – those experiences that shape ambition, education, and work habits – and see how they
differ between the two social class worlds.

Typical upper middle class children live in a class subculture where they are surrounded by educated
persons who are ambitious, who go to work even when they don’t feel like it, and who struggle to attain
success. They are acquainted with the achievements of their ancestors, relatives, and friends. It is normal
for them to assume that they too are going to accomplish something in the world.

When they go to school they find its culture close to their family culture. The teacher speaks similar
language, the material in the books is reflective of their culture, and there are many other aspects of the
environment that are familiar to the child.

“Study hard so you can do well and become a success some day”, the advice given by the teachers makes
sense. Their parents echo the same words; meanwhile they see people like themselves (brothers, sisters,
relatives, acquaintances) who are actually completing educations and moving on into promising careers. For
most of the middle class children, to grow up means to complete an advanced education and launch a

Lower class children grow up in a class subculture where scarcely any one is educated, and has a steady job
for long. In their world meals are haphazard and irregular. They marry early in age and usually have large
number of children. Many people sleep three or four in a bed. These children are often not in school and if
they do go to school, they often go unwashed and unfed. In school they are likely to be disoriented by
coming across people coming from middle class families (the students and the teachers). Very soon they
conclude that the school is a prison. They learn little. The school often abandons any serious effort to
teach them by branding them as “discipline problems”. They receive little reinforcement for paying
attention to studies. Even in the environment many children may be out of school, either doing nothing or
engaged in some work. For them school may not be a stepping-stone to a career. Since school does not
motivate them to study so they drop out early. The horizon of ambitions seldom extends the next week.

The children in varying social classes grow up in a different human capital as well as cultural capital. From
growing up in a culture of poverty, the poor, in general, learn to accept their poverty. The poor expect
failure, just as people born to affluence expect success. The expectation of failure can deprive the
impoverished individuals of the confidence they need to spend their human capital. The expectation of
success encourages affluent individuals to maximize their human capital.

As part of the socialization process, social class penetrates our consciousness, shaping our ideas of life and
our proper place in society. When the rich look around, they sense superiority and control over destiny. In
contrast, the poor see defeat, and a buffeting by unpredictable forces. People tend to see the effects of
social class on their lives. Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
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One consequence of facing emergency after emergency and not having enough resources to meet them –
and seeing the future as more of the same – is the lack of deferred gratification, giving up things in the present
for the sake of greater gains in the future. It is difficult to practice this middle class virtue if one does not
have the surplus it requires. Any savings are gobbled up by the emergencies faced by the poor, so any
saving for future was fruitless. The only thing that made sense from this perspective was to enjoy what they
could at the moment. Immediate gratification was not the cause of their poverty, but its consequence.
Cause and consequence loop together, for their immediate gratification, in turn, helped perpetuate their

Culture of poverty (concept given by Oscar Lewis in mid sixties) assumes that the values and behaviors of
the poor make them fundamentally different from other people that these factors largely are responsible for
their poverty, and that parents perpetuate poverty across generations by passing these characteristics to their
children. Poor form a subculture in which, as a result of their common experiences, they have developed
certain attitudes and behavior patterns which have been transmitted from parent to child.

Critics of culture of poverty argue that the “expecting to fail” argument amount to blaming the victim. By
blaming the poor for their own poverty, culture of poverty theories divert attention from the social,
structural and cultural conditions that are ultimately responsible for poverty. Critics claim that the poor, in
general tend to be as success-oriented as the affluent, if not for themselves then for their children. The
difference between the poor and the affluent, therefore, lies mainly in their relative access to educational
and occupational opportunities to demonstrate
their human capital.

Look at yourself: Do culture of poverty / culture of affluence theories apply to any of the ways in which
you have been advantaged or disadvantaged in your life choices and the life chances? To what extent has
your social class background led you to expect success or to expect failure? Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 63
Lesson 26

Social mobility is an act of moving from one social class to another. The amount of movement up and
down the class structure would indicate the extent of social mobility prevalent in the society.
The social mobility is greatly influenced by the level of openness of the society. Open society is the one
where people attain their status primarily by their own efforts. In fact the extent of mobility may be taken as
an index of openness of a society indicating how far talented individuals born into lower strata can move up
the socioeconomic ladder. In this respect, social mobility is an important political issue, particularly in
countries committed to liberal vision of equality of opportunity to all citizens. In this perspective industrial
societies are mostly open societies portraying high social mobility. Compared with them, pre-industrial
societies have mostly been found to be closed societies where there has been low social mobility. People
in such societies have been confined to their ancestral occupations and their social status has mostly been
Social mobility can be classified as:
Vertical mobility: The movement of individuals and groups up or down the socioeconomic scale. Those
who gain in property, income, status, and position are said to be upwardly mobile, while those who move in
the opposite direction are downwardly mobile.
Horizontal mobility: The movement of individuals and groups in similar socioeconomic positions, which
may be in different work situations. This may involve change in occupation or remaining in the same
occupation but in a different organization, or may be in the same organization but at a different location.
Lateral mobility: It is a geographical movement between neighborhoods, towns or regions. In modern
societies there is a great deal of geographical mobility. Lateral mobility is often combined with vertical as
well as horizontal mobility.
The movement of people up or down the social hierarchy can be looked at either within one generation
called intra-generational mobility or between generations labeled as inter-generational mobility.
Intra-generational mobility consists of movement up and down the stratification system by members of a
single generation (the-social class in which you began life compared with your social class at the end of your

Inter-generational mobility consists of movement up and down the stratification system by members of
successive generations of a family (your social class location compared with that of your parents, for
example). Comparison is usually made between social class status of son and father.
Mobility is functional. Open societies provide opportunities to its members for the development of their
talents and working toward their individual fulfillment. At the same time a person can select the best
person for doing a particular job.

Mobility determinants

Three main factors that affect mobility:

Structural factors:
Structural factors are the ones, which determine the relative proportion of high-status positions to be filled
and the ease of getting them. Societies differ in the relative proportion of high- and low-status positions to
be filled. A society with a primarily agricultural economy will have many low-status and few high-status
positions, and mobility will be low. The rate of mobility rises with the degree of industrialization of the
economy. In an industrial society there is expected to be an increase in the number of occupations as well
as in the number of jobs in each occupation. An increase in the division of labor is expected and along with
it there is increasing specialization, hence the jobs multiply.
As the societies move from agricultural to industrial and to post industrial societies, there is a change in the
nature of jobs e.g. decline in manufacturing jobs and an increase in service jobs. Such a change provides
new opportunities for employment, which the people avail and thereby the whole process becomes
instrumental to social mobility
Even in a relatively open society, upward mobility is not open equally to everyone. Middle class children
typically have learning experiences which are more helpful in gaining upward mobility than the experiences Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 64
of lower-class children. Nevertheless, mobility may further depend upon the prevalent policies, laws and
other factors that may discriminate between groups and individuals on the basis of factors like race, gender,
religion, age, and ethnicity.
Individual factors:
While structural factors may determine the proportion of high-status, well-paid positions in a society,
individual factors greatly affect which persons get them. It means that one has to look into the procedures
of access and entry to the available positions. There could be the possession of the entry based
qualifications by the individuals and there could be number of individual factors that influence the
possession of necessary qualifications.

The individuals may have differences in their “mobility oriented behaviors”. There is much which persons
can do to increase their prospects for upward mobility by improving their educational qualifications. The
work habits learned in early childhood are very important for making efforts in improving one’s position.
Of course hard work carries no guarantee of upward mobility, but not many achieve upward mobility
without it.

Then there is the often referred “principle of deferred gratification.” This consists of postponing
immediate satisfaction in order to gain some later goal. Saving one’s money to go for higher studies or to
start a business is an example. At the moment you are studying sociology rather than using the same time
for having fun somewhere else. You are postponing ‘having fun’ over studying the subject of sociology. In
this way you are practicing “deferred-gratification” pattern of behavior. The parents may spend the money
on the education of their child and postpone the celebration of his marriage. Mobility oriented people are
likely to demonstrate such pattern of behavior. It is usually assumed that the “deferred gratification”
principle is followed by the middle class people.
Gender differential may be another factor as part of individual differences. It is generally observed that
there are greater opportunities for males than for females. Even if the two persons possess the same
qualifications but being a male or a female may influence one’s climbing the mobility ladder. Under the law
such a discriminatory approach may be prohibited but in reality it may be practiced in an invisible way.
Such a barrier is usually referred to as “Glass ceiling”: a concept used to explain how women are prevented
from attaining top (managerial and professional) jobs. In UK 50% of daughters of professional and
managerial households enter non-manual job (intermediate level) with little chance of work-life upward

Differential fertility by social class:
The number of suitable off-springs available to fill the positions from the same class is another factor
influencing social mobility. The inadequate number of children available in the middle class to fill jobs will
provide an opportunity for the children from the adjacent class to fill the vacancies.
Interaction of all factors: All of the above factors interact and have a cumulative effect on the mobility of a
person. Look at a person who is poor, uneducated, and belongs to a minority group is handicapped on all
three counts and all these factors may interact and make things worse for him.

While social mobility permits society to fill its occupational vacancies with the most able people and offers
the individual a chance to attain his or her life goal, it also involves certain costs.
A mobile society arouses expectations which are not always fulfilled, thereby creating dissatisfaction and
unhappiness. One could come across lot more frustrations in the mobile society than in the traditional

The costs could include fear of falling in status, as in downward mobility; the strain of new roles learning in
occupational promotions, the disruption of primary group relationships as a person moves upward or
downward. Parents and children may become strangers because of changes in social attitudes. Mobility
oriented parents may work hard, come home late, and have less interaction with their children. It may lead
to bitterness and estrangement.
Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 65
Social mobility often demands geographic mobility, with a painful loss of treasured social ties. An offered
promotion may be declined because of fear of the burden of new responsibilities. Even marriages may be
threatened when spouses are not equally interested in mobility. It can result in mental illness and conflict.

General observations:
• Social mobility, at least among men, has been fairly high. Comparative mobility between men and
women shows that men have been more mobile than women.
• The long-term trend in social mobility has been upward. With the shift toward industrial economies
there are prospects of enhanced job opportunities resulting in greater scope for upward mobility.
• Within a single generation, social mobility is generally incremental, not dramatic. Most young
families increase their income over time as they gain education and skills. But with the exception of
few drastically upward or downward mobility cases, most social mobility involves limited
movement within one class level rather than striking moves between classes. Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 66
Lesson 27

The family is a social institution that unites individuals into cooperative groups that oversees the bearing
and rearing of children. Marriage may be one of the important rituals that are instrumental in uniting
individuals. Whereas the marriage and family appear to be universal there is a global variety in this
institution. Let us look at some of the basic concepts related to family and marriage and see some global
diversity in each.

Family: A social group of two or more people, related by blood, marriage, or adoption who usually live
together. In other words it is a group of persons directly linked by kin connections, the adult members of
which assume the responsibility for caring for children.
This is a conventional definition of family. In the technologically advanced societies, today, some people
object to defining only married couples and children as “families” because it implies that everyone should
accept a single standard of moral conduct. More and more organizations are coming to recognize families of
affinity, that is people with or without legal or blood ties who feel they belong together and wish to define
themselves as a family.

Household: It consists of all people who occupy the same housing unit – a house, an apartment, or other
living arrangement.

Kinship: A social bond, based on blood, marriage, or adoption that joins individuals into families.
Connections between individuals established either through marriage or through lines of descent that
connect blood relatives (parents, siblings, children, cousins, in-laws).

Nuclear family: Two married adults living together in a household without their children. This is also called a
conjugal family.

Extended family: When close relatives other than a married couple and children live either in the same
household or in a close and continuous relationship with one another. It may include grandparents, brothers
and their wives, unmarried sisters, aunts, uncles, nephews, and cousins. It is also called a consanguine family.

Family of orientation: A family in which an individual grows up, usually born in it as well. This family is central
to a child’s socialization and orientation.

Family of procreation: Family formation by the individuals themselves. It is the family that you create through
marriage or remarriage and then procreate as well. This family is formed when a couple has their first child.

Marriage Patterns
Marriage: A legally sanctioned relationship of two or more people, usually involving economic cooperation
as well as normative sexual activity and child-bearing that people expect to be enduring. Marriage is the
appropriate context for procreation that is how the concept of illegitimacy comes in. It is a socially
approved mating arrangement – usually marked out by a ritual of some sort (wedding) indicating the
couple’s new public status.
Cultural norms, as well as laws, identify people as suitable or unsuitable marriage partners. Incest taboos prohibit
marriage between certain close relatives. Who is a close relative may vary from society to society. For
example in Pakistan the marriage between first cousins is allowed but in most of the industrialized societies
it has prohibited by law.
Endogamy: The practice of mate selection from the same social category. It limits marriage prospects to
others of the same age, race, religion, or social class.
Exogamy: The practice that mandates marriage between different social categories. It could imply an incest
taboo, which could also be transformed into written law.
Monogamy: A form of marriage joining two partners. At a time the two partners are only in “one union”. The
two partners may divorce and enter into a new union at a time, which may be referred to as serial monogamy.
This practice is mostly followed in technologically advanced societies. Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 67
Polygamy: A form of marriage uniting three or more people. It could take different forms of many unions.
Polygamy exist in three specific forms, including
Polygyny: A form of marriage uniting one male and two or more females. Islamic nations permit men up to
four wives, though they have to fulfill certain conditions.
Polyandry: A form of marriage uniting one female with two or more males. This pattern appears only rarely
(often quoted example of Tibet).
Group marriage: A group of men marrying a group of women. It is an odd situation.

Residential Patterns
Just as societies regulate mate selection, so they designate where a couple resides after marriage. In pre-
industrial societies, most newly weds live with one set of parents, gaining economic assistance and economic
security in the process.
Patrilocal: A residential pattern in which a married couple lives with or near the husband’s family.
Matrilocal: A residential pattern in which a married couple lives with or near the wife’s family.
Neolocal: A residential pattern in which a married couple lives apart from the parents of both the spouses.

Patterns of Descent
Descent refers to the system by which the members of a society trace kinship over generations. Most pre-
industrial societies trace kinship through only one side of the family – the father or the mother. It is also an
orderly way of passing property and other rights to the next generation.
Patrilineal: A system tracing kinship through males. Children are related to one another only through their
fathers and fathers typically pass their property on to their sons. It is mostly found in agrarian societies.
Matrilineal: A system tracing kinship through women.
Bilateral: (two sided descent) A system tracing descent through both men and women. One may come across
this system in industrial societies portraying gender equality.

