Patterns of Social Inequality and Exclusion – CBSE Notes for Class 12 Sociology
• Inequality: economic, social.
• Life chances and opportunities are not equally available to everyone. They are less for the suppressed castes.
(a) Social inequality
• Differences shown to people in the society.
• Position in the society/status.
• Status in society became much more important.
• In terms of three opportunities/resources: eco capital, Social capital, cultural capital (all social institutions)
Economic: Property, finances income.
Social: Status, social standing, connections.
Cultural: Social institutions, beliefs, qualification, politics, education, e.g. getting a job through (a) qualification (b) connections (c) money.
• Social inequality is more to do with the group one belongs to, the society one lives in rather than the natural differences that exists.
(b) Social Stratification
• Where different groups in the society are separated from each other by inferiority or superiority.
• Groups divided into segments/portions differentiate them on the basis of their social/economic status.
(a) Importance is given to group differences and not individual difference.
(b) Person is identified by his/her group and not by his/her achievement.
(c) The opportunities of these people depend on their group and the life chances available for that group. The people who don’t have life opportunity will fight for their rights through protests, rebels, etc. and may challenge the system.
(d) It transmits from generation to generation/ascribed status, the resources available to one generation are available for the next generation.
(e) Pollution-purity, superiority of high castes, endogamous marriage, marriage within caste, outside gotra.
(f) Each group has own beliefs and ideologies, values, traditions, norms, etc.
• Scheduled caste: Fighting for rights. They are given reservation, benefits, incentives.
• Schedule Tribe: Fighting for place in society. Need to integrate them and give them reservations.
• Women: Equal rights as men and the same opportunities.
• Minority: Those other than the Hindus are fighting for rights. They have been given reservation.
• OBC: Economic problem, same opportunities.
• Differently Abled: Discriminate against mentally different children. Integration and reservation taking place.
• Pre conceived notion/pre judgement
• Mostly negative
• Someone say something and believe it, e.g. Kanjoos Marwaris; Rajputs are courageous.
• When prejudiced against other, and the group doesn’t think so, they don’t think they are inferior and try to prove themselves is called positive prejudice.
• Categorize a whole group having one certain characteristic.
• A whole group is considered homogenous e.g. Rajputs are supposed to be courageous, girls are emotional, boys don’t cry.
• Basis is prejudice.
• Individual difference isn’t taken into consideration.
• In reality the way you treat people differently.
• The way you believe towards a particular group.
• You act on your prejudice and stereotype.
• In India you discriminate against gender, race, religions, caste, class e.g. in a job interview there are 3 boys and 1 girl and the girl doesn’t get the job, they give excuse for selecting them.
• Mostly it is very subtly but sometimes it is openly done.
e.g. in factories owned by Hindus, they won’t take Muslims as workers and they would give some reasons for not taking them.
• Reason is not openly said but people know it is due to discrimination.
The reasons is not the actual ones.
(f) Social Exclusion
• You are isolating them and exclude them from your group.
• When the people who are excluded are not given the opportunities which are given to others; (except their basic food, clothes and skelton) like medical, educational and naturalistic comforts.
• It is not accidental, it is systematic.
• It is openly done.
• It is involuntary, the ones who are excluded don’t want to be excluded but we exclude them.
• After centuries, some people who are excluded lean either to ignore or they protest.
• Dalits came up with 2 things.
• They started making their own associations.
• They converted their religion (Muslims and Christians i.e., Islamisation)
• People excluded once the years are still excluded but the issues are changing.
• To bring about change, the mindset of the people has to change.
Caste System as a Discriminatory System:
Correlation between Social Status and Economic Status
• There is a very close relation between class and caste.
• The members of the upper caste have better life chances and opportunities to use the resources.
• Now it is changing, people from Shudra community are occupying higher positions and vice versa e.g. K.R. Narayanan—Ex-President who was from a Dalit community. Mira Kumar—Ex-Speaker of the Parliament.
• But it is at a micro level in urban areas where Brahmins are peons, clerks while Dalits are doctors and are educated.
• The mindset of the people has not changed, so it is not prevalent at the micro level.
(a) Exclusion: The untouchables went through the worst type of exclusion. They were not given opportunities like others and were excluded from the smallest things and they were excluded from everything.
e.g. They weren’t allowed to take water from the wells, pumps or lakes that the Brahmins used. They weren’t allowed to take part in festivals rituals and ceremonies that other would participate in. They had to have a bath with the buffaloes and cows.
(b) Exploitation: They were given very low salaries and low grade jobs (washing the bathroom, wetting the roads, cremations).
They were given jobs which no one wanted to do and were not paid.
They were treated in an inhuman manners and were taken advantage of.
(c) Humiliation: They were not allowed to wear bright clothes full of colour, could not use the same roads, which Brahmins use, had to walk with their heads bowed down while a Brahmin walked by, couldn’t walk with their chappals in front of Brahmins so they would hold it in their hands.
They would clean up dead bodies and the cremation and were only included to play the drums from a far off distance.
(d) Subordination: They were below the upper castes and the Brahmins and were suppressed.
