Lecture 01 Sociology: Anthony Giddens Part 1

dear students [vocalised-noise] today is the first lecture [vocalised-noise] of this course
on science technology and society [vocalised-noise] since the course involves three important
components science technology and society we need to spend some time trying to understand
each of these components [vocalised-noise] society to understand what is society you
need to understand what is sociology as such this is a science technology society or otherwise
known as sociology of science is a sub branch of sociology [vocalised-noise] since many
of you may not be familiar with the basic idea of what is sociology i in this lecture
intend to begin by explaining the basics of sociology what is sociology what is sociological
perspective how do we make sense of the social world that we live in [vocalised-noise] i
will try to explain all these things very briefly in couple of lectures then we will
move on to different [noise] dimensions of relationship of science technology and society
[vocalised-noise] now when we think of a subject like sociology
the first thing that comes to our mind is study of society study of human social relationships
but society human social relationships [vocalised-noise] the but broader [vocalised-noise] abstract
ideas we cannot see society we cannot see social relationships but we can always see
the concrete manifestation of this society in in different parts of our life in different
domains of our life for instance we can take classroom as an example because we are ah
this is a course with online lectures but there [vocalised-noise] can also be a sociological
analysis of [noise] a virtual classroom [vocalised-noise] so let us take an example of any classroom
[vocalised-noise] and see how we can apply sociology to it [vocalised-noise] now if you
look at a classroom [vocalised-noise] every classroom ah has a [vocalised-noise] designated
space the students come to the class at a particular time as per the schedule the teacher
come to the class and teach there some ah [vocalised-noise] chairs tables there is a
blackboard there is a projector so all these things that in any this is a physical structure
of a classroom right [vocalised-noise] now let us look at how people from different
discipline would approach the classroom [vocalised-noise] from their disciplinary perspective so if
you look at ah if you take the example of a um photographer a photographer would be
interested in the classroom in what sense the photographer would be interested in the
arrangement of light and shadow right [noise] photographer would be interested in looking
at how colourful the clothes the students are wearing would be interested in looking
at the different poses assumed by us when you are listening to the lecture by the professor
[noise] that would be of interest of photographer in the classroom
now if you look at an architect how would an architect ah understand the same classroom
an architect would look at the classroom in terms of spatial dimensions space the notion
of space is is crucial to an architects understanding of a classroom look at how the what is the
arrangement of desk in relation to the entire space of the classroom the design of the classroom
[vocalised-noise] the the very positioning of different objects in the classroom whether
it serves the purpose of a classroom or not that would be an interest of an architect
let us take an example of a physician a doctor [vocalised-noise] what would be his or her
interest [vocalised-noise] a doctor or a physician would be interested in in your physical health
your physical wellbeing in the physical wellbeing of the students of the classroom right
what would be the interest of a psychiatrist a mental doctor the same classroom [noise]
the perspective changes what they want to study what they look at what they ah intend
to examine this changes from discipline to discipline a mental doctor or a psychiatrist
would be interested in your mental health would not be interested in your physical health
as much right [noise] a psychologist a psychologist would be interested in [vocalised-noise] knowing
the interest level of the students in the classroom how interested they are listening
to the lecture what is the ability to observe the content of the lecture amongst the students
what is the retentive capacity of the students how much they can retain what has been taught
what is the memory what is the motivation of the students to sit through the class the
leadership quality is shown by the students in the classroom [noise] stress level [vocalised-noise]
all these things will be of matter of ah will be of interest to a psychologist [vocalised-noise]
but the psychologist will be interested in the things that i just mentioned like m [memory]-memory
perception [vocalised-noise] retentive capacity the common cognitive ability of the students
[vocalised-noise] mental development of the students of each individual students but a
sociologist looking at the classroom would arrive at three observations they are [noise]
[vocalised-noise] [noise] [noise] [vocalised-noise] [noise] so if you look at the blackboard [vocalised-noise]
as i told you the sociologists would come up with three observations as soon as they
enter a classroom they are the power relationship [vocalised-noise] the rules of conduct the
class characteristics now what is this power relationship every
in every classroom there is a power relationship that exists a power relationship that exists
between the teachers and the students right and who holds the power in a classroom the
teachers [vocalised-noise] so it is teacher who has more power than the students in the
classroom [vocalised-noise] now this power is not illegitimate this is legal power this
is legitimate power this is authority so legitimate power is authority technically speaking in
sociology when we define authority we define authority as legitimate power how the teacher
has legitimate power the teacher has been given this power bestowed with this power
from the institute from the organization from the college from the school wherever the ah
teacher is located to exercise his or her power [vocalised-noise]
now how do the teacher exercise his or her power in the classroom [vocalised-noise] it
is by deciding what is to be taught in the classroom it is a teacher who decides what