Patterns of Authority
Patriarchy: A system in which authority is vested in males; male control of a society or a group. This is the
most prevalent system all over the world.
Matriarchy: Authority vested in females; female control of a society or group. True matriarchy rarely found in
Egalitarian: Authority more or less equally divided between people or groups (husband and wife). In reality
patriarchy continues – typical bride takes the groom’s last name; children are given the father’s last name.

Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 68
Lesson 28

Structural-Functionalists suggest that family performs several vital functions. In fact in this perspective
family has been considered as “The backbone of society”. At the same time the social conflict paradigm
considers the family central to the operations of society, but rather than focusing on societal benefits,
conflict theorists investigate how the family perpetuates social inequality. The important functions are:

1. Regulation of sexual activity. Every culture regulates sexual activity in the interest of
maintaining kinship organization and property rights. One universal regulation is the incest
taboo, a cultural norm forbidding sexual relations or marriage between certain kin. Precisely which kin fall
within the incest taboo varies from one culture to another. Mostly marriage with close relatives
like parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, is prohibited.

The incest taboo may have medical explanations as reproduction between close relatives of any species can
mentally and physically impair off springs. Yet it has social reasons. First the incest taboo minimizes sexual
competition within families by restricting legitimate sexuality to spouses. Second incest taboo forces people
to marry themselves outside their immediate families, which serve the purpose of integrating the larger
society. Third, since kinship defines people’s rights and obligations towards each other, reproduction among
close relatives would hopelessly confuse kinship ties and threaten social order.

2. Reproduction. Perhaps the only function that seems to have been left to a great extent
untouched is reproduction. Without reproduction the continuation of society is at stake and
the legitimate births take place only within the wedlock. Yet even this vital and inviolable
function has not gone unchallenged. A prime example is the number of single women in the
Western society who have children (about one third of all births in US).

3. Socialization of children. The family is the first and most influential setting for socialization.
Ideally the parents teach children to be well-integrated and participating members of society. In
fact, family socialization continues throughout life cycle. Adults change within marriage, and, as
any parent knows, mothers and fathers learn as much from raising their children as their
children learn from them.

The conflict sociologists try to find fault with the outcome of this socialization through which there is likely
to be the transmission of cultural values. There is the continuity of patriarchy, which subordinates women
to men. Families therefore transform women into the sexual and economic property of men. Most wives’
earnings belong to their husbands.

4. Social placement. Parents confer their own social identity – in terms of race, ethnicity,
religion, and social class – on children at birth. This fact explains the long-standing preference
for birth to married parents. This is more like ascription of social status to the children,

Nevertheless, racial and ethnic categories shall persist over generations only to the degree that people marry
others like themselves. Thus endogamous marriage shores up the racial and ethnic hierarchy of a society.
Conflict sociologists traced the origin of the family to the need to identify heirs so that men (especially in
the higher classes) could transmit property to their sons. Families thus support the concentration of wealth
and reproduce the class structure in each succeeding generation. Therefore family plays an important
function in maintaining social inequality; hence it is a part and parcel of capitalism.

5. Care of the sick and elderly. Family has been a big insurance against the old age as well as
during sickness. As the society moves towards the industrialization this function is likely to be
taken over by institutionalized medicine and medical specialists. Care of the aged is likely to
change from a family concern to a government obligation. In Pakistani society, by and large, it
remains to be an important function of the family.
Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
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6. Protective function. Family provides some degree of physical, economic, and psychological
security to its members. Attack on a person is considered to be an attack on the family.
Similarly guilt and shame are equally shared by the family. People view the family as a “haven in
the heartless world”, looking to kin for physical protection, emotional support, and financial
assistance. People living in families tend to be healthier than living alone.

7. Economic production. Prior to industrialization, the family constituted an economic team.
Family members cooperated in producing what they needed to survive. When industrialization
moved production from home to factory, it disrupted this family team and weakened the bonds
that tied family members together. In Pakistan family still performs an important function at
least in helping its members in establishing their careers and obtaining jobs. Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 70
Lesson 29

There is a great diversity in the family and marriage arrangements. The globalization of societies, and with
the emerging chances in Pakistani society one could expect further variations in this institution. Pakistani
society is certainly experiencing the changing trend toward industrial-urban way of life. Every third person
in Pakistan is presently living in a locality, which has been declared as urban; thereby these urbanites are
likely to experience diversities around. A variety of social and economic forces become instrumental in the
erosion of traditional family and marriage values. We are trying to hold on to the sacred values of this
institution, though we cannot ignore the secular inroads that are already taking place. Are these positive
developments or are these threatening? Nevertheless, the dramatic changes in the social norms and values
have transformed the family life. Though we do not have empirical evidence to support the observed
changes yet it may be worth mentioning and it might generate curiosity for future research. Therefore, let us
look at some of he changes that are being experienced by the family and marriage nationally and
1. Family is losing functions. Except for procreation of children, for all other functions it
appears that other institutions are taken over the traditional functions of the family. In the
developed countries families have accepted such a take-over whereas in Pakistan such a change
is fast coming. For example educational institutions and mass media of communication are
becoming powerful agents of socialization of children. Health care, matrimonial arrangements,
maternal services, and many other family responsibilities are being taken over by professionals.
We are heading towards a situation where right from the birth till our burial the whole of our
life is likely to be handled by the professional functionaries.
2. Families are exerting less influence over the lives of their members. Modern society is an
“other directed” society where the behavior of a person is much influenced by the peer group
(contemporaries) who is found outside of the family. Of course the families try to have a
control on the kinds of friends their children are likely to have but the variety of peers the
children come across while out in school may be beyond the limits of families. Nevertheless,
these very peer groups might become strengths for the socialization of children. Such a
situation might be well experienced by the families where both the parents are working. Even
these parents are likely to pick up many of their styles of life from outside.
3. Shift toward nuclear/conjugal families. As an outcome of empirical regularity, there is a
postulated universality of nuclear family. As the traditional family systems break down, though
with different speed, in industrial society hiring is on the basis of competency; efficiency is
measured by individual performance; job market requires mobility; none of these requirements
need strong kinship network. Industrializing societies create their other formal agencies to
replace help from kinship networks. Individuals have independent careers, and “go their own
way” ignoring extended kinship ties. Even in stress nuclear family appears to be quite
responsive to provide emotional support.
4. Kin networking fading and being replaced by friends networking. People either depend
on their own self or on their social capital of friends.
5. Declining size of families. With the societies moving towards modernization, there is a
decline in the fertility of women. In Pakistan from 6.3 children per woman in the 1970 we have
come down to around 4 children per woman in 2004. Some of the reasons could be: the rise in
age at first marriage; decline in infant mortality (140/1000 live births in 1970 to around
85/1000 in 2004); increasing number of women especially older women not desiring to get
pregnant and younger wanting to space births; decline in desired family size; use of
contraceptives. All these reasons may have strong link with the education of families.
6. The rise of symmetrical families. There is an increase in dual earner families. One could find
a trend in the families where both husband and wife are working and sharing the household
work. Or if the wife is busy in the second shift at home, the husband might also be having a
second job.
7. Patriarchy on the decline. As the proportion of dual earners marriages continues to increase,
women’s financial dependence on their husbands declines, leading to a decline in patriarchy. In Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 71
the changing scenario instead of centralized decision making, families are moving towards
shared decision making. Hence patriarchy gives way to egalitarianism.
8. Arranged marriages are being replaced by ‘marriages of inclination’. Traditionally
marriages of children were arranged by their parents, but now youngsters are trying to exert
their personal choices in their matrimony.
9. In the Western societies alternative marriage arrangements are on the increase. For
example common law marriages (a marriage without marriage license) are on the increase.
10. Women empowerment. There is a changing status of women due to increase in literacy and
in the levels of literacy, financial independence, and in their decision making power.
11. Divorce rates have been increasing. There could be many reasons like:
• Individualism on the increase. People are looking for personal happiness.
• Romantic love often subsides. Marriages of inclination are relatively more vulnerable to
conflict and divorce.
• Women now are less dependent on men.
• Many of today’s marriages are stressful. Since both husband and wife are working, their
jobs consume most of their time and energy, then, if they have to raise the children, there
is not enough time and energy left for each other.
• Presently divorce is becoming more socially accepted. It is no more considered a stigma.
• From legal stand point, divorce is becoming easier to obtain. Couple may not have to
resort to mud throwing on each other, so the couple decides and the court allows.
12. Lone old parent families on the increase. The institution of family as the shelter for the
aged is gradually eroding. As the children grow up they, in search of their livelihood, head for
new destinations leaving their senior citizens in the empty nest. Here one could find a big gap
between the real and ideal value about caring the old people. Even the alternatives like the
community support, nursing homes have not emerged. The plight of single women, widows,
and the sick persons is high. We have added years to life but not life to added years.
13. Awareness of family violence has increased. May be in the changing situation family
violence has also increased.
14. The number of elderly marriages and remarriages is increasing. The people deciding to
get married in their old age don’t feel shy anymore. Rather than leading a lonely life in case of
their being divorced or widowed, the elderly decide to get married. Since divorce does not
appear to be a stigma, therefore, divorcees don’t feel hesitant to remarry.
15. Monogamy presumably becoming universal. There might be an increase in remarriages
but the individuals are restricting themselves to one union at a time. So people marry, divorce,
and remarry, but at time a person is married to only one partner, which may be called as serial
monogamy. Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 72
Lesson 30

What is the origin of the differences between men and women? How is the gender identity formed? How
are the identity based social roles performed? There are competing explanations to these questions, which
have connections with physical (sex) or social (gender) differences.
Sociologists use the term sex to refer to the anatomical and physiological differences that define male and
female bodies. Gender, by contrast, concerns the psychological, social and cultural differences between
males and females. Gender is linked to socially constructed notions of masculinity and femininity; it is not
necessarily a direct product of an individual’s biological sex. The distinction between sex and gender is a
fundamental one, since many differences between males and females are not biological in origin.
Three broad approaches to behavioral difference between men and women:
1. Biological basis.
2. Importance of socialization and the learning of gender roles.
3. Both gender and sex have no biological basis, but are entirely socially constructed.

Gender and biology: natural differences in behavior
How far are the differences in the behavior of men and women the result of sex rather than gender? Some
authors hold that aspects of human biology – ranging from hormones to chromosomes to brain size to
genetics – are responsible for innate differences in behavior between men and women. Researches to
identify the physiological origins of behavioral differences between men and women have been
unsuccessful. The role of social interaction in shaping human behavior is vital.
Gender socialization
Through socialization, children gradually internalize the social norms and expectations, which are seen to
correspond with their sex, hence differences in their behavior. Therefore it is the society that determines the
appropriateness of behavior relevant to male and female. Also, through the process of socialization, the
society makes a concerted effort that males and females internalize the culturally appropriate relevant
patterns of behavior. Hence gender differences in behavior are not biologically determined, but they are
culturally produced.
Social construction of gender and sex
Both sex and gender are socially constructed products. Not only is gender a purely social creation that lacks
a fixed ‘essence’, yet the human body itself is subject to social forces, which shape and alter it in various
ways. Individuals can choose to construct and reconstruct their bodies as they please- ranging from exercise,
dieting, piercing and personal fashion, to plastic surgery and sex change operations. Human body and
biology are not ‘givens’, but are subject to human urgency and personal choice within different social
contexts. Genetic technology appears to have further facilitated the realization of socially desirable
characteristics of males and females.
The theorists who believe in the social construction of sex and gender reject all biological bases for gender
differences. Gender identities emerge in relation to perceived sex differences in society and in turn help to
shape those differences.
These approaches try to explain the gender difference in the behavior of men and women either in biology
or in social construction. In reality it could also be possible that the gender differences in behavior may be
placed on a continuum, biological determinists could hold one end of which and the other end could be
held by social constructionists.
Biological determinists highlight similarities in male behavior across different environments. They argue
that male traits have their roots in chromosomal differences or in hormonal differences or in some other
natural characteristic that distinguish men from women. It is a simple causal, reductionist approach that
explains human behavior in terms of biological or genetic characteristics.
Social constructionists contend instead that gender differences derive from social and cultural process.
These processes create systems of ideas and practices about gender that vary across time and space.
Through this process ‘natural’, social processes mediate instinctive forms of behavior and the sociologists
would argue that most forms of human behavior are socially constructed. It is argued that every society has
gender order, composed of a historically specific division of labor, and the structure of power. The gender
order generates a variety of masculinities and of femininities. Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 73
Masculinities refer to various socially constructed collections of assumptions, expectations and ways of
behaving that serve as standards for forms of male behavior. Look at the word ‘mardaangee’. One could find
colloquial substitutes in different cultures. The process of indoctrination of the characteristics associated
with ‘manliness’ starts right from the childhood. For example take the little boy who got hurt and starts
crying. He is told not to do so because crying is not considered an appropriate behavior for men.
Femininities cover various socially constructed collections of assumptions, expectations and ways of
behaving that serve as standards for female behavior.
The mere fact that men and women across the societies are not characterized by identical behaviors is
suggestive of the fact that these differences are not caused by biology but by socialization. Hence
masculinities and femininities are subject to change across cultures and over time.
Global comparisons show that, by and large, societies do not consistently define most tasks as whether
feminine or masculine. As societies industrialize, which gives people more choices and decreases the
significance of muscle power, gender distinctions become smaller and smaller. Gender, then, is simply a too
variable across cultures to be considered a simple expression of biology. Instead, as with many other
elements of culture, what it means to be female and male is mostly a creation of society. Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 74
Lesson 31

Gender socialization is the ways in which society sets children onto different courses in life because they are
male or female. Children are born with a biological difference i.e. given by nature, but gender differences are
inculcated through nurturance. It is the socialization process that lays the foundation of contrasting
orientations to life that carries over from childhood into adulthood.
Children gradually internalize the social norms and expectations corresponding to their being a male or a
female. As children become conscious of their self-identity, they also become gender conscious, which
usually takes place when they are around 3 years in age.
Internalization of norms and expectations are highly effective, for most men and women act, think, and feel
according to the guidelines laid down by their culture as appropriate for their sex. How do people learn that
certain activities are “masculine” and others “feminine”, and on that basis proper for them or not? Origins
of such gender differences in behavior can be traced back to socialization where individuals learn how to
play various roles in accordance to their cultural prescriptions.
Gender ordering generates a variety of masculinities and femininities. Also the same gender order acts as
a framework within which gender differences emerge and are reproduced or challenged.
Masculinities refer to various socially constructed collections of assumptions, expectations and ways of
behaving that serve as standards for forms of male behavior. Femininities include various socially
constructed collections of assumptions, expectations and ways of behaving that serve as standards for
female behavior.
Masculinity and femininity are subject to change not only across cultures, but also over time.
Feminine traits Masculine traits
Submissive Dominant
Dependent Independent
Unintelligent/incapable Intelligent/competent
Emotional Rational
Receptive Assertive
Weak Strong
Timid Brave
Content Ambitious
Passive Active
Cooperative Competitive
Sensitive Insensitive
Sex object Sexually aggressive

