Sociology Daily Answer Writing (19-07-2022)

Sociology UPSC optional

Week 4 - Day 2

Question-cum-Answer Booklet

Model Structure

1. Education is often viewed as an agency of social change. However in reality it could also reinforce inequalities and conservatism. Discuss. 20

2. Write a short note on the impact of religious personal laws on Indian women 10

Model structure 1.


● Social change is defined as a change in values, ideology, institution, structure, human interactions and interrelations in a society.

Main Body

● Education is the most powerful instrument of social change. It is through education that society can bring desirable changes and modernize itself.

● Education can transform society by providing opportunities and experiences through which the individual can cultivate him/herself for adjustment with the emerging needs and philosophy of the changing society.

● Education as a factor of social change is discussed by the various schools of thoughts.

○ Functionalists like Durkheim and Talcott Parsons established a positive relationship between education and social change.

○ While Durkheim argued that education prepared students for taking up a future role in capitalist society, Parsons advocated that schools in capitalist America offer adequate training to the children to get into the job market.

○ Davis and Moore in their theory of stratification advocated that highly specialized persons get high degrees of specialization and are endowed with exclusive qualities to fit into the highly challenging and most productive occupations. They are instrumental in the economic progress and social development of the nation. As a result, the values like self-orientation, individualism, achievement, competition, universalism, innovation, conformity to legal provisions of society and equality has predominated the thought of every generation.

● However, Education also reinforces inequalities and conservatism.

○ Pierre Bourdieu, in his theory of social & cultural reproduction says that education preaches equality but practices reinforcement of hierarchy & inequality.

  1. The children belonging to an upper class having control over economic, cultural and social capital enter into high profitable occupations and this success is legitimized by the school.
  2. Education offers no scope for mobility and mass education is given to masses but exclusive education important for the job market is monopolized by the upper class.

○ The argument of Bourdieu is supported by Bowels and Gintis who advocated that schools in capitalist America are class-based rather than egalitarian. It provides the least opportunity for mobility. The children belonging to lower class get into low privilege schools and subsequently get into low paid jobs.

○ Andre Beteille in his article advocates that it is not the principle of equality or economic interest or search for mobility that put people into schools rather entry into school and success into school is greatly defined by family, kinship, religion or other cultural variables. The role of education in encompassing mobility cannot be universally similar. In every society, various forms of compulsions, institutional conditions, and value systems will determine to what extent, in what forms education has successfully contributed to mobility.

Model Structure 2.


● Define personal laws - Personal laws are those laws dealing with marriage, divorce and inheritance and have a significant bearing on religion.

Main Body

● Archana Parashar states that women have fewer rights than men in any personal law

● The Hindu Succession Act 1956 and subsequent 2005 amendment made the daughters equal coparceners. This resulted in improved bargaining power for Hindu women

● The 1869 Divorce Act and subsequent 2001 amendment made one of the grounds of divorce i.e., adultery more gender neutral

● With respect to Islamic personal laws, the recent Triple Talaq Act has made instant triple talaq illegal thereby enhancing security of Muslim women

● Susan Moller says that cultural diversity always comes at the cost of gender equality

● Hence, there are demands for Uniform Civil Code

● In some cases, though the personal laws are amended to bring in gender equality, actual ground reality is different

● For example, though there is a Dowry Prohibition Act, Dowry has reinvented itself as ―gift

● The Mehar amount given for Muslim women during wedding is only followed ―namesake and actual sum of money is very negligible


● Thus, the effect of personal laws on women is a mixed bag of reality

Check Notes of Sociology (Paper 2) -

A1 Perspectives on the Study of Indian Society
Indology (G S Ghurye)Structural functionalism (M N Srinivas)Marxist sociology (A R Desai)
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