Sociology Daily Answer Writing (29-12-2022)


  1. Compare and contrast the theorisation of caste by Srinivas and Beteille.   20
  2. Critically analyse the Ghurye’s conception of caste in India.     20

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Model Solutions

Q1. Compare and contrast the theorisation of caste by Srinivas and Beteille. 20

Model Structure

  • Define caste

Main Body

  • Both Srinivas and Beteille use the functionalist Approach
  • According to functionalist Approach, caste system has the following features
  • Hierarchy - Core of caste as per Srinivas
  • Occupational differentiation
  • Pollution and Purity
  • Caste panchayats and assemblies
  • Srinivas gives the perspective on caste and social change using the concepts of Sanskritization, dominant caste etc.,
  • Whereas, Beteille has a Trinitarian Approach wherein he says that social change happens because of caste system’s interrelationship with other systems of stratification like class and power
  • Both have conducted village studies and have spoken about endogamy and inter-relationship between ritually upper and lower castes
  • 1976 Rampura Study by M.N. Srinivas:
    • Dominant Caste, Sanskritization to explain inter-caste relations & dynamics
    • In his Approach - he found both Continuity & Changes in caste system, which makes his study holistic
    • Caste - dynamic
    • Dominant caste - which wields greater economic or political power and occupied high position in the local hierarchy.
      • Reddi, Kammas in AP
      • Jats, Ahils, Rajputs, Yadavs etc. also DC in several regions.
      • DC as pressure group, as vote-bank in present time shows the relevancy of his analysis
  • Sripuram Study - ("Sripuram: A village in Tanjore Dist. - 1962"):
    • Also explained in ("Caste Class Power: changing patterns of Stratification in a Tanjore Village 1965")
    • Proves empirical reality different than the theoretical aspects of caste
    • Reflexive in his studies
    • Sub-castes almost like endogamous & unequal relations between them.
    • In Sripuram, inter-mixture between upper and lower castes followed by lower castes too.
    • Narrow empiricism - Generalizations on caste based on single village study

Q2. Critically analyse the Ghurye’s conception of caste in India. 20

Model Structure

  • Ghurey, the doyen in Indian sociology, in his "Caste and Race in India (1932)" combined historical, anthropological and sociological perspectives to understand caste and kinship in India.

Main Body

  • Ghurye used textual evidence - old historical scriptures and also structural and cultural perspectives to study caste. So we can say that he studies the caste system from a historical, comparative and an integrative perspective. He compared the caste system in India with outside and concluded that the caste and kinship networks in India have some parallels in other societies also. He was of the view that the caste system in the past functioned as an integrative mechanism that binds society together.
  • Ghurye highlighted six structural features/attributes of caste system
    1. Hierarchy - Caste are divided according to four varna in Hindu system. Order from top to bottom are Brahmin, Kshtraiya, Vyash,Sudhra, Out of these system , Outcaste exist which has no caste
    2. Restrictions on marriage - Endogamy placed restrictions on choice of marriage - every caste had segmented smaller divisions called sub-castes. Each of these sub-castes practised endogamy. For example, Vaishya (Baniya and Mahajan) are divided into various sub castes like Aggarwal, Maheshwari, etc.
    3. Lack of choice of occupation - Division of labour is based on the caste line. There was a prohibition to take occupations which are assigned to other castes and one can only take professions assigned to her caste.
    4. Segmental division - castes are not only divided on the bases of varna. There is further horizontal division among castes.
    5. Civil and religious disabilities of different sections
    6. Restrictions on food, dining and social intercourse.
  • Criticism:
  • Ghurye gave importance only to scripture. Society is not strictly organised on the line of scripture In reality caste exists as jati.
  • He ignored the role taken by caste as a kinship system, Political system.He ignored relation of domination and subjugation, rising caste aspiration and caste conflict.
  • His view is Only a Brahnical view/ cultural Nationalism from the top.He assumed that Indian culture is so resilient that Muslims, british are not able to change it. Lower caste view, feminist view is ignored by him.


  • However his contribution to sociology is immense, he liberated sociology from a colonial perspective and put forward nationalist one.

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