Role of family:
The first question people usually ask about a newborn – Is it a boy or girl? In fact, gender is at work even
before the birth of child, since most parents in the world hope to have a boy than a girl. Soon after birth,
family members usher infants into the “pink world” of girls or the “blue world” of boys. Parents even
convey gender messages unconsciously in the way they handle daughters and sons, and thereby inculcate
relevant traits by sex.
Role of peer groups:
Peer groups further socialize their members in accordance with the normative conceptions of gender.
Games differ by gender. Male games are usually competitive. Male peer activities reinforce masculine traits
of aggression and control. Competitiveness for boys and cooperativeness for girls is the usual motto.
Role of schooling:
School curricula encourage children to embrace appropriate gender patterns. Girls: Secretarial skills, home-
centered know-how. Boys: Woodworking, auto-mechanics. Colleges continue with the same pattern.
Humanities for girls and hard subjects for boys. Gender images in textbooks.
Role of Mass Media:
The number of male characters is much higher than female characters. Also women are not featured in
prominent roles.
Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 75
Men generally play the brilliant detectives, fearless explorers, and skilled surgeons. Women by contrast, play
the less capable characters, and are often important primarily, by their sexual attractiveness. Historically, ads
have presented women in home, happily using cleaning products, serving food, trying out appliances, and
modeling clothes. Magazine and newspapers: Pictures, activities, gestures.
Advertising perpetuates “beauty myth”. Cosmetics and diet industry target women. The concept of
“Beauty” is a social construct.
Society teaches women to measure themselves in terms of physical appearance: to be beautiful for whom
and to attract whom, and how? Men want to possess the beauties as objects.
Gender Stratification
Gender stratification refers to society’s unequal distribution of wealth, power, and privilege between men and women.
For many years research on stratification was ‘gender blind’ – it was written as though women did not exist,
or as though, for purposes of analyzing division of power, wealth and prestige women were unimportant
and uninteresting. Yet gender itself is one of the profound examples of stratification. There are no societies
in which men do not, in some aspect of social life, have more wealth, status, and influence than women.
How far we can understand gender inequalities in modern times mainly in terms of class divisions?
Inequalities of gender are more deep rooted historically than class systems; men have superior standing to
women even in hunting and gathering societies, where there are no classes. Class divisions in modern
societies are so marked that there is no doubt that they ‘overlap’ substantially with gender inequalities. The
material position of most women tends to reflect that of their fathers or husbands; hence it can be argued
that we have to explain gender inequalities mainly in class terms.
Determining women’s class position
The view that class inequalities largely govern gender stratification was often an unstated assumption until
quite recently. The ‘conventional position’ in class analysis was that the paid work of women is relatively
insignificant compared to that of men, and that therefore women can be regarded as being in the same class
as their husbands. Since majority of women have traditionally been in a position of economic dependence
on their husbands, it follows that their class position is most often governed by the husband’s class
This position has been criticized in many ways. First, in many households the income of women is essential
to maintaining the family’s economic position and mode of life. In these circumstances women’s paid
employment in some part determines the class position of the family as a whole. Second, a wife’s
occupation may sometimes set the standard of the family as a whole. Even if the woman earns less than her
husband, her working situation may still be the ‘lead’ factor in influencing the class of her husband.
Third, where ‘cross-class’ households exist – in which the work of the husband is in a different class
category from that of the wife – there may be some purposes for which it is more realistic to treat men and
women, even within the same households, as being in different class positions. Fourth, the proportion of
households in which women are sole breadwinners is increasing. The growing number of lone mothers and
childless workingwomen are testament to this fact. Such women are by definition the determining influence
on the class position of their own households.
One suggestion is that the class position of person be determined without reference to the position of one’s
household. Social class of a person may be assessed on the basis of one’s occupation. This approach ignores
those women who work as housewives and many who are retired people and unemployed. Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 76
Lesson 32

Each of sociology’s major theoretical paradigms addresses the significance of gender in social organization.
Functionalist, conflict, inter-actionist, and feminist theories offer alternative explanations for gender

Functionalist Explanations
Functionalists view inequality as a product of the traditional division in human societies. Men tend to attend
to more instrumental (objectively rewarded) tasks such as wage earning and women attend to more
expressive (subjectively rewarded) tasks such as those involved in child rearing. While both types of labor
are functional (indeed vital) for society’s survival, the instrumental tasks, looked after by men, always have
been more highly rewarded than the expressive tasks looked after by women. Men and women are taught
these traditional roles and have tended to conform to their requirements. Functionalists point out that,
while gender roles and their accompanying inequalities have changed somewhat in industrialized societies,
traditional arrangement remains in force in most societies. The persistence of the traditional division of
labor, according to functionalist view, testifies to the usefulness for human societies.

Conflict Explanations
Conflict theories deny the historically inevitability and necessity of the traditional division of labor between
men and women. The arrangement may have been more functional in non-industrialized societies, where
physical strength was required by many tasks. However, industrialization has changed the situation. The
continuance of the traditional gendered division of labor and the social inequality that it produces merely
contributes to unnecessary social conflict and therefore is dysfunctional.
Capitalism intensifies male domination because:
• Capitalism creates more wealth, which confers greater power on men as owners of property and as
primary wage earners.
• An expanding capitalist economy depends on turning people – especially women – into consumers
and encouraging them to seek personal fulfillment through buying and using products.
• To support men in the factories, society assigns women the task of maintaining the home.
• The double exploitation of capitalism lies in paying low wages to male labor and no wages at all for
female work.

Inter-actionist Explanations
Inter-actionist theories of gender inequality focus on how inequality is perpetuated by the transmission of
traditional cultural definitions of masculinity and femininity from generation to generation. For example,
learning these definitions influences people’s expectations about the types of statuses that women and men
are capable of occupying and the types of roles they are capable of performing. Compared with functionalist
and conflict theories, inter-actionist theories are optimistic as to the prospects of reducing if not eliminating
such inequalities. Since gender roles and division of labor that they support are the products of what each
generation teaches the next generation, we can change them by teaching different gender roles and different
ideas about division of labor. Greater gender equality can be achieved; therefore, without having to wait for
the massive restructuring of society implied by functionalist theories, which process might take several
generations. Neither is it necessary to resort to revolutionary strategy to achieve gender equality as proposed
by such conflict theorists as Marx and Engels.

Feminism is the advocacy of social equality for men and women, in opposition to patriarchy and sexism. In
this perspective there is a general emphasis on the crucial contribution of patriarchy (male domination) to
gendered inequalities. For example they challenge the functionalist idea that men are rewarded more than
women simply because men have traditionally performed the more highly rewarded instrumental tasks while
women have performed less highly rewarded expressive tasks. But why are women paid less than men for
performing the same instrumental tasks? The proposed answer is patriarchy. Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 77
Feminism views the personal experiences of women and men through the lens of gender. How we think of
ourselves (gender identity), how we act (gender roles), and how our sex’s social standing (gender
stratification) are all rooted in the operation of our society.

Basic feminist ideas
Although people who consider themselves feminist disagree about many things, most support five general
1. The importance of change. Feminist thinking is decidedly political, linking ideas to action.
Feminism is critical of the status quo, advocating change toward social equality for women and
2. Expanding human choice. Feminists maintain that cultural conceptions of gender divide the
full range of human qualities into two opposing and limited spheres: the female world of
emotions and cooperation and the male world of rationality and competition. As an alternative,
feminists propose a “reintegration of humanity” by which each human can develop all human
3. Eliminating gender stratification. Feminism opposes laws and cultural norms that limit the
education, income, and job opportunities of women. For this reason feminists advocate
passage of the Equal Rights Laws.
4. Existing sexual violence. Today’s women’s movement seeks to eliminate sexual violence.
Feminists argue that patriarchy distorts the relationships between women and men,
encouraging violence against women in the form of rape, domestic abuse, sexual harassment,
and pornography.
5. Promoting sexual autonomy. Feminists advocate women’s control of their sexuality and
reproduction. Feminists support the free availability of birth control information. Most
feminists also support a women’s right to choose whether to bear children or terminate
pregnancy, rather than allowing men – as husbands, physicians, and legislators – to control
women’s sexuality. Many feminists support the gay people’s efforts to overcome the many
barriers they face in a predominantly heterosexual culture.

Opposition to Feminism
Feminism provokes criticism and resistance from both men and women who hold conventional ideas about
gender. Some men oppose feminism for the same reasons that may white people have historically opposed
social equality for the people of color. They want to preserve their women privileges. Other men and
women, including those who are neither rich nor powerful, distrust social movement (especially its radical
expressions) that attacks the family and rejects time-honored patterns that have guided male-female
relationship for centuries.
For some men, feminism threatens the basis of their status and self respect: their masculinity. Men who
have been socialized to value strength and dominance feel uneasy about feminist ideas of men as gentle and
warm. Similarly women whose lives center on their husbands and children may see feminism as trying to
deprive them their cherished roles that give meaning to their lives.
Resistance to feminism also comes from academic circles. Some Sociologists charge that feminism willfully
ignores a growing body of evidence that men and women do think and act in somewhat different ways
(which may make gender equality impossible). Also feminism downgrades the crucial and unique
contribution women make to the development of children – especially during the first years of life.
Finally, there is the question of how women should go about improving their social standing. The idea is that
women should have equal rights, but women should advance individually, according to their abilities.
Women should expect to get ahead on the basis of their own training and qualifications.

Observations about the likely state of gender
Movement toward gender equality has progressed ahead. Industrialization has both broadened the range of
human activity and shifted the nature of work from physically demanding tasks that favored male strength
to jobs that require human thought and imagination, putting the talents of women and men on equal
footing. Additionally, medical technology has given control over reproduction, so women’s lives are less
constrained by unwanted pregnancies. Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 78
Many women and men have also deliberately pursued social equality. Sexual harassment complaints now are
taken much more seriously in the workplace. And as more women assume positions of power in the
corporate and political worlds, social changes in the 21st
century may be as great as those we have already
Gender is an important part of personal identity and family life, and it is deeply woven into the moral fabric
of the society. Therefore, efforts at change will continue to provoke opposition. On balance, however, while
changes may be incremental, the movement toward a society in which men and women enjoy equal rights
and opportunities seems certain to gain strength. Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 79
Lesson 33

Education is a social institution that is guiding the society’s transmission of knowledge – including basic facts, job skills,
and also cultural norms and values – to its members. In industrial societies education is largely a matter of
schooling, formal instruction under the direction of specially trained teachers.
The extent of schooling in any society is closely tied to its level of economic development. Industrial, high-
income societies endorse the idea that everyone should go to school. Schooling in low-income nations is
very diverse because it reflects local culture. In low-income countries there is not much of it. About one half
of all elementary age children ever get to school, and perhaps only one half of them reach the secondary

Structural-functional analysis looks at how formal education contributes to the operation of society. The
important functions performed by schooling are:
Technologically simple societies transmit their ways of life informally from parents to children. As societies
develop complex technology, kin can no longer stay abreast of rapidly expanding information and skills.
Thus schooling gradually emerges as a distinctive social institution employing specially trained personnel to
convey the knowledge needed for adult roles.

In primary school children learn basic language and mathematical skills.
Secondary school builds on this foundation, and for many, college allows further specialization.
Schools pass on society’s core values from one generation to another. Schools are used for the inculcation
of its values – values bout work, family, population, democracy, justice, and so on.
Schools explicitly instruct students in our political way of life. It may be called political socialization.
From the earliest grades, rituals such as saluting the flag and singing the national anthem foster patriotism.
Similarly classroom drills develop competitive individualism, respect for authority, and a sense of fair play.

Cultural Innovation
Education creates as well as transmits culture. Schools stimulate intellectual inquiry and critical thinking,
sparking the development of new ideas. At college and university the teachers are busy in research to
expand our knowledge in countless areas. Medical research conducted at major universities over the years
has increased our life expectancy, just as research by sociologists and psychologist helps us to take
advantage of our longevity.

Social Change
Not only the schools generate new knowledge, they are also the means for bringing social change.
Education may lead to dispelling the traditional attitudes and values. Education is likely to widen the
perspectives of the youth, make them ‘rational’, willing to accept new ideas and carrying the message

Social Integration
Schooling helps forge a mass of people into a unified society. This integrative function is especially
important in nations with pronounced social diversity, where various cultures know little about – or may
even be hostile to – one another. A basic way schools integrate culturally diverse people is by teaching a
common language that encourages broad communication and builds a national identity.

Social Placement
Schools help in identifying and developing each student’s aptitudes and abilities and then evaluating a
student’s performance in terms of achievement rather than social background.

Teachers encourage the “best and the brightest” to pursue the most challenging and advanced studies, while
guiding students with more ordinary ability into educational programs suited to their talents. In this way
schooling enhances meritocracy by making personal merit a foundation of future social position. Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 80
Formal education helps people assume culturally approved statuses and perform roles that contribute to the
ongoing life of society. In this way the schools prepare the youth for making a living.

Perpetuating Inequality
Schools provide learning according students’ background, thereby perpetuating inequality.
Schools also help continuing inequality between men and women i.e. more boys go to school than girls; girls
select different subjects than boys. Schools reinforce the cultural values of gender inequality.

School Tracking
Schools help the assignment of students to different types of educational programs. This is a usual practice
in most of the developed countries. Aptitude tests are given to students at grade 8, and with the help of
guidance and counseling, students are put on different streams. The official justification for tracking is to
give students the kind of learning that fits their abilities and motivation.

Research shows that social background has as much to do with tracking as personal aptitudes. Students
from affluent families generally do well on standardized “scientific” tests and are to better tracks while those
with modest backgrounds end up in programs that curb their aspirations and teach technical trades.

Tracking effectively segregates students – academically and socially – into different worlds.

Qualification Certification
Schools not only transmit the knowledge and skills to the youth, they are also the agencies that certify the
level of education achieved.

