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Sociology Notes and Topics on Sociology

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Old Tuesday, March 17, 2015
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Default Sociology Notes

THE DIVISION OF LABOR BY(Theory of social solidarity): EMILE DURKHEIM

In his 1893 work The Division of Labor in Society, Durkheim examined how social order was maintained in different types of societies.

He focused on the division of labor, and examined how it differed in traditional societies and modern societies.

Authors before him such as Herbert Spencer and Ferdinand Toennies had argued that societies evolved much like living organisms, moving from a simple state to a more complex one resembling the workings of complex machines.

Durkheim reversed this formula, adding his theory to the growing pool of theories of social progress, social evolutionism and social darwinism.

He argued that traditional societies were 'mechanical' and were held together by the fact that everyone was more or less the same, and hence had things in common.

In traditional societies, argues Durkheim, the collective consciousness entirely subsumes individual consciousness-social norms are strong and social behavior is well-regulated.

In modern societies, he argued, the highly complex division of labor resulted in 'organic' solidarity.

Different specializations in employment and social roles created dependencies that tied people to one another, since people no longer could count on filling all of their needs by themselves.

In 'mechanical' societies, for example, subsistence farmers live in communities which are self-sufficient and knit together by a common heritage and common job.

In modern 'organic' societies, workers earn money, and must rely on other people who specialize in certain products (groceries, clothing, etc.) to meet their needs.Here customs and fashions are popular.The pace of social change is fast.Here groups are found on give and take basis.

The result of increasing division of labor, according to Durkheim, is that individual consciousness emerges distinct from collective consciousness-often finding itself in conflict with collective consciousness.

Durkheim also made an association of the kind of solidarity in a given society and the preponderance of a law system.

He found that in societies with mechanical solidarity the standard of living is similar ,people follow similar customs and rituals ,similar attitudes , beliefs and thoughts on the basis of similarity. Solidarity among the people is found very is generally repressive: the agent of a crime or deviant behavior would suffer a punishment, that in fact would compensate collective conscience neglected by the crime-the punishment acts more to preserve the unity of consciences.

On the other hand, in societies with organic solidarity the law is generally restitutive: it aims not to punish, but instead to restitute normal activity of a complex society.

The rapid change in society due to increasing division of labor thus produces a state of confusion with regard to norms and increasing impersonality in social life, leading eventually to relative normlessness, i.e. the breakdown of social norms regulating behavior; Durkheim labels this state anomie.

From a state of anomie come all forms of deviant behavior, most notably suicide.

EMILE DURKHEIM Study of Suicide

Durkheim was the first to argue that the causes of suicide were to be found in social factors and not individual personalities. Observing that the rate of suicide varied with time and place, Durkheim looked for causes linked to these factors other than emotional stress.
He looked at the degree to which people feel integrated into the structure of society and their social surroundings as social factors producing suicide and argued that suicide rates are affected by the different social contexts in which they emerge.

Durkheim also distinguished between three types of suicide:

•Anomic Suicide: Anomic suicide happens when the disintegrating forces in the society make individuals feel lost or alone.When the norms and the manners in the people are suddenly broken.There are sudden changes which are unexpected. Anomic suicide reflects an individual's moral confusion and lack of social direction for him social laws become weak which fail to control his behaviour and he fails to control his actions. When the response for the norms vanished the laws of government are not respected by the people and state of lawlessness is prevailed.Social laws are of people ends in despair.Failure of economic development failure of business or slow downs, marriages are postponed , division of labour to produce Durkheim's organic solidarity.The people are worried for future to say what will happen tomorrow? Durkheim explains that this is a state of moral disorder where man does not know the limits on his desires, and is constantly in a state of disappointment.

•Altruistic Suicide: Altruistic suicide happens when there is excessive regulation of individuals by social forces. An example is someone who commits suicide for the sake of a religious or political cause. It occurs in societies with high integration, where individual needs are seen as less important than the society's needs as a whole. They thus occur on the opposite integration scale as egoistic suicide. As individual interest would not be considered important. Durkheim stated that in an altruistic society there would be little reason for people to commit suicide. He stated one exception, namely when the individual is expected to kill themselves on behalf of society – a primary example being the soldier in military service. People who commit altruistic suicide subordinate themselves to collective expectations, even when death is the result.

•Egoistic Suicide: Egoistic suicide happens when people feel totally detached from society. Ordinarily, people are integrated into society by work roles, ties to family and community, and other social bonds. When these bonds are weakened through retirement or loss of family and friends, the likelihood of egoistic suicide increases. Egoistic suicide reflects a prolonged sense of not belonging, of not being integrated in a community, It is the result of a weakening of the bonds that normally integrate individuals into the collectivity: in other words a breakdown or decrease of social integration. Durkheim refers to this type of suicide as the result of "excessive individuation", meaning that the individual becomes increasingly detached from other members of his community. Those individuals who were not sufficiently bound to social groups and were left with little social support or guidance, and therefore tended to commit suicide on an increased basis. An example Durkheim discovered was that of unmarried people, particularly males, who, with less to bind and connect them to stable social norms and goals, committed suicide at higher rates than married people.
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Default EMILE DURKHEIM Study of Social Facts

EMILE DURKHEIM Study of Social Facts

According to Durkheim, social facts (or social phenomena or forces) are the subject matter of sociology. Social facts are , and must be studied distinct from biological and psychological phenomenon. They can be defined as patterns of behavior that are capable of exercising some coercive power upon individuals. They are guides and controls of conduct that are external to the individual in the form of group norms, mores and folkways. Through socialization and education these rules become internalized in the consciousness of the individual. These social constraints and guides become moral obligations to obey social rules.

The central issue in Durkheim's work concerns the source of social order and disorder.

According to Durkheim, the desires and self-interests of human beings can only be held in check by forces that originate outside of the individual. "The more one has, the more one wants, since satisfactions received only stimulate instead of filling needs." Durkheim characterizes this external force as a collective conscience, a common social bond that is expressed by the ideas, values, norms, beliefs and ideologies of the culture, institutionalized in the social structure, and internalized by individual members of the culture. He elaborated the cause and effects of weakening group ties on the individual in his two works,
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Default “evolutionary theory “ibn-khaldun”


The very first form and foundation of social evolution was the philosophy of organic society.

