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PATTERN VARIABLES – TALCOTT PARSONS

  Practice Question:  Critically analyse Talcott Parson’s conception of Pattern Variables. (20 marks) (UPSC 2017) Approach: Introduction, Explain pattern variables in details, Discuss AGIL system, Criticism; Conclusion.   INTRODUCTION Parsons was one of the most influential structural functionalists of the 1950s. As a functionalist, he was concerned with how elements of society were functional for …

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POSITIVISM, NON-POSITIVISM & POST-POSITIVISM

    Practice Question: Is non-positivistic methodology scientific? Illustrate. (20 marks) (UPSC 2018) Approach: Introduction; What is non-positivist ideology, Its central tenets, Arguments to and against it being scientific; Conclusion   POSITIVISM The positive paradigm is based on the philosophical ideas of the French philosopher August Comte. Emphasized observation and reason are means of understanding …

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SUBALTERN STUDIES

  Practice Question: Give an account of Ranajit Guha’s approach in studying ‘subaltern class’. (10 Marks) (UPSC 2019) Approach: Introduction; Explain about ‘subaltern class’, Elaborate on Ranajit Guha’s method and work with respect to subaltern class, Criticism; Conclusion.   INTRODUCTION The word ‘subaltern’ as given in the Oxford Dictionary stands for the general attribute of …

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STRAIN THEORY – R K MERTON

  Practice Question: How, according to Merton, are deviant subcultures generated ? (20 Marks) (UPSC 2019) Approach: Introduction; Explain Strain theory, Emphasise on meanings of ‘deviance’ and ‘sub-cultures, Bring in examples, Criticism; Conclusion.   INTRODUCTION Sometimes people find that when they attempt to attain culturally approved goals, their paths are blocked. Not everyone has access …

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ALIENATION AND ANOMIE

    Practice Question: Identify the similarities and differences between Marx’s theory of ‘alienation’ and Durkheim’s theory of ‘anomie’.(20 marks) (UPSC 2014) Approach: Introduction; Explain Alienation and Anomie, Compare and contrast the two; Conclusion.   ALIENATION – KARL MARX INTRODUCTION The general idea of alienation is simple: something is alienating when what is (or should be) familiar …

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SOCIAL BACKGROUND OF INDIAN NATIONALISM

  Practice Question:  Discuss the Social background of Indian Nationalism. (20 Marks) (UPSC 2014) Approach: Introduction; Bring in discussion on social structures and ideologies during colonial period, List factors helped in emergence of nationalism in India, Quote dominant schools of thought on Indian Nationalism; Conclusion.   INTRODUCTION The concept of a nation was a 19th …

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SYMBOLIC INTERACTIONISM – G H MEAD

    Practice Question: Using Mead’s theory of symbolic interactionism, discuss the stages in the formation of gender identity. (10 Marks) (UPSC 2014) Approach: Introduction; State Mead’s theory, Define gender identity and elaborate on stages in formation of gender identity, Discuss evolution of gender identity in the context of symbolic interactionism; Conclusion.   INTRODUCTION The …

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METHODOLOGY – MAX WEBER

    Practice Question: How is objectivity different from value neutrality? Discuss with reference to Weber’s views on methodology. (10 Marks) (UPSC 2014) Approach: Introduction; Give definitions for objectivity and value-neutrality, Compare them, Outline Weber’s contribution to Methodology in Sociology and analyse objectivity and value-neutrality in that context.   INTRODUCTION Max Weber conceives sociology as …

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REFERENCE GROUP THEORY – MERTON

    Practice Question: How can we use reference group theory to understand fashion in society ? (10 Marks) (UPSC 2014) Approach: Introduction; Reference theory of Merton, Apply the rules or characteristics of the reference group theory to analyse the fashion(or current trends) in society; Conclusion .   INTRODUCTION Sociologists use the term ‘reference group’ …

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PROTESTANT ETHIC AND SPIRIT OF CAPITALISM

  INTRODUCTION Max Weber’s The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism is a study of the relationship between the ethics of ascetic Protestantism and the emergence of the spirit of modern capitalism. Weber argues that the religious ideas of groups such as the Calvinists played a role in creating the capitalistic spirit. Weber first observes …

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