Other Latent Functions
Schools perform many latent functions. Schools have become vital for relieving single and dual earner
parents of some childcare responsibilities.
Schools help in establishing social networks
School help stabilize employment. Schools continue to hold on to the youth for a longer period – a period,
which be utilized for the creation of job opportunities for the educated youth. Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 81
Lesson 34


Pakistan has yet to cover a long way on the road to one hundred percent literacy of its population. From
around 40 percent literacy in 1998 it has moved to an estimated 54 percent in 2004. There are gaps between
the literacy levels of males and females as well as between rural and urban populations. The Government of
Pakistan is pursuing the policy of Education for All (EFA) and expects that by 2015 all children will
complete primary education. Another claim is to eliminate gender disparity in education by 2005. These may
be tall claims but not something, which is unachievable.
Despite the Government efforts to increase the number of Primary schools, the number of teachers, and
the school enrollment, the absolute number of non-literates is swelling. It has increased from 22 million in
1961 to 69 million in 2004. The private -sector, public-private partnerships, and the non-governmental
organizations are making their efforts to combat illiteracy but the achievements are clouded by a variety of
factors like the increasing population, the availability of resources, and the politics of education. In the
pursuit of the policy of Education for All there are a number of issues that have to be considered.

Low Enrollment
It is estimated that out of the total school-going age children around 50 percent are not in school. There
could be number of reasons for children not being in school. Poverty may be one of the most important
reasons. Primary schooling may be free, still there are many other indirect costs related to sending the child
to school – uniform, stationery, food, contributions to some other school funds, etc. But of all these costs,
the most important cost appears to be the “opportunity cost” that the parents have to forego for sending
their child to school. The child might be working or could work at some place and could bring some
income to the family. By sending the child to school the parents shall have to forego that income, which
may be necessary for their survival. This is a big issue and the parents have strong rationale for it.

High Dropout
Of the children entering the school at grade one, 50 percent of them dropout prior to their completion of
primary stage of schooling. There could be number of reasons – no fun at school, no class stimulation,
corporal punishment, teacher discrimination, poor health, lack of schooling’s vocational usefulness, parental
demand for child’s employment. Many of these factors appear to be relevant to the school environment,
which seem to be devoid of any attraction for the child from the lower class. Consequently, there is high
dropout rate of children.

Gender Disparity
Gender disparity in the estimated literacy rates shows that of males 66 percent were literate whereas of
females 42 percent were literate in 2004. This disparity is expected to be wider in the rural areas. One of the
reasons could be the lack of facilities for the female education and other, perhaps the most important,
discouraging societal attitude towards the schooling of girls.

Inequalities in Education
Inequalities can be looked at from different angles – gender inequalities, rural-urban inequalities, public-
private school inequalities, and inequality due to the medium of instruction. This is where the followers of
conflict school of thought are very critical of the inequalities built into the structure of the society, which are
recreated, reinforced, and perpetuated by the schooling system.

Low budgetary Allocations
Educational institutions are often under resourced which may be reflective of the priority being given to
education thereby low financial allocations. Even the use of whatever is allocated has administrative
difficulties. Delayed release of funds, and misuse of funds (ghost schools) have negative impact on the
quantity as well as quality of schooling. Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
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Within the education sector, higher education levels at college and university get bigger chunk of budget
than at the lower level. Poor section of the population is expected to be minimal at the higher level, which
implies that the system is supportive of the ‘better of’, thereby perpetuating the inequalities.

Standard of Pedagogy
Quality of teaching depends upon the quality of teachers. In Pakistani schools, at the foundation level the
teachers have been having very low qualifications, and, in turn are also low paid. The focus has been more
on rote learning rather than on the development of the whole child. The authoritarian approach has been
often accompanied by corporal punishment, which terrorizes the students, particularly from the poor
families, and drives them away. Recently there has been some policy change with the up gradation of the
qualifications of Primacy School Teacher, which may have some positive impacts on the classroom

Poor School Environment
A substantial number of schools have been found to be poorly organized and devoid of facilities. Facilities
may refer to the availability of the teachers as well as the infrastructure facilities reflecting the level of school
enrichment. At places schools are without an appropriate building [A government survey’s revelation that
14000 schools in Sindh did not have any building. Eighty percent had no electricity, 60 percent had no
boundary wall or drinking water facility, and 57 percent had no toilets. (Reported in the Dawn, editorial, May 21,
2005)], and the necessary classroom equipment. The students have to beat the severities of weather with the
only choice of dropping out of the school, and that is not a good choice. Although the local community
may partly contribute in improving the physical facilities, but the ultimate responsibility, particularly with
respect to the provision of staff, rests with the government.

Quality of Textbooks
Provision of education is one thing and what are the contents of education being provided is another. At
the school level all books being taught are prescribed by the government and produced by the Provincial
Textbook Boards. What is being imparted through these books and what is their quality are the issues to be
discussed. A recent evaluation of the textbooks by Sustainable Development and Policy Institute generated
a lot of debate about the kind of indoctrination we want to live with. On the whole the books appear to be
least child friendly.

Quality of Curricula
In order to meet the changing demands of time the curricula has to be continuously updated. Since the
experts are often critical of the out-dated curricula being followed in our system of education, therefore it
needs attention.

Examination System
The examination system is fast loosing it credibility. Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
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Lesson 35

Demography is the statistical description and analysis of human population. It refers to ascertaining the
numbers and distribution of people, changes in the numbers and distribution of people over time, age and
sex composition, birth and death rates among various quantities of populations.
Study of population seeks to discover the causes and consequences of population changes. The changes in
population take place primarily due to changes in births, deaths and migration, which are referred to as the
three components of population change. As an interplay of these three components one looks at the
number of total persons which is usually referred to as size; the characteristics of population, called
composition; and where are these people located, labeled as distribution of population. Prior to the
discussion of the significance of the study of population it seems pertinent to explain some of the basic
concepts likely to be used in this discourse.


Crude Birth Rate: The number of live births per year per thousand of the population.
Total births in a specific year
---------------------------------- X 1000
Total population in that year
The CBR is “crude” because (1) it does not take into account, which people in the population were actually
at risk of having births, and (2) it ignores the age structure of the population.
Crude birth rates are very general statistics that are useful for making overall comparisons between different
groups, societies and regions.

Fertility: The number of live-born children the average woman has. It may be called child women ratio.
Total No. of children aged 0-4 in year X
Total No. of women aged 15-49 in year X
A fertility rate is usually calculated as the average number of births per thousand women of childbearing age
(15-49 years).
Total births in year X
----------------------------------- X 1000
Total women aged 15-49

Fecundity: The potential number of children a normal woman is biologically capable of bearing. It is
physically possible for a normal woman to bear a child every year during part of her life when she is capable
of conception. While there may be families in which a woman bears twenty or more children, fertility rate
are always much lower than fecundity rates because social and cultural factors limit breeding.

Crude Death Rate: The number of deaths per thousand of the population per year.
Total death in a specific year
----------------------------------- X 1000
Total population in that year
Crude death rates are also called as mortality rates.

Mortality: The number of deaths in a population.

Infant Mortality Rate: The number of babies per thousand live births in any year who die before reaching
the age of one year.

Life Expectancy: The number of years an average person can expect to live. Life expectancy has increased
in most societies in the world in the past century.

Life Span: The maximum number of years that an individual could live. Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 84
Migration: The Permanent movement of persons over a significant distance.

International migration: Migrant crosses the boundary between one country and another.
Emigrant: When persons leave their country.
Immigrant: When persons arrive in another country.

Internal migration: Migration within a country.

Population Census:
The simultaneous recording of demographic data by government, at a particular time, pertaining to all
persons who live in a particular territory. It usually takes place after every 10 years.

Vital Statistics: Registration of a person’s birth, changes in civil status throughout his/her lifetime, and
his/her death.

There are three main questions to look into the significance of population study:
1. How many people? It refers to the size of the population in a territory. While looking at the
size, one also looks at the changes that are taking place in the size. How are these changes
being effected by the trends in birth rate, death rate, and in migration?
2. What kind of people? It refers to the composition of the population. The composition
includes the characteristics of the population with respect to the age structure, sex differences,
literacy rate and levels of literacy, religious distribution, languages people speak, occupational
structure, housing structure, etc. In addition to the absolute figures showing the characteristics
one also looks at the changes that might be taking place in the composition of the population
as well as its future implications.
3. How are people distributed in the area? Distribution of population refers to the dispersion
of people in a territory like the rural-urban distribution, size of cities, densities of population.
Analysis of the distribution takes into account the prospective changes as well as its future
People belonging to different walks of life are interested in the existing as well as the foreseeable trends in
the size, composition and distribution of population.
For example a planner is looking at the size of the population because he has to tie it with other social and
economic resources of the country. He has to look into the correlations between the size of population and
the economic development of the country. How are the changes in population size influencing the
economic development and vice a versa? The composition of the population may be reflective of quality of
the human resource, which can be utilized for the development of the economy. The changes in the
composition may also suggest the kind of investments needed in the various components of the population.
The distribution of population is of specific interest to the planner when he has to look into the varying
needs of people at different places.

From the political perspective one has to look into the size of population while determining the boundaries
of constituent areas as well as the number of members of the National Assembly, the Senate, and Provincial
Assemblies. The information about the composition as well as the distribution of population helps in the
determining the number of voters, the type of voters, and the location of voters.
A businessman shall be interested in the population because he uses the manpower in the production of
goods and services and ultimately he shall be looking for the consumers of his goods and services. At
various stage of his business operations he shall be interested in all the three components of population i.e.,
size, composition, and distribution. He produces goods and services keeping in view the characteristics of
the ultimate consumers.
The study of population is of utmost significance to an educationist because he has to look into the
educational needs of the population and arrange the facilities accordingly. What is the size of population, of
which how many are of school going age, what is the their gender, what is the occupational background of
their parents, where are they located - in rural/urban areas, are some of the pertinent questions about which Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 85
he should have enough information prior to chalking out an action program. The study of population helps
in providing the relevant information.

These examples suggest that in whatever field we work, the demographic information is of utmost value for
planning, implementation, and success of any plan. The causes and consequences of changes in the size,
composition, and distribution of population have a bearing on the socio economic development of the
country. Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 86
Lesson 36

In pre-modern societies, birth rates were very high by the standards of industrialized world today.
Nonetheless, population growth quite was low until the 18th century because there was a rough overall
balance between births and deaths. The general trend of the numbers was upwards, and there were
sometimes periods of more marked population increase, but these were followed by increase in death rates.
During the period of the rise industrialism, many looked forward to a new age in which scarcity would be a
phenomenon of the past. The development of modern industry, it was widely supposed, would create a new
era of abundance in which standards of living would rise. These ideas were criticized by Thomas Robert
Malthus (1766-1834), a clergyman and an economist.

Malthusian Theory of Population
In 1798 Malthus published an Essay on the Principle of Population. By analyzing the then prevailing situation in
different countries Malthus initiated a debate about the connection between population and food resources
that continues to this day. His premise was that: (1) food was necessary for the continuation of life, and (2)
procreation was also necessary for the continuation of life. Necessity of food for human survival is to
continue, similarly the passions between the sexes are to continue, and both are natural necessities of life.
But the two necessary factors of human life grow at different rate. Whereas population size increases
geometrically (2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64), the food supply increases arithmetically (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,). Population size,
therefore, always pushes against the limits of food supply needed to support the population. There is a limit
to increase the food supply by bringing more land under cultivation but there is limit to that. With the
existing rate of growth, the population was expected to double every 25 years.
For such a high growth rate of population, human beings should adopt such measures to check the growth
of population. In his opinion the population checks were:

a. Preventive checks, and
b. Positive checks.

Among the preventive checks, Malthus recommended (1) to follow celibacy (2) to marry late, (3) abstinence
from entering into sexual unions resulting in procreation. If human beings don’t adopt the “preventive
checks”, “positive checks” come into operation in the form of famine, epidemics, war, and other natural
calamities, and a lot of population is wiped out. For the remaining population food supply may be
sufficient, though it may be a temporary relief.

There has been lot of criticism of Malthusian theory of population by arguing that:
1. Malthus did not visualize the power of science and technology with the help of which the food
supply could be revolutionized. Even one country like Canada could produce so much of
wheat that could be sufficient for the whole of the world. But will Canada supply wheat free?
Not at all. Even if it is free some countries may not even have the ability to bear the
transportation costs.
2. Malthus did not advocate the use of contraceptives as a means of preventive measure, though
these were available during his times. Being a clergyman perhaps he did not consider the
advocacy of the use of contraceptives as appropriate.
3. Malthus presented a too pessimistic picture of the growth of population. Population of many
technologically advanced countries did not follow his predictions.
Nevertheless, the essay on population growth by Malthus generated lot of discussion on the topic, and
Malthus may rightly be considered as the father of population studies. The more guarded outlook is that we
no longer could use technology as an excuse to ignore Malthus.

Theory of Demographic Transition
Demographic transition theory links birth rates and death rates to a society’s level of industrialization –
the process by which a society’s economy shifts from a predominantly agricultural and handicraft base to a
predominantly industrial and large scale manufacturing base. There are four stages in the demographic
transition as seen in the figure. Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 87

During the pre-industrial stage, high birth rates are balanced by high death rates, and population size
remains fairly stable. Today the least industrialized nations of the world are in this demographic stage.
During stage 2, the stage of increasing industrialization, the death rate falls primarily because of the
improved sanitation, hygiene, and medical conditions. The birth rate, however, remains high because of the
continued influence of traditional values favoring large families. Having several children ensures survival of
at least some of them when infant mortality is high. During this stage the imbalance between the falling
death rate and the high birth rate results in high population growth. Pakistan like many other developing
nations is in this stage of transition.
At the third stage the traditional values give way to modern values favoring contraception and family
planning. Birth rates decline as a result of later ages at marriage, urbanization, industrialization, rising
aspirations, and other factors. The mortality rates eventually stabilize at low level and birth rates follow.