Organic society is the prospective that societies are really living organisms that experience cyclic birth, growth, maturity, decline, and ultimately death due to universal causes that undergo many of the same stages and developments that animals and humans go through.

The very first of these philosophies can be traced back to the 14th century in the writings of Ibn Khaldun, an Islamic scholar.

Ibn Khaldun uses the term Asabiyyah to describe the bond of cohesion among humans in a group forming community.

The bond, Asabiyyah, exists at any level of civilization, from nomadic society to states and empires.

Asabiyyah is most strong in the nomadic phase, and decreases as civilization advances.

As this Asabiyyah declines, another more compelling Asabiyyah may take its place; thus, civilizations rise and fall, and history describes these cycles of Asabiyyah as they play out.

The Asabiyyah cycle described by Ibn Khaldun was true for nearly all civilizations before the modern era. Nomadic invaders had always ended up adopting the religion and culture of the civilizations they conquered, which was true for various Arab, Berber, Turkic and Mongol invaders that invaded the medieval Islamic world and ended up adopting Islamic religion and culture.

Beyond the Muslim world, the Asabiyyah cycle was also true for every other pre-modern civilization, whether in China whose dynastic cycles resemble the Asabiyyah cycles described by Ibn Khaldun, in Europe where waves of barbarian invaders adopted Christianity and Greco-Roman culture, or in India or Persia where nomadic invaders assimilated into those civilizations.
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Default The labor theory of value (karl marx)


Karl Marx's labor theory of value asserts that the value of an object is solely a result of the labor expended to produce it. According to this theory, the more labor or labor time that goes into an object, the more it is worth. Marx defined value as "consumed labor time", and stated that "all goods, considered economically, are only the product of labor and cost nothing except labor".

The labor theory of value is the fundamental premise of Marx's economics and the basis of his analysis of the free market.
If it is correct, then much of Marx's critique of capitalism is also correct.
But if it is false, virtually all of Marx's economic theory is wrong.

Here is an example of how the labor theory of value works:

A worker in a factory is given $30 worth of material, and after working 3 hours producing a good, and using $10 worth of fuel to run a machine, he creates a product which is sold for $100.

According the Marx, the labor and only the labor of the worker increased the value of the natural materials to $100. The worker is thus justly entitled to a $60 payment, or $20 per hour.

If the worker is employed by a factory owner who pays him only $15 per hour, according to Marx the $5 per hour the factory owner receives is simply a ripoff. The factory owner has done nothing to earn the money and the $5 per hour he receives is "surplus value", representing exploitation of the worker. Even the tools which the factory owner provided were, according to Marx, necessarily produced by other workers.

According to the labor theory of value, all profits are the rightful earnings of the workers, and when they are kept from the workers by capitalists, workers are simply being robbed. On the basis of this theory, Marx called for the elimination of profits, for workers to seize factories and for the overthrow of the "tyranny" of capitalism. His call to action has been heeded in many countries throughout the world.
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Default Max Weber’s Theory of Bureaucracy

Max Weber’s Theory of Bureaucracy

He wrote about the emergence of bureaucracy from more traditional organisational forms
(like feudalism) and it's rising pre-eminence in modern society.

Max Weber
Max Weber (1864-1920), was a German sociologist. He proposed different characteristics found in effective bureaucracies that would effectively conduct decision-making, control resources, protect workers and accomplish organisational goals.Weber's contributions were indented to supplant old organisational structures that existed in the earlier periods of industrialisation. He wrote about the emergence of bureaucracy from more traditional organisational forms (like feudalism) and it's rising pre-eminence in modern society.

As a German academic, Weber was primarily interested in the reasons behind the employees' actions and in why people who work in an organisation accept the authority of their superiors and comply with the rules of the organisation.

Background of Max Weber's bureaucratic model
Weber's focus on the trend of rationalisation led him to concern himself with the operation and expansion of large-scale enterprises in both the public and private sectors of modern societies. Bureaucracy can be considered to be a particular case of rationalisation, or rationalisation applied to human organisation. Bureaucratic coordination of human action, Weber believed, is the distinctive mark of modern social structures. In order to study these organisations, both historically and in contemporary society,

Weber developed the characteristics of an ideal-type bureaucracy:

Hierarchy of authority
Written rules of conduct
Promotion based on achievement
Specialised division of labour

Characteristics of bureaucratic model
Each characteristic is described in relation to which traditional features of administrative systems they were intended to succeed.

Bureaucracy is goal-oriented
According to Weber, bureaucracies are goal-oriented organisations designed according to rational principles in order to efficiently attain their goals. Offices are ranked in a hierarchical order, with information flowing up to the chain of command, directives flowing down. Operations of the organisations are characterised by impersonal rules that explicitly state duties, responsibilities, standardised procedures and conduct of office holders. Offices are highly specialised. Appointments to these offices are made according to specialised qualifications rather than ascribed criteria. All of these ideal characteristics have one goal, to promote the efficient attainment of the organization's goals.

Management by Rule
A bureaucracy follows a consistent set of rules that control the functions of the organisation. Management controls the lower levels of the organisation's hierarchy by applying established rules in a consistent and predictable manner.

Firm division of labour
The jurisdictional areas are clearly specified, and each area has a specific set of official duties and rights that cannot be changed.
This division of labour should minimise arbitrary assignments of duties found in more traditional structures, in which the division of labour was not firm and regular, and in which the leader could change duties at any time.

Formal hierarchy of offices
Each office is controlled and supervised by a higher ranking office. However, lower offices maintain a right to appeal decisions made higher in the hierarchy.
This replaces a more traditional system, in which power and authority relations are more diffuse, and not based on a clear hierarchical order.

Rational/ defined legal authority
A bureaucracy is founded on rational-legal authority. This type of authority rests on the belief in the "legality" of formal rules and hierarchies, and in the right of those elevated in the hierarchy to possess authority and issue commands. Authority is given to officials based on their skills, position and authority placed formally in each position.

Creation of rules to govern performance
Rules are specified to govern official decisions and actions. These formal rules are relatively stable, exhaustive and easily understood. This supplants old systems, in which rules were either ill-defined or stated vaguely, and in which leaders could change the rules for conducting the daily work arbitrarily.

Separation of personal from official property and rights
Official property rights concerning e.g. machines or tools belong to the office or department — not the officeholder. Personal property is separated from official property. This supplants earlier systems, in which personal and official property rights were not separated to the needed extent.