Provisions by the Government for SC and ST
• Laws, Policies, Amendments,
• They are meant for those who are socially and economically backward as they don’t have life chances and opportunities which they should have.
• The government reserves seats for the SC’s and ST’s and no one else can take those seats from the upper caste.
• They are reserved in educational institutions, jobs, parliament. They have a lot of provisions like age relaxation and low marks for selection.
• You have to follow the laws.
• It is a legal framework, not like norms.
• Brahmins were the only educated people and the British needed the Brahmins support.
• Laws were made about caste but implementation was poor.
1. Caste disability Removal Act-1850: Introduced because they wanted the lower caste to get into educational institution so that they could study and educate themselves.
2. Abolition of Untouchability-Article 17: If practiced, punishable by law.
3. Prevention of Atrocities Act-1889: The acts, the Brahmins carried out on the lower castes e.g. beating them, not letting them wear bright colours, washing streets, etc.
4. Constitutional Amendment Act-2005: The 93rd amendment. It is to do with education and no one can be devoid of education.
They are still socially, economically and culturally backward.
There are social organisation, associations and political parties and social movements fighting for these classes.
1. Satyashodhak Samaj (Truth Seekers Society) mainly for Dalits and women by Jyotiba Phule.
2. Brahmo Samaj- Raja Rammohun Roy
3. Arya Samaj-Dayanand Saraswati
4. Dalit Sangharsh Samiti
5. Bahujan Samaj Party
7. Dalit Panther Movement in 1970’s
Other Backward Classes (OBCs)
• Those groups of the forward caste who are economically backward.
• These people are very poor and are treated like the Dalits but there is no untouchability.
• Reservations are provided to them since they are illiterate, uneducated and are given the same jobs as the Dalits.
Kaka Kelelkar Commission
• Set up to go to different villages to decide which caste/subcaste should be given the
status of OBC.
• Large issue in late 80’s and 90’s.
• V.P. Singh gave reservation in some states but not in other states.
• This led to protests by other people.
Politics of OBC
• Politicians promise reservation for the OBC’s only to expand their votebank.
• Those OBC’s that are better off than the other OBC’s are upper OBC’s.
• The lowest category is equal to the Dalits.
Janjati’s (first inhabitants), Vanjati’s (forest dwellers), Adivasi’s, Girijans.
• They like to be alone/isolated and their occupations well connected to the forest.
• They were hunter gatherers, honey collectors, shifting cultivators)
During colonial rule
• Maximum exploitation of forest dwellers.
• Forests were cleared for collecting timber, setting up of roads, railway tracks.
• The tribals who were dependent on the forest lost their livelihood.
• Some of them became thieves and stole timber and poached animals.
• Others went to nearby cities and towns and became labourers working for wages.
• Thus the tribals revolted and protested which led the British to reserve areas known as exclusive areas/partially exclusive areas.
• The non-tribals were not allowed to enter the area, but this was not implemented
properly since the weaker sections were sidelined.
• Development continued to take place so the tribals suffered (roads, railways, tracks had to be made and timber had to be used)
• Hydroelectric projects (dams), using, recreational purposes and the culture of the tribals gets clouded.
• This displaced the tribals and their livelihood was taken away.
• The tribals began revolts, rebellions, protests due to exploitation and discrimination.
• The Adivasi/tribal movement came across and three states were formed Jharkand, Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh.
Women structure for equality and rights
• Women are considered to be physically and biologically weaker but they are not socially or economically weak.
• This is due to the patriarchal society and mindset of the people.
• The male reformers wanted to make changes in the society for women and Dalits.
— Raja Rammohun Roy
In 1829 he caused the abolition of Sati Pratha under the Governor General
1 William Bentick. Later he started Brahmo Samaj for the upliftment of the status
of women by giving the girl child education.
He wanted child marriage to end and wanted to encourage widow remarriage.
— Dayanand Saraswati
-» He started the Arya Samaj to educate the girl child. Upliftment of women both
socially and economically. Abolishment of child marriage encouraged widow l remarriage. (
He was against the study of western education and he wanted women to study the Vedas and learn about housekeeping as they would ultimately become homeworkers. This social work was done by the Arya Samaj.
— M.G. Ranade
He was a Hindu Brahmin and was shocked by the way women were treated. He
wrote two books and appealed to the people by saying that even in the Vedas it was not mentioned to treat them badly or they shouldn’t get married again.
He was a Dalit and started the association called Satyashodhak Samaj (truth seeking society) Focused on status of Dalits and women and was the first Indian to start a college for women in Puri.
— Syed Ahmed Khan
He was a well educated muslim and he wanted the muslim women to be educated as they were suppressed, due to the Purdah System but they should
learn about housekeeping as they will become house workers.
— Ishwar Chandra Vidya Sagar
He concentrated on widow remarriage. He opposed the way widows were treated.
He encouraged men to marry the widows and arranged community marriages. He did this to give respect to the women.
1. Tarabai Shinde
— Wrote a book called “Stree Purush Tulana’ in 1882 which spoke about how men treated women.
— She was suppressed, women race were given a very low status.
— Women were ill-treated like slaves.
— There was prevalence of polygamy, so men would marry women.