The shift from high to low mortality and fertility is known as the “demographic transition”. This shift
occurred throughout Europe, North America, and a number of other areas in the 19th and early 20th
centuries, and started in many developing countries in the middle of 20th century. Although the pace and
paths of decline varied tremendously among countries, the demographic transition emerged as the dominant
model of demographic change.
At the fourth stage the birth rates fall to about the same level as mortality rates. With births and deaths at
similar low levels, the equilibrium of slow population growth is regained.
The pace of change in a country varies depending on its culture, level of economic development, and other
factors. As countries pass through the various stages of the transition, population growth from natural
increase (birth rate - death rate) accelerates or decelerates depending upon the gap between birth rate and
the death rate. Many developing countries are in an intermediate stage, in which mortality and fertility are
falling at varying rates but are still high relative to the levels of Europe and other more developed areas.
Many low-fertility countries have entered what some describe as a “second demographic transition” in
which fertility falls below the two-child replacement level as forces of contemporary life interfere with
childbearing. This transition has been linked with greater educational and job opportunities for women, the
availability of effective contraception, a shift away from formal marriage, the acceptance of childbearing
outside marriage, and the rise of individualism and materialism.
Experts disagree about whether all countries will follow the transition experienced in Europe and about
whether there are additional stages of transition that we have not identified – long-term population decline,
for example. But the demographic transition theory provides a useful framework for assessing demographic
trends and projecting future population size. Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
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Lesson 37
How does population grow?

Prior to the discussion of the population profile of Pakistan let us see how does population grow? If we are
looking at the world population growth then it is simply:
Births – Deaths in a year per1000 population. Suppose births in a year are 40 and deaths are 10 then 40 – 10
= 30 per 1000 population or 3.0 per cent growth rate per annum. (Population growth rate is presented in

For a country population growth rate is calculated as: Births – Deaths + (immigration – emigration).

For a province or district population growth within a country: Births – Deaths + (immigration –
emigration) + (In-migration – Out-migration). In-migration and out-migration is the internal migration
within the country.

Urban area population growth within a country: Births – Deaths + (immigration –emigration) + (In-
migration – Out-migration) + Expansion in the urban area.

Suppose the population grows at 3 percent per annum, what does it mean?

It means the population would double in 23 years. How? The formula is very simple:
Just divide 70 years by the rate of growth: 70/3 = 23 years.
It may be called LAW OF SEVENTY.

World Population Growth

Population growth trends show that the world population in 1950 was 2.5 billion which increased to 6.296
billion in 2003, showing 152 percent increase (see fig. 1). In the less developed countries, during the same
period, the population increased from 1.7 billion to 5.098 billion, showing an increase of 200 percent.
Compared with them in the more developed countries, during the same period, the population increased
from 0.8 billion to 1.198 billion, indicating only a 50 percent increase. These figures suggest that the world
population is increasing very fast; and the biggest contribution to this increase is being made by the less
developed countries.

Figure 1

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Population has been growing slowly in the past. It took thousands of years for the world population to
reach the figure of 1 billion, which was estimated to be in the year1804 (see table 1). It took only 123 year
to add the second billion to the population of this planet and that happened in 1927. For the addition of
third billion it took only 33 years and that happened in 1960. The population of the world has been
growing so fast that for the addition of fourth billion it took only 13 years which was in 1974. For the
addition of fifth billion it took only 12 years and that was in 1987. Within the next 12 years the world
population has seen the addition of sixth billion, which happened in 1999. Presently we have more than 6
billion people living on this planet earth and the population is still growing.

Table 1: Time taken to add one billion to world population
_____________ .___________________
______Year World Population Years____
1804 1 ---
1927 2 123
1960 3 33
1974 4 14
1987 5 13
. 1999 6 12 . .

In table 2 it is interesting to note that the more developed regions have less population (1198 million in
2003) and high GNP/capita ($ 22060 in 2002) compared with less developed regions (population 5098
million and GNP/capita of $3580).

Table 2: Population and GNP/capita
__________________________________________________ _________________
Population GNP/
Region (million) 2003 Capita ($) 2000
World 6296 7140
More Dev 1198 22060
Less Dev 5098 3580

Specifically talking about Pakistan, table 3 shows that the country has an area of 0.796 million sq. kilometers
which comes to be 0.6 percent of the world. With respect to population it had reached an estimated 151
million people in 2004 which was 2.4 percent of the world population.

Table 3: Pakistan: Share of the World 2004
__________________________________________________ ________________
Area 0.796 Million Sq. Km. 0.6 %

Population 151 Million 2.4 %
. .

Information provided in table 4 shows that in 2003 the world population was growing at the rate of 1.3
percent and it was expected that it will take 54 years to double it population. Since the more developed
regions of the world have been growing at the rate of only 0.1 percent therefore it will take a very long
period (700 years) to double its population. Compared with them the less developed regions have been
growing at the rate of 1.6 percent, therefore they will take comparatively shorter time to double their
population (44 years).

In 2003 Pakistan had a population of 148.6 million, which was growing at the rate of 2.06 percent, and it
was estimated that its population will double in 34 years. Compared with other countries in the region like
Bangladesh, Iran, India, and Indonesia, Pakistan has higher rate of population growth, therefore it is likely
to take shorter period to double than the said countries.

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Table 4: Population, rate of growth and doubling time, 2003
__________________________________________________ ______________________
Population Growth Doubling
Regions (Million) Rate (%) Time (years.)
World 6296 1.3 54
More Developed 1198 0.1 700
Less Developed 5098 1.6 44 .
Pakistan 148.6 2.06 34 .
Bangladesh 136 1.7 41
Iran 66 1.2 58
India 1067 1.7 41
Indonesia 220 1.6 44 .

The population of the country is increasing quite rapidly. Table 5 shows that in 1950 Pakistan with 33
million people was at 14th place in population rank order of the countries. In 2004 with 151 million people,
by surpassing China, India, USA, Indonesia, and Brazil, Pakistan was at 6th place in population rank order of
the countries. During the last 54 years the population of the country has increased about five times.

Table 5: Pakistan’s population rank order in the world
__________________________________________________ _____________________
. Year Rank Population (Million)
1950 14 33
. 2004 6* 151
* After China, India, USA, Indonesia, and Brazil having surpassed Japan, Bangladesh, Nigeria,
Russia, etc.

Prior to 1961-71 decade the rate of growth has been lower than what has been found in 2004. One of the
important reasons was the high death rate which had been neutralizing the high birth rate. In line with the
theory of demographic transition the death rate falls earlier than a decline in the birth rate and also the death
rate declines sharply thereby creating a big gap between the birth rate and the death rate resulting in
relatively high growth rate. Pakistan has been certainly passing through demographic transition as one can
see a rise in population growth during the census period of 1961-72 (3.66), then tapering of during 1972-
81(3.05), and then further decline (2.69) during 1981-1998 as well as during 2003-04 (1.9) (see table 6).

Table 6: Population growth rate in Pakistan
__________________________________________________ _____________________
Period Growth Rate (%) .
1951-61 2.45
1961-71 3.66
1972-81 3.05
1981-98 2.69
2003-04 1.90 .

Although there is some visible declining trend in the population growth rate, yet the mere fact that the
number of persons being added annually is so huge that the overall impact may not be remarkable. One
could look at the number of births that took place during the year 2002. The data presented in table 7 show
that in one year 4, 366, 270 births took place which comes to as 8 births per minute being added to the
population of the country.

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Table 7: Number of births, deaths, and net addition of population during 2002
__________________________________________________ ______________________
Time period No. of births No. of deaths Net addition

In One Year 4,366,270 1,222,000 3,144,270
Per Month 363,855 101,833 262, 022
Per Day 11,962 3,348 8,614
Per Minute 8 2 6 .

Looking at the number of deaths, there were 1,222,000 cases in the year 2002, which comes to 2 deaths per
minute. The resultant difference between births and deaths shows that every minute 6 persons and by the
year 3,144,270 persons were being added to the population of Pakistan. The addition of 3.14 million
persons means adding the population equal to the cities of Multan + Sukkar + Peshawar + Quetta. For
these people the government may have to arrange facilities for their decent standard of living.
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Lesson 38

In lecture 37 we looked at the size of population. Lecture 38 shall focus on the composition of population
of Pakistan as well as some implications of the Population Planning Program. In the composition of
population first of let us look at the age distribution of the people of Pakistan.

Age Distribution

According to 1998 Population Census of Pakistan, 43 percent of the population was of children under 15
years, 53 percent was between the ages of 15-64 years, and about 4 percent was 65 years and over (see fig.
1). This information shows that a big proportion of the population has been of children implying that they
are dependents on the economy of the country. About four percent of the population happens to be of old
persons, another group of dependents. About one half of the population is that of women, who, with the
exception of few, are usually considered as dependents. In this way the age structure of the population of
Pakistan shows that majority (nearly two thirds) of them are dependents. Of the dependents, children need
special services like health, education, playground, and family care. In this way the young population puts
special demand on the resources of the country. Similarly the senior citizens need special services.

Figure 1

< 15 yrs. 15-64 yrs. 65+ yrs

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Sex Composition

According to 1998 Population Census sex composition of the population shows that 52 percent of the total
was that of males and 48 percent was of females (see fig. 2). This information shows that there is high sex
ratio which means that the number of males per 100 females is much higher than 100 females. This is
typical of developing countries which, among other factors, may be reflective of the status of women. In
most of the developed countries the situation is quite the opposite indicating a greater proportion of
women than men in the population.

Figure 2

Male Female

According to 1998 population census of Pakistan 43 percent of the population was of children under 15
years, 53 percent was between the ages of 15-64 years, and about 4 percent was 65 years and over. This
information shows that a big proportion of the population has been of children implying that they are
dependents on the economy of the country. About four percent happened to be old persons, another group
of dependents. About one half of the population is that of women, who, with the exception of few, are
usually considered as dependents. In this way the age structure of the population of Pakistan shows that
majority (nearly two thirds) of them are dependents. Of the dependents, children need special services like
health, education, playgrounds, and family care. In this way the young population puts special demand on
the resources of the country. Similarly the senior citizens need special services.

Age and Sex Pyramid

Age and sex distribution of the population of Pakistan gives us a specific type of pyramid which is typical of
developing countries (see fig 3). This pyramid has a very broad base indicating a large number of children
(43%). In this pyramid one could also see that at the lower ages (0-4) that there does not seem to be much
difference between the number of males and females. As we move up the pyramid the number of females
starts declining due to various reasons like the neglect of female children, poor health due to bearing of
large number of children, lack of facilities for maternal care, etc.
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53% Productive
age group 15-
64 22%
Females in
Age Group
4.8% Elderly 65 + Population
Population Pyramid of Pakistan Population Pyramid of Pakistan - - 1998 1998
53% Productive
age group 15-
64 22%
Females in
Age Group
4.8% Elderly 65 + Population
Population Pyramid of Pakistan Population Pyramid of Pakistan - - 1998 1998
Figurer 3
Prior to the industrial revolution the age and sex pyramids of the developed countries also looked like those
of the present day developing countries. Just by looking at the population pyramid one could easily tell
whether this pyramid is that of a highly developed country, a developed country, or that of a developing
country (see fig. 4). As one can see from the figure, the base of the population pyramid of a developing
country is very broad indicating that the population has a large number of children. The population of such
countries has the potential of rapid growth. Sex ratio is in favor of males. Then there is a sharp tapering off
of the pyramid whereby it becomes conical. At the senior citizen’s age the proportion of population is very

Figure 4

Prior to the industrial revolution the age and sex pyramids of the developed countries also had similar shape
as that of Pakistan. Presently although the age and sex pyramids of the developed countries have quite a
different shape still they are being called pyramids.
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Population Pyramids of Pakistan

55.54 55.54
million million
Women in Women in
Reproductive Reproductive
Age Age – – 28.8 28.8
million million
Old Age 6.46 million Old Age 6.46 million
55.54 55.54
million million
Women in Women in
Reproductive Reproductive
Age Age – – 28.8 28.8
million million
Old Age 6.46 million Old Age 6.46 million
Women in Reproductive Age – 42.36 million
62.79 million
As the countries move on the scale of development, its birth rates start falling and the base of the pyramid
does not remain broad and also it does not remain as steep as it was seen in case of developing countries.
The bars indicating the male and female distribution start becoming different. The bars indicating the
females start becoming longer than those of bars for males. Since the pyramid is no more conical, therefore
it indicates that the proportion of old persons in the population starts increasing. On the whole the
population of such countries shows slow growth rate.

Countries with zero population growth have a barrel shaped pyramid. Here different bars representing age
become almost equal except at the top for the senior citizen. The bars at each age for females are either
equal to the bars for males or these are longer than the bars for males.

There is also a pyramid showing “negative growth” of population. In this pyramid the base of the pyramid
is quite squeezed indicating that there are no children. This pyramid starts bulging out from the middle
suggesting some increase in adult population which is primarily due to immigrants entering the country to
fill the gap created by the declining fertility of the local population. This pyramid has become comparatively
broad at the top due to the increase in the number of old people. Countries with such population have
“aging” population.

The present age and sex pyramid of Pakistan shows high growth potential for population. With the future
socioeconomic developments it is expected there will be a decline in fertility. With this decline in fertility
the lower bars of the pyramid start getting shorter than what was in 1998. Also their length starts becoming
equal to each other. The bars on top of the pyramid representing the old people above 65 year start getting
bigger than the bars in the previous pyramid (see fig. 5).

Figure 5

Literacy Composition

Literacy has been
considered to be a
crucial variable in the
development of a
country. Pakistan
started with a very low
literacy rate. In 1961
only 17 percent of the
population aged 10 year
and above was literate.
There have been small
increases in the literacy
rates in the country.
Table 1 shows that at
the time of third population census (1972) there was small increase of 5 percentage points over the previous
population census of 1961 and an increase of small percentage points have been observed at the time of
every population census. During the year 2004 literacy rate in the country has been estimated to be at 54

Table 1: Literacy rate (%)
__________________________________________________ ______________________
Year Rate Year Rate_______ .
1961 17 1990 35 .
1972 22 1998 40 .
1981 26 2004 54 .
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Female literacy rates are much lower than the male population. Similarly literacy rates in the rural area are
lower than the urban areas. The literacy situation of the rural women appears to be the lowest.

Despite the fact that literacy rate has been increasing in Pakistan, it is interesting to note that the absolute
number of illiterates in the country has also been increasing. The information provided in table 2 shows that
in 1961 there were 22 million persons who were illiterate and by the year 2004 this number has increased to
69 million, which is a more than three times increase. During the same period, the literacy rate increased
from 17 percent to 54 percent, more than three times increase. It might look ironical to have such a
scenario but this reality has emerged due to the rapid growth of population. The high growth rate of
population has been one of the important factors that neutralize the achievement of increase in literacy.

Table 2: Absolute number of illiterates (in million)
__________________________________________________ ______________________
Year No. Year No. .
1961 22 1990 52
1972 33 1998 55
1981 42 2004 69 .

