UPSC SOCIOLOGY MAINS Syllabus – Paper 1 -Chapter 6 – WORK AND ECONOMIC LIFE
- Social organization reflects the normative structure at work place in form of stratified order in society, power relations, social mobility, and alienation and so on.
- Modern societies have secular or technical component as dominating one while in traditional societies work is organized more on normative lines.
- Factory system and Jajmani system are two contrasting examples of different organization of work.
VARIOUS DIMENSIONS OF ORGANISATION OF WORK
- I. Activities of production – hunting gathering, agriculture, mass production.
II. Nature of work – simple or complex, formal or informal etc.
III. Source of power – land, capital etc. Classical elite theories locate source of power in individual qualities. Marx see source of power in control over mode of production.
IV. System of stratification – master-slave in ancient mode, in feudal lord-serf, haves-haves not in capitalism, in caste system chatur-varna. Stratification is a result of pattern of inequalities which
exist in society.
V. Social mobility – avenues of social mobility are also different in different modes of production. When division of labor is low and work is ascriptive in nature, mobility is poor as in case of feudal and ancient mode of production.
VI. Degree of alienation – according to Marx it peaks in capitalism and according to Weber it is a result of increasing rationalization of work.
ORGANISATION OF WORK IN SLAVE SOCIETY
- Major economic activity – hunting and food gathering
- Mode of production is ancient – where some have mastered over skills of hunting and gathering etc and others are enslaved by them
- Low division of labor
- No specialized economic organization – the occupational differentiation being limited primarily to birth, sex and age
- Little or no surplus
- No private ownership
- Religion dominates economic life
- Low level of innovation
- Family plays an important role in production Inanimate source of power is used in form of human labor and animal power
- Alienation from work is low as workers enjoy fruit of their production
- There is no clear separation between domestic economy and community economy
ORGANISATION OF WORK IN FEUDAL AGRARIAN SOCIETY
- Major economic activity – agriculture
- Mode of production is feudalistic – based upon control over land
- Division of labor is enhanced over slave society – there are three estates – nobility, clergy and serfs
- Surplus is there, but not much. Markets are slowly emerging.
- Social mobility is very low as society is almost closed in nature – roles of clergy, nobility and serfs were defined by birth and hence ascriptive in nature.
- Alienation was still very low as workers have significant autonomy in work in absence of strict organization of work and lesser specialization.
- Religion was still important part of life and family still played a part in production.
ORGANISATION OF WORK IN CAPITALIST AND INDUSTRIAL SOCIETY
- Major economic activity – mass production of goods and services in factories
- Complex division of labor as specialization increases
- Importance is given to capital and less to labor
- Production is for exchange and profit Production is based on competition and not on cooperation
- Alienation is high as workers lose control over produce and monotony of work is also very high
- Multiplicity of economic institutions – e.g. factories, banks and markets.
- High surplus as now production is for market, not for self consumption
- Money economy replaces barter system and even labor is commoditized
- Use of inanimate power replaces use of labor, leading to higher production on one hand and reduced human role on the other
- There is high mobility of workforce as means of communication improve
- Domestic and commercial activities are clearly separated
- Level of innovation is high as individual has more freedom to be creative
- Laws in such society are no longer repressive and religion no longer influences economic
- Work is organized rationally and not on the basis of customs and values
- Though production is complex, exchange is simple as money economy facilitates easy exchange
Social organization of work also depends upon the cultural values of societies as highlighted by Weber in his famous ‘Protestant Ethics and Spirit of Capitalism’. Political systems also affect social organization of work. For example, in Japan, after Meiji Restoration, rapid industrialization took place and it made a rapid shift from a feudal agrarian economy to industrial economy. Geographical factors also determine social organization of work. In case of India, different regions have different social organization of work.