Structural functionalism in India Essay Sample


Functional attack to the survey of phenomena emerged at first in biological scientific disciplines and subsequently on adopted societal scientific disciplines. Structural-Functional attack in the survey of society emerged from the Hagiographas of early minds like August Comte. Herbert Spencer and Emile Durkheim during the ulterior portion of nineteenth century and became a prevailing tendency in sociology during the first half of twentieth century.

Pulling this theoretical account from the West. Indian sociologist begun to analyze Indian society within the model of structural functional attack. Indology. ‘dominant’ perspective boulder clay 1940s gave manner to more systematic survey of the Indian society. Structural functional attack was since so predominant in the Indian sociological circle till the terminal of the twentieth century. Students of Indian society. both sociologists and societal anthropologists. have undertaken extended analysis of the caste and small town systems in order to understand the alone nature the Indian society. Among the Indian bookmans. G. S. Ghurye. M. N. Srinivas and S. C. Dube may be considered to be in the head of structural-functional attack in the survey of Indian society.

In this essay. structural functional attack in India has been explained. In order to understand clearly how structural functional attack has been used to explain the Indian societal world. MN Srinivas’s seminal work ‘Religion and Society among the Coorgs of South India’ has been discussed with particular accent on Sansritisation procedure. No position is beyond unfavorable judgment and this attack is no exclusion. Few of the defects of this position has been discussed at the terminal of the essay.

Structural functional position:

Before continuing to understand Structural functionalist position in India. let’s foremost put forth the basic dogmas of the attack. The cardinal points of the functionalist position may be summarized by a comparing drawn from biological science. A life scientist carries out the survey of an being. state human organic structure. by analysing assorted parts. such as encephalon. lungs. bosom and liver. However if each portion is examined in isolation. it will non uncover the full working and care of the portion unless studied in relation to other parts consisting the whole being. Functionalism as an attack adopts a similar position.

Functional attack to the survey of society positions society in footings of its component parts and their relationship with each other in order to keep the society as a whole. Radcliffe-Brown defines map of any societal establishment in footings of the part it makes to the care of the whole society. Functionalism begins with the observation that behavior in society is structured. Relationships between the members of society are organized in footings of regulations or norms and hence patterned and perennial. Valuess provide general guidelines for behavior. The construction of the society may be seen as the sum sum of normative behaviour – sum entire of societal relationships. which are governed by norms.

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Harmonizing to Radcliffe-Brown. societal construction refers to ‘person to individual relationship institutionally defined’ . The chief parts of society. its establishments such as the household. the economic system. the educational and political systems are major facets of societal construction. These parts of the societal construction have their part to do for the care and endurance of the society. In other words. each portion of societal construction has a specific map to execute towards care of the society. From a functional position. society is regarded as a system. A system is an entity made up of interconnected parts which are mutualist. Changes in the operation of any portion will in some manner. affect every other portion and the system as a whole. These parts are integrated and jointly contribute towards the care of the order and stableness of the system. Functionalists believe in consensus. order and stableness of the system. Unlike the evolutionists. the functionalists search for the beginning of establishments in footings of the indispensable maps they perform.

Structural functionalist position in India

The structural- functionalists view that the Indian society is made up of castes as important parts that jointly constitute the societal system. Castes form the units or the edifice blocks of Indian societal construction since they have been digesting or enduring groups that determine the individual to individual institutionally defined relationship in the society. Ghurye underlines the basic characteristics of castes as units of Indian societal system.

Methodological attack:

Dominant ‘book view’ of Indology is replaced with ‘field view’ of the structural functional attack. Here. Book position indicates the apprehension of the society from the books and literature available and is otherwise known as Indological attack. Field position indicates chiefly the method of participant observation. This has changed the manner in which cognition is produced in the Indian sociology. Methods adopted progressively tilted towards the qualitative methods in order to acquire the comprehensive. holistic apprehension of the society. Few of the structural functionalist attack has been discussed here.