Distribution of Population

The distribution of population may be looked at from different dimensions: rural-urban distribution,
provincial distribution, distribution by different city size, etc. Rural-urban distribution, as seen in the figure
6, shows that as of 2004 every third person was living in cities. At the time of partition every fifth person
was living in cities. An increase in
urban population has mostly been due
to migration of rural population to
the urban areas. Most of such
migrants come to cities in search of

Figure 6

Urban Population

Implications of Population

Given the scenario of population
growth in the country, the
government of Pakistan started population program about fifty years back. Over the years a good amount
of effort has gone into it for the creation of awareness about family planning, changing the attitudes of
couples in its favor, and motivating the couples for the adoption of family planning practices (the use of
contraceptives). As an outcome of government investments as well as through the efforts of NGOs some
of the parameters of population are given in table 3. The data show that there has been progress on three
important parameters of knowledge about family planning, the use of contraceptives, and fertility rate. It
has been found that as of 2004 there were 96 percent couples who were in the know-of family planning but
only a little over one third were using some family planning method (contraceptive). There appears to be a
big gap between the knowledge about family planning and the practicing of family planning. It has been
found that the fertility rate (the total number of children born to a woman during her life time) has declined
for example from 5.4 children per woman in 1991, to 4.9 in 1997, to 4.1 children in 2004.

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Table 3: Population parameters (1991 to 2004)
__________________________________________________ ____________________
Parameter 1991 1997 2004 .
Knowledge (%) 78 94 96
Use of Contraceptives 12 24 34
Fertility rate 5.4 4.9 4.1 .

Looking at the world situation, the information provided in table 4 shows that the population growth rate
(PGR) of the world in 2002 was 1.3 percent, and the contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) of 61 percent. In
the more developed regions of the world the PGR was 0.1 and CPR 68 percent whereas in the less
developed regions the corresponding PGR was 1.6 and CPR was 60 percent. Asian figures show a PGR of
1.3 percent and CPR of 64. Comparing with this situation it looks that Pakistan has yet to cover long
distance to come closer to the average figures of Asia or of less developed regions, what to think about the
figures of more developed regions.

Table 4: Population Growth Rate (PGR) and Contraceptive Prevalence Rate
(CPR) 2002
__________________________________________________ ______________________
Regions PGR (%) CPR (%) .
World 1.3 61
More Developed 0.1 68
Less Developed 1.6 60
Asia 1.3 64 .

Comparing Pakistan with some of the Muslim countries, the information provided in table 5 shows that
Pakistan is way behind Iran, Turkey, Morocco, Indonesia, Egypt and Bangladesh on the counts of CPR,
PGR, and TFR. A program which is well accepted in some other Muslim countries, why it is not that much
accepted in Pakistan? We have to explore the reasons for such differences.

Table 5: PGR, CPR, and Total Fertility Rate (TFR), 2002
__________________________________________________ ___________________
Muslim countries TFR(%) PGR(%) CPR(%) .
Egypt 3.5 2.0 56
Morocco 3.1 1.9 58
Turkey 2.5 1.5 64
Iran 2.5 1.2 74
Indonesia 2.6 1.6 57
Bangladesh 3.3 1.7 55
Pakistan (2004) 4.1 1.9 37 .

Keeping in view the existing parameters of population program the population projections made by the
government suggest that the population of
Pakistan is going to increase from 148.6
million in 2003 to 167.7 million in 2010,
and to 195.5 million in 2020 (see fig. 7).
Also 2020 is the year when Pakistan is
expected to have population stabilization.
We shall discuss this concept of population
stabilization later. It has been further
projected that the population of Pakistan is
going to double by the year 2040.

Figure 7

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Lesson 39

Population is a big reservoir of human resource for the economic development of a country. In fact it is
the quality of the human resource that makes a difference for the economy. Poor quality of this resource
could be a burden whereas high quality can be an asset. From another angle one has to see how much
income is to be distributed among how many people. Same amount of income distributed among a large
number of people brings smaller per head share compared with if there is a smaller number of people who
have to share the said income. One has to see at what rate income is increasing and at what rate population
is increasing. Look at the information provided in table 1. Gross domestic product (GDP) of Pakistan has
increased from Rs. 20 billion in 1950 to Rs. 4018 billion in 2003 which is a 200 percent increase. But when
we look at the per capita income it increased from $ 79 in 1950 to $ 492 in 2005 which is only 6 percent
increase during this period. Though there is a 200 percent increase in the GDP but when we try to
distribute it as per head it gives only 6 percent increase because there is so much of increase in population.

Table 1: GDP and per Capita income of Pakistan, 1950-2003
1950 2003 Increase .
GDP 20* 4018* 200
Per capita income 79^ 492^ 6 .
* In billion Rs. ^ In US $

South Korea and Pakistan are often capered with respect to population change and per capita income
change. One reason for this comparison is that the two countries were similar in population size and in per
capita income in 1951. Table 2 shows that in 1951 the population of Pakistan was 33 million and that of
South Korea was 20 million. In

Table 2: Comparison of Pakistan with South Korea

1951 2004
___________________ ________________________

Pakistan S. Korea Pakistan S. Korea

Population 33 million 20 million 151 million 47.7 million

GDP $ 79 $ 82 $ 503 $10, 700

2004 the population of Pakistan increased to 151 million and that of South Korea it went up only to 47.7
million. Compared with Pakistan this is very small increase. With respect to gross domestic product (GDP)
in 1951 Pakistan had $79 and South Korea had $ 82. In 2004 the GDP of Pakistan increased to $ 503 and
that of South Korea to $ 10,700. The big increase in population of Pakistan gave a smaller per capita GDP
whereas a smaller increase in population of South Korea gave a bigger per head increase in GDP.

Another implication of population growth may be seen with respect to the status of employment and
unemployment. In 1970-71 there were 18.5 million employed people in Pakistan which increased to 39.4
million which is about two times increase (see fig. 1). It is interesting to note in 1970-71 there were 0.4
million unemployed people which increased to 3.3 million showing 8 times increase in unemployment.
Such an ironical increase in unemployment has emerged due a rapid increase in population Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 100
Figure 1

Another impact of population growth may be seen on the efforts of the government to increase the number
of primary schools and what is happening to the number of illiterates. The information provided in figure 2
shows that in 1961 there were 44 thousand primary schools and the number of illiterates was 22 million in
the country. In 2003 the number of primary school has increased to 170 thousand but there is no decline in
the number of illiterates. In fact this number has increased to 53 million. All this has happened due to a
rapid increase in population growth.

Figure 2 Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
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19981999200020012002200320042005200620072008200920 10
An increase in population has a negative impact on the size of farms. Due to the law of inheritance, on the
death of the owner the landholding is divided among the heirs as provided in the law of inheritance. The
information provided in table 3 shows that the number of farms under 3 acres has increased between 1980
and 1990. The small size farms become smaller and smaller and ultimately become uneconomic for
purposes of cultivation. It affects the employment of the owners, agricultural production, and economy of
the country.

Table3: Number of private farms by size
Farm size 1980 1990
(acres) Number %
Number %
Under 3 Acres 2.07 50.90 3.25 64.10
3-5 0.92 22.60 0.86 17.00
5-10 0.71 17.40 0.62 12.20
10+ 0.37 9.15 0.34 6.80
Total 4.07 100.0 5.07 100.0

The population projections show that the population of Pakistan is likely to increase rapidly and is expected
to reach the figure of 170.1 million by the year 2010, the year when the government of Pakistan expects
some stabilization in population growth (see figure 3).

Figure 3: Population Projection, 1998-2010 (in millions)

Pakistan has young population, 43 percent being under 15 years of age. Among these children 5-14 year
olds are supposed to be in school, therefore they need school facilities. In 1998 the number children aged
5-14 years was 31.7 million. It has been projected that by the year 2010 their number is likely to increase to

40.3 million (see fig. 4).

Of these children there were 11.9 million who were supposed to be in primary school. This number is likely
to increase to 20.3 million by the year 2010 (see fig.5). They will certainly be in need of primary school
facilities if we want them to be in school. One of the facilities is the availability of teachers. In 1998 there Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
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39.6 39.8
19981999200020012002200320042005200620072008200920 10
16.1 16.6 17.1 17.5 18.0
19981999200020012002200320042005200620072008200920 10

were 11.9 million primary school teachers. In order to meet the requirements in 2010 the country shall be
in need of 20.3 million primary teachers (see fig. 6).

Another important requirement is the availability of schools. In 1998 the required number of schools was
79 thousand. To cater to the needs of the projected increase of school going children, the country shall
need 162.6 thousand additional schools (see fig. 7). For the creation of primary school facilities the
expenditure needed in 2010 shall be Rs. 68 billion (see fig. 8).

Figure 4: Population aged 5-14 years, 1998-2010 (in millions)

Figure 5: Primary school students, 1998-2010(in millions)

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Figure 6: Primary Teachers Required, 1998-2010 (in 000)

Figure 7: Primary Schools Required 1998-2010 (in 000)

Health is another social sector which has to feel the impact of the growth of population.
In 1998 there was a need for 20.2 thousand doctors’ production and management. With the increase in
population this need is likely to increase to 45.4 thousand by the year 2010 (see fig. 9). The annual recurrent
expenditure required for this facility was 3.7 billion in 1998 which is likely to increase to 13.5 billion by the
year 2010 (see fig. 10). Then one looks into the question: will Pakistan be able to allocate that amount of
resources in this sector.

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Figure 8: Doctors production and management, 1998-2010 (in 000)

Additional GDP needed per year

We have already seen in a previous lecture that in Pakistan 3 million people are being added every year.
Presently GDP/per capita in the country is US $ 652. To provide the same amount per capita GDP for this
annual increase in population is (652 x 3 =) $1.956 In order to create additional GDP of $1.956 billion to
maintain the current per capita GDP, Pakistan needs an additional investment $5.868 billion annually. Will
we be able to make such annual investment?

Hard Facts

Given the rate of increase in population growth, economic development, and social sector development, the
hard facts are:


• Population living below poverty line 49 million
• Population with NO access to safe drinking water 54 million
• Population with one room houses 56 million
• Population with no sanitation 76 million
• Infant Mortality Rate (per 1000 live births) 80
• Maternal Mortality Rate (per 100,000 live births) 350-500
• Deliveries at home (%) 76
• Infant Mortality Rate (per 1000 live births) 80
• Maternal Mortality Rate (per 100,000 live births) 350-500
• Deliveries at home (%) 76


• Forest Cover
• At less than 5% of the total surface area is being reduced by 2.5% - 3.1% per year ,
which is the 2nd highest deforestation rate in the world.
• Land Degradation
• 38% of the irrigated land is water logged and 14% is saline.
80.7 86.8
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• Air Pollution
• Suspended particle matters in air in most urban centers are 6.4 times higher than
WHO guidelines.
• Traffic Increase
• 0.8million to 4.0 million over last 20 years Æ 500 % increase.

Summary of Implications


Educational facilities • Living Space
• Health Services • Arable Land
• Housing Units • Clean water
• Food


• Unemployment • Over crowding
• Land fragmentation • Katchi abadis
• Import of food • Poverty
• Environmental problems • Unrest
• Congestion in households • Crime


• Issues related to population need to be advocated for from the top level of the government;

• The public sector allocations for social sectors remain very low and need to be enhanced;

• Population needs to be taken up as a core basis for any future development planning;

• Issues related to gender and adolescents need to be addressed; and

• Fighting poverty, illiteracy, ill health and meeting unmet needs are the major challenges.
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c Trend
c Result
Population Change
Lesson 40

A policy is a formalized set of procedures to guide behavior. The purpose of policy could be either to alter
or maintain consistency of behavior to achieve a specific goal.

Population policy is a strategy for achieving a particular pattern of population change. Population policy
may be single purpose like reducing crude birth rate by 20 per 1000 or it could be multifaceted like
rationalizing the reproductive behavior.

For population policy it is necessary to assess the future population trends and its implications. One has to
look into the population projection (like in how many years population will double?) What will be the
expected socioeconomic consequences of the demographic trends? Should we let these demographic
trends continue? If the (future) demographic trends are not in the expected directions then one has to look
into its causes? What interventions could be introduced to reach the desired demographic results with the
desired socioeconomic consequences? Such a scenario could be seen from the following figure:

Future oriented people need policy. Population policies may be for retarding growth, or promoting growth
or it could be for maintaining population growth. No country can ignore the issue of population policy.

An important question is: Is present population explosion in Pakistan the result of high fertility? How
about the rapidly declining death rate and increasing life expectancy? There in fact is “the man’s triumph
over death.” We do find that the total fertility rate (TFR) has fallen the world wide which is 3.6. In the
developing countries it has come down to 4.1 children per woman. Nevertheless, Pakistan is still passing
through the demographic transition where the birth rate has lagged behind the declining death rate. This
cultural lag has already resulted in population explosion.

In Pakistan the TFR has come down to 4.1 which is still very high. The fertility rate that produces
stabilization of population is the replacement level which is 2.1 births per woman. The TFR in Pakistan is
twice high than the replacement level.

Pop. Trend Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
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Given the structure of population in Pakistan it may be pointed out that even if we reach the replacement
level population growth will continue. The important reason being the young population age structure of
Pakistan. This is usually referred to as population momentum which means the tendency of the population size
to increase for some time even after a two child family average is reached. Since record number of young
people are entering the childbearing ages therefore the population may continue to grow for three more
decades even after the acceptance of two child family norms, which is a replacement level.

Vision of Population Policy

The government of Pakistan launched its latest population policy in July 2002. The overall vision of the
population policy is to achieve population stabilization by 2020 through the expeditious completion of the
demographic transition leading to declines both in fertility and mortality rates.

Goals of Population Policy

The population policy seeks to:

1. Attain a balance between resources and population within the broad parameters of the ICPD
paradigm. (ICPD is the international conference on population and development, which was held
in Cairo in 1994. In this conference a good number of NGOs participated. It was decided that in
future there shall be more emphasis on reproductive health. Family planning shall be part of
reproductive health. There was lot of emphasis on women rights).
2. Address various dimensions of population issue within national laws, development priorities while
remaining within our national social and cultural norms.
3. Increase awareness of the adverse consequences of rapid population growth both at the national,
provincial, district and community level.
4. Provide family planning as an entitlement based on informed and voluntary choice.
5. Attain a reduction in fertility through improvement in access and quality of reproductive health
6. Reduce population momentum through a delay in the first birth, changing spacing patterns and
reduction in family size desires.


