Tuesday, October 20, 2009


"Urvashi" is a poem by Rabindranath Tagore. In this poem, he praises the beauty of Urvashi.

Urvashi, Tilotama, Meneka and Rambha are mythological creations. They are believed to be the four nymphs who live in Heaven and their job is to entertain the gods. Urvashi was considered to be the most beautiful 'apsara' among them.

Tagore, in his poem, praises Urvashi and through his language elevates her from being a mere seductress to a divine being.
Since Urvashi is neither the daughter nor the mother/bride of any person. She is free from all the restrictions imposed upon such roles by society. She is unattainable - according to the myth, Urvashi did not let anyone touch her. Her beauty was enough to captivate anyone's attention and cause even the sages to break away from their 'tapasya' or meditation.

Tagore caters to the interests of the Western audience while translating this poem. He calls Urvashi the 'denizen of Eden'. He also likens her to a 'charmed serpent' which can be viewed as a symbol of evil, as per the Holy Bible.

Tagore states that Urvashi was born from the ocean and since she came to earth only in her youth, he wonders if she spent her childhood in the seas, playing with pearls.
Since she is not human, she cannot be on earth forever and when she leaves, the whole universe weeps. She is someone whom everyone desires but cannot attain.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Development - Gustavo Esteva

The Invention of Under-development

At the end of the Second World War, it was the United States of America that emerged as a super-power. All the institutions created in those years recognized that fact: even the United Nations Charter echoed the U.S. Constitution.
However, America wanted something more. They wanted their new position in the world to be explicit and sought to consolidate that hegemony and make it permanent.
On January 20, 1949, the day on which President Truman took office, the new era of 'development' was opened for the world.
Truman made use of the word 'under-developed' in his speech and thereby, changed the meaning of development...Never before had a word been universally accepted on its very day of political coinage: a new perception of one's self and of the other was suddenly created.
Thus under-development began on 20th January, 1949. On this day, 2 billion people became under-developed. From that time on, they stopped being what they were and in all their diversity, they were transformed into an inverted mirror of others' reality.
However, one must remember that Truman was not the first to make use of the word. Wilfred Benson was probably the first person to invent the word when he referred to the 'under-developed areas' while writing on the economic basis for peace in 1942. Others such as Rosenstein-Rodan and Arthur Lewis also made use of the term and it continued to appear occasionally in technical books or United Nations document but it was only because of Truman that the word actually acquired relevance.
Development is nothing but an escape from the undignified condition of under-development. For 2/3 of the world's population, today, to think of development, first, requires the perception of themselves as the under-developed, along with the whole burden of connotations the term carries.
Today, for 2/3 of the population under-development is a threat that has already been carried out. It is a life-experience of sub-ordination, of discrimination anad subjugation.

A Metaphor And Its Contorted History

Development describes a process through which the potentialities of an object or organism are released, until it reaches its natural, complete, full-fledged form. Through this metaphor, it became possible to show the goal of development, and its programme.
The development or evolution of living beings, in biology, referred to the process through which organisms achieved their genetic potential and development was frustrated whenever the plant or the animal failed to fulfil its genetic programme, or substituted it for some other. In such cases of failure, the growth was pathological.
Darwin's theory caused development to evolve from a conception of transformation that moves towards an appropriate form of being to a conception of transformation that moves towards an even more perfect form. During this period, evolution and development began to be used as inter-changeable terms.
The transfer of the biological metaphor to the social sphere occured in the last quarter of the 18th century.
Development also became the central category of Marx's work: the Hegelian concept of history and the Darwinist concept of evolution were inter-woven in development, reinforced with the scientific aura of Marx.

The metaphor of development gave global hegemony to a purely Western genealogy of history and robbed people of different cultures of the opportunity to define the forms of their social life.
By the beginning of the 20th century, 'urban development' became a very popular term.
In the 1930s, the association between development and colonialism acquired a different meaning. The British started the 'dual mandate' according to which the conqueror should be capable of economically developing the conquered land and also accept the responsibility of taking care of the well-being of the natives. This dual mandate collapsed and took the form of development once the level of civilization started being identified with the level of production.
It is not possible for us to de-link development with words such as 'growth', 'evolution' or 'maturation'. The word always implies a favourable change - a change from worse to better, from bad to good.
However, for 2/3 of the population this positive meaning of the word constantly serves as a reminder for what they are not. In order to escape from the undesirable condition, they need to be enslaved to others' experiences and dreams.

Colonizing Anti-Colonialism

Since it was taken for granted that under-development existed, an intensive search for the historical and material causes for that state started.
Many Latin American theorists strongly critiqued North America for all the development strategies. For them, Truman had just substituted a new word for the backwardness and poverty that had always been existing. Under-development was a creation of development and it only reflected a perception: it was just a comparable adjective.

Conceptual Inflation

Later, development was reduced to just economic growth. Development simply started to mean the growth in a person's income in economically under-developed areas. In the 1960s, however, social growth was seen partly as a pre-condition for economic growth and also as a moral justification for it.
By the end of the decade, many factors contributed to dampen the optimism about economic growth: the short-comings of the economic policies and processed had become very conspicuous by the end of the decade and it also became evident that economic growth was resulting in rapid inequalities.
Instead of seeing the social and economic aspects of development as separate, the next decade involved the merging of the two. The United Nations resolved to identify a unified approach to development and planning that would fully integrate the economic and social components in the formulation of policies and programs. However, this UN endeavour was short-lived and unsuccessful.
1975 onwards, theories regarding human-centered development started appearing. The Basic Needs Approach of 1976 aimed at achieving a certain specific minimum standard of living by the end of the century.
The 1980s was the 'lost decade for development'.
The 1990s gave birth to a new development ethos. In the North it called for re-development i.e. to develop once again what had been mal-developed, or what was now obsolete.
Now, re-development is taking the shape of sustainable development. Human development is also being taken into account.

Expanding the Reign of Scarcity

During the 19th century, the social construction of development was linked to a political design. The 'law of scarcity' was constructed by economists to denote that man's wants are great but his means are limited.
Polanyi was convinced that economic determinism was a 19th century phenomenon and that the market system completely distorted our views of man and society. He documented the economic history of Europe as the history of the creation of the economy as an autonomous sphere, disjoined from the rest of the society.
Louis Dumont showed that the discovery of the economy through the invention of economics was a process of social construction of ideas and concepts.

New Commons

For the common man, struggling to limit the economic sphere is not a mechanical reaction to the economic invasion in their lives. In order to free themselves from the economic chains, they see their resistance as a creative re-constitution of the basic forms of social interaction. They have created new commons in their neighbourhood or villages to live on their own terms.
In these new commons, there are forms of social interaction that emerged only in the post-war era. After having understood what survival means in an economic society, these people are counting the blessings they find in these refuges and actively work to re-generate them.
Following the economic definition of learning, education is equated with diplomas. Health is equated with dependence on medical services.
Within new commons, needs are defined with verbs that describe activities embodying wants, skills and interactions with others and with the environment.


