Spencer viewed all evolution in terms of two types of society the? | Sociology for CUET by Vikash Ranjan | Sociology Guru



Question: Spencer viewed all evolution in terms of two types of society the?

  1. Agrarian and industrial
  2. Military and industrial
  3. Pastoral and industrial 
  4. Tribal and industrial

Answer: (2)

In Spencer’s view, militant societies are characterized by compulsory cooperation. This is likened to the strict hierarchy and obedience demanded within a military structure. The members of a militant society are bound by rigid obligations, with a clear chain of command, much like an army of conscripts where deviation or desertion is met with severe punishment. Spencer likens this to a “regime of status,” where individuals’ roles and obligations are ascribed rather than achieved or chosen.

Spencer’s use of the term “militant” does not only refer to military warfare but also encompasses any society which is organized in a way that enforces cooperation through rigorous control, where individuals are subsumed under a collective will. This collective will is typically represented by a centralized government or a ruling class that exerts power over the populous, often justified by survival needs or external threats.

The militant society is, therefore, a society of order, control, and collective discipline. It operates under a clear hierarchy and is marked by obedience and uniformity. In such societies, the individual’s freedoms are often heavily curtailed in the interest of the group or state’s survival and functionality.

Industrial Societies

Conversely, in industrial societies, Spencer identified voluntary cooperation as the operative principle. These societies are typified by market systems and private enterprise, where individuals come together to exchange goods and services under agreed-upon terms. Here, unlike in militant societies, the individual enjoys the freedom to associate or disassociate and is not under compulsion to cooperate, but does so voluntarily based on mutual benefit.

Spencer’s industrial society is governed by what he calls the “regime of contract.” This concept underscores the modern notion of free enterprise and capitalism, where relationships are formed, maintained, and severed based on contractual agreements that are mutually beneficial to the parties involved. These agreements are symbolic of the freedom and agency that individuals possess in an industrial society, as opposed to the imposed duties of the militant society.

In such a society, while there may be hierarchies, they are more fluid and based on agreements that can be terminated by either party. The employer-employee relationship is a prime example, where orders and obedience are conditioned by the employment contract and not by an inherent authority or status.

Societal Evolution According to Spencer

Spencer’s perspective is that societal evolution involves a transition from militant to industrial structures. He observed this through the lens of British political history, from the 17th to the 19th century, where he saw a gradual shift from a society focused on status and compulsion to one based on contract and voluntary cooperation

In his view, the growth of industrial society was a result of the evolutionary progress of human societies towards increased freedom and complexity. The industrial society represented the culmination of this progress, embodying higher degrees of individual freedom and social complexity than the simpler, more coercive structures of militant societies.

Implications of Spencer’s Societal Types

Spencer’s dichotomy between militant and industrial societies provides a framework to understand not only the historical shifts in societal structures but also the underlying principles that guide social interactions and governance. It serves as a lens through which to examine the tensions between control and freedom, collective need and individual rights, and how societies navigate these tensions over time.

In the context of the MA CUET exam, students are prompted to think critically about the evolution of societies and the factors that contribute to societal change. Spencer’s theory offers a valuable paradigm for understanding social evolution, the role of the individual versus the collective, and the changing nature of societal organization.

In summary, Herbert Spencer’s distinction between militant and industrial societies elucidates a fundamental duality in social evolution, highlighting the transition from compulsion to voluntary cooperation, from status to contract. This conceptual framework not only aids students in understanding historical societal changes but also offers a timeless perspective on the dynamics that continue to shape human social structures in contemporary times.

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Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Question: Define the term “ethnic movement” and provide an example from India.

Answer: An ethnic movement refers to a collective effort by a group sharing common cultural, linguistic, or religious traits, seeking to assert their identity and rights; an example from India is the Khalistan Movement in Punjab.

2. Question: Identify the main objectives behind the Gorkhaland ethnic movement.

Answer: The Gorkhaland ethnic movement primarily seeks to establish a separate state for India’s Nepali-speaking population in the Darjeeling region, advocating for linguistic and cultural recognition and political autonomy.

3. Question: What was the Operation Blue Star, and which ethnic movement was it related to?
Answer: Operation Blue Star was a military action in 1984, aiming to remove Sikh militants hiding in the Golden Temple in Amritsar; it is related to the Khalistan movement, which sought a separate Sikh country.

4. Question: Mention a critical factor that triggered the emergence of ethnic movements in India, as discussed by Dipankar Gupta.
Answer: Dipankar Gupta emphasized that ethnicity is fundamentally a political process, wherein caste and religion, the key components of identity formation, are politicized by leaders for vested interests.

5. Question: What were the primary reasons for the Assam Ethnicity conflicts involving Bodo tribals and Bengali Muslim settlers?
Answer: The Assam Ethnicity conflicts primarily stemmed from issues related to immigration, land rights, and resource allocation, leading to clashes, riots, and evolving relationships among indigenous communities to address challenges.

6. Question: Briefly describe the role of the Dravidian Movement in terms of caste and societal structure.
Answer: The Dravidian Movement, led notably by E.V. Ramasamy, aimed to establish an egalitarian society, focusing on anti-Brahmanism and advocating for equal rights for backward castes, while also introducing reforms like self-respect marriages.

7. Question: Name the prominent ethnic movements in North-East India and specify one common objective.
Answer: Prominent ethnic movements in North-East India include the Nagas’ and Mizos’ struggles; a common objective was to gain autonomy and recognition for their distinct tribal identities and cultural uniqueness.

8. Question: What is the key argument of Gail Omveldt regarding traditional Indian society and multiculturalism?
Answer: Gail Omveldt opposed romanticizing traditional Indian society, arguing that hierarchy has always dominated it and dismissing the notion that multiculturalism is an intrinsic feature of Indian society as a myth.

9. Question: Briefly explain the social hierarchy factor as a contributing element to ethnic movements as suggested by Olzak.
Answer: Olzak suggests that the construction of hierarchies among ethnic communities, which often leads to the suppression of one group by another, is a key factor that can instigate social and ethnic movements.

10. Question: Identify one consequence of the unequal economic development factor within the context of ethnic movements in India.
Answer: One consequence of unequal economic development is the marginalization and underdevelopment of certain groups, leading to feelings of alienation and sometimes initiating ethnic movements as these groups strive for equality and recognition.

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