is to be taught in the classroom not the students it is a teacher who decides [vocalised-noise]
how to teach teach the subject matter students do not decide that it is a teacher who is
going to evaluate the ability of the students and the classroom regarding if the particular
subjects that have been taught it is a teacher who is going to our the final grade is the
teacher who is going to ah our marks to the students the ultimate source of power in any
classroom right so its teacher who decides who is going to
speak and when its a teacher would ah tells the student to [noise] leave the classroom
if the student is found disturbing other students or the class in itself [vocalised-noise] right
so the teacher exercises this power through various means through different ways now is
this power absolute this power is not absolute teacher does not enjoy absolute power in the
classroom [vocalised-noise] the teacher can [vocalised-noise] always be [noise] learned
can always removed if there is complaints among the students if the students complain
to the headmaster how the headmistress or the principal or the director of the institute
of the dina academic affairs that that that this particular faculty this particular professor
or the teacher is not teaching properly this is not discussing relevant things in the class
is being very rude to the students the teacher is misbehaving either with the students and
if such complaints are taken into account will be taken cognizance of then probably
ah the teacher would be want or be removed or be told to give an explanation so in that
way the power of the teacher would also be [vocalised-noise] the chances the power would
be curtailed reduced but overall if you look at the [vocalised-noise]
power relationship in a classroom it is teacher who is powerful and there are different ways
in which the teacher exercises this power now is it true of any one classroom it is
not true of any one classroom it is this power relationship is to be found in every classroom
wherever there is a classroom there will be power relationship and the power relationship
would invariably tilted in favour of the teacher whether it is d p s delhi whether it is d
p s roorkee whether it is ah learner college madras whether it is ah ah hispania college
hyderabad or it is in a science it is college delhi or the stanford university or i i t
roorkee or or or cambridge university any school any college any university wherever
whether in india or outside india wherever there is a classroom you will find a power
relationship and that power relationship would be in favour of the teacher
so from this example of classroom from the first observation we establish the fact that
sociologists are interested in generalization second the rules of conduct there are certain
rules of conduct that are followed in ah any classroom every classroom that students would
come to the class on time [noise] not only the students but also the teacher would come
to the class on time the class will there will be no disturbance done by the students
in the classroom students are supposed to listen to the lecture quietly make notes not
make me sense they are not supposed to ah open their mobile phones and start talking
on the phone or start sending s m s these are the rules of conduct unwritten rules [noise]
implicit rules that are followed in any classroom the teacher is supposed to talk about the
matters which are relevant to the class to the subject rather than something different
all these things are not explicitly ah ah told to the students these are unwritten rules
which the students are expected to supposed to follow [vocalised-noise]
now this rules of conduct is not confined to any particular classroom as i told you
in the case of power relationship where ever there is a classroom you will find certain
rules of conduct and this rules of conduct is not specific to any particular classroom
or any particular student the power relationship that exists between the teacher and the student
is not the specific property of the teacher and the students wherever there is a classroom
there will be a power relationship if [noise] i as a teacher has [noise] certain power in
the class the next teacher who comes into the class will have the same power [vocalised-noise]
over the students so students who attend a class will be subject
to power from a particular teacher and also be subject to power when another teacher comes
in [vocalised-noise] so what i am ah getting it is [noise] the concept of role and status
i i am right now occupying the position of a teacher hence i am supposed to act behave
like a teacher need to conduct myself as a teacher thats my role i am [vocalised-noise]
right my status is my relative position that is the position of the teacher why i use the
word relative thats because at home i am father to my daughter i am husband to my wife at
sports ground i am i am team members to my other team members of the cricket team at
office i am cooling so my position changes in different social
context and since my position changes my role also changes how i am supposed to act in in
office situation is different from how i am supposed to act in home environment right
so coming back to this example of classroom [vocalised-noise] the teacher whoever comes
in my position will have the same power on whoever that replaces the set of students
were attending the class right so and this is not a specific property of any particular
individual this is a property of the entire group rules of conduct is to be followed by
the entire class which includes the teacher as well as the students now let us look at
the third example class characteristics [vocalised-noise] every class has certain characteristics of
its own it takes place at a designated place it has a certain class size because certain
class strengths now all these class characteristics are the students who attend the class have
have ah something common amongst them they may be ah m a second year students of hyderabad
university sociology department they can be the [vocalised-noise] [noise] third year b
tech students of i i t roorkee [noise] at at lecture hall complex room number ah ah
zero zero four so this things are common characteristics
this class characteristics is common to all the individuals all the students in the classroom