In pre-independence India, Kashmir was ruled by a Dogra Hindu Maharaja called Hari Singh. He was known for his atrocities on the Muslims as well as the Kashmiri Pandits. In his rule, 6000 gazetted positions were reserved for the Dogras (especially the Rajputs) despite their inferior educational qualifications. Even the judicial system was such - the punishment of murder for everyone was capital punishment but it was not applicable only for the Dogra Rajput.
At the time of independence and partition, the All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference (AJKMC) existed. In 1933, it was split and Sheikh Abdullah formed the All Jammu and Kashmir National Conference (AJKNC). They both protested against the atrocities done by Hari Singh.
The AJKMC wanted to establish a state on grounds of religion similarity i.e. a theocratic state. The AJKNC fought anti-feudalism. This is the reason why AJKNC withdrew itself from the All India Muslim League.
During partition, Hari Singh had signed a stand-still agreement with Pakistan and and India. However, Pakistan violated this agreement and started invading Kashmir. In anger, Hari Singh joined India. This decision was not taken by a plebiscite and therefore it was not accepted favourably by the people.
The first general elections took place in Kashmir in 1962. Though the AJKNC was more popular than the AJKMC, the latter won 16 out of the 21 seats as only 8% of the population was eligible to vote. The AJKNC unequivocally boycotted the elections.
The 1967 elections were believed to be the first fair elections with the AJKNC winning all the seats.
However, there were many problems that had been going on. In 1953, Sheikh Abdullah had been arrested as the Congress thought that his ideas were anti-India. This was a serious blow to the AJKNC.
In the elections during the 1970s, the AJKNC again won the majority seats while the Congress(I) won only 13.
The Congress wanted to desperately win in the upcoming elections.
There was a defection of 14 members from the AJKNC and the governor Jagmohan immediately dissolved the government without passing the Vote of No-Confidence or without calling the party on the floor to prove its majority. This was considered to be very undemocratic.
Sheikh Abdullah had transferred his power to son Farooq Abdullah rather than his nephew Ghulam Mohammad Shah who was considered to be more competent. In anger, Ghulam Mohammad Shah left the AJKNC and joined the Congress(I). In 1983, the latter won the elections.
However, rifts started appearing between Ghulam Mohammad Shah and the Congress, and even this faction broke.

All these incidents disillusioned the people of Kashmir regarding democracy and led them to believe that human development is possible only if they asserted their Right to Self-Determinism and separated from India.
In addition, the Armed Forces (Protection) Act, 1958 further angered the people of Kashmir. This act was put to effect in Kashmir in 1999. Since then, militant nationalism has been on the rise and in 1989, Kashmir was declared a sensitive zone.
This Right to Self-Determinism existed in the minds of the people of Kashmir even during the reign of Hari Singh because even in those times, there was no human development taking place. However, that time, the struggle was just for the freedom from the autocratic rule of Hari Singh and for democratic rights.
With the incidents that took place in post-Independent India, the people realized that they needed to separate from the Indian nation-state. As long as they remained a part of India, political parties would only want to exercise power and do nothing for human development. Only by breaking away from India could they get rid of the multi-party system and comprise of parties that actually did something to improve human development rather than simply enjoying its position of power.
Today, Kashmir is not fighting to separate from India and to join Pakistan. Kashmir is fighting to be an autonomous state - neither a part of India nor Pakistan.

Manipur - Struggle For Ethnic Identity

In pre-independence India, Assam was the only state in north-eastern India and it was under the rule of the Ahom dynasty. There were many internal struggles in the region as the entire north-east had people belonging to various ethnic groups.
Ethnicity refers to a collection of characteristics such as common lineage, shared history, a common culture and language shared by a group of people.
The Ahom ruler sought the help of the British in curbing the internal strife. The British observed that there were several differences between the hill-people and the plan-people. They decided to keep them separate from one another and in 1873, they introduced the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation which stated that if people from the hills needed to visit the plains. they required an Inner Line Permit
Christianity spread to the hill-people of the north-easy while most of the plain people were Hindus.

After independence, Assam was the only state that existed in the North-east. The other six were autonomous hill-regions that were economically funded by the centre. However, the funding came via Assam and Assam was accused of using large parts of the fund for its own benefit. Assamese was the official language of the entire region and the other ethnic groups did not approve of this cultural hegemony.
In 1964, Nagaland was the first new state to be created in the North-East; followed by the creation of Manipur, Meghalaya and Tripura in 1972; Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram were created only in 1987.
There are several grievances common to all states of the North-East today.
They all have grievances with the central government as they feel that the centre extracts all the rich resources (such as oil and tea) from the North-East but the revenue generated is not used for the development of the North-East.
The north-east does not fit anywhere in the railway map of India indicating that it is cut-off from the rest of India; and very difficult to access.
Within each state in the north-easy, there are different tribes who are consistently at logger-heads with one another.
When we look at Manipur, we find that it is essentially comprising three sets of tribes - the Meitis, the Kukis and the Nagas.
The Meitis make up 60-65% of the population in Manipur. They are generally Vaishnavite Hindus and are concentrated in the plain-region. The Kukis and the Nagas accuse the Meitis for exercising a cultural dominance because what is depicted as Manipuri culture and the Manipuri language is essentially the language of the Meitis. This crushes the ethnic identity of the other two tribes.
The Nagas and the Kukis are mainly concentrated in the hill-region and Christianity is the pre-dominant religion. In the hills, the Kukis feel that the Nagar exercise more power and dominance.
Thus we see that the sub-national struggles in Manipur are essentially struggles for the assertion of an ethnic identity as each tribal group strives to maintain its independent identity.


Q. Is it possible for multiple nations to exist within one state?

States are sets of autonomous institutions that have the legitimate right of coercion and extraction within a given territory, and sovereignty in relation to those outside its borders.
Nations may be defined as named populations having a historical territory, shared myths, historic memories, a single economy and economic rights and duties for its people, legitimized by the principles of nationalism.
It is possible for one state to have multiple nations.
The Soviet Union, earlier, was a state with over 100 nations being a part of it.
The United Kingdom is a state made up of multiple nations - Britain, Ireland and Scotland.
Thus we can say that it is possible for one state to have multiple nations as state is more of a political identity whereas nations are mostly defined by cultural and historical differences.


These are just the answers from my mid-sem paper....posting them here...hope it is of some use...I don't have the question paper so I do not know what the question was - just putting the question number...

I. 2.
The untouchables are believed to constitute the bottom-most position of the Hindu social structure, which is dictated by the caste system.
The caste system is based on the concept of purity and pollution, according to Louis Dumont's 'Homo Hierarchichus'. The 'pure' and 'polluting' groups must be kept separate from one another so that ritual purity of certain groups is maintained. The Brahmans are at the top of this hierarchical ladder, followed by the Kshatriyas, the Vaishyas and the Shudras. Based on Dumont's principle of purity and pollution, the Brahmins are the ideal representation of the 'pure' and the untouchables of the 'polluting'.
There are certain groups who are considered to be permanently polluting owing to their choice of life-style and occupation - these groups are called the 'Untouchables'.
There are many speculations regarding who actually are the untouchables. Since they have no place in the Varna-model, there are a few scholars who believe that the untouchables were probably the Dravidians - since they did not fit in the societal structure created by the Aryans, they became the out-castes or the untouchables.
Other theorists like Dipankar Gupta state that the untouchables were originally members of one of the 'varnas' of the caste system but they were thrown out owing to violation of certain rules such as inter-caste marriage, or inter-dining with members of the low caste.
Though untouchability is a punishable offense, it still continues to be practiced in many parts of the country. It refers to those people who are considered to be so lw that merely by touching them, of if their shadows fall on one, that person will become ritually impure.

