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Continuity and Change - India

A collection of media for NSW Board of Studies course Society and Culture - Social and Cultural Continuity and Change. Prezi devs drop me a comment if you want a copy or collaborate!

Nik C

on 7 February 2014

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Transcript of Continuity and Change - India

India The Five Fundamental Concepts Society Culture Environment Persons India is an ancient civilisation, and its people have a predominantly religious attitude to life marked by clear authority structures. Caste is the basic social structure of Hindu society. It has evolved over thousands of years as a powerful way of organising and administering an enormous mass of people.

The Indians take great strength from their families, which are larger and more extended than those in most Western countries. Traditional society in India is based around family and respect for elders. Respect for tradition is highly valued and a great deal of emphasis is placed on saving face. Indian culture is family-oriented and patriarchal. This strongly religious society has great respect for age, tradition and sacred symbols. People dress and present themselves modestly, and don’t tolerate behaviour contrary to religious tradition.

The nurturing of relationships, tolerance, social harmony and hospitality is paramount. People do things through friends and relatives. Privacy is not important here. India is a collectivist culture. Ideals of humility and self-denial are respected. Indian culture reflects both its history and geography. From north to south and east to west, the people are different, the languages are different and the customs are different. Their fundamental belief is in the continuity of life. The cause of this attitude is the very deep-seated belief in karma (Sanskrit, “fate”). Alongside the belief in Karma is the belief in reincarnation. Although Hindi is India’s national language, there are 18 official languages and more than 1000 dialects. The incredible, almost gaudy atmosphere of so much of Indian daily life and celebration is at one level the exuberance of a deep well of creativity. This expresses itself in the musicals of Bollywood, the decorations of the temples, and the advertising in towns. An interesting feature of Indian life is the lack of decoration and apparent care in many Indian dwellings, compared to those in the West. Indians admire the simple life and the purity of the soul. Key Indian values are: respect for tradition, compromise, respect for elders, creativity, human warmth, gentleness, asceticism, and democracy.

India has given the world two of its great religions: Hinduism and Buddhism. Apart from these, several other religions are practiced, and by and large these have happily coexisted in a pluralistic society.

Although the Republic has no official religion, and all have equal status, the sheer number of Hindus (83%) means that Hinduism is dominant. Other religions include Muslims (11%), Christians (2.5%), Sikhs (2%) and Buddhists (less than 1%), Jains (less than 1 %, but a powerful force), Parsis, and Baha’is. The republic of India constitutes much of the greater portion of the Indian subcontinent. It is a huge and varied country, surrounded by Himalayan mountains in the north and extending into the Indian ocean in the south. India is bounded by Pakistan and the Arabian Sea on the west, and Bangladesh in the east.

To the north lie China, Nepal and Bhutan and the sea separates India from Sri Lanka in the South. Although it is on the main trading route and has absorbed many peoples and influences over centuries, India’s position, and its configuration as a subcontinent, is important in that this has helped it to remain apart from the rest of Asia. This isolation has led to the development of a rich and distinct cultural identity. Independence from the BRitish Time It is impossible to consider modern India without using the concept of time. It allows you to consider the influences upon India, the sense of national identity forged during such a long and vibrant history. India is just as dynamic as it is enduring and change is inevitable taking place as modern technology is woven into the fabric of society. 18th - 19th Centuries The British Raj 1940s 1940s - today Tensions with Pakistan The Caste System To be born a Hindu is to enter the caste system, one of the world's oldest forms of social stratification. The caste system has functioned in India for thousands of years. Hinduism has four castes which are arranged in a hierarchy. Those outside the hierarchy are outcast. The term 'Varna' is the religious term for caste. Its literal meaning is colour, this does really refer to a racial characteristic. Varna implies that each person is born with innate qualities, called 'gunas', which predetermine the class they belong to according to karma. The thoughts and actions, or 'karma', of a person's present life will determine the varna of the next lifetime. Despite widespread cultural changes in India over thousands of years varna has endured as the dominant social structure in Hindu society and culture. Though varna was outlawed in 1950, ties to it are still strong in Hinduism. Traditionally, varna represents a system of colour symbolism that reflects social hierarchy and gunas, which are seen to be present in all things. Brahmin - White, the colour of purity and lightness
The priestly class in Hinduism
Ksatriya- Red, the colour of passion and energy
The nobility and warriors
Vaisya- Yellow, the colour of the earth
The commoners
Sudra- Black, the colour of darkness and inertia
The serfs
Varna is a broad category. The term jati, meaning birth, describes cultural groups within varnas. Jatis were traditionally shown in a person's surname. For example, Gandhi means 'purfume seller', and in the past only those with the relevant jati could practise certain professions. Traditional occupations according to jati imply that social mobility is difficult as certain jati are seen as being part of a particular varna. http://bit.ly/g5JNhw Gender Roles & Marriage Gender Roles • Traditional gender role in Hinduism are those that are modelled in the sacred scriptures, notably through the epic poems and the Laws of Manu.

