UNIT 2 RURAL SOCIAL STRUCTURE
2.0 2.1 2.2 Objectives Introduction The Nature of Rural Social Structure 2.2.1 Social Structure 2.2.2 Rural Social Structure in India
Rural Social Structure
Family and Kinship
2.3.1 Family in Rural India 2.3.2 Changes in Family 2.3.3 Lineage and Kinship
2.4.1 Caste 2.4.2 Sub-caste 2.4.3 Changes in the Caste System
Agrarian Class Structure The Village
2.6.1 The Issue of Village Autonomy 2.6.2 The Jajmani System 2.6.3 Changes in the Village Power Structure and Leadership
2.7 2.8 2.9
Let Us Sum Up Keywords Further Reading
2.10 Specimen Answers to Check Your Progress
By the time you finish reading this unit you should be able to identify various elements of rural social structure in India, in particular the family, caste, class and village describe the characteristic features of these four elements of rural social structure state and explain the important changes in the family and the caste system describe the nature of the village community in India and explain the changes therein.
In unit 1 on Unity and Diversity, you learnt about the cross-cutting networks of uniformity and diversity of races, castes, religions and languages etc. You 23
Social Structure Rural and Urban
will note that as the knowledge of this aspect is crucial to study Indian society, we discuss it through all the units of ESO-12. Unit 2 on Rural Social Structures deals with the major element of diversity of social life in India. Rural way of living is the dominant pattern of social life in developing countries like India in contrast to the predominant urban style in the developed countries. Social scientists, especially sociologists and social anthropologists, have made important contributions to the understanding of rural social structure. In section 2.2 of this unit, our first effort is to understand the concept of social structure and then relate it to rural social structure in India. The specific components of rural social structure in India have been identified as family, kinship, caste, class and village. Further, in section 2.3, important features of family and kinship in India have been described and the nature of emerging changes in family discussed. Section 2.4 deals with the important characteristics of the caste system against the backdrop of the varna model of society. The pattern of change in the caste system has been taken note of. In section 2.5, the character of agrarian classes during the colonial and post-colonial period has been discussed. Section 2.6 examines the exaggerated notion of village autonomy. Moreover, ‘jajmani’ system, which is an important social institution, has been discussed. In addition, we have tried to discern the pattern of changes in the nature of power structure and leadership in villages in India. Lastly, section 2.7 gives a summary of this unit.
2.2 THE NATURE OF RURAL SOCIAL STRUCTURE
In order to gain an understanding of rural social structure, we first clarify what we mean by social structure. Then we relate this understanding of the concept to ethnographic description of society in the rural areas of India.
2.2.1 Social Structure
Human world is composed of individuals. Individuals interact with one another for the fulfillment of their needs. In this process, they occupy certain status and roles in social life with accompanying rights and obligations. Their social behaviour is patterned and gets associated with certain norms and values, which provide them guidance in social interaction. There emerge various social units, such as groups, community, associations and institutions in society as a product of social intercourse in human life. In this scenario, social structure is conceived as the pattern of inter-related statuses and roles found in a society, constituting a relatively stable set of social relations. It is the organised pattern of the...
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