the sociologists are interested in common characteristics group characteristics the
train that appears from the group the train that emerges from the group the pattern that
emerges from the group we are not in [interested]-interested in individual students we are interested in
common property of the classroom the group property of the classroom the group features
which would be found more less everywhere in case of example of classroom [vocalised-noise]
if we say there is a power relationship we can expect power relationship anywhere in
the world irrespective of time and space in past present future [vocalised-noise] and
this is a group pattern this [noise] observations about power relationship about rules of conduct
or class characteristics these are group patterns regularities regularly occurring patterns
[noise] we can always expect such characteristics to emerge wherever there is a classroom in
past present or future right so regularly occurring patterns this patterns
would be observed wherever there is a classroom [vocalised-noise] and this patterns a group
patterns of the group as a whole the characteristics are not specific to any particular individual
the student in the classroom hence from this example [noise] [noise] [vocalised-noise]
[noise] [vocalised-noise] [noise] so from this example of classroom we can establish
a fact that sociology is the study of recurrent group patterns regularly occurring group patterns
groups can be of any type in society there can be so many parameters of groups class
that is the the income as as a parameter for group upper class middle class lower class
or caste in indian society caste as a parameter of group your your religion your lang[language]-languages
the linguistic groups there can be regional groups region as a characteristics that can
be ethnicity there can be ah engineering students of the entire country or all the engineering
students of i i ts all the doctors in the country all the doctors who are working in
aims all the ah ah i i p s officers so the group characteristics [vocalised-noise]
this group parameter can just vary there can be innumerable possibilities of ah group formation
hence the task of sociologists is that much challenging and bigger to study the group
patterns recurring group patterns so this is the first example through which i try to
explain that sociology is the study of recurring group patterns let us take [noise] take some
more examples to understand different aspects of studying sociology [noise] now let us take
the example of suicide suicide is supposed to be a solitary act committed by a frustrated
depressed individual when nobody is around then where is sociology in it where is society
[noise] its the first time [vocalised-noise] the study was ah a study of suicide was [vocalised-noise]
[noise] done by emile durkheim the first professor of sociology he studied su[suicide]- suicide
as a as a social fact for the first time somebody suggested that suicide is not a linked to
mental illness or suicide is not linked to heredity it is not the result of genetic characteristics
if that were the case emile durkheim the [vocalised-noise] french sociologist and academic first academy
professor of sociology he said if the if it [vocalised-noise] argue that suicide is a
is a consequence of heredity [vocalised-noise] then suicide rates why the suicide rates are
changing from [noise] one period to another period in different periods of history there
is different rates of suicide if it is a result of mental illness [vocalised-noise] then both
men and women would be committing nearly same rate of suicide
but the studies is european studies of that time that is late ah nineteenth century it
established the fact that men were committing more suicide than women so definitely mental
illness is not the reason because in europe of that era ah most of the women who were
in the mental hospital most of the women were in the mental hospital compared to men so
[vocalised-noise] if that were the case then more women would have been committing suicide
but the study european statistics on existing statistics on suicide suggested that his men
were committing more suicide hence he rejected this theories of mental illness or genetic
characteristics what he did he looked at he tried to come up with some group patterns
and he found three important group patterns regarding ah suicide rate and they are [noise]
[vocalised-noise] [noise] [vocalised-noise] [noise]
now if you look at this [noise] he came up with three distinct group patterns that the
single and divorced commit most suicide than the married the old people come at most aside
than the young people the protestants commit more suicide than catholics now how do we
connect all these three group patterns and come up with certain uniform ah law of suicide
can we establish a interrelationship between all these three patterns [vocalised-noise]
durkheim said yes we can and he [vocalised-noise] said that the all these three patterns can
be connected can be linked through a common factor that is absence of meaningful social
relationship [noise] that is ah lack of social bonding it is society which plays on the minds
of the individuals when they commit this act solitary act it is social ah forces which
determine individual behaviour which is the case
in this example [vocalised-noise] one can understand why a single and divorce would
commit more suicide than the young people [vocalised-noise] the social relationship
that is available to them is limited there is social detachment in case of [noise] ah
single and divorced same is the case with the old people the old people are a detached
lot after ah years of work after retirement they society automatically side lines them
the regular they are not in regular touch with other human beings the children may or
may not be in regular touch with them may or may not be staying with them and to act
wait they have this feeling of loneliness they have to grapple with ah health issues
they have to grapple with financial ah constraints all these things can make them lonely absence
of meaningful social they may or may not live with their spouses the spouses may be dead
or if if they are alive only the husband and wife old couple must be staying alone without
children so all these things can be explained through