Selection based on qualifications
Officials are recruited based on qualifications, and are appointed, not elected, to the office. People are compensated with a salary, and are not compensated with benefits such as rights to land, power etc.

Clear career paths/security of tenure
Employment in the organisations is seen as a career for officials. An official is a full-time employee, and anticipates a lifelong career. After an introduction period, the employee is given tenure, which protects the employee from arbitrary dismissal.

Written Document
All decisions, rules and actions taken by the organisation are formulated and recorded in writing. Written documents ensure that there is continuity of the organisation's policies and procedures.

Max Weber's model?a model for Pakistan's bureaucracy
According to Max Weber, these bureaucratic elements can be taken and applied as solutions and guidelines for the problems or defects existing within earlier and more traditional administrative systems in Pakistan. These elements if viewed and applied aptly, can contribute as a part of the whole system that by combining and instituting effectively, can increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the administrative structure.

This bureaucratic structure can to a greater extent protect employees in Pakistan from arbitrary rulings from leaders, and can potentially give a greater sense of security to the employees.

Additionally, the bureaucratic structure can create an opportunity for employees to become specialists within one specific area, which would increase the effectiveness and efficiency in each area of the organisation.

Finally, when rules for performance are relatively stable, employees will be having a greater possibility to act creatively within the realm of their respective duties and sub-tasks, and to find creative ways to accomplish rather stable goals and targets.

In a nutshell, Max Weber’s theory of bureaucracy is relevant in Pakistan also. Tightly organized hierarchy, fixed rules, division of labour and no emotional attachments are the attributes of this model. Pakistan’s bureaucratic model is mainly an outcome of max Weber’s philosophy. The most important of all, the bureaucrats are devoid of emotional attachments. There are fixed rules and regulation which they have to follow in the daily routine. However, there is some deviation from this particular phenomenon.
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Default Socialization: Human development


1.The newborn having the capacity to become a member of human society.

2.The infant has the capacity to learn human social behavior. This capacity is provided by nature to every normal child. But

3.The newborn child cannot become social being unless there is interaction with other human beings.

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.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.

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.


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,
the police,
the employers,
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.
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.

The School
Schooling enlarges children’s social world to include people with backgrounds different from their own.
the schools teach children a wide range of knowledge and skills.
Through different activities schools help in inculcating values of
patriotism, democracy, justice, honesty, and competition.

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 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.

The Mass Media
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.

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.
pak and paleet, and manners appropriate for formal occasions.

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;
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.

The provision of guidance; and
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.

Controlling the behavior.
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.
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.
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.

Human groups like the family with whom the child normally has the first contact provide these learning opportunities.

Personal Social learning
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:

Experimentation; and

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

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.


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:

1. childhood,
2. adolescence,
3. adulthood,
4. 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 experience.
People’s life experiences also vary depending on when, in the history of society, they were born.


Childhood usually covers the first 12 years of life: time for learning and carefree play.
Children in lower class have always assumed adult responsibilities sooner than their other class counterparts.

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.
We generally link adolescence, or teenage years, to emotional and social turmoil, when the youth try to develop their own individual identities.
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, 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.
the individuals assess actual achievements in view of their earlier expectations.
Children are grown up.
Growing older means facing physical decline.


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.


This survey of the life course leads us to two major conclusions.
First the life course is largely a social construction.
Second With every stage of life course we learn different problems things situation never confront before.

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.
2. We interpret others’ reactions.
3. We develop a self-concept.

Based on our interpretations of the reactions of others, we develop feelings and ideas about ourselves.
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Default Sociological Research: Designs, Methods

Sociological Research: Designs, Methods

Sociologists use many different designs and methods to study society and social behavior. Most sociological research involves ethnography, or “field work” designed to depict the characteristics of a population as fully as possible.

Three popular social research designs (models) are

1.Cross-sectional, in which scientists study a number of individuals of different ages who have the same trait or characteristic of interest at a single time

2.Longitudinal, in which scientists study the same individuals or society repeatedly over a specified period of time

3.Cross-sequential, in which scientists test individuals in a cross-sectional sample more than once over a
specified period of time

Six of the most popular sociological research methods (procedures) are

Case study research

In case study research, an investigator studies an individual or small group of individuals with an unusual condition or situation. Case studies are typically clinical in scope. The investigator (often a clinical sociologist) sometimes uses self-report measures to acquire quantifiable data on the subject. A comprehensive case study, including a long-term follow-up, can last months or years.

On the positive side, case studies obtain useful information about individuals and small groups. On the negative side, they tend to apply only to individuals with similar characteristics rather than to the general population. The high likelihood of the investigator's biases affecting subjects' responses limits the generalizability of this method.

Survey research

Survey research involves interviewing or administering questionnaires, or written surveys, to large numbers of people. The investigator analyzes the data obtained from surveys to learn about similarities, differences, and trends. He or she then makes predictions about the population being studied.

As with most research methods, survey research brings both advantages and disadvantages. Advantages include obtaining information from a large number of respondents, conducting personal interviews at a time convenient for respondents, and acquiring data as inexpensively as possible. “Mail-in” surveys have the added advantage of ensuring anonymity and thus prompting respondents to answer questions truthfully.

Disadvantages of survey research include volunteer bias, interviewer bias, and distortion. Volunteer bias occurs when a sample of volunteers is not representative of the general population. Subjects who are willing to talk about certain topics may answer surveys differently than those who are not willing to talk. Interviewer bias occurs when an interviewer's expectations or insignificant gestures (for example, frowning or smiling) inadvertently influence a subject's responses one way or the other. Distortion occurs when a subject does not respond to questions honestly.

Observational research

Because distortion can be a serious limitation of surveys, observational research involves directly observing subjects' reactions, either in a laboratory (called laboratory observation) or in a natural setting (called naturalistic observation). Observational research reduces the possibility that subjects will not give totally honest accounts of the experiences, not take the study seriously, fail to remember, or feel embarrassed.

Observational research has limitations, however. Subject bias is common, because volunteer subjects may not be representative of the general public. Individuals who agree to observation and monitoring may function differently than those who do not. They may also function differently in a laboratory setting than they do in other settings.

Correlational research

A sociologist may also conduct correlational research. A correlation is a relationship between two variables (or “factors that change”). These factors can be characteristics, attitudes, behaviors, or events. Correlational research attempts to determine if a relationship exists between the two variables, and the degree of that relationship.

