Sociology Daily Answer Writing (20-09-2022)

Topics: Caste Mobility | Notion of Class - views of Weber and Marx on Caste


  1. Is mobility in caste a historical fact? Examine.      10
  2. What differentiates the notion of class as propounded by Weber, to that of Marx? 10

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Model Solutions

Q1. Is mobility in caste a historical fact? Examine. 10

Model Structure

  • Caste is a form of social stratification characterised by endogamy, hereditary transmission of a style of life which often includes an occupation, ritual status in a hierarchy, and customary social interaction and exclusion based on cultural notions of purity and pollution.

Main Body

  • Caste has been considered as a closed system of stratification. And the ideological basis behind this closeness was belief in karma. However in reality, no system was absolutely closed. Social mobility has always been present within the caste system.
  • Various historical avenues of mobility in caste system:
    • Cultural mobility: Sanskritization and westernisation as identified by M N Srinivas, were two major sources of cultural mobility in the caste system.
    • Political power was considered as a major source of mobilisation in ancient to contemporary times by Srinivas. For example castes used to assume the status of Kshatriyas and exercise power.
    • Another factor acknowledged as a source of mobilisation since ages is land ownership, according to Srinivas. Ex. Marathas rose to power by utilising marginal land.
    • Matrimonial alliances: Marriage is identified as the oldest vehicle of mobility. For example Anulom i.e. Hypergamy even had the sanctions of scriptures.
    • Wars were often considered as avenues of social mobility. The winners were considered as the Kshatriyas for their warrior nature.
  • But, these avenues were not available to all. And still, if they existed they had their own limitations. For example:
    • Intercaste marriages after the mediaeval period were seen as taboo.
    • The status of men did not change even after the marriages.
    • Political mobilisation was not the thing of the masses. Very few avenues weer available through this source.


  • Thus, the fluidity of the caste system is a historical fact. Flexibility in caste laws permitted lower caste religious clerics such as Valmiki, to compose epics like Ramayana.

Q2. What differentiates the notion of class as propounded by Weber, to that of Marx? 10

Model Structure

  • Despite lack of consensus over its definition, class is broadly defined as a social group having identical skills, incomes, wealth and material well being in general.
    Main Body
  • Both Marx and Weber saw class with different lenses
Defined class as a social group whose members share the same relation with the means of production.
Class is a group of individuals who share a similar position in the market economy.
Divided classes into two parts: 
(a) Haves 
(b) Have nots
Four major classes:
(a) Propertied upper class
(b) Property less white collar workers
(c) Petty Bourgeoisie
(d) Manual working class
Ownership and non ownership of market forces decide class.
Factors other than ownership and non-
ownership of property is significant in the formation of classes. Different skills result in different economic returns. Thus leading to the formation of different classes.
Even pre-industrial society had different classes.
Classes emerged only in modern industrial societies based on market economy. Pre-Industrial societies were status based.
Communism will be a complete egalitarian society.
In communist society bureaucracy will be very powerful. Therefore power inequality will remain even if there is economic equality.
Argued that there will be the polarisation of classes.
He saw no evidence of polarisation of classes rather argued that there will be expansion of the Middle class as capitalism develops.
Marx saw class stratification as not desirable as well as non inevitable.
Weber argued that stratification is not desirable but is inevitable in nature.
He saw revolution as the solution.
According to Weber, evolution is not the solution.


  • Both Marx and Weber saw stratification in economic (class) terms but Weber took it a step further and also discussed the social(status) and political(power) sphere of social stratification.
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