II. 2.
There have been several names suggested for referring to the Untouchables, down the years.
In 1933, Mahatma Gandhi selected the term 'Harijan' for the untouchables - this term was selected in the competition conducted by Gandhi for a suitable alternative to the term 'achuta' or 'untouchable'. The term 'Harijan' means 'people of God'. Over time, this term ceased to be popular as it was considered to be rather vague - what exactly was meant by 'people of God' was not clear. The Harijans, themselves, rejected this term, especially the militant groups, as it indicated that they had accepted the fact that they were the bottom-most part of the Hindu caste system.
Another term that is very popular today is 'Dalit' which was suggested by the Marathi Mahar community. As per the Sanskrit dictionary of 1873, the term 'Dalit' means 'broken' or 'fallen'. This term is also not preferred as the areas of Bihar, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh do not refer to the untouchables in those areas as 'Dalits'.
The British bureaucratic systems and census operations came up with a number of terms to denote the untouchables - the 'outcastes', 'depressed castes', 'exterior castes'. The final term they came up with was 'Scheduled Castes' and this is how untouchables are known as in the Indian Constitution. This term has legal and political implications but it is not used for referring to the untouchables.
'Ex-untouchables' is the least popular term used for referring to untouchables. While it has legal implications as untouchability is legally banned in India, it is still not very popular because in several parts of India, untouchability is still practiced.
This term 'untouchable' is the most preferred as it can be understood even by those not from India - unlike the terms 'Dalit' or 'Harijan'. Also, the word denotes the kind of treatment meted out to the untouchables and therefore, has a very practical implication.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Methods Of Job Analysis

1. QUESTIONNAIRE: This method is usually used to obtain information about occupations via a mail survey. The job incumbent is asked to provide data about himself/herself and his/her job in their own words. The method is good for people who write easily but not so good for collecting data from low-level workers who have little facility for self-expression. It is often time-consuming and a laborious process to analyze the data obtained in this manner.
Two types of questionnaires are used in job analysis: the unstructured questionnaire and the structured questionnaire. In the unstructured or open-end approach, the subject matter experts describe in their own words the components of the job and the tasks performed.
When the structured questionnaire is used, the people being interviewed are provided with descriptions of tasks, operations and working conditions and are asked to rate the items or to select those items that characterize the job.
A widely used questionnaire is the Position Analysis Questionnaire (PAQ).
Job analysis questionnaires can be administered online as well as in printed versions.

2. CHECK-LIST: This technique requires the workers to check the tasks he performs from a long list of possible task statements. However, in order to prepare the check-list, extensive preliminary work is required in collecting appropriate task statements. While Check-Lists are easy for the incumbent to respond to, they do not provide an integrated picture of the job in question. They are easily administered in large groups and are easy to tabulate.

3. INTERVIEW METHOD: The use of interviews for job and work analyses involve extensive meetings with the persons directly connected with the job. These include the workers performing the job, their supervisors and the instructors who trained the workers for the job. Job analysts may supplement interviews with questionnaires. The person being interviewed must be told the purpose of the interview and why it is necessary to answer all questions fully and honestly. The questions should be carefully planned and clearly worded to elicit as much information as possible.

4. OBSERVATION METHOD: This method involves direct observation of workers as they perform their jobs. The interviewer must collect data from the incumbent using normal interview methods as the incumbent performs his work. The interviewer observes and questions the worker in an attempt to get complete job description data. It is a slow and costly method and it may interfere with normal work operations. However, it generally produces a good and complete job description.

5. TECHNICAL CONFERENCE METHOD: This method uses 'experts' rather than actual job incumbents as a source of information. These experts are usually supervisors who have extensive knowledge of the job in question. They meet with the job analyst and try specifying all the characteristics of the job. The problem with this method is that experts may not actually know as much about the job as an analyst would hope as they do not actually perform the task themselves. Thus their judgements are only estimates based on their background experience.

6. DIARY METHOD: Here, job incumbents are asked to record their daily activities each day in a logbook or diary. The method is good as it systematically gathers a lot of information but it is time-consuming for the worker, especially if the recording forms are not kept simple.

7. WORK PARTICIPATION METHOD: In this procedure, the job analyst actually performs the job himself in order to gain first-hand information about what characteristics comprise the job in question. It is fairly effective for simply jobs but complex jobs usually require the analysts to be extensively trained prior to the session of work activity. This method is costly and time-consuming

8. CRITICAL INCIDENT METHOD: It is a means of identifying specific activities or behaviours that lead to desirable or undesirable consequences on the job.

Friday, October 2, 2009

OVERVIEW: Is There An Indian Way Of Thinking? An Informal Essay

In the FIRST SECTION of this essay, A.K. RAMANUJAN puts forth some questions and tries answering them by emphasizing on specific aspects of the question.
He asks Is there an Indian way of thinking? The answer to this question is: there was an Indian way of thinking but it does not exist now. The Indian way of thinking can be located in the upper-caste, Brahmanical section of the society - in the Vedas and other religious texts, or when one goes to the 'pundits'. However, since our thinking is still largely shaped as per the Vedas, it would not be completely wrong to say that there still is an Indian way of thinking that exists.
The second question he asks is: Is there an Indian way of thinking? He says that there has always been the existence of Great Tradition and Little Tradition. In India, we celebrate diversities and highlight these differences. Therefore, a single Indian way of thinking does not exist.
The third question is: Is there an Indian way of thinking? India is nothing but a product of the influences of external cultures, languages, religions and social evolutions - therefore, one might say that what we see in India is nothing unique to India. However, India is capable of adapting to the changes and accommodating these external influences into its culture...
The last question he asks is: Is there an Indian way of thinking? Ramanujan says that it is the West that is capable of thought. The West is projected as materialistic and rational. In India, logic is rationalized with religion and superstitions. In India, actions are projected, not the thoughts behind those actions.

Thus in the 1st part of his essay, Ramanujan states how India is perceived differently at different stages by different people and from different perspectives.

In the second part of the essay, the inconsistency between tradition and modernity is depicted with an example from Ramanujan's personal experience. He gives the example of his father to show how India can be ancient yet modern at the same time. For Ramanujan, consistency means strict adherence to only one - either religion or science.
Ramanujan's father was a South Indian Brahman.
  • While he wore dhotis in traditional brahman style, he also wore English jackets over his dhotis.
  • He wore tartan-patterned socks and leather shoes when he went to the university but removed them before entering the inner quarters of the house.
  • He was a mathematician and an astronomer + a Sanskrit scholar and an expert astrologer.
  • He had American and English mathematicians visiting him along with the local pundits and astrologers.
  • While he read the Bhagvad Gita religiously every morning after taking a bath, he would talk about Russell and Ingersoll also with the same amount of passion.
Ramanujan could not figure out such an inconsistency - his father appeared to neither think nor care about any sort of consistency.

