Who introduced a classification of groups into the little community and the great community? | Sociology for CUET by Vikash Ranjan | Sociology Guru

classification of groups

Question: Who introduced a classification of groups into the little community and the great community?

  1. Maclver
  2. Cooley
  3. Tonnies
  4. Redfield

Answer: (4)

The question inquires about the classification of groups into the “little community” and the “great community” and asks to identify the scholar associated with this classification. The correct answer, as provided, is (d) Redfield. The response delves into the concept of the “little community” as introduced by Robert Redfield, emphasizing the significance of this classification and its implications for understanding human social organization.

Robert Redfield and the Classification of Communities:

Robert Redfield, an American anthropologist, made significant contributions to the field of anthropology, particularly in the study of human societies and communities. His work, including the classification of communities into “little” and “great” communities, reflects a holistic understanding of human social organization. Let’s explore the concepts introduced by Redfield and their implications for the study of communities.

1. The Little Community:

Redfield’s concept of the “little community” refers to a small group of individuals living together, wherein all essential characteristics of communal living are observed.

It is characterized by close-knit relationships, shared activities, and a strong sense of community among its members. The term “little” does not imply insignificance but rather emphasizes the intimate and interconnected nature of these communities.

Redfield posits that the little community is a fundamental unit of humanity and suggests that it has been the predominant form of human living throughout history.

2. Holistic Viewpoint:

Redfield views the little community as a “kind of human whole.” This holistic perspective means that the little community is not just a collection of individuals but an integrated and interdependent entity.

The holistic viewpoint emphasizes the interconnectedness of various elements within the little community, including social relationships, cultural practices, and shared experiences.

3. Anthropological Fieldwork:

Redfield notes that anthropologists have conducted much of their fieldwork in little communities. This choice is grounded in the belief that studying these small, close-knit groups provides insights into fundamental aspects of human social life.

By immersing themselves in the daily lives of individuals within little communities, anthropologists can better understand the dynamics of social interactions, cultural practices, and the ways in which individuals contribute to the collective identity of the community.

4. Small Communities:

Redfield sometimes refers to little communities as “small communities.” This term emphasizes the scale and size of these social units, contrasting them with larger, more complex societal structures.

The use of “small communities” reflects Redfield’s interest in examining the basic building blocks of human societies, recognizing the significance of these smaller units in shaping broader social landscapes.

5. The Great Community:

While the focus is on the little community, Redfield’s classification also introduces the concept of the “great community.” The great community represents larger and more complex social structures that extend beyond the immediate, intimate relationships of the little community.

As opposed to the close-knit nature of the little community, the great community encompasses broader social, political, and economic interactions. It includes institutions, organizations, and networks that extend beyond the immediate locality.

Implications for Understanding Human Society:

Understanding Redfield’s classification of communities has broader implications for comprehending the diversity and complexity of human social organization.

1. Scale and Complexity:

Redfield’s distinction between little and great communities highlights the importance of considering the scale and complexity of social units. Little communities represent the foundational, intimate groups, while great communities encompass larger societal structures.

2. Social Relationships and Identity:

The concept of the little community underscores the significance of social relationships in shaping individual identity. It emphasizes the role of shared activities, cultural practices, and close interactions in fostering a sense of belonging and community.

3. Cultural Variation:

Redfield’s work recognizes the diversity of human societies and the importance of studying communities at different scales. By acknowledging that anthropologists often focus on little communities, he underscores the need to appreciate cultural variations within these smaller units.

4. Holistic Approach to Anthropology:

Redfield’s holistic viewpoint encourages a comprehensive approach to the study of human societies. By considering communities as integrated wholes, anthropologists can better grasp the interconnectedness of various elements, from kinship ties to economic activities.

In conclusion, Robert Redfield’s classification of groups into the little community and the great community provides a foundational framework for understanding the intricacies of human social organization. This classification emphasizes the holistic nature of little communities and their significance in shaping individual and collective identities. For candidates preparing for the MA CUET exam, a nuanced understanding of these concepts and their applications in anthropological research will be crucial for addressing questions and essays related to community studies, social organization, and anthropological methodologies.


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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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