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M N Srinivas:
Srinivas was fundamentally interested non to understand the countrymen through the Western books or through sacred books and literature instead was interested to analyze them from direct observation and his field experiences. So he made an intensive survey on the Coorgs. Srinivas studied largely about the caste and faith to foreground the structural-functional facets and the kineticss of caste system.

SC Dube:
Dube has largely focused his Hagiographas on India’s altering small towns. His ulterior Hagiographas besides maintained the same penetration into India’s societal world. gained from a macro-perspective. while at the same time demanding preciseness in theoretical preparations and empirical confirmation of these propositions. Dube has ever advocated for the interdisciplinary orientation and a booster of research involvement. So he had ever looked at things in a different position. which reflects his multidimensional personality. Dube proposed a more comprehensive frame of mention for the survey of ‘complex cultures’ to understand Indian world. He applied deductive-positivistic instead than inductive-inferential attack. based on void state of affairs like ‘no alteration in modern India’ or ‘India’s unchanging villages’ .

Explaining societal world
In this portion of the essay. few facets of MN Srinivas’s survey of the Coorg is discussed. The survey cleared the misconception of eternity in the Indian society. Social construction in traditional India was considered changeless. There was the strong impression of eternity and changelessness every bit far as traditional Indian society was concerned. although. this is mostly the building of Orientalism. Caste in India is frequently cited as digesting establishment which allow no societal mobility. for both single and group. It was viewed as stiff and closed stratification system where position was ascribed non acquired one. This position is buttressed by the ‘book view’ of the Indian society. In this context. through field survey in Coorg. Karnataka. M N Srinivas puts forth the construct of Sanskritization through which he captured the procedures of alteration that occur in traditional Indian Society.

Caste and Sanskritization:
Sanskritization occurs in the structural model of caste. By and large talking the castes which occupies the higher hierarchy are more sanskritized than the castes that occupy lower hierarchy. Emulation is non without any barriers. Barriers such as. countenances against imitation of the norms. hostile attitude of the locally dominant caste. or of the male monarch of the part. failed to discourage the procedures of Sanskritization. Certain inventions by the local castes help them to exceed these barriers. For illustration. prohibition on Vedic ritual is circumvented by curtailing the prohibition merely to the intonation of mantras from the Vedas. This is called as ‘legal fictions’ by Srinivas.

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Sanskritization occurs through concatenation reaction besides. That is. each group took from the one higher to it. and in bend gave to the group below. Sometimes. nevertheless. as in the instance of the Vishwakarma brahmans. Smiths of South India. a caste tried to leap over all its structural neighbours. and claimed equality with the Brahmans. Upward motion in the hierarchy by and large gives higher ritual position. But there could be hiatus between ritual and economic and political position of that peculiar caste. Thus M N Srinivas efficaciously used the structural attack to supply apprehension of the societal alteration in the traditional Indian society.

Structural functionalist position points are frequently coloured by dominant category and caste involvements. Although Srinivas has talked about the economic and technological development. he has non focused of the lower section of society. His thoughts on Sanskritization and Dominant caste has made him closer to Hindutva political orientation of cultural patriotism. The two procedures of societal alteration. Sanskritization and Westernization are regarded as “limited procedures in modern India and it is non possible to understand one without mention to the other. ” This attack does non explicate the presence of the struggle of the society in the effectual mode. Assorted societal motions that sprung across India since independency can non be explained by this attack. Feminist position is about absent in this attack although MN Srinivas made few ephemeral mentions in the survey of Rampura small town. This attack can non adequately capture the assorted procedures that happen in diverse India. For illustration. Sansritisation in one portion of India may wholly go on in a different manner.


This essay has made an effort for apprehension of the Structural- Functional position. While understanding the Indian Society it was a made an effort through assorted surveies Indian small towns reflecting both the structural and the fictional facets of Indian Villages. Both the bookmans have made the attempt to do it clear that Indian Villages are structurally and functionally reflected as a whole through this attack.

Despite its insufficiencies. Structural functional attack has contributed to the growing of Indian sociology.