In the third part of the essay, Ramanujan interrogates the concept of inconsistency in a larger context - and does not just limit it to his father. He talks of the concept of 'karma' and that of 'talaividi'. Karma implies the self's past as determining the present and future - it is an 'iron chain' of cause and effect. Karmic philosophy is written. Talaividi or 'head writing' focuses on destiny and it is a part of oral tradition.
The Western construction of the Orient (India) is that we are yet to develop the notion of 'data' or 'objective facts'. According to Sudhir Kakar, in the oriental world, there is no clear difference between self and non-self - this brings about inconsistency. India is not influenced by Newstonian thoughts according to Kissinger. In India, there is no concept of the universal. The Indian way of thinking lacks universality; it is a traditional society constituting of inconsistency and hypocrisy. Since the society is tradition in nature, the approach towards the entire society is not secular. According to Zimmer, Indians can imagine a time in history without man. West cannot do that as it is egoistic in nature.
While the west has universality, in India there are subjective positions. The understanding of reality in India is always context-sensitive and not context-free. In India, even the perception of truth is not a universal concept. In the West 'man shall not kill' is a universal statement but in India, punishments are meted out owing to a person's social status. Even in the Manusmriti, we find that moral codes need not be adhered to under all circumstances.

In the fourth part of the essay, Ramanujan examines how context-sensitivity is an important part of Indian culture.
In India, all additions are in fact a subtraction from any universal law. Stories get their context with reference to the frame in which they have been placed. Indian texts are historically dateless, but their contexts, uses and efficacies are explicit Even when we look at Ramayana and Mahabharata, we find that there are several episodes - each story is encased in a meta-story. And within the text, one story is the context for another within it - the outer-frame story as well as the inner sub-story provide relevant contexts for the other's existence. Aristotle's theory of unity of time, place and action cannot be applied to our narratives.
The way we divide time in India is also very different from the way it is done in the West. We have times that are auspicious, inauspicious (rahu kala), and the past and present seem to merge together. Even our houses have moods (vastu shastra).
Indians are prone to blame their wrong-doings on fate, vaastu and it is not possible for us to remove this context-sensitivity. It is latent in our society.
With modernity, we are widening our context in the way we want to rather than doing away with all the traditional practises. It is as a result of this that the original context seems to be lost.

Ramanujan says that all societies have context-sensitive behaviour and rules but the dominant idea is always context-free. In the fifth part of the essay, he observes that socieities that are context-free have movements which are context-specific in nature whereas in societies like India, which are context-sensitive, there is a dream to be free of context - this gives rise to the concept of 'rasa' in aesthetics, 'moksha' in the aims of life and 'sanyasa' in the end of life-stages.

In the last part of the essay, Ramanujan states how we have moved towards context-free situations in India. He says that with modernization, there has been a movement from context-sensitive to context-free at least in principle. Today, people can listen to any raga at any time rather than strictly sticking to the time prescribed. The new thoughts and behaviours borrowed from the West do not replace the old religious ideas. They get incorporated with the existing tradition. In 'Ayudhapuja', even computers and type-writers are worshiped instead of weapons. Therefore, no matter how hard we try to move to become a context-free society, the result is that the context-free nature ends up becoming yet another context i.e. the 'modern' context.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Social Problem

A social problem is defined as public awareness of a gap between society's expectations and social realities. In our daily life, we often come across the term ‘social problem’. We all have some notions about the characteristics of conditions that can be called ‘social problems’. We use the term ‘social problem’ to indicate that something is wrong. Our common sense tells us that social problems refer to conditions evaluated as wrong because they create harm.
According to Robert Nisbet, a social problem is a way of behaviour that is regarded by a substantial part of a social order as being in violation of one or more generally accepted or approved norms.

However, using the term ‘social problem’ for addressing social issues has its own set of limitations.
No mode of human behaviour can be considered a social problem, no matter how repulsive it may be to any given individual or small group, unless it is regarded as a morally objectionable deviance from some accepted norm, or norms, by a substantial and determining number of people in that particular social order. Thus, to be given the status of a social problem, the condition must be evaluated as widespread, and not hurt just a few people.
For example, if a person loses his job, it is his personal problem. But if something causes a large number of people to be out of their jobs (like the Economic Recession), it becomes a social problem as it affects a significant number of people.

The definition of the term ‘social problem’ contains a hint of optimism. When we call something a ‘social problem’, we refer to a condition which, according to us, can be changed. We use the term ‘social problem’ only when we believe that the troublesome condition can be fixed.
Natural disasters cause a lot of destruction and they disintegrate society. But they are not called social problems as we can do nothing to stop them. However, there are many ‘social problems’ surrounding natural disasters such as the cost of insurance, failures of early-warning systems for disasters, and the response of the officials to such disasters.
Thus, a social problem is a condition that is evaluated as wrong, widespread, and changeable. One may also add that a social problem is not merely a condition which can be changed; rather, it is a condition which should be changed. This is a logical approach: if something is evaluated as wrong, if it occurs frequently and if it can be changed, we should take a stand and do something to eradicate it.

There are other factors which determine the degree to which a social issue comes to be perceived as a ‘social problem’. For instance, if people affected by a condition are powerful and influential, the condition is more likely to be considered a ‘social problem’ than if the people affected by a condition are not so influential.

The media also plays an important role in the selection and definition of social problems. It gives selective attention to certain conditions.

Sometimes, what exactly is a social ‘problem’ is difficult to define.
What may be defined as a ‘social problem’ by one set of people may not be considered a problem at all by another group. For instance, homosexuality is not considered a social problem in U.S.A. In India, though it has been legalised, there are several groups which still feel that homosexuality is a social problem.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Anxiety is an unpleasant feeling of fear and apprehension it can occur in many psycho-pathology commonly known as emotion of fear and it is very common in all of us and is a common topic of study in psychology. It varies from person to person in terms of intensity and duration. Anxiety disorders were commonly known and grouped as neurosis characterized by unrealistic anxiety and related problems. This interpretation was based on Freud’s psycho analytical theory. D.S.M.II identifies certain disorders like phobia (fear and avoidance behaviour) Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD –the irrespirable urge to perform certain acts over and over again) Conversion disorder (paralysis and neurological symptoms).
All these varied symptoms are grouped under one group based on the psycho-analytical theory as they all reflect an underlying problem of repressed ‘id’ impulses. Further discussion and development in diagnosis found the above classification baseless. In D.S.M.III & D.S.M.IV T.R. we have more distinct diagnostic classes instead of neurosis. They are:

1.Anxiety Disorder
2.Somatoform Disorder
3.Dissociative Disorder.

Anxiety disorder is diagnosed when subjectively experienced feelings of anxiety are clearly present. D.S.M. IV T.R. proposes six categories of anxiety disorders. They are:-

1.Post-traumatic stress
3.Panic Disorder
5.Acute stress Disorder

Co-morbidity- A person with one anxiety disorder may meet the diagnostic criteria for other disorder as well. It is because of two reasons:
1.Symptoms of various anxiety disorders are not entirely disorder specific. E.g. Somatic signs of anxiety like perspiration, fast heart beat are not entirely disorder specific.
2.The ethological factors or casual factors which give rise to various anxiety disorders may be applicable to more than one disorder.
Phobia is a disrupting fear motivated avoidance that is out of proportion to the dangers posed by a particular object or situation and is recognized and realized by the sufferer as unreasonable. e.g. Extreme fear from height, fear of closed spaces, fear of snakes and spiders.
D.S.M. IV T.R. criteria
1. Excessive unreasonable persistent fear triggered by object of situation.
2. Exposure to the trigger leads to intense anxiety.
3. The person recognized the fear is unrealistic.
4. The object or situation is avoided or endured with intense anxiety.
The term phobia usually implies that the person suffers intense distress and social or occupational impairment primarily because of anxiety. The term phobia is derived from a Greek myth legend Phoebes, who frightened his enemies.

