Sociology Daily Answer Writing (13-12-2022)


  1. The study of social order has been the focal point of discussion of functionalist and conflict theorists. Elaborate.        20
  2. Critically analyse the contributions of G.H. Mead to symbolic interactionism  20

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Model Solutions

Q1. The study of social order has been the focal point of discussion of functionalist and conflict theorists. Elaborate. 20

Model Structure

  • Define functionalism and Marxism in relation to social order
    • Functionalism explains how social order is maintained
    • Marxism explains the root of social conflict or disruption of order

Main Body

  • The central idea of functionalism- Society is a whole unit made up of interrelated parts which work together.
  • It is rooted in the origins of sociology.
  • Auguste Comte and Herbert Spencer viewed society as a kind of living organism. Just as a person or animal has organs that function together, so does society.
    • And like an organism, if society is to function smoothly, its parts must work together in harmony.
  • Emile Durkheim also viewed society as being composed of many parts, each with its own function.
  • When all the parts of society fulfill their functions, society is in a “normal” state.
    • If they do not fulfill their functions, society is in an “abnormal” or “pathological” state.
  • Functionalists argue that, to understand society we need to look at both structure (how the parts of a society fit together to make the whole) and function (what each part does, how it contributes to society).
  • R K Merton dismissed the organic analogy, but he did maintain the essence of functionalism—the image of society as a whole composed of parts that work together.
  • Merton used the term functions to refer to the beneficial consequences of people’s actions: Functions help keep a group (society, social system) in balance. Thus, maintaining social order
  • In contrast, dysfunctions are consequences that harm a social order: They undermine a system’s equilibrium.


  • Basic premise: In order to survive, humans enter into social relationships with other people.
    • From the simple hunting band to the complex industrial state, production is a social enterprise.
    • Production also involves a technical component known as the forces of production, which includes the technology, raw materials and scientific knowledge employed in the process of production.
  • Each major stage in the development of the forces of production will correspond with a particular form of the social relationships of production.
    • E.g Master-Slave relation in slave MoP
  • Forces of production + social relationships of production form the economic basis or infrastructure of society.
    • The other aspects of society, known as the superstructure, are largely shaped by the infrastructure.
    • Thus, the political, legal and educational institutions and the belief and value systems are primarily determined by economic factors.
  • A major change in the infrastructure will therefore produce a corresponding change in the superstructure→ can affect social order
  • Marx maintained that all historical societies contained basic contradictions. These contradictions involve the exploitation of one social group by another.
    • It creates a fundamental conflict of interest between interests of different social groups.
  • This conflict of interest must ultimately be resolved since a social system containing such contradictions cannot survive unchanged.
    • Through revolution → communist society (social order achieved by resolving conflicts)

Feminism (alternative conflict perspective): {Note- writing such unique perspectives will help you gain competitive advantage}

  • Like Marxists, feminists tend to see society as divided into different social groups.
  • Unlike Marxists; they see the major division as being between men and women rather than between different classes.
  • Many feminists characterize contemporary societies as patriarchal, that is they are dominated by men. Thus contends that social order is always in favour of male
    • For example, feminists have argued that men have most of the power in family, economy and politics. (can give data about women in parliament, corporate sector, etc.
      • (Related: Glass ceiling effect, private and public patriarchy, etc.)
  • The ultimate aim of feminist perspective is to end men's domination and to rid society of the exploitation of women.
  • Feminists advance a range of explanations for, and solutions to, the exploitation of women → which can establish an egalitarian social order.


  • On the line of language used in the question.

Q2. Critically analyse the contributions of G.H. Mead to symbolic interactionism 20

Model Structure

  • Mead introduced a new perspective to sociology when he gave more importance to the micro-structure in a social setting.
  • Definition of Symbolic interactionism

Main Body

  • Hitherto, sociology had subordinated the individual to the social structure and thus agency was completely subordinated to the structure.
  • We can say Mead further thinned the wall between Sociology and Psychology.
  • Mead used the concept of Pragmatism as introduced by Dewey in which an actor before taking any social action evaluates all the alternatives and takes the best one for social interaction.
  • He was also inspired by Cooley’s socio-psychological concept of ‘looking glass self’ (briefly write about this term).
  • Moreover to systematically develop the Symbolic Interactionism as a perspective he introduced the concepts such as ‘Significant and Insignificant Symbols’
  • Basic tenets of Symbolic interactionism:
    • Humans act as per the symbols assigned towards the thing
    • These symbols are developed in due course of interaction
    • With changes in the meaning of symbol, human behaviour changes
  • Criticism (EXAMPLES)
    • Subjectivity and value loaded study mares Objective analysis
    • Origin of symbol is not specified by GH Mead
    • Why a particular individual will assign a particular symbol towards a particular thing is not specified by Mead.
    • There can be multiple symbols assigned towards a particular thing and also a single symbol can be assigned to the number of things. Mead failed to address the same
    • Marxist criticizes Mead of ignoring the role of equal class structure in influencing symbolic interaction


  • GH Mead symbolic interactionism paved the way for futuristic studies by many Sociological Investigators, whose cores of study was based on the interactions among humans.

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