1. Short Term

a. Reduce population growth to 1.9 percent per annum by 2004. (Government of Pakistan claims that
this objective has been achieved).
b. Reduce fertility through enhanced voluntary contraception to 4 births per woman by the year 2004.
(Government of Pakistan claims that this objective has been achieved)

2. Long Term

a. Reduce population growth rate from 1.9 percent per annum in 2004 to 1.3 percent per annum by
the year 2020.
b. Reduce fertility through enhanced voluntary contraceptive adoption to replacement level of 2.1
births per woman by 2020.
c. Universal access to safe family planning methods by 2010.


1. Develop and launch advocacy campaigns to address special groups, such as, policy makers,
opinion leaders, youth and adolescents.
2. Promote the small family norm through innovative incentive schemes for users, clients,
parents, service providers and program managers. Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
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3. Increase ownership of population issues by the stakeholders and strengthen their
participation in the processes of service delivery and program design.
4. Reduce unmet need for family planning services by making available quality family
planning family planning and reproductive health services to all married couples who want
to limit or space their children.
5. Ensure the provision of quality services especially to the poor, under-served populations in
the rural areas and urban slums.
6. Coordinate and monitor a comprehensive network of family planning and reproductive
health services in Pakistan.

7. Build strong partnership with concerned line Ministries, Provincial line Departments, Non-
Governmental Organizations and the private sector, including industrial sector to maintain
standards in family planning by providing assistance/guidance through advocacy, training,
monitoring and other means of participation and quality assurance.
8. Strengthen contribution to population activities by civil society players, particularly NGOs
and media.
9. Ensure population and family life education for school and college students. Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
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Lesson 41

What is the relationship between environment and society? What kinds of impact do human groups make
upon the planet? How have environmental (or ecological) limits shaped human behavior, cultural practices
and social institutions? What do developments in science and technology, economic practice and
government policy tell us about the changing forms of nature-society relationships? These are some of the
questions that germinate discussions about issues pertaining to environment-society relationships.
Environment: Stems from the French world viron, meaning a circle, a round, or the country around. Hence
environment means the external conditions and influences affecting the life of an organism, or entire
societies, or the “physical and biotic infrastructure” supporting populations of all kind. In this way
environment is the total physical and material bases of all life, including land, air, water, and the vital
material resources and energy in which societies are embedded. It may be called natural environment.

Natural environment: The earth’s surface and atmosphere, including living organisms, air, water, soil, and
other resources necessary to sustain life.
Environment serves three distinct functions for societies:
• Provides our home, or the space in which we conduct our activities (living space);
• Supplies us with the resources that are necessary for living (supply depot); and
• Acts as a ‘sink’ for absorbing the waste products of modern industrial societies (waste repository).

These three functions may compete with each other.
Because of increase in population and the related activities:
• There is substantially more conflict between the three functions,
• The total human demand or ‘load’ may be exceeding the long-term carrying capacity of both
specific areas and even of the global ecosystem.

Ecology: The study of interaction of living organisms and the natural environment. Like any other species,
humans depend on the natural environment. But it is the humans who have the culture. With the
development of culture human beings transform the environment, for better or worse. Where human
beings have put nature to its service, the whole process has germinated problems of solid waste, pollution,
global warming, biodiversity, etc. Who created all this? Obviously these are the results of human actions.
Hence one looks at some of the fundamental social issues like: What “the environment” means to people?
How do the meanings (thoughts, hopes, fears) change? How human social patterns put mounting pressure
on the environment?

Global Dimension:
Planet is a single eco-system. Echo is ‘house’, which reminds us that this planet is our home and that all
living things and their natural environment are interrelated. It is a system composed of the interaction of all living
organisms and their natural environment. Such inter-connectedness means that changes in any part of the natural
environment ripple through the entire global ecosystem. For example, ozone is a layer in the atmosphere
that restricts the entry of harmful ultraviolet radiation. As a result of environmental changes it is in the
depletion process.

Historical Dimension:
How have people gained the power to threaten the natural environment? Human beings have the capacity
to develop culture. Continuously the technology is being improved. Human beings have moved from
hunting societies to pastorals, to agriculturists, to industrial society and to post industrial society. In this
process of development it has been seen that humans consume natural resources and release pollutants.
Can we say that man has been bending nature? In this process the role of rich countries has been crucial.
They produce 1000 times more goods than the poor nations. Raise the standard of living → produce more
solid waste and pollution.
Where there are material benefits of technology → there are negative effects on the environment like: Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
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Running an environmental deficit: A profound and negative long-term harm to the natural environment caused by
humanity’s focus on short-term material affluence. The concept of environmental deficit is important for three
reasons. First, it reminds us that the state of environment is social issue, reflecting the choices people make
about how to live. Second, it suggests that environmental damage – to their air, land, or water – is often
unintended. By focusing on the short-term benefits of, say cutting down forests, using throwaway
packaging, we fail to see their long-term environmental effects. Third, in some respects, the environmental
deficit is reversible. Inasmuch as societies have created environmental problems, in other words, societies
can undo many of them.

Population Increase: After technology, the rapid growth of population is another threat to the
environment. With the economic development the previous balance between the high birth rate and high
death rate has been disturbed by the rapid decline in the death rate and the birth rate lagging behind in its
slow decline. The resultant demographic transition has lead to population explosion. By the end of 20th
century the planet earth was carrying more than six billion people, out of which about five billion were in
the relatively poor countries. Poor people have no choice but to consume whatever is available in the
How about consumerism? So many autos → need oil → pollution. Planet suffers from over-development.

Cultural Patterns: Growth and Limits
Our cultural outlook – especially how we construct a vision of “the good life’ – also has environmental
consequences. People look for material comfort whereby progress and science become the cherished
values. Logic of growth is the additional consumption of environment. Nevertheless, the finite resources
put limits to growth. Humanity must implement policies to control the growth of population, production,
and the use of resources in order to avoid environmental collapse. Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
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Lesson 42

Technological developments, population growth, and cultural outlook have put increasing demands on the
natural environment, and people are becoming concerned. People in the third world countries face grave
problems of overpopulation and poverty. What are some of the key environmental issues?

Solid Waste: The “Disposable Society”
Think about a day in your life and collect everything that you throw away. How much will it weigh? In an
industrial society like US an average person discards about 2.5 kilograms of paper, metal, plastic, and other
disposable material daily (over a lifetime about 50 tons). This is the example of a disposable society, where
convenience has become a cultural value. A rich society consumes much more and most of the items have
throwaway packaging. The most familiar case is that of fast food, served in cardboard, plastic, and
Styrofoam containers that we throw away within minutes. Countless other products are elaborately
packaged to make the product more attractive to the consumer. The other disposables: the bottles, pens,
razors, flashlights, batteries, and other items designed to have limited life. We are fast emulating the cultural
patterns of Western society.

Where does this waste go? Since most of it is not recycled, so it never ‘goes away’. It needs landfills and
poses several threats to the natural environment. So it needs land for disposal, which contributes to water
pollution (both above and below the ground). For the protection of environment, this waste has to be

Preserving Clean Water
Oceans, lakes, and streams supply the lifeblood of the global ecosystem. Humans depend on water for
drinking, bathing, cooling, cooking, recreation, agriculture, and host of other activities.
According to what scientists call the hydrological cycle, the earth naturally recycles water and refreshes the land.
The process begins as heat from the sun causes the earth’s water to evaporate and form clouds. Water then
returns to earth as rain, which drains into streams and rivers and rushes towards sea. This hydrological cycle
not only renews the supply of water but cleans it as well. Pollutants steadily build up that affect the water
supply and the environment.

Soaring population and complex technology have greatly increased the societies’ appetite for water. Even in
parts of world that receive significant rainfall, people are using groundwater faster than it can be naturally

We must face the reality that water is valuable, and is a finite resource. Greater conservation on the part of
individuals, industry, and farming is the answer. Then there is the problem of water pollution affecting the
health of the people. It is also part of development and population growth.

Clearing the Air
One of the unexpected consequences of industrial technology (especially the factory and the motor vehicle)
has been a decline in air quality. In the developed countries, great strides have been made in combating
pollution caused by industrial way of life. Laws have made to prohibit air pollution. Scientists have
developed new technologies to reduce the air pollution. But in the developing countries the problem of air
pollution is becoming serious. Fuels used for cooking and heating damage the air quality. The poor nations
are eager to encourage short-term industrial development but pay little heed to the long-term dangers of air
pollution. Cities are plagued by air pollution.

There is also the danger of acid rain. It refers to precipitation, made acidic by air pollution that destroys plant and
animal life. It begins with power plants burning fossil fuels (oil and coal) to generate electricity; this burning
releases sulfuric and nitrous oxides into the air. As the wind sweeps these gases into the atmosphere, they
react with the air to form sulfuric and nitric acids, which turn atmospheric moisture acidic.
One type of pollution can cause another. Air pollution can cause water contamination.
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Forests are falling victim to the needs and appetites of the surging world populations. Land is cleared of
forests for using it for other purposes. Then we have the lumber industry, which eats the forests.

Forests play an important part in cleansing the atmosphere of carbon dioxide (CO2). With the depletion of
forest, the process of cleaning the atmospheres is hampered. In the atmosphere, carbon dioxide behaves
much like the glass roof of a greenhouse, letting heat from the sun pass through to the earth while
preventing much of it radiating back away from the planet. Ecologists therefore speculate about a possible
green house effect, a rise in the earth’s temperature due to an increasing concentration of carbon dioxide
in the atmosphere. It will result in global warming. The warming trend will melt vast areas of the polar
icecaps and raise the sea level to cover low lying land areas of the world. Though this issue has been a
controversy, but certainly it has an effect on biodiversity. These forests are home to a variety of 30 million
living species. What is the significance of this biodiversity? Biodiversity is a rich source for human food, a
vital genetic resource for research, provides beauty and complexity of environment, and the extinction of
any species is irreversible and final.

Society and the environment
It is the operation of society that affects the natural environment.
The values and beliefs to the operation of a social system are highly important. Therefore the state of the
environment reflects our attitudes towards the natural world. As part of the logic of growth, environment
has been used as a resource. Humans have also been trying to solve the environmental problems, and
functionalists are optimistic that human beings can do it.
Social conflict theorists maintain that the problems of natural environment result from social arrangements
favored by the elites. Elites directly or indirectly aggravate environmental problems as they advance their
self-interest. There is also environment racism: the pattern by which environmental hazards are greatest in
proximity to poor people, especially minorities.

Environmental problems from the conflict point of view, result from a society’s class structure and,
globally, the world’s hierarchy of nations. It has been that the high-income countries place the greatest
demand on the natural environment. Environmental problems are likely to grow worse as in poor societies
as they develop economically, using more resources and producing more waste and pollution in the process.
In the long run, all nations of the world share a vital interest in protecting the national environment.

Sustainable Society and World
Solution to the entire range of environmental problems is for all of us to live in a way that does not add to
the environmental deficit. We have to look for ecologically sustainable culture, which refers to way of
life that meets the needs of the present generation without threatening the environmental legacy of future

Sustainable living calls for three basic goals. The first is the conservation of the finite resources, that is, satisfying
our present wants with a responsible eye toward the future. Conservation involves using resources more
efficiently, seeking alternative sources of energy, and, in some cases, learning to live with less.
The second goal is reducing waste. Whenever possible, simply using less is the most effective way to reduce
waste. In addition, societies around the world need to recycling programs. Success depends upon educating
the people to reduce waste and passing laws that require recycling of certain materials.
The third goal in any plan for sustainable ecosystem must be to bring world population growth under control.
But even sweeping environmental strategies – put in place with the best intentions - - will fail without some
fundamental changes in how we think about ourselves and our world. We need to realize that the present is
tied to the future. Simply put, today’s actions shape tomorrow’s world. Second, rather than viewing humans as
“different” from other forms of life and assuming that we have the right to dominate the planet, we must
acknowledge that all forms of life are interdependent. Thirdly, achieving a sustainable ecosystem requires global
cooperation. Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
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Lesson 43

Change is difference between two points in time. What was at time one and what it is at time two. The
difference between two points in time can be called as change.

Time 2 – Time 1 = Difference i.e. change

Social change means the changes in the social structure and social relationships. At macro level we can look
at social change at the societal level just like the changes in the population structure of the country. One
could look at age structure of the population. As we have already discussed this structure like 43 percent of
the population of Pakistan is that of children, about 4 percent is that of old people and the rest may be
adults. Then you can also look at the rural and urban distribution of people. Educational distribution of
people is another angle of population structure; there is lot of shifting from rural to urban areas. One could
also look at changing birth rate as an aspect of social change. At the micro level one could also look at the
changes taking place in the structure of families in terms of size, authority structure, age at marriage,
number of children per woman.

There can be change in the relationships of people. For example there is decline in the neighborliness, there
are changes in the employer and employee relationships, there is change in the men and women
relationships (women empowerment), and so on.

Similar to social change there is another concept of cultural change, which means changes in the culture
of society. This change could be seen in the patterns of behavior of people (norm), in the laws of society, in
the technology of the society. Social change and cultural change overlap and sometimes it become difficult
to make a distinction between social change and cultural change. Therefore to overcome such an
ambiguous situation the two concepts are combined and called as socio-cultural change.

Social change usually does not appear suddenly unless there is some natural catastrophe. It is usually a
continuous process. The process of social change has four major characteristics.

Social change happens all the time. Nothing is constant and change is inevitable. The process of
change may be slow at one time than another time. One society may be changing faster than the other.
Hunting and food gathering societies have been changing quite slowly; members of today’s high income
societies on the other hand, experience significant change within a single lifetime.

Some elements of culture change faster than the others. The gap between the two has been referred as
cultural lag. The concept of cultural lag was given by W. F. Ogburn. This concept may be defined as: when
two interrelated parts of culture change at different rate so that one moves faster than the other whereby
one is left behind, the gap between the two is called cultural lag. Within the culture, material culture usually
changes faster than the non-material culture (ideas, attitudes).
Social change is sometimes intentional but often unplanned. Industrial societies actively encourage
many kinds of change. For example, scientists seek more efficient forms of energy, and advertisers try to
convince us that life is incomplete without this or that new gadget. So market researchers find out new ways
of convincing people to use the new product. Yet rarely one can envision all the consequences of the
changes that are set in motion. Automobile has been introduced for mobility and transportation. At the
same time there have appeared many unintended consequences like pollution, accidents, and the same autos
being used for robbery and other unlawful activities.

Social change is controversial. Social change brings both good and bad consequences. Capitalists
welcomed the industrial revolution because new technology increased productivity and increased profits.
However, the workers feared that the machines would make their skills outdated and resisted the push for
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Look at women empowerment; for some it could be a sign of progress while others may consider it as a
sign of decline.