Monday, August 24, 2009


Three ideas dropped with the world “Post” were:-
1. 'Post' represented time which meant after
For example – India after independence is post-independent India.
2. 'Post' represented the idea itself.
For example – Raja Rao, R K Naranyan are looked at as post colonial writers but most of their post colonial writing stated in the pre-independent era itself (1930s).
3. Result of experience – represented the unconscious shift in ideas.
For example – Post globalisatuib could be used to suggest a state created due to the experience of globalisation

1942 the issue was termed as Babri Masjid.
1990 the same issue was termed as Ram Janmabhuma.
Now it’s known as the disputed site issue.

Ideas in sciences cease to exist once proved wrong. This does not happen in Social scines and humanities. The ideas of Plato, Shakespeare and various thinkers continue to exist.

Post-Structuralism has borrowed ideas from early philosophers like Nietzsche. Thus in a way post-structuralism started even before structuralism. The new thinking in philosophy, sociology and literature in the works of Jacques Derrida, Ronald Barthes, Julia Kristeva, Jean Baudrillard and Michel Foucault gave a new dimension in the study of post-structuralism.

The relation between post-structuralism and post-modernism is similar but the two are not the same. Post-structuralism is the theory of reading and analysis, thus there can never be post-structuralist poetry, post-structuralist play or a post-structuralist painting. On the other hand post-modernism is concerned with the practicality of theory or the theory of doing. Post-modernism unlike post-structuralism can have a post modern architecture, post modern painting, or a post modern novel. Post-structuralism and post modernism does not have a certain standard to measure anything therefore challenging the "center". Nietzsche’s famous remarks, “There are no facts, only interpretation” undercuts and questions commonsensical questions and assumptions. Post-structuralism inherits the habit of skepticism and intensifies it. They distrust the very notion of reason and the idea of human being as an independent entity where by defining and individual as an entity of social and linguistic intermingling.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Dalit Lit. and Sensibility 3

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Dalit Lit. and Sensibility 2

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Dalit Lit. and Sensibility 1

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Monday, August 17, 2009

Historical Development of Organizational Psychology (from the net)

Psychology was not recognized as a science until 1879, when Wilhelm Wundt established the first psychology laboratory. Of course, organizational/industrial psychology was accepted as a branch of psychology not until 1910. Yet many issues important to I/O Psychology had been discussed long before then. Below are a few examples:
  • Aristotle, in Politics, developed foundations for many modern management concepts, including specialization of labor, delegation of authority, departmentalization, decentralization, and leadership selection

  • Medieval European guilds functioned like modern-day quality circles to ensure fine craftsmanship.

  • Machiavelli (in The Prince, 1527) offered practical advice for developing authoritarian structures within organizations.

  • Thomas Hobbes (1651) advocated strong centralized leadership as a means for bringing "order to the chaos created by man". He provided a justification for autocratic rule that helped establish the pattern for organizations through the nineteenth century.

  • John Locke (1690) outlined the philosophical justification later manifested in the U.S. Declaration of Independence, which in effect, advocates participatory management in his argument that leadership is granted by the governed.

  • Jean Jacques Rousseau, in The Social Contract (1762), in effect supported Locke's position.

  • Adam Smith (1776), in The Wealth of Nations revolutionized economic and organizational thought by suggesting the use of centralization of labor and equipment in factories, division of specialized labor, and management of specialization in factories.

The Early Years (Pre-World War I)

  • 1881: the first school of professional management was started at the University of Pennsylvania when Joseph Wharton donated $100,000 to do so.

  • 1883: Frederick W. Taylor began experiments at the Midvale and Bethlehem Steel plant, which later led to the development of his "scientific management" philosophy.
  • Walter Dill Scott gave a talk to Chicago business leaders on the application of psychology to advertising, which led to books on the topic published in 1903 & 1908.
    • By 1911 he had published two more books (Influencing Men in Business and Increasing Human Efficiency in Business), and became the first to apply the principles of psychology to motivation and productivity in the workplace.
    • He also became instrumental in the application of personnel procedures within the army during World War I.

  • Hugo Munsterberg, considered by many as "the father of industrial psychology", pioneered the application of psychological findings from laboratory experiments to practical matters
    • In 1911 he cautioned managers to be concerned with "all the questions of the mind...like fatigue, monotony, interest, learning, work satisfaction, and rewards."
    • He was also first to encourage government funded research in the area of industrial psy
    • In 1913 his book Psychology and Industrial Efficiency addressed such things as personnel selection and equipment design

  • Munsterberg's early I/O psychology became influential well into the 1950's
    • It assumed people need to fit the organization, thus applied behavioral sciences largely consisted of helping organizations shape people to serve as replacement parts for organizational machines

  • about the same time as Munsterberg, Frederick W. Taylor began publishing similar philosophies on management -- which had a tremendous impact on organizational management

    Frederick W. Taylor

    • Taylor realized the value of redesigning the work situation (thru use of time and motion studies) to achieve both higher output for the company and higher wages for the worker
    • His writings were one of the first reasonably comprehensive philosophies of management
    • 1909 Taylor's book Shop Management explained management's role in motivating workers to avoid "natural soldiering", i.e., the natural tendency of people to "take it easy"

    • 1911 Taylor's book The Principles of Scientific Management; two of his key principles:
      1. scientifically design work methods for efficiency
      2. select the best workers and train them in the best methods
      • e.g., showed workers who handle heavy iron ingots more productive given use of work rests
        • training when to work and when to rest raised productivity from 12.5 to 47.0 tons moved per day
        • Less fatigue reported
        • Increased wages
        • Costs dropped from 9.2 to 3.9 cents per ton

    • Taylor's methods led to charges that he inhumanely exploited workers for higher wages and that great numbers of workers would be unemployed because fewer were needed (which was a sensitive topic since unemployment was already high at the time)
      • Both the Interstate Commerce Commission and the U.S. House of Representatives began investigations
      • Taylor replied that increased efficiency would produce greater not lesser prosperity
      • Outbreak of WWI distracted most from the controversy before much was resolved.

World War I (1917-1918)

  • Robert Yerkes was the psychologist most influential in getting psychology into the war
    • proposed ways of screening recruits for mental deficiency and assigning selected recruits to army jobs
  • committees of psychologists also investigated soldier motivation, morale, psychological problems of physical incapacity ("shell shock"), and discipline

  • Army was skeptical and approved only a modest number of proposals, primarily in the assessment of recruits -- which Yerkes and others developed as a general intelligence test

  • Meanwhile Walter Dill Scott was doing research on best placement of soldiers in Army
    • He classified and placed enlistees, conducted performance evaluations of officers, and developed and prepared job duties and qualifications for over 500 jobs

  • However, the final authorization for the testing program came in August 1918, only three months before the Armistice was signed -- thus the intelligence tests weren't as utilized as much as Yerkes had hoped

  • 1917: Journal of Applied Psychology began publication
    • Even today it is still perhaps the most respected, representative journal in I/O field.

