Indian Sociologists

Indian Sociologists

Question

What arguments were given for and against the village as a subject of sociological research by M.N. Srinivas and Louis Dumon ?

Answer
Arguments given for and against the village as a subject of research M.N. Srinivas and Dumount :

(i) M.N. Srinivas favoured to take the Indian village on a subject of sociological research because village society remained a life long focus of interest for Srinivas. He wrote on the Indian village in detail. His writings were of two broad types. There was first of all ethnographic accounts of fieldwork done in villages or discusstions of such accounts. A second kind of writing included historical and conceptual discussions about the Indian village as a unit of social analysis. In the latter kind of writting, Srinivas was involved in a debate about the usefulness of the village as a concept. Arguing against village studies.

(ii) Caste is more important : Some social anthropologists like Louis Dumont thought that social institutions like caste were more important than something like a village, which was after all only a collection of people living in a particular place. Villages may live or die, and people may move from one village to another, but their social institutions, like caste or religion, follow than and go with them whenever they go. For this reason Dumont believed that it would be misleading to give much importace to the village as a category.

(iii) A Relevant Social entity : As against this view, Srinivas believed that the village was a relevant social entity. Historical evidence showed that villages had served as a unifying identity and that village unity was quite significant in rural social life.

(iv) Wrong picture presented by the colonial offices : Srinivas also critised the British administrator anthropologists who had put forward a picture of the Indian village as unchanging, self-sufficient, “Little republics”. Using historical and sociological evidence. Srinivas showed that the village had, in fact, experienced considerable change. Moreover, villages were never self-sufficient, and had been involved in various kinds of economic, social and political relationship at the regional level.

(v) Advantages : The village as a site of research offered many advantages to Indian sociology. It provided an opportunity to illustrate the importance of ethnographic research methods. It offered eye-witness accounts of the repid social change that was taking place in the Indian countryside as the newly independent nation began a programme of planned development.

More Chapters from Indian Sociologists