— She felt that women were degraded and so she wrote the book to spread awareness about the importance of women.
2. Begum Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain
– Wrote an interesting short story, Sultana’s Dream’ in 1915, where there was role reversal (men and women), magical world (satire).
– The man usually worked, stayed there and cooked and did all the household work and women would work, jobs, go in rockets.
– In reality it was very rural for a man to do household work.
– Men should help women and lead them go out sometimes.
Provisions for women/position/status of women
• During the 19th century, there were very few associations which fought for women.
• After independence many women associations came up for the upliftment of women. Karachi Session of 1931
Few provisions were suggested and later included in the constitution.
1. Everyone is equal in the eyes of law, irrespective of their religion, caste, language and sex they belong to.
2. Women should be allowed to hold positions in society in government jobs, not taking in account their caste, language.
3. Universal Adult Franchise should be allowed to vote irrespective of their caste, religion, etc.
4. All women have a right to vote, right to stand for any office or to take up any job.
• The Disableds, who are physically and mentally challenged.
• These terms have changed as these terms are very derogatory and should not be used.
• They are not only physically and mentally challenged but they are socially discriminated and not integrated into society like the mainstream.
• These terms are used loosely and are considered as insults.
1. It is biologically given/genetic.
2. Can be due to accidents (physically impaired).
3. The blame goes to Karma/fate.
4. They are considered to be victims of fate and are fiercely independent.
5. Everything that they do is attributed to their disability. People show sympathy and pity, but they don’t want it.
6. Disability is linked with their self-perception (fiercely independent) whether they have a poor perception of themself.
7. We feel that the disabled people are in need of help.
– In the past, in the mythological movies, the negative character is a differently abled person.
– The differently abled are discriminated but society does not accept them.
Differently-Abled and Poverty
• They do not have the life chances, opportunities that the others have.
• They are not educated, cannot get jobs and this leads to poverty.
• If they are not accepted by their family, it leads to begging.
• Due to poor conditions, unsanitary conditions, improper health and education, mother has too many children, no polio drops lead to disabilities (inadequate immunizational, one crowded housing)
• According to the 2001 census, 2.19 crore people in India are physically challenged.
• The differently-abled began protesting and forming associations and laws by the government.
1. Nowadays in the malls and airports, there are bathroom for them.
2. There are separate educational facilities (Tamanna) but they want to be integrated with the mainstream.
3. Provisions are being made in schools, courts, malls, airport, like parking, ramps, lifts, buses—but it is not enough.
4. ’ Most of the hospital^ don’t have ramps.
• The awareness is increasing but the number of disabled are also increasing.
Words That Matter
1. Caste: The graph made on the basis of birth is called caste, which makes it imperatives for the members to follow the same norms regarding food, marriage, social contact, etc.
2. Discrimination: Practices, act or activities resulting in the unjustified exclusion of
the members of a particular group from access to goods, services, jobs, resources, etc. that are normally accessible to others. Discrimination is behavioural component of prejudice.
3. Egalitarian: Believing in the principle that all human beings are equal and should enjoy the same rights.
4. Ethnic cleansing: The creation of ethnically homogenous territories through the mass expulsion of other ethnic population.
5. Ethnicity: An ethnic group is one whose members share a distinct awareness of a common cultural identity separating them from other groups around them.
6. Gender: In social theory, the term reserved for the socially and culturally produced differences between men and women. (As different from ‘sex’ which refers to the physical-biological differences between men and women). Nature creates sexes, society creates genders.
7. Life chances: The potential opportunities or possible achievements available to a person during their life.
8. Minority groups: A group of people in a minority in a given society who, because of their distinct physical and cultural characteristics, find themselves in situation of inequality within that society. Each group includes ethnic minorities.
9. Prejudice: Bias, the holding of preconceived ideas about an individual or group ideas that are resistant to changes even in the face of new information. Prejudice may be either positive or negative, but the common usage is for negative or derogatory preconceptions.
10. Scavenging: The practice of manual cleaning of human excreta and other garbage and waste products. Still practised where sewerage system are not in place. This can also be a service that the untouchable castes are forced to perform.
11. Social exclusion: The combined outcome of deprivation and discrimination, which prevent individual or groups from participating fully in the economic, social and political life of the society in which they live. Social exclusion is structural i.e., the results of social processes are institution rather than individual action.
12. Stereotypes: A fixed and inflexible characterisation of a group of people. A fixed, often simplistic generalisation, about a particular group or class of people.
13. Stratification: The hierarchical arrangement of different segments of society into
‘strata’ or sub-groups whose members share the same general position in the hierarchy. Stratification implies inequality, egalitarian societies are in theory lacking in strata though they may have other forms of sub-grouping which are not arranged in hierarchical terms. .
14. Untouchability: A social practice within the caste system whereby members of the lowest castes are considered to be ritually impure to such an extent that they cause pollution by mere touch. Untouchable castes are of the bottom of the social scale and are exchanged from most social institutions.
15. Economic capital: Refers to the material assets and income.
16. Social capital: Refers to the form of networks of contacts and social associations.
17. Cultural capital: Refers to the educational qualifications and status.