A social researcher can use case studies, surveys, interviews, and observational research to discover correlations.

Correlations are either positive (to +1.0), negative (to −1.0), or nonexistent (0.0). In a positive correlation, the values of the variables increase or decrease (“co-vary”) together. In a negative correlation, one variable increases as the other decreases. In a nonexistent correlation, no relationship exists between the variables.

People commonly confuse correlation with causation. Correlational data do not indicate cause-and-effect relationships. When a correlation exists, changes in the value of one variable reflect changes in the value of the other. The correlation does not imply that one variable causes the other, only that both variables somehow relate to one another. To study the effects that variables have on each other, an investigator must conduct an experiment.

Experimental research

Experimental research attempts to determine how and why something happens. Experimental research tests the way in which an independent variable (the factor that the scientist manipulates) affects a dependent variable (the factor that the scientist observes).

A number of factors can affect the outcome of any type of experimental research. One is finding samples that are random and representative of the population being studied. Another is experimenter bias, in which the researcher's expectations about what should or should not happen in the study sway the results. Still another is controlling for extraneous variables, such as room temperature or noise level, that may interfere with the results of the experiment. Only when the experimenter carefully controls for extraneous variables can she or he draw valid conclusions about the effects of specific variables on other variables.

Cross-cultural research

Sensitivity to others' norms, folkways, values, mores, attitudes, customs, and practices necessitates knowledge of other societies and cultures. Sociologists may conduct cross-cultural research, or research designed to reveal variations across different groups of people. Most cross-cultural research involves survey, direct observation, and participant observation methods of research.

Participant observation requires that an “observer” become a member of his or her subjects' community. An advantage of this method of research is the opportunity it provides to study what actually occurs within a community, and then consider that information within the political, economic, social, and religious systems of that community. Cross-cultural research demonstrates that Western cultural standards do not necessarily apply to other societies. What may be “normal” or acceptable for one group may be “abnormal” or unacceptable for another.

Research with existing data, or secondary analysis

Some sociologists conduct research by using data that other social scientists have already collected. The use of publicly accessible information is known as secondary analysis, and is most common in situations in which collecting new data is impractical or unnecessary. Sociologists may obtain statistical data for analysis from businesses, academic institutions, and governmental agencies, to name only a few sources. Or they may use historical or library information to generate their hypotheses.
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Individual and Society

Individual is basic unit of Society.

Man is a social animal. He lives in social groups in communities and in society.

Society has become an essential condition for human life to arise and to continue.

Society not only controls our movements but shapes our identity, our thought and our emotions.


August Comte the father of sociology saw society as a social organism possessing a harmony of structure and function.

We can define society as a group of people who share a common culture, occupy a particular territorial area and feel themselves to constitute a unified and distinct entity. It is the mutual interactions and interrelations of individuals and groups.

The term society is most fundamental to sociology. It is derived from the Latin word socius which means companionship or friendship.

According to George Simmel it is this element of sociability which defines the true essence of society.

Characteristics of Society

society is a largest human group.

(1) Likeness:
Likeness is the most important characteristic of society.Without a sense of likeness, there could be no mutual recognition of' belonging together' and therefore no society.

(2) Differences :
Along with likeness, differences are another important characteristic of society. Because society involves differences and it depends on it as much as on likeness. Because differences is complementary to social relationship. If people will be alike in all respect society could not be formed and there would be little reciprocity and relationship became limited.

(3) Inter-dependence fulfils the human needs)
Interdependence is another important characteristic of society. Man is a social animal he is dependent on others. No individual is self sufficient.

(4) Co-operation and Conflict:
Both co-operation and conflict are two another important characteristics of society. "Society is Cooperation crossed by conflict". Co-operation is essentially essential for the formation of society. Without co-operation there can be no society.

(5) Society is a network or web of social relationship:
Social relationships are the foundation of society. That is why famous sociologist Maclver remarked that society is a network of social relationship.

(6) Permanent Nature:
Permanency is another important characteristic of society. It is not a temporary organisation of individuals. Society continues to exist even after the death of individual members.

(8) Society is Dynamic :
The very nature of society is dynamic and changeable. No society is static. Every society changes and changes continuously. Old customs, traditions, folkways, mores, values and institutions got changed and new customs and values takes place. Society changes from its traditional nature to modern nature.

(10) Comprehensive Culture:
Culture is another important characteristic of society.
Each and every society has it's own culture which distinguishes it from others.
Culture is the way of life of the members of a society and includes their values, beliefs, art, morals etc.

(11) Collection of individuals:

(12) Accommodation and Assimilation Integration of Individuals:
This two associative social process is also important for the smooth functioning and continuity of society. Hence it is also another characteristic of society.

Goal of Society?

Goal of Society is SOCIAL PROGRESS.

Types of Society

Writers have classified societies into various categories Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft of Tonnies, mechanical and organic solidarities of Durkheim, status and contract of Maine, and militant and industrial societies of Spencer.

All these thinkers have broadly divided society into pre-industrial and post-industrial societies.

Sociologists like Comte based their classification of societies on intellectual development.

Most of them concede the evolutionary nature of society- one type leading to the other.

One more way of dividing societies is that of Marx. His classification of society is based on the institutional framework of society as determined by a group of people who control the means of production.

Marx distinguishes five principal types of societies: primitive, Asiatic, ancient, feudal and capitalist.

Types of Society

Open Society

Close Society

Primitive Society

Folk Society

Industrial Society

Non- Industrial Society

Urban Society

Rural Society

Secular Society

Sacred Society

Difference observed between Society and Community

Some of the difference between society and community are as follows:
The term society and community are two important concept used in Sociology. There exists both a similarity as well as differences between the two. But in a wider sense both society and community is a social group. However, following differences is observed between the two.

a.Community means a group of people living together, having some characteristics in common. Society means the number of people living in a region, by honoring its laws and customs.

b.Society has no definite locality or boundary because it refers to a system of social relationships. Hence it is universal or pervasive. On the other hand a community always associated with a definite locality.

c.Society is abstract whereas community is concrete in nature. Community has its own physical existence but society exists only in the minds of individuals who constitute it.

d.Community refers to a group of people who live in a definite locality with some degree of we-feeling.but society refers to a system or network of social relationships.

e.Society is a broader concept whereas a community is narrower concept. Because there exists more than one community within a society. Hence community is smaller than society.

f.Society is based on both similarities as well as differences. But community is based on only similarities among its members.

g.Society has wider ends but the ends of community are general or common.

h.Size of a community may be small or big like a village community or a nation community but the size of a society is always large.
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Default Culture and Civilization

Culture and Civilization


Generally speaking, the following elements of social life are considered to be representative of human culture: "stories, beliefs, media, ideas, works of art, religious practices, fashions, rituals, specialized knowledge, and common sense" (Griswold 2004:xvi). Yet, examples of culture do not, in themselves, present a clear understanding of the concept of culture; culture is more than the object or behavior.