this common factor that is absence of meaningful social relationship or or social detachment
[noise] [vocalised-noise] [noise] but what about the protestants why would they commit
most aside in the catholics what is how can we bring in this explanation of social detachment
in case of protestants emile durkheim says yes we can protestant [vocalised-noise] protestantism
emphasizes upon individual pursuit of god one can ah reach out to god in his or her
home the person does not have to come to the church unlike the catholics we have to attend
the sunday maus [vocalised-noise] catholic religious rituals are much more elaborate
that involves the entire group all the other catholics in the town and the city or in the
village they will have to be together when they perform this religious rituals [vocalised-noise]
but because of the fact that protestantism emphasizes upon individualism that that ah
regular social interaction is missing in the case of protestantism so that can be one of
the reasons if you ah pray to god at home you dont come to the church you dont meet
people on a regular basis so according to durkheim that can be a reason the lack of
regular social interaction can drive them to loneliness or depression so whenever they
are depressed they are not a [vocalised-noise] around people who would give them suggestion
who would counsel them hence that that can lead to further ah ah desperation and they
may commit suicide hence is the first time somebody established a sociological reasoning
for seemingly psychological ah ah act that is committing of suicide
so that is another example in which sociology can explain a factor like [vocalised-noise]
suicide now if you look at a examples around us now in fact it was been found that that
is a late nineteenth century study in the book on suicide durkheim came out in eighteen
ninety seven the suicide a love suicide now ah there is some mountain states in u s alaska
and nevada wyoming all the states have very low density of population and this states
report more [vocalised-noise] suicides than rest of ah states of united states [vocalised-noise]
though sociologists can always explain this by the fact that since there are very less
number of people in the mountains where seven or eight months of the year ah you cannot
venture out you are mostly confined to your home there are very few people who get to
interact with the climate is a very harsh which stops you from regular social interaction
there very few people as such in that region that made me the reason why which drives people
to commit suicide so [vocalised-noise] its a sociological factors
such as social relationship or absence of that can have a determining influence on individual
behaviour this is how sociologists would argue right now ah another example that i would
give here is that of love marriages now this example given by anthony giddens anthony giddens
who was considered as one of the top three sociologist living sociologist in the world
who was a former ah [vocalised-noise] political adviser to the tony blair government and also
the former director of of the london school of economics he has written a very popular
undergraduate book on sociology so this material that i am ah [vocalised-noise]
discussing has drawn from that now there he gives an example of love marriages we think
that love marriages natural it is universal falling in love is a natural universal human
experience [vocalised-noise] so getting married after ah in love with somebody is [vocalised-noise]
it comes naturally its a universal phenomenon that is how we tend to believe anthony giddens
says it was not natural it was not universal till the late medieval ah ah period love marriages
were conspicuous by their absence it is a typical product of industrial revolution [vocalised-noise]
it is a social construct which is only two hundred years old or three hundred years old
now this is very significant how can you bring in sociological ah reasoning to explain why
love marriages have ah grown in number in the last two hundred three hundred years in
the span of human history it was conspicuous by his absence or absolutely no ah ah reporting
of love marriages [vocalised-noise] only in literature and sent in medieval literature
you would find mention of love marriages he would say not in actuality [noise] the reason
how i love marriages became universal or common after the industrial revolution financial
independence of men and women [noise] industrial revolution brought human beings individuals
from villages to the factory towns [vocalised-noise] so they were free from the [vocalised-noise]
constraints of the parents the societal norms societal rules the religious beliefs
so they could decide whom they want to get married this it became their choice they became
financially independent because they were not rooted to their ancestral occupation in
the village or in the countryside they could take up employment of their choice they could
be dip [independent]-independent of their family profession they could earn on their
own they could leave on their own they did not have to stay with their ah ah parents
or the village or the countryside where they were staying
so and to add to it the the ah changes in legislation one of the important laws that
came into being in europe is for instance the age of majority now once you reach a certain
age you can take your own decision regarding not only whom to marry but what job to take
off where to stay this is completely your decision [vocalised-noise] ah independence
granted to women which empowered them women could also take up jobs on their own they
could be financially independent like they co[could]- legislation helped them to take
their own decisions for all these factors organization moving from the village and countryside
to the cities in terms in search of employment a legislation ah ah financial independent
of all these things can be explained as possible reasons why love marriages have grown substantially
in the last two hundred or three hundred years i will giving a more examples in the next
lecture regarding sociology to explain what is sociology and how sociological approach
tries to understand in the social world around us we will stop here in the next lecture i
will continue the discussion thank you [noise]