- What are micro-sociology and macro-sociology? How could the two be related? 10
- Is the theory of cultural lag valid in present times? Discuss. 10
1. What are micro-sociology and macro-sociology? How could the two be related? 10
Model Structure :
- Define Sociology
- Micro and macro sociology are two aspects of sociology which can be broadly defined and differentiated on the basis of their sphere of study.
- Macro sociology deals with studying society as a whole. Phenomena are studied and its causes, implications, outcomes etc are explained for the whole society. For example Durkheim explained seemingly a personal act of suicide in terms of society i.e. causes, trends etc of suicide are explained based on norms, values etc of society. Other examples of macro sociological theories are Sorokin's cyclical theory, Marx's historical materialism, Parsons social system etc.
- Gradually sociologists started shifting from "prophetic" to "prescriptive" sociology. Sociology was used to explain social behaviour at an individual's level. Like G.H. Mead's symbolic interactionism is related to an individual's mind and how his personality is shaped due to social interaction.
- But society is a collection of individuals who shape it by their action and are in turn shaped by it. This is where micro and macro sociology are linked. Merton's theory on deviance and conformity explains this aspect where he says how individuals' acceptance/rejection of societal norms affect crime rate.
2. Is the theory of cultural lag valid in present times? Discuss. 10
- The term ‘cultural lag’ is often used to describe the state of disequilibrium between material and non-material aspects of a culture.
- Ogburn, who coined this word, explained that ‘cultural lag’ occurs when parts of a culture that were once in adjustment with each other change at different rates, and become incompatible with each other.
- Ogburn pointed out how the non-material culture (values, beliefs, norms, family, religion) often lags behind material culture (technology, means of production output of the economic system).
- For example, family planning technologies (i.e. material culture) have advanced, but people take their time to accept them. Some sections of the population may reject the very idea of ‘family planning’ and believe in having a large family. Again, when an event such as an increase in population or a depletion in natural resources causes a strain in society, it takes some time for the society to understand and absorb the strain and alter its values and institutions to adapt to the change. But in order to function smoothly, societies adjust to maintain and restore themselves.
- Critics have pointed out that such a view neglects revolutionary changes which are profound and sudden. Conflict theorists do not assume that societies smoothly evolve to higher or complex levels. Modern life is full of examples. The feminist movement has stimulated a reaction from men and women. The liberalisation of sexual mores has led to open denunciation.
- Values are strongly bound to other aspects of the social system to which they belong; and change in the value system goes hand in hand with changes in the social system as a whole.
- Whether it is the change in the value system that causes social change, that is, the change of the social system; or it is some other factors which bring about basic social change, including a change in the value systems - is a question on which opinion is sharply divided.
- Thus, the theory of ‘cultural lag’ is relevant to understanding social change.