Man is called as a culture bearing animal.
Hence understanding of human society requires the understanding of culture.
Because each and every society possesses culture and humanness only develops in a cultural framework.
Sociologists have developed the two concepts i.e. culture and society in order to account for and explain the regularities in human action and the essence of social life.
Besides the understanding of the meaning of culture is very vital to the understanding of the nature of society.
However, the term culture has for the first time coined in the eighteenth century.
Famous English anthropologist use the term for the first time in anthropology.
But the sociological meaning of the word culture sharply differs from the ordinary, common or literary meaning. Ordinarily the term culture refers to those particular traits and behavior systems that are regarded as refinements such as music, poetry, art, painting etc.
It refers to special qualities like this and persons who has acquired these qualities is considered as cultured and persons who has not acquired is called ‘uncultured’ But this is a very narrow view of culture and sociologist and anthropologist do not understand culture in this way.
But in a strict sociological sense culture refers to the totality of all those what is learned by individuals as members of society. Sociologically culture refers to acquired behavior which are shared by and transmitted among the members of society.

Culture is a way of life, a mode of thinking, acting and feeling. It is a heritage into which a child is born. Culture is manmade. Culture passes from one generation to another. It can be used both for educated and illiterate because they may have their own culture.

Culture also refers to a set of rules and procedures along with a supporting set of ideas and values.

Culture refers to the distinctive way of life of a group of people. And acquisition of a particular way of life is what is known as culture.
Thus culture is a learned behavior, it .s a social heritage, it is super organic and it is a decision for living. These are four different dimensions of culture.

Hence culture is a complex phenomenon. And to understand this complex phenomena more exactly and more accurately we must have to analyze some of it’s definitions given by different scholars.


(1)According to E.B. Tylor, “Culture is that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom and any other capabilities acquired by man as a member of society”.

(2)According to H.T. Mazumdar, “Culture is the sum total of human achievements material as well as non-material, capable of transmission, sociologically i.e. by tradition-and communication, vertically as well as horizontally.”

(3)According to Maclver, “Culture is the expression of our nature in our modes of living and our thinking, intercourse, in our literature, in religion, in recreation and enjoyment.”

(4)According to S. Koening, “Culture is the sum total of man’s efforts to adjust himself to his environment and to improve his modes of living.”
Thus we conclude that culture is manmade. It is an organised system of norms and values hold by people of a society.

Culture is everything which is socially learned and shared by the members of a society.

Individual receives culture as a part of a social heritage and in turn reshape the culture and introduce changes which then become part of the heritage of succeeding generations. It is a response to human needs and is an instrumental reality and an apparatus for the satisfaction of the biologically derived needs.

Characteristics of Culture:

(1) Culture is social:
Culture does not exist in isolation. It is a product of society. It develops through social interaction. No man can acquire culture without association with others. Man becomes a man only among men.

(2) Culture is shared:
Culture is not something that an individual alone can possess. Culture in sociological sense is shared. For example, customs, traditions, beliefs, ideas, values, morale etc. are all shared by people of a group or society.

(3) Culture is learnt:
Culture is not inborn. It is learnt. Culture is often called "learned ways of behaviour". Unlearned behaviour is not culture. But shaking hands, saying thanks' or 'namaskar', dressing etc. are cultural behaviour.

(4) Culture is transmissive:
Culture is transmissive as it is transmitted from one generation to another. Language is the main vehicle of culture. Language in different form makes it possible for the present generation to understand the achievement of earlier generations. Transmission of culture may take place by imitation as well as by instruction.

(5) Culture is continuous and cumulative:
Culture exists as a continuous process. In its historical growth it tends to become cumulative. Sociologist Linton called culture 'the social heritage' of man. It becomes difficult for us to imagine what society would be like without culture.

(6) Culture varies from society to society:
Every society has a culture of its own. It differs from society to society. Culture of every society is unique to itself. Cultures are not uniform. Cultural elements like customs, traditions, morale, values, beliefs are not uniform everywhere. Culture varies from time to time also.

(7) Culture is dynamic:
No culture ever remains constant or changeless. It is subject to slow but constant change. Culture is responsive to the changing conditions of the physical world. Hence culture is dynamic.

(8) Culture is gratifying:
Culture provides proper opportunities for the satisfaction of our needs and desires. Our needs both biological and social are fulfilled in the cultural ways. Culture determines and guides various activities of man. Thus, culture is defined as the process through which human beings satisfy their wants.

(9) Culture is the total social heritage:
We know culture is a social product. It is linked with the past. Through transmission past continues to live in culture. It is shared by all.

From the above discussion we are clear that each and every society has a culture of its own. Culture is not only diverse but also unequal, but is found in societies throughout the world.

Elements of Culture:

Culture also includes norms, values, beliefs, or expressive symbols. Roughly, norms are the way people behave in a given society, values are what they hold dear, beliefs are how they think the universe operates, and expressive symbols are representations, often representations of social norms, values, and beliefs themselves. (Griswold 2004:3)

To summarize, culture encompasses objects and symbols, the meaning given to those objects and symbols, and the norms, values, and beliefs that pervade social life.

Following are some of the important functions of culture:

(1) Culture distinguishes man from animal. It is the culture that makes the human animal a man. It regulates his conduct and prepares him for a group life. Without culture he would have been forced to find his own way which would have meant a loss of energy.