Some changes matter more than others. Some changes (such as clothing fads) have only passing
significance, whereas others (like computers) last a long time and may change the entire world. Information
technology may revolutionize the whole world just like the industrial revolution.
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Lesson 44

Social change has many causes. Also in a world linked by sophisticated communication and transportation
technology, change in one place often begets change elsewhere. Some of the causes of social change are
being discussed here.

Culture and Change

There are three important sources of cultural change: invention, discovery, and diffusion.

Invention is the combination of existing elements of culture into something new. Inventions produce new
objects, ideas, and social patterns. Invention of ideas, objects and social patterns bring social change.

Discovery occurs when people take note of existing elements of the world. Medical advances, for example,
offer a growing understanding of the human body. Human body has been there but perhaps in the olden
times humans did not know much about its functioning and dis-functioning. Discoveries about the
functioning of human body have added to the scientific knowledge. Beyond the direct effects on human
health, medical discoveries have stretched life expectancy. Increase in life expectancy is change in society.

Diffusion is the transference of cultural traits from place and/or group to another. Diffusion creates change
as products, people, and information spread from one culture to another. Many of the familiar elements of
culture may have come from other cultures. For purposes of diffusion to take place, it is necessary to have
contact between two cultures. In the past contact used to be physical contact through whatever means i.e.
exchange of visits of people belonging to different cultures; one way visit of travelers, traders; conquerors
who may invade, plunder, and leave with booty; other invaders who conquer and stay as rulers; colonizers
who rule their colonies. All these situations demonstrate diffusion situations where the establishment of
contact leads to borrowing of cultural traits from each other. The invaders and colonizers may bring their
own culture and impose it on the local people. Nevertheless, these very rulers may have picked up some
elements from the local culture. In the present times, for purposes of diffusion, the two different societies
don’t have to have a physical contact with each other. Presently mass media of communication has
demolished the physical boundaries for contacting other cultures. Now perhaps you have to have a control
over the “mouse” and reach anywhere in the world, know about its culture, understand it, and if like may
borrow its cultural traits. Look at borrowing of fashions from outside, mixing of cultures, and exchange of
communication across the cultures.

World is becoming a global village where information spreads instantaneously and becomes a source of
change. Diffusion is the most important factor of bringing change in the culture of society.

Inventions, discoveries, and diffusion, all bring change in culture which in turn bring change in the social
structure and the relationships of people.

Conflict and Change

Tension and conflict in a society also produce change. Karl Marx saw class conflict as the engine that drives
societies from one historical era to another. Social class has been considered by Marx as a means to social
change. The two classes identified were the capitalists and the workers. Both these classes are based on
inequality (We have already discussed it under “social stratification”). Social classes are located in the
different relationships of people to the means of production. The relationships become important if a
group becomes conscious and organized for action. Out of these two groups capitalists oppose social
change, whereas the workers want to change the society. According to Marx the conflict between the two
classes is a means to social change. The two classes cannot remain in conflict for all the time. The
conflicting situation has to be resolved, and what ever the ‘give and take’ for resolving the conflict, the new
situation will be different from the previous one Æ a social change Æ new relationships.
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In more than a century since Marx’ death this model has proven simplistic. Yet Marx correctly foresaw that
social conflict arising from inequality (involving not just class but also race and gender) would force changes
in every society.

Ideas and Change

For Karl Marx the most important aspect of human beings social life is the material basis of that life. In
this approach society where private property is the source of material production there exists a basis of
social conflict -- which in turn will lead to social change.

Max Weber considered Marx’s view just one perspective. There could be other explanations of social
change. So instead of economic determinism, according to Weber, ideas could also determine economic
structure. Weber traced the roots of social change to ideas. For example, people with charisma can carry a
message that sometimes changes the world. Look at the prophets who have changed the societies with new
ideas. The religious ideas turned into movements which changed the societies. Changes brought by Islam
and its ideas brought drastic changes in the structure of society and relationships among the people.

Weber also highlighted the importance of ideas by showing how the religious beliefs of early Protestants set
the stage for the spread of industrial capitalism. The fact that industrial capitalism developed primarily in
areas of Western Europe where Protestant work ethic was strong proved to Weber the power of ideas to
bring about change.

Ideas also generate social movements. For example we come across movements for bringing change in the
ideas of people like social movements against “big dams” as part of environmentalism. There are
movements for improving the lives of poor. There are movements for the rights of women.

Demographic Change

Population patterns also play a part in social change. There could be change in the structure of population
with respect of age, education, occupation, etc. Pakistani population is experiencing all these changes.

Migration within and among societies is a demographic factor that promotes change. In Pakistan there is a
lot of migration from rural to urban areas. The urban population has increased from 20 percent in 1947 to
33 percent in 1998. The size of the urban settlements has increased putting pressure on the local resources,
and other relationships. With the change in education of women, female participation in the labor force is
on the increase which has implications for the institution of family.

Environmental Changes

Environmental change can bring changes in the structure of societies and relationship of people.
Degradation of the environment may force people to migrate to new places. Water logging and salinity of
agricultural land makes people to migrate simply because they have lost their means of livelihood. Similarly
people leave their settlements due to drought.

Environmental changes brought about by “development projects” can also be a factor for social change.
For the construction of water reservoirs, motor ways, and industrial zones may necessitate the displacement
of populations. The same populations may get training for new jobs and follow new occupations. It may
change the life styles of the whole communities. Similarly the natural calamities can destroy the human
settlements as well as their means of livelihood, and thereby could be a factor of social change. People may
change their occupations, develop new settlements, migrate to new areas; all these situations are situations
of social changes.

Modernization is process of social change initiated by industrialization in the mid 18th century. As a result
of modernization: Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
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• There is decline of small and traditional communities. In the traditional societies there is lot of
cohesiveness, strong sense of belongingness, strong neighborhood relations but all these undergo
change as the communities become complex in an industrial society. The structure and relations in
the families also undergo change in the modern society.
• There is an expansion of personal choice in the modern society. Personal choices increase for
getting education, for choosing an occupation, for a place to live, for choosing a spouse, and even
for adopting a lifestyle. There are series of options provided by the modern society and one could
choose. Such options were not available in the traditional society.
• There is an increasing diversity in the society. In the urban areas one could see the diversity of
people, diversity of occupations, diversity of religions, diversity of races, diversity of ethnic groups,
diversity of lifestyles, diversity of economic systems, diversity of political lines, and so on. Such
diversities provide rich resources for interactions and changes in society.
• There is future orientation and growing awareness of time. People in the modern societies think
more about the future. Being optimistic they try to improve their lives by adopting innovations
rather than having emotional attachment with traditions. These people are time conscious and
organize their daily routines down to the very minute.

All the causes of social change have interconnections and overlap each other. Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
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Lesson 45

Modernity means the adoption of those social patterns that have resulted from industrialization. In
everyday usage modernity designates the present in relation to the past. Sociologists include in this concept
the social patterns set in motion by the Industrial Revolution beginning in Western Europe in the middle of
18th century.

Modernization is the process of the adoption of those patterns of behavior which have been considered as

The rise of modernity is a complex process involving many dimensions of change. These dimensions could
be: cultural patterns, social structure, social institutions, and social change.

Cultural Patterns

Traditional societies are governed by homogeneity in the cultural values. There is similarity in the cultural
values which are considered as sacred and people would like to preserve them. There is low tolerance of
differences in values. Compared with traditional societies, the modern societies demonstrate heterogeneity.
In the modern society there is a variety of cultures. Modern society is an urban society which consists of
people belonging to different religions, variety of occupations, variety of ethnicity, and hence different
cultural patterns. Within the broad cultures one comes across variety of subcultures and sometimes
countercultures as well.

The social norms are of high moral significance and the traditional society does not tolerate the divergence
in social norms. In the modern society there is variation in the norms and the people in the urban/modern
society are highly tolerant of the diversity in social norms.

In the traditional societies the present is linked with past. For the present problems people try to look for
solutions in the past i.e. how did the forefathers solve similar problem in the past? For modern societies,
the present is linked to the future i.e. present problems are to be solved with what is going to happen in the

Traditional societies use pre-industrial technology and mostly people depend upon human and animal
energy. Compared with that the industrial societies use advanced sources of energy.

Social Structure

In the traditional societies people have few statuses and most of these statuses are ascribed. Every body
performs multiple roles; in fact there is little specialization of roles.

In the modern society there is a variety of occupations as well as variety of statuses and the corresponding
roles to be performed. Most of the statuses as well as roles are achieved ones. There is variety of
specialized roles and people perform such roles.
Most of the relationships in the traditional society are of “primary” type. There is little anonymity and
privacy of the families from each other. In the modern societies, people are more concerned about their
own affairs. They have secondary relations and don’t know much about what is happening in the

Most of the communication in the traditional societies is face to face but in the modern societies it is
supplemented by mass media. We use telephone, internet, radio, television, and print media for
communication with others. People have little time to visit somebody and talk personally.

Social control through gossip or social pressure has been replaced by formal agencies like police and legal
system in the modern societies. Due to the diversities of culture in the modern society, the cultural norms Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 119
may conflict with each other. Therefore, the whole system gets formalized and enforced by agencies
authorized by the law of the country.

Traditional societies experience rigid patterns of inequality and there is limited social mobility. Modern
societies exhibit fluid patterns of social inequality. Status of a person is an achieved one and there are plenty
of opportunities to move from one occupation to another. In modern industrial societies there is lot of
social mobility.

In the traditional societies patriarchy is highly pronounced. Women are subordinate to men and most of
their lives are centered in the home. As we move toward modern societies, patriarchy starts declining.
Societies move toward universal education and women start participating in the labor force. As a result they
become financially independent and fight for their rights. Hence the decision making becomes fluid,
moving away from authoritarian pattern to egalitarian pattern. All this change, amounts to women

In the small scale, pre-industrial societies, governments amounted to little more than a local noble. A royal
family formally reigned over an entire nation, but without efficient transportation or communication, the
power of even absolute monarchs fell far short of the power wielded by today’s political leaders. As
technological innovation allowed government to expand, the centralized state grew in size and importance.
Governments have entered more and more areas of social life: schooling the population, regulating wages
and working conditions, establishing standards for products of all sorts, and offering financial assistance to
ill and the unemployed. To pay such expenses, taxes have soared. In modern society, power resides in large
bureaucracies’ leaving people in local communities little control over their lives.

In the traditional societies extended family is the important institution for the socialization of children. Also
family is the primary unit of economic production. In modern societies extended families are replaced by
nuclear families. It does retain some socialization function but by and large becomes a consumption unit
rather than a production unit.

Religion permeates the lives of people in the traditional societies. Pluralism is little tolerated. But in the
modern societies, religion weakens with the rise of science. People look for the solution of their problems
in science rather than in religion. Even in the society the plurality of religions is tolerated

Formal schooling in the traditional societies is limited to the elites. In the modern society basic schooling
becomes universal, with growing proportion of population receiving advanced education

In the traditional society there is high birth rate and high death rate. Because of low standard of living and
simple medical technology, generally there is low life expectancy.
Comparatively in the modern societies there is low birth rate and low death rate. Due to high standard of
living and sophisticated technology people usually enjoy longer life expectancy.

Settlement patterns in the modern societies are large. Population is typically concentrated in large cities.

Social change in the traditional societies is slow and it takes many generations to visibly notice the actual
change that has taken place. In the modern societies change is very rapid and it is evident within a single


If modernity was the product of the Industrial Revolution, is the Information Revolution creating a post
modern era? A number of scholars think so and use the term post-modernity to refer to social patterns
characteristic of postindustrial societies. Post industrial society is based on information, services, and high
technology, rather than on raw materials and manufacturing. Post-modern society is another term for
postindustrial society; its chief characteristic is the use of tools that extend the human abilities to gather and
analyze information, to communicate, and to travel. Introduction to Sociology – SOC101 VU
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 120
Characteristics of Post-Modern Society

In 1973, Daniel Bell noted the emergence of a postindustrial society. He gave six characteristics:

1. Extensive travel among nations;
2. A vast surplus of goods;
3. a service sector so large that it employs the majority of workers;
4. A wide variety and quantity of goods available to average person;
5. An ‘information explosion’; and
6. A ‘global village’ i.e. instantaneous, worldwide communications.

Of these six items the last two are the most important. We find that the news are instantaneously
transmitted by satellite having worldwide effects. Social space is no longer a configuration of territorial
places, territorial distances, and territorial borders; it is fast approaching a global village.

Post-industrial society remains a matter of debate

Five basic themes of this debate:

1. In important respects, modernity has failed: The promise of modern society was a life free
from want. As postmodernist critics see it, however, the twentieth century was unsuccessful in
solving social problems like poverty, since many people still lack financial security.
2. The bright light of “progress” is fading. Modern people look to the future, expecting their lives
will improve in significant ways. Members of post-modern societies, however, are less confident
about what the future holds. Optimism has been replaced with pessimism with the assumption
that the life is getting worse.
3. Science no longer holds the answers. The defining trait of the modern era was a scientific
outlook and a confident belief that technology would make life better. But post modern critics
contend that science has not solved many old problems (like the poor health) and has even created
new problems (such as degrading the environments). Science has been widely used for political
purposes, especially by powerful segments of society.
4. Cultural debates are intensifying. Modernity was to be an era of enhanced individuality and
expanding tolerance. But it has fallen short here as well. Feminism points out that patriarchy still
continues to limit the lives of women, and multiculturalism seeks to empower minorities who still
remain at the margin of social life. Moreover, now that more people have all the material things
they need, ideas are taking on more importance. Thus, post-modernity is also a post-materialistic
era, in which issues like social justice, as well as the environment and gay rights, command more
and more attention.
5. Social institutions are changing. Just as industrialization brought a sweeping transformation to
social institutions, the rise of a post-industrial society is remaking society all over again. Just as the
Industrial Revolution placed material things at the center of productive life, now the Information
Revolution emphasizes ideas. Similarly, the post-modern family no longer conforms to any single
pattern; on the contrary, individuals are choosing among many new family forms. There are
diversities in the marriage and family.

Despite such debate, yet few think that modernity has failed completely; after all, we have seen marked
increases in longevity and living standards over the course of last century. Moreover, even if we accept
post-modernist views that science is bankrupt and progress is a sham, what are the alternatives?

But as part of global stratification, poor societies appear to have little ability to modernize. Here the barrier
does not appear to be the ‘traditionalism’ but global domination by the rich capitalist societies. The rich
nations only perpetuate current patterns of global inequality
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