• Essentially, women were required to be faithful and devoted to their husbands, obedient, meek and respectful.

• Men were supposed to be noble, virtuous, loyal and respectful. Marriage • Vivaha (marriage) is considered to be the most important of all the Hindu life cycle rituals.

• The sacred scripture of the Laws of Manu states that married life is regarded as a sacrifice and a person who does not enter this life stage is someone without sacrifice.

• Paradoxically, Hindu women in traditional communities are often exploited by men and suffer considerably because of their position within the power structure. • Their status is very low e.g. they often do not own property and widows are prevented from remarrying.

• The Hindu Marriage Act and the Hindu Widows Remarriage Act, both passed in the 1950s, enabled women to inherit property, legalised divorce and removed the religious prohibition of widows remarrying. However, attitudes and actual practices are taking much longer to change.

• Until it was made illegal, some women committed sati – burnt themselves on their husbands’ funeral pyres.
• Traditionally, then, women’s role in Hindu society is one of the homemaker and mother, always subjugated by the authority of her husband.

• The patriarchal nature of this situation is further reinforced by the fact that only men are allowed to function as priests and only sons can perform funeral rites. Marriage - Part 3 Marriage - Part 2 Arranged Marriages • Parents arrange a marriage between a couple of the same jati (caste), with the young man and woman taking no part in the decision-making process.
• The father of the wife-to-be pays a dowry of either money or goods to the future husband’s family. This practice continues, despite the fact that the payment of dowries has been made illegal.
• Not all Hindus hold fast to traditional values associated with women and family.
• Many, especially in more westernised urban areas, are more liberal in their interpretation of gender roles. • A man’s religious obligations are dependent on the presence of his wife. It is therefore important to maintain the marriage bonds.

• Divorce, then, is rare in Hindu society.

• In addition, a woman is considered to belong to a husband’s family, so who will she belong to after a divorce?

• If divorce does take place in Hinduism, it would seem to favour the man. Divorce • For Hindus, marriage is a sacred.

• It is a permanent union and one that, hopefully, over the years grows stronger and more stable.

• By correctly performing the domestic and social rituals, the couple’s debt to the gods is repaid, by having children their debt to ancestors is repaid. Practice Question Discuss the following statement in terms of westernisation in India:
‘All change is for the better’ Paragraphs can deal with: - Challenges to traditional gender roles. - Changes in family structure and values. - The changes to the caste system. & Child Mortality & Family Size Defining C & C In Australia 1. What are the UN Milennium goals?

2. What makes these goals accountable?

3. How is data on child mortality collected in the 'developing world'?

4. What is the y axis measuring?

5. What is the x axis measuring?

6. What is the general trend between family size and child mortality?

7. Why does Hans Rosling insist that the term 'developing country' is unfair? 1960 2010 1970 1980 1990 2000 Functionalism Conflict Theory Sociocultural Evolutionary Theory http://prezi.com/c9ivwrm-b8lh/decade-report-1960s-postermural-2010/ The kind of peak that never comes again... A fantastic universal sense of... 1) In pairs research TWO consecutive decades from the 1960s to 2010 and define their attributes in terms of TWO factors such as:

- attitudes and values in terms of gender difference, power and authority, and family structure.
- relationships between cultural groups (ethnic, ideological, religious, etc...)