Between the Wars (1919-1940)

  • Psychological Corporation started by James Cattell in 1921
    • Main purpose was to advance psychology and promote its usefulness to industry
    • Also to maintain quality reputation of field by serving as a place for companies to get reference checks on prospective psychologists
      • Helped companies weed out quacks from qualified professionals
    • Mission has shifted: Today serves as one of largest publishers of psychological tests

  • 1920's: doctoral degrees specializing in industrial psychology begin to be offered at U.S. universities
    • Among the first: Ohio State, Carnegie Institute of Technology, Univ. of Minnesota, and Stanford University

  • Greatest influence on I/O psychology from this time was the Hawthorne studies

    The Hawthorne Studies

  • 1924 series of experiments began at the Hawthorne Works of the Western Electric Company
    • Researchers from Harvard University (who were not psychologists) were attempting to study the relation between lighting and efficiency
    • Increased lighting resulted in increased efficiency, but to their surprise, efficiency continued to improve as the lighting dimmed to faint moonlight levels

    • These seemingly "bizarre" results were eventually explained in terms of previously unrecognized aspects of human behavior in the workplace
    • Researchers hypothesized that these results were due to the employee's desire to please them
      • They were flattered at having distinguished investigators from Harvard study them and were trying to impress them, which caused them to be more productive
    • Quite some time later the employees got used to the researchers' presence and began returning to their original levels of productivity

  • The Hawthorne Effect -- change in behavior following the onset of a novel treatment (new or increased attention, most commonly)
    • Effect eventually wears off (behavior returns to original) as the "novelty" dissipates

  • 1933 Elton Mayo made the first significant call for the human relations movement in his interim report on the Hawthorne studies
    • Showed the existence of informal employee groups and their effects on production, the importance of employee attitudes, the value of a sympathetic and understanding supervisor, and the need to treat people as people -- not simply as human capital
    • This was one of the benchmark events in the development of industrial psychology
  • 1939 the definitive account of the Hawthorne studies was published.

Between the Wars: During and Shortly After the Hawthorne Studies

  • Major advances in measurement of attitudes during 1920's and 1930's
    • Likert and Thurstone among those particularly prominent

  • One of the earliest with clinical roots to enter I/O psychology was Morris Viteles
    • Viteles was student of Lightner Witmer (who many consider the father of clinical psych)
    • Among Viteles' books were:
      • Industrial Psychology (1932) (perhaps first book to use that term in its title)
      • The Science of Work (1934)
      • Motivation and Morale in Industry (1953)

  • In 1939, Kurt Lewin led the first publication of an empirical study of the effects of leadership styles; this work initiated arguments for the use of participative management techniques.

World War II (1941-1945)

  • By this time industrial psychologists had improved many of their techniques for employee selection and placement, and were sought after by the army for their help with these functions
    • Successful I/O contributions included development of:
      • Army General Classification Test
        • used to classify an estimated 12 million soldiers into military jobs
      • Tests of performance under situational stress for U.S. Office of Strategic Services
        • the OSS was the first U.S. intelligence agency (precursor to CIA)
        • tests highly successful for identifying best candidates to be OSS agents
        • innovative assessment methods used
          • original basis for assessment center techniques of today

  • 1945 Kurt Lewin formed the Research Center for Group Dynamics at MIT to perform experiments in group behavior
    • 1948 the research center moved to the University of Michigan and became a branch of the Institute for Social Research

  • 1946: I/O psychologists form Division 14 of the American Psychological Association
    • incorporated as the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology in 1983
    • by 1996, grown to approximately 2,500 members.

1950's and 1960's

  • Late 40's & early 50's: clinical psychologists Carl Rogers' and Abraham Maslow's theories of motivation supported the human relations movement

  • Skinner initiated discussions of behaviorism's applications to organizational settings

  • 1954 Peter F. Drucker outlined his Management by Objectives (MBO) approach
  • 1954 John C. Flanigan outlined his Critical Incidents Technique

  • Rise of Motivation Theories in late 1950's through 1960's

    • Late 1950's: Douglas McGregor proposed his Theory X and Theory Y assumptions of the relations between employees and organizations

    • Early 1960's: contingency models of leadership proposed a need for different styles under different circumstances -- a view that rose with work of Fred Fiedler in mid 1960's

    • 1964: Vroom's VIE theory (valence, instrumentality, expectancy) of motivation proposed
      • Influencial in development of later expectancy theories

    • Mid 1960's: David McClelland proposed need for achievement theory
      • Argues there are two groups of people, the majority who aren't concerned about achieving and the minority who are challenged by achieving

    • Late 1960's: Frederick Herzberg proposed his two-factor theory of motivation (satisfiens/motivators & hygiene factors)

    • Late 1960's: Edwin Locke outlined his goal setting approach to motivation

  • 1964 Civil Rights Act passed. Title VII, section 703a states: "it is unlawful to discriminate in any employment practice on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin"

  • 1966: Katz & Kahn published classic text outlining theory and research of organizational behavior as embedded in open, sociotechnical systems

  • Mid 1960's into early 1970's: advances in job analysis techniques included:
    • 'task inventory' approach developed from research with U.S. Air Force
    • Dictionary of Occupational Titles published in 1965 (third edition)
    • 1960's research at Purdue Occupational Research Center led to publication of the Position Analysis Questionnaire in 1972
    • Edwin Fleishman developed 'ability requirements' approach.


  • 1971: B.F. Skinner, in Beyond Freedom and Dignity, advocated behavior modification strategies to motivate people in organizations
  • Organizational behavior modification's successes increasingly demonstrated
    • e.g., in Luthans & Kreitner's (1975) and Frederiksen's (1982) books

  • Rise of cognitive approaches to studying topics in psychology (which grew in 1960's) continued in 1970's, including their influence on a wide range of I/O research

  • Early 1970's: Porter & Lawler proposed revised expectancy model of motivation

  • Early/mid 1970s: Civil rights laws, and related Supreme Court decisions, led to increasing research on bias in organizations.

1980's & 1990's

  • As entered 1980's, the rigidity of classical theories of management produced harsh consequences for American businesses (e.g., in the automobile industry) during these times of rapid change in the technological and business environments
    • Japanese were prospering with methods first proposed by Americans: Edward Deming, Joseph Juran, and Noam Crosby
      • First adopted after WWII in Japan when U.S. companies resisted their ideas

  • 1984 article in the Academy of Management Review outlined explanations for the success of Japanese management techniques as:
    1. Superior manufacturing processes
    2. Increased quality and quantity coupled with reduced cost
    3. Participatory management techniques
    4. Use of statistical quality control techniques
    5. Consensus decision making
    6. Lifetime job security (although in 1990's some Japanese companies moved away from this guarantee)
    7. Long-term planning

  • Mid 1980's: increasing attention to use of quality circles and other participatory management techniques
  • Late 1980's: renewed interest in organizational climate and groups
  • Late 1980's: rise of participatory management techniques known by such terms as
    Total Quality Management (TQM), Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI), and
    Continuous Process Improvement (CPI)

  • 1990's: rise of meta-analysis as statistical technique (spurred by Hunter & Schmidt's 1990 book -- an extention of their 1977 Schmidt & Hunter journal article)
    • Enables combining data from many different previously-published studies (that individually had led to varying and perhaps even contradictory conclusions)
      • Technique analyzes overall pattern across all studies included
    • Although somewhat controversial, this technique advocated by many
    • Increased optimism that validity findings for mental ability tests (used in selection) can be generalized to a wide range of other samples
      • In other words, direct evaluations of validity for each new sample argued to be unnecessary