1. Culture is the Treasury of Knowledge
Culture provides knowledge, which is essential for the physical and intellectual existence of man. Birds and animals behave instinctively with environment. But man has greater intelligence and learning capacity. With the help of these, he has been able to adapt himself with environment or modify it to suit his convenience. Culture has made such an adaptation and modification possible and easier by providing man the necessary skills and knowledge. Culture preserves knowledge and helps its transmission from generation to generation through its means that is language helps not only the transmission of knowledge but also its preservation, accumulation and diffusion. On the contrary, animals do not have this advantage. Because culture does not exist at such human level.

1.Culture Defines Situations:
Each culture has many subtle cues which define each situation. It reveals whether one should prepare to fight, run, laugh or make love. For example, suppose someone approaches you with right hand outstretched at waist level. What does this mean? That he wishes to shake hands in friendly greeting is perfectly obvious – obvious, that is to anyone familiar with our culture.
But in another place or time the outstretched hand might mean hostility or warning. One does not know what to do in a situation until he has defined the situation. Each society has its insults and fighting words. The cues (hints) which define situations appear in infinite variety. A person who moves from one society into another will spend many years misreading the cues. For example, laughing at the wrong places.

4. Culture Decides Our Career
Whether we should become a politician or a social worker, a doctor, an engineer, a soldier, a farmer, a professor, an industrialist; a religious leader and so on is decided by our culture. What career we are likely to pursue is largely decided by our culture. Culture sets limitations on our choice to select different careers. Individuals may develop, modify or oppose the trends of their culture but they always live within its framework. Only a few can find outlet on the culture.

2. Culture defines Attitudes, Values and Goals:
Each person learns in his culture what is good, true, and beautiful. Attitudes, values and goals are defined by the culture. While the individual normally learns them as unconsciously as he learns the language. Attitude are tendencies to feel and act in certain ways. Values are measures of goodness or desirability, for example, we value private property, (representative) Government and many other things and experience.
Goals are those attainments which our values define as worthy, (e.g.) winning the race, gaining the affections of a particular girl, or becoming president of the firm. By approving certain goals and ridiculing others, the culture channels individual ambitions. In these ways culture determines the goals of life.

3. Culture defines Myths, Legends, and the Supernatural:
Myths and legends are important part of every culture. They may inspire, reinforce effort and sacrifice and bring comfort in bereavement. Whether they are true is sociologically unimportant. Ghosts are real to people who believe in them and who act upon this belief. We cannot understand the behaviour of any group without knowing something of the myths, legends, and supernatural beliefs they hold. Myths and legends are powerful forces in a group’s behaviour.
Culture also provides the individual with a ready-made view of the universe. The nature of divine power and the important moral issues are defined by the culture. The individual does not have to select, but is trained in a Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim or some other religious tradition. This tradition gives answers for the major (things imponderable) of life, and fortuities the individual to meet life’s crises.

4. Culture provides Behaviour Patterns:
The individual need not go through painful trial and error learning to know what foods can be eaten (without poisoning himself), or how to live among people without fear. He finds a ready-made set of patterns awaiting him which he needs only to learn and follow. The culture maps out the path to matrimony. The individual does not have to wonder how one secures a mate; he knows the procedure defined by his culture.
If men use culture to advance their purposes, it seems clear also that a culture imposes limits on human and activities. The need for order calls forth another function of culture that of so directing behaviour that disorderly behaviour is restricted and orderly behaviour is promoted. A society without rules or norms to define right and wrong behaviour would be very much like a heavily travelled street without traffic signs or any understood rules for meeting and passing vehicles. Chaos would be the result in either case.

(5) Culture shapes personality. No child can develop human qualities in the absence of cultural environment. Culture prepares man for group life. It is culture that provides opportunities for the development of personality and sets limits on its growth.

Classifications of culture:

Material and Non-Material:
Famous Sociologist W.F. Ogburn divide culture into two types such as material and non-material culture.

Material Culture:
Material culture consists of products of human activity which is concrete, tangible and observable.
These objects are manmade and called as ‘artifacts’.
It refers to books, chairs, tables, furniture, tools, telephone.
These material culture are external and utilitarian. Material culture is invented for human convenience.
They contribute to the progress of society. It changes faster.

Non-material Culture:
Non-material culture consists of intangible and abstract things like customs, values, good will habits, beliefs, language etc. Non-material culture is something internal and they do not have physical existence. Non-material culture changes very slowly. It is created taking the psychological basis of man and reflects the inward nature of man. Non-material culture has two aspects such as cognitive and normative. Cognitive aspect deals with knowledge whereas normative aspects consist of norms, rules and values. We can’t see it and touch it.

Cultural Lag:

The Concept of cultural lag was first used by W.F. Ogburn in his famous book “Social Change”. Of course ogburn was the first sociologist to use and discuss the idea of cultural lag and formulate a definite theory. But in the writings of other famous sociologists such as W.G. summer, Herbert Spencer and Muller the existence of a cultural lag is implied.

However, it was ogburn who divides culture into two types such as material and non-material culture. By material culture he mean those things which are tangible, concrete and observable such as table, chair, utensils etc. But non-material culture refers to those things which are intangible and abstract such as good will, customs, traditions, values etc. But Ogburn opines that changes first comes into material aspects of culture and when changes occur in material aspects of culture those in turn stimulate changes in non-material aspects of culture.

But Ogburn opines that the non material aspects of culture is often slow to respond to the changes and invention made in material culture. When non-material culture fails to adjust itself to the changes in material culture it falls or lags-behind the material culture and as a result a lag or gap between the two is created. And Ogburn call this lag or gap between two inter-related parts of culture i.e. Material and non-material as cultural lag.
Defining cultural lag obgurn says, “The strain that exists between two correlated parts of culture that change at unequal rates of speed may be interpreted as a lag in the part that is changing at the lowest rate for the one lags behind the other”. Ogburn opines if society is to maintain equilibrium both the parts of culture should be properly adjusted. To remove this gap between two parts of

culture man should adopt his ways of thinking and behaving to the changes in technology. Explaining the cause of cultural lag he says that the various elements of culture posses varying degrees of changeability. It may also due to man’s psychological dogmatism. When social institutions fails to adopt to the changes in material culture it leads to cultural lag.

Obgurh cited a number of examples to explain the concept of cultural lag. He opines that people have changed their habitations and life style but not the life they lead within them. The number of police force in a country remains constant whereas population of the country increasing rapidly. As a result police force lags behind the population growth and cultural lag appears.

Subcultures & Countercultures

A subculture is a culture shared and actively participated in by a minority of people within a broader culture. A culture often contains numerous subcultures.