Create a collection of pictures, video clips and other media that you can refer to in answering the following questions:

What values did the people of this decade hold?
What did they reject?
What was the prevailing social structure?

2) Apply TWO theories of social change to the decades you have studied. Can these theories explain the change from one to the other?

If so, why?

If not, why not? Theories What are sociological theories? Social theories are a way of generalising knowledge. They play an important role in helping us to understand how and why things happen in society.

Theories of social change have been developed to help explain why changes have occurred in the world. A theory is not absolute truth, nor can it provide an explanation that accounts for ALL social change. All theories are open to dispute, and can be challenged.

Theories represent thoughts based upon knowledge at the current time.

They reflect the social and cultural context in which they are created, and may quickly seem inadequate or out of date if new discoveries are made. Society develops in a steady manner over a long time. Social change is unilinear, ordered and progressive. Early societies were simplistic and have become more sophisticated over time. How do you measure sophistication? Charles Darwin An attempt to link biological reasoning to social organisation. Hunter Gatherers Agrarian Societies Western Industrial Societies Change/progress is always for the better. Value judgements? Cultural Relativism? All societies develop and pass through the same processes of change towards westernisation. The idea that social change comes about because of inequalities within society. The dominant social group maintains control through economic and social power. Change occurs when there is resistance to that power/control. Karl Marx Conflict and contradictions are present in all societies: there is no normal, there is no true consensus about the way society should be run. 'Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.' Society is a struggle between people who are constantly trying to satisfy their needs and wants. Class Politics Upper Middle Lower Peasants Proletariat Bourgeoise Aristocracy . Marx maintained that in a capitalist, industrial society, conflict between the workers and the ruling class factory owners would lead to the development of a class who would reject the existing social order and overthrow the ruling class (capitalists). This revolution would transform society into one based on socialism and common ownership of industry and production. - Society is essentially ordered and that change comes through consensus. - As societies evolve they become more complex and interdependent. - Society functions better when there is a clear social order where the different parts of the society work in harmony. - Change is gradual, because change is negotiated between groups in society. - All members of society are controlled by 'common values' and 'norms' that are passed on via socialisation. Society is explained in terms of: Roles - of persons. Institutions Systems Continuity and Change in the following stages: Adaptation – social systems must adapt to changes occurring within the environment.

Goal attainment – social systems must have common goals and purposes.

Integration – social systems must be cohesive and have shared values and norms.

Pattern maintenance – social systems must control the degree of tension and conflict present. Westernisation

Refers to the idea of countries adopting the practices and values of western countries, in particular the US, e.g. the adoption of Coca-Cola or Pepsi as a popular drink, or McDonald’s as a preferred way of eating.


Is a broader application of the changes indicated in westernisation. It occurs when societies adopt characteristics of societies perceived to be more advanced. It is widespread through society, including education based on principles of scientific rationality rather than on traditional or religious beliefs; political and social organisation that recognises social mobility and opportunity; and the adoption of technology and thinking that will allow modern approaches to be maximised.


Refers to a process that has been taking place throughout the world in different ways and stages for the past two centuries. It is the use of technology and new methods of production that increase the wealth-capacity of countries. Many avenues of life and production can be industrialised, including manufacturing, agriculture and administration. Continuity Change Early 80s Late 80s Pepsi 1989 Early 90s 2001 2009/10 Future Predictions Are we all living in...? Complexity Social Mobility http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/story-of-india/ Asceticism - Forgoing 'Worldly Pleasures' for
achievment of a high spiritual or intellectual state

Pluralism - When a minority in a society maintain
their cultural identity.

Modernisation - A concept of progressionary change pertaining to a specific society. These changes include
political, economic, cultural ... changes. Perspectives
of change differ, leading to multiple theorems regarding
what changes constitute modernisation.

Globalisation - A mesh-like extra-national pattern of
development. Different catalysts or networks that a
global trend of change can occur in, include;
communication, commerce, governance, policy...
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