  • 1986: first ruling by U.S. Supreme Court on subject of sexual harassment
    • Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson: hostile work environment standard supported
  • 1990's: rapid rise of attention to the issue in both employment law and psychology
    • 1991: Anita Hill's charges against Clarence Thomas during his confirmation hearings to become a Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court raised public's attention to issue
    • 1991 Civil Rights Act provided first legal basis for SH victims to sue for punitive damages
    • 1993: second sexual harassment ruling from U.S. Supreme Court
    • 1998: U.S. Supreme Court handed down four landmark decisions
      • more rulings on sexual harassment in 1998 from Supreme Court than in all previous years combined
    • 1999 and 2001 brought additional Supreme Court decisions

  • Late 1980's & into the 1990's: work stress received increasing attention in I/O research, theory, and practice
  • Balancing work and family lives received increasing attention in I/O research in late 1980's, and again in mid/late 1990's
  • Workplace aggression / workplace violence emerged as topic of study in mid/late 1990's
  • Sunday, August 16, 2009


    Objectives of DSM -
    1. It clearly identifies and separates one particular bhr from the other.
    2. It helps to make different groups of problems under different major groups.
    3. It helps us to understand the nature, cause and treatment of a particular problem.
    4. It helps us to discuss professionally to have more understanding about the problem.

    Process of DSM -
    1. It classifies each maladaptive bhr according to the symptoms and signs.
    2. It groups different syndromes into major categories according to the common symptoms they exhibit .
    3. It also considers the severity,the nature of the causes in it's classifications.

    History of DSM -

    1. DSM I appeared in 1952 in the background of the mental breakdowns of millitary personnel in WWII

    2. DSM II published in 1968. DSM I and II have identified some mental diseases and defined it, but the problem was it was too narative and vague, the mental health professionals could not agress on their meanings and definitions therefore, the reliability of classifications was very much limited.

    3. DSM III appeared in 1980 it used operational definitions to remove subjective interpretation. Operational definition is based on the exact observations for each disorder to be identified a specific number of symptoms from a designated list must be present. This approach was more accepted and continued in indentifying more disorders. In 1987 a revised version of DSM III appeared which is named as DSM III R and in 1994 DSM III R again revised and named as DSM IV. We have new syndromes and sub-divisions of early diagnosed syndromes in DSM I to DSM III R. In 2000, the test is again revised and is named as DSM IV TR

    4. DSM IV TR specifies what sub-types of mental disorder are currentlyand officially recognised. It provides a set of rules for defining criteria. It is very categorical and draws sharp boundary line between one disease from another. It classifies the mental disorders into signs and symptoms.

    About DSM IV TR - [This one is Carson and Butcher and Mineka Gyaan + Fr. V Notes]

    Since the advent of DSM III in 1980, DSM IV evaluates an individual according to five foci or "axes". The first three axes assess as individual's present clinical status or condition:

    Axis I - The particular clinical syndromes or other conditions that may be a focus of clinical attention. This would include schizophrenia, generalised anxiety disorder, major depression and substance dependence. Axis I conditions are roughly analogous to the various illnesses and diseases recognized in general medicine.

    Axin II - Personality disorders. A very broad group of disorders that encompasses a variety of problematic ways of relating to the world, such as paranoid personality disorder, anti-social personality disorder and histrionic personality disorder. These disorders are considered as a long standing mal-adaptive personality trait that may or may not be involved in the development of Axis I disorder. Mental retardation also can added in Axis II.

    Axis III - General medical conditions. It is situation which refers to some chronic medical diease which in turn causes any disorder of Axis I.

    On any of these first three axes where the pertinent criteria are met more than one diagnosis is permissible, and in fact encouraged. That is, a person may be diagnosed as having multiple psychiatric syndromes, such as, panic disorder and major depressive disorder; disorders of personality, such as, Dependent or Avoidant; or poyentially relevant mediacal problems, such as Cirrhosis and Overdose, Cocaine. the last two DSM IV axes are used to assess broader aspects of an individual's situation.

    Axis IV - Psychosocial and environmental problems. This group deals with the stressors that may have contributed to the current disorder, particularly those that have been present during the prior year. The diagnostician is invited to use a check list approach for various categories of impinging life problems -- family, economic, occupational, legal, etc

    Axis V - Global assessment of functioning. This is where clinicians note how well the individual is coping at the present time. A 100-point rating scale, the Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) Scale, is provided for the examiner to assign a number summarising a patient's overall functionability.

    Saturday, August 15, 2009

    models of abnormality (Alloy) - what to study???

    1. The behavioural Perspective:
    Page 75-98

    2. The Psychodynamic perspective:
    Page 105-118, 120

    3.The humanistic perspective:
    page 123-126

    4.The interpersonal Perspective:
    Page 127-128

    Models Of Abnormality (Carson and Butcher)


    The traditional biological view-point focuses on mental disorders as diseases, many of the primary symptoms of which are cognitive, emotional, or behavioural. Mental disorders are thus viewed as disorders of the central nervous system, autonomic nervous system, and/or the endocrine system that are either inherited or caused by some pathological process.
    The disorders first recognized as having biological or organic components were those associated with gross destruction of brain tissue. These disorders are neurological diseases - i.e. they result from the disruption of brain functioning by physical or biochemical means and often involve psychological or behavioural aberrations.
    Nevertheless, most mental disorders are not caused by neurological damage. For example, biochemical imbalances in the brain can lead to mental disorders without causing damage to the brain. Moreover, the bizarre content of delusions and other abnormal mental states like hallucinations can never be caused simply or directly by brain damage.
    Four categories of biological factors that seem particularly relevant to the development of maladaptive behaviour are:
    1. neurotransmitter and hormonal imbalances
    2. genetic vulnerabilities
    3. temperament
    4. brain dysfunction nad neural plasticity.
    Each of these categories encompasses a number of conditions that influence the quality and functioning of our bodies and our behaviour. They are often not independent of each other, and they often occur in varying combinations in different people.

    Biological discoveries have profoundly affected the way we think about human behaviour. We now recognize the important role of biochemical factors and innate characteristics, many of which are genetically determined, in both normal and abnormal behaviour. Many new developments in the use of drugs can dramatically alter the severity and course of certain mental disorders - particularly the more severe ones such as schizophrenia. Biological treatments seem to have more immediate results that other available therapies.

    PSYCHOSOCIAL PERSPECTIVE IN UNDERSTANDING ABNORMAL BEHAVIOUR attempts to understand humans not just as biological organisms, but also as people with motives, desires and perceptions. It emphasizes the importance of early experience, and an awareness of social influences and psychological processes within an individual.
    There are 5 major psychosocial perspectives on human nature and behaviour:
    1. Psychodynamic
    2. Behavioural
    3. Cognitive-Behavioural
    4. Humanistic
    5. The existential perspective.