Subcultures incorporate large parts of the broader cultures of which they are part, but in specifics they may differ radically. Some subcultures achieve such a status that they acquire a name of their own. For example in

Pakistani society there are various sub cultures like Punjabi.Sindhi,Balochi and Pakhtoon.Then further divided like in Punjab Lahori,Saraiki,Potohari etc.

A counterculture is a subculture with the addition that some of its beliefs, values, or norms challenge those of the main culture of which it is part. Examples of countercultures in the U.S. could include: the hippie movement of the 1960s, the green movement, and feminist groups.


Defining civilization MacIver and Page (1962) said, ‘by civilization we mean the whole mechanism and organization which man has designed in his endeavour to control the conditions of life’.

Similarly, S.M. Fairchild (1908) argued that it is the higher stage of cultural development characterized by intellectual, aesthetic, technological and spiritual attainment. On the basis of this meaning, he made reference of ‘civilized peoples’ in contrast to ‘uncivilized or non-civilized peoples’.

Distinction between culture and civilization:

1. Culture is an end (values and goals) in itself while civilization is a means (tools and techniques) to an end. Cultural facts like belief, art and literature—prose, poetry or novel, etc., gives direct satisfaction to the reader while equipment’s of civilization such as cars, computers, refrigerators, etc., do not give direct satisfaction, until and unless they do not satisfy our wants. Thus, civilization is utilitarian. It just helps in achieving the end.

2. Culture has no value in itself but it is a measurement by which we can value other articles of civilization. We cannot determine the value of culture, i.e., beliefs, norms, ideas, etc., but the value of anything can be determined by its measurement standard. Culture is a measuring rod or weighing balance.

3. Civilization is always advancing but not culture. Cultural facts like dramatic plays or poems may not be necessarily better today than the plays or poems of Shakespeare?

4. Civilization is easily passed without much effort to the next generation but not culture. Cultural facts, e.g., any art or a piece of literature, cannot be learned without some intelligence. It requires a few pains to understand it. Contrary to it, the equipment’s of civilization (building, TV, etc.) can easily be inherited without much or any use of energy and intelligence.

5. Civilization may be borrowed without making any change but not culture. Borrowing any cultural fact like any political, economic or social belief requires some necessary alteration to adjust in the new cultural environment while this is not necessary to make any material change in the civilizational equipment’s such as TV, computer, etc.

6. Culture relates to the inner qualities of society like religion, customs, conventions, etc., while civilization relates to the outer form of society such as TV, radio, fans, etc.

7. Culture is more stable than civilization—cultural change takes place in years or in centuries but civilization changes very rapidly.

8. Variability of cultures may not be accompanied by variability of civilization at different places. Civilization may be similar in variable cultural areas. For instance, there is a great difference between American and Indian cultures but there are many similarities in their civilizational equipment’s.

9. Culture is a social fact, i.e., creation of the whole society while civilization, i.e., the invention of any equipment may be by a single individual. Any ordinary person can affect any change in the civilizational equipment but for any modification or alteration in any cultural fact requires the power and imagination of whole society.

There are scholars who have designated culture and civilization as the two sides of the same coin. William F. Ogburn (1964), in his theory of social change, pointed out two aspects of culture, viz., material and non-material. For him, material aspect represents civilization and the non-material aspect is the culture proper. Gillin and Gillin (1948) designated the material or tangible part of culture as civilization or culture equipment which man in his endeavor has modified from environment.
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Default Marriage Family and Kinship

Marriage Family and Kinship

Marriage Types and Norms

Marriage is one of the universal social institutions established to control and regulate the life of mankind.

It is closely associated with the institution of family
Infact both the institutions are complementary to each other.
It is an institution with different implications in different cultures.

Its purposes, functions and forms may differ from society to society but it is present everywhere as an institution.

Robert Lowie describes marriage as a relatively permanent bond between permissible mates.

For Horton and Hunt marriage is the approved social pattern whereby two or more persons establish a family.

Types of marriages


It is a form of marriage in which one man marries more than one woman at a given time. It is of two types --- Sororal polygyny and non sororal polygyny


It is the marriage of one woman with more than one man.
It is less common than polygyny. It is of two types---- Fraternal Polyandry and non fraternal polyandry.

It is a form of marriage in which one man marries one woman .It is the most common and acceptable form of marriage.

Serial monogamy:
In many societies individuals are permitted to marry again often on the death of the first spouse or after divorce but they cannot have more than one spouse at one and the same time.

Straight monogamy:
In this remarriage is not allowed.


It is a rule of marriage in which the life-partners are to be selected within the group.
It is marriage within the group and the group may be caste, class, tribe, race, village, religious group etc.
We have caste endogamy, class endogamy, sub caste endogamy, race endogamy and tribal endogamy etc.In caste endogamy marriage has to take place within the caste. Brahmin has to marry a Brahmin. In sub caste endogamy it is limited to the sub caste groups.


It is a rule of marriage in which an individual has to marry outside his own group. It prohibits marrying within the group.
The so-called blood relatives shall neither have marital connections nor sexual contacts among themselves.

Muslim Marriage
In the Muslim community marriage is universal for it discourages celibacy.
Muslims call their marriage Nikah.
Marriage is regarded not as a religious sacrament but as a secular bond.

The bridegroom makes a proposal to the bride just before the wedding ceremony in the presence of two witnesses and a maulavi or kazi.
The proposal is called ijab and its acceptance is called qubul.

It is necessary that both the proposal and its acceptance must take place at the same meeting to make it a sahi Nikah

The run-away marriages called kifa when the girls run away with boys and marry them on their own choice are not recognized.

Marrying idolaters and slaves is also not approved.

There is also provision of preferential system in mate selection.

The parallel cousins and cross cousins are allowed to get married.

Marriage that is held contrary to the Islamic rules is called batil or invalid marriage.

Meher or dower is a practice associated with Muslim marriage.

It is a sum of money or other property which a wife is entitled to get from her husband in consideration of the marriage.

Iddat is the period of seclusion for three menstrual periods for a woman after the death /divorce by her husband to ascertain whether she is pregnant or not.
Only after this period she can remarry.

Muslim marriage can be dissolved in the following ways:

Divorce as per the Muslim law but without the intervention of the court:
They are of two types-Kula where divorce is initiated at the instance of the wife and Mubarat where initiative may come either from the wife or from the husband.

Talaq represents one of the ways according to which a Muslim husband can give divorce to his wife as per the Muslim law by repeating the dismissal formula thrice. The talaq may be affected either orally by making some pronouncements or in writing by presenting talaqnama.

Divorce as recognized by Shariah Act provides for three forms of divorce:Illa,Zihar and Lian.There is also provision of divorce as per the Dissolution of Muslim Marriage Act 1939.


The family is a group of persons united by ties of marriage, blood or adoption constituting a single household interacting with each other in their respective social role of husband and wife, mother and father, brother and sister creating a common culture.

The family as a social group characterized by common residence, economic cooperation and reproduction.

It includes adults of both sexes at least two of whom maintain a socially approved sexual relationship and one or more children own or adopted of the sexually co-habiting adults.

Nimkoff says that family is a more or less durable association of husband and wife with or without child or of a man or woman alone with children.

Malinowski opined that the family is the institution within which the cultural traditions of a society is handed over to a newer generation.
This indispensable function could not be filled unless the relations to parents and children were relations reciprocally of authority and respect.

According to Talcott Parsons families are factories which produce human personalities.

The family forms the basic unit of social organization and it is difficult to imagine how human society could function without it.
The family has been seen as a universal social institution an inevitable part of human society.

Main characteristics of family

There is no human society in which some form of the family does not appear.Malinowski writes the typical family a group consisting of mother, father and their progeny is found in all communities,savage,barbarians and civilized. The irresistible sex need, the urge for reproduction and the common economic needs have contributed to this universality

Emotional basis:

The family is grounded in emotions and sentiments. It is based on our impulses of mating, procreation, maternal devotion, fraternal love and parental care. It is built upon sentiments of love, affection, sympathy, cooperation and friendship.

Limited size:
The family is smaller in size. As a primary group its size is necessarily limited. It is a smallest social unit.

Formative influence:

The family welds an environment which surrounds trains and educates the child.
It shapes the personality and moulds the character of its members. It emotionally conditions the child.

Nuclear position in the social structure:

The family is the nucleus of all other social organizations.
The whole social structure is built of family units.

Responsibility of the members:
The members of the family has certain responsibilities, duties and obligations.Maclver points out that in times of crisis men may work and fight and die for their country but they toil for their families all their lives.

Social regulation:

The family is guarded both by social taboos and by legal regulations. The society takes precaution to safeguard this organization from any possible breakdown.

Types and forms of the family

On the basis of marriage, family has been classified into three major types:

• Polygamous or polygynous family

• Polyandrous family On the basis of the nature of residence family can be classified into three main forms.

• Family of matrilocal residence

• Family of patrilocal residence

• Family of changing residence

On the basis of ancestry or descent family can be classified into two main types

• Matrilineal family

• Patrilineal family

On the basis of size or structure and the depth of generations family can be classified into two main types.

• Nuclear or the single unit family

• Joint family

On the basis of the nature of relations among the family members the family can be classified into two main types.

• The conjugal family which consists of adult members among there exists sex relationship.

• Consanguine family which consists of members among whom there exists blood relationship- brother and sister, father and son etc


Kinship is the relation by the bond of blood, marriage and includes kindered ones. It represents one of the basic social institutions. Kinship is universal and in most societies plays a significant role in the socialization of individuals and the maintenance of group solidarity. It is very important in primitive societies and extends its influence on almost all their activities.A.R Radcliffe Brown defines kinship as a system of dynamic relations between person and person in a community, the behavior of any two persons in any of these relations being regulated in some way and to a greater or less extent by social usage.

Affinal and Consanguineous kinship

Relation by the bond of blood is called consanguineous kinship such as parents and their children and between children of same parents. Thus son, daughter, brother, sister, paternal uncle etc are consanguineous kin. Each of these is related through blood.

Kinship due to marriage is affinal kinship. New relations are created when marriage takes place. Not only man establishes relationship with the girl and the members of her but also family members of both the man and the woman get bound among themselves. Kinship includes Agnates (sapindas, sagotras); cognates (from mother's side) and bandhus (atamabandhus, pitrubandhus, and matrubandhus).


A descent group is any social group in which membership depends on common descent from a real or mythical ancestor. Thus a lineage is a unilineal descent group in which membership may rest either on matrilineal descent (patrilineage) or on matrilineal descent (matrilineage). In a cognatic descent, all descendants of an ancestor\ancestress enjoy membership of a common descent group by virtue of any combination of male or female linkages. However, cognatic descent is sometimes used synonymously with either 'bilateral' or 'consanguine descent.

A clan is a unilineal descent groups the members of which may claim either partilineal (Patriclan) or matrilineal descent (Matriclan) from a founder, but do not know the genealogical ties with the ancestor\ancestress. A phratry is a grouping of clans which are related by traditions of common descent. Mythical ancestors are thus common in clans and phratries. Totemic clans, in which membership is periodically reinforced by common rituals such as sacred meals, have been of special interest to social anthropologists and sociologists of religion. Where the descent groups of a society are organized into two main divisions, these are known as moieties (halves). The analysis of descent groups is crucial for any anthropological study of pre-industrial society, but in most Western industrial societies the principle of descent is not prominent and descent groups are uncommon.

Primary, secondary and tertiary kins

Primary kins:

Every individual who belong to a nuclear family finds his primary kins within the family. There are 8 primary kins- husband-wife, father-son, mother-son, father-daughter, mother-daughter, younger brother-elder brother, younger sister-elder sister and brother-sister.

Secondary kins:

Outside the nuclear family the individual can have 33 types of secondary relatives. For example mother's brother, brother's wife, sister's husband, father's brother.

Tertiary kins:

Tertiary kins refer to the secondary kins of our primary kins.For example wife's brother's son, sister's husband's brother and so on. There are 151 types of tertiary kins.

Kinship Usages:

Kinship usages or the rules of kinship are significant in understanding kinship system. They serve two main purposes:

• They create groups or special groupings or kin. For example- family extended family, clan etc.

• Kinship rules govern the role of relationships among the kins.

Kinship usage provides guidelines for interaction among persons in these social groupings. It defines proper and acceptable role relationships. Thus it acts as a regulator of social life. Some of these relationships are: avoidance, teknonymy, avunculate, amitate, couvades and joking relationship.
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