Sociology Daily Answer Writing (30-08-2022)

Syllabus: Stratification and Mobility, Work and Economic Life, Religion and Society, Systems of Kinship


  1. Write a short note on various types of religious practices prevalent in Indian society.  (10)
  2. Critically examine the functionalist views on the institution of family.   (20)

1. Write a short note on various types of religious practices prevalent in Indian society. (10)

Model structure

  • India is a diverse country with various religions, sects, cults etc having different rituals, rites, beliefs. Various types of religious practices prevalent in India society are:

Main Body

  1. Animism: It refers to a given form of religion in which man finds the presence of spirit in every object that surrounds him (E. B. Taylor). Various tribal regions in India practice animism. For ex- Donyi Polo, one of a few surviving centuries-old animist religions in the hilly state of Arunachal Pradesh is home to about 20 major tribes.
  2. Naturism: Naturism means the belief that the forces of nature have supernatural power. Out of reverence and dependency, man greatly worshiped all the greatest powers of nature: sun, moon, air water without which man's life and living will is exclusively impossible. In Hinduism, still sun, moon, nature, fire etc are worshiped. In Islam too, moon find an important place as religious rites.
  3. Monism: Belief in a single attribute, god or religious idea. Eg. Advaita philosophy in Hinduism, Belief in one allah in slam, etc.
  4. Pluralism: They accommodate for different viewpoints, beliefs, etc. Eg. Sects in Hinduism, Trinitarians’ in Christianity
  5. Pantheism: The belief that all of reality is identical with divinity and everything composes an all-encompassing god.
  6. Totemism: Totemism, the system of belief in which humans are said to have kinship or a mystical relationship with a spirit-being, such as an animal or plant. The entity, or totem, is thought to interact with a given kin group or an individual and to serve as their emblem or symbol. The Birhor, a people that were traditionally residents of the jungle of Chotanagpur Plateau in the northeast Deccan, are organized into patrilineal, exogamous totem groups.
  7. Cults: The term cult usually refers to a social group defined by its religious, spiritual, or philosophical beliefs, or its common interest in a particular personality, object or is a voluntary association. For ex- Shree Shree Ravi Shankar (Art of living)
  8. Sects: A sect is a small religious group that is branched off of a larger established religion. Sects have many beliefs and practices in common with the religion that they have broken off from, but are differentiated by a number of doctrinal differences. Eg. Shaivism and vaishnavism in Hinduism


  • The presence of various religious practices signifies the presence of distinct religious belief and form of religion in India

2. Critically examine the functionalist views on the institution of family. (20)

Model Structure

  • Any of the Sociological Definition of Family (given by Thinkers)

Main Body:

  • Functionalists see the family as an essential subsystem which depends on other subsystems. The family is a building block in society; it holds it together. Functionalists believe families have to exist in every society because they meet the essential needs of society and individuals.
  • The main Functionalist theorists of the family are G P Murdock and Talcott Parsons.
    • Murdock argued on the basis of his studies that the nuclear family was a universal social institution and that it existed universally because it fulfilled four basic functions for society: the sexual, reproductive, economic and education functions.
    • Parsons has a historical perspective on the evolution of the nuclear family. His functional fit theory is that as society changes, the type of family that fits that society, and the functions it performs change. Further, according to Parsons, although the nuclear family performs reduced functions, it is still the only institution that can perform two core functions in society - Primary Socialisation and the Stabilisation of Adult Personalities.
    • Ogburn & Nimkoff: basic functions of family are - affectional, economic, recreation, protection and education
    • Merton: Latent and Manifest functions of family
    • Durkheim - Family increases a person's integration into society, thus reduces egoistic suicides
  • Criticism of Functionalist perspective on Family:
    • Feminist perspective - Family as breeding grounds of patriarchal domination.
      • Family perpetuates unpaid labour (Margaret Benston)
      • Family legitimises violence and sexual abuse (Murray Strauss)
    • Edmund Leach Perspective (A Runaway World?)
    • Vogel and Bell - Scapegoat of Children amidst Parental disturbance causes Dysfunctions.
    • Marxist - Family as a means of production in Capitalist society - Female as free labour, thus exploitation.
    • David Cooper (Death of family): Family is an ideological conditioning device in an exploitative society.


  • Beck and Beck thesis on Normal chaos of Love - functional existence of Family stays irrespective of dysfunctionalities of Industrialization and Globalisation.

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