    Freud founded the psychoanalytic school which emphasized the role of unconscious motives and thoughts, and their dynamic inter-relationships in the determination of normal and abnormal behaviour. Psychoanalytic theory emphasizes on the primacy of libidinal energies and inter-psychic conflicts. According to Freud, the conscious part of the mind represents a relatively small area whereas the unconscious part is like the submerged part of an iceberg. In the depths of the unconscious are the hurtful memories, forbidden desires and other experiences which have been repressed. However, unconscious matter continues to seek expression in dreams, slips of the tongue, and when the individual is under hypnosis. Until such unconscious matter is brought to awareness and integrated into the conscious part of the mind, it may lead to maladaptive behaviour.
    (Mention the fundamentals of Freud's psychoanalytic theory: the structure of personality - id, ego, and super ego; defence mechanisms; psychosexual stages of development)
    Freud was chiefly concerned with the workings of the id. He also paid attention to the super-ego but hardly gave any importance to the ego. Later, many theorists developed some of Freud's basic ideas in three somewhat different directions: Anna Freud was concerned with how the EGO performed its central function as the 'executive' of the personality. According to her and some psychodynamic theorists who constituted the ego psychology school, psychopathology develops when the ego does not function adequately to control or delay impulse gratification or does not make adequate use of defence mechanisms. The second school stressed on the role of an infant's early relationships - especially the mother-infant relationship, on the development of the individual's personality and self-concept. The third group focused on social determinants of behaviour and on the importance of people's interpersonal relationships.
    Many theorists like Margaret Mahlet, D.W. Winicott, Melanie Klein, W.R.D. Fairburn developed the object-relations theory - which focuses on individual's interactions with real and imagined other people (external and internal objects) and on the relationships that people experience between their external and internal objects. Object refers to the symbolic representation of another person in the infant's or child's environment, most often the parent.
    The inter-personal perspective which began with the defection of Alfred Adler in 1911 states that psychopathology is rooted in the unfortunate tendencies we have developed while dealing with our inter-personal environments. According to Adler, people are social beings motivated primarily by the desire to belong to and participate in a group. Erik Erikson extended the inter-personal aspects of psychoanalytic theory. He elaborated and widened Freud's stages of psychosexual development into more socially oriented concepts, describing crisis or conflicts that occured at 8 stages - each of which could be resolved in a healthy or unhealthy way.
    Bowlby's Attachment Theory emphasizes the importance of early experiences, especially early experience with attachment relationships, as laying the foundation for later functioning throughout childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. He stressed the importance of the quality of parental care to the development of secure attachments, but he also saw the infants as playing a more active role in shaping the course of their own development, than had most of the earlier theorists.

    Freud's psychoanalytic theory can be seen as the first systematic approach to showing how human psychological processes can result in mental disorders.
    The behavioural perspective arose in the early 20th century in part as a reaction against the unscientific methods of psychoanalysis. Behavioural psychologists believed that the study of subjective experience did not provide acceptable scientific data because such observations were not open to verification by other investigators. In their view, only the study of directly observable behaviours and of the stimuli and reinforcing conditions that control it could serve as a basis for understanding human behaviour, normal or abnormal.
    Although this perspective was initially developed through laboratory research rather than clinical practise with disturbed patients, its implications for explaining and treating maladaptive behaviour soon became evident. The roots of behavioual perspective are in Pavlov's study of classical conditioning and in Thorndike's study of instrumental conditioning - later renamed as operant conditioning by Skinner. Learning - the modification of behaviour as a consequence of experience - is the central theme of the behavioural approach. Because most human behaviour is learnt, te behaviourists addressed the question of how learning occurs. Behaviourists focused on the effects of environmental conditions on the acquisition, modification, and possible elimination of various types of response patterns, both adaptive and maladaptive.
    (Discuss what is classical conditioning, operant conditioning,the concepts of generalization and discrimination, and observational learning).
    The behaviourist perspective attempts to explain the acquisition, modification and extinction of nearly all types of behaviour. Maladaptive behaviour is viewed as the result of: a failure to learn necessary adaptive behaviour or competencies, OR the learning of ineffective or maladaptive responses.
    Maladaptive behaviour is thus the result of learning that has gone awry and is defined in terms of specific, observable, undesirable responses. For the behaviour therapist, the focus is on changing specific behaviours and emotional responses.

    Albert Bandura developed the cognitive-behavioral persepctive and placed considerable emphasis on the cognitive aspects of learning. Bandura stressed that human beings regulate behaviour by internal symbolic processes - thoughts. According to him, we prepare ourselves for difficult tasks by visualising the consequences. We do not always require external reinforcement to alter behaviour patterns - our cognitive abilities allow us to solve many problems internatlly. He developed a theory of self-efficacy - the belief that one can achieve desired goals.

    Today, this perspective focuses on how thoughts and information processesing can become distorted and result in maladaptive behaviour. The central construct for this perspective is SCHEMA - an underlying representation of knowledge that guides the current processing of information and often leads to distortions in attention, memory, and comprehension. People develop different schemas based on their temperament, abilities and experiences.
    (Discuss assimilation and attribution)
    Different forms of psychopathology are characterized by different maladaptive schemas that have developed as a function of adverse learning experiences. These maladaptive schemas lead to the distortions in thinking that are characteristic of certain disorders such as anxiety, depression, and personality disoders. Cognitive psychologists study non-conscious mental activity which refers to mental processes that are occuring without our being aware of them.
    Beck is the founder of cognitive therapy. Following his lead, many clinicians have shifted focus from overt behaviour itself to the underlying cognitions assumed to be producing the maladaptive behaviour.

    The humanisitic perspective views human nature as basically good. Paying less attention to unconscious processes and past causes, it emphasized present conscious processes and places strong emphasis on people's inherent capacity for responsible self-direction. Humanistic psychologists think that much of the empirical research designed to investigate causal factors is too simplistic to uncover the complexities of human behaviour. This perspective is concerned with processes of love, hope, creativity, values, meaning, personal growth, and self-fulfillment. Although these abstract processes are not readily subject to empirical investigation, certain underlying themes and principles of humanistic psychology can be identified, including the self as a unifying theme and a focus on values and personal growth.
    Humanistic psychologists stress on individuality. Carl Rogers developed the formulation of SELF-CONCEPT i.e. each individual exists in a private world of experience which is I, Me, Myself. The most basic striving of an individual is toward maintenance, enhancement, and actualization of the self, and his or her inner tendencies are towards health and wholeness under normal conditions. A perceived threat to the self is followed by a defence including a tightening of percention and behaviour and the introduction of self-defence mechanisms.
    (Discuss Maslow's hierarchy of values)
    According to this view, psychopathology is essentially the blocking or distortion of personal growth and the natural tendency toward physical and mental health.

    This emphasizes on the uniqueness of the individual, the quest for values and meaning, and the existence of freedom for self-direction and self-fulfilment. It places more emphasis on the irrational tendencies and the difficulties inherent in self-fulfilment - particularly in modern, dehumanising mass society.
    Existential psychologists focus on the importance of establishing values and acquiring a level of spiritual maturity worthy of freedom and dignity bestowed by one's humanness. Avoiding such central issues creates corrupted, meaningless, and wasted lives. Abnormal behaviour is therefore the product of a failure to deal constructively with existential despair and frustration.

    is concerned with the impact of culture and other features of the social environment on mental disorders. It is concerned with the contribution of socio-cultural variables to mental disorder. Although many serious mental disorders are fairly universal, the form that some disorders take and their prevalence vary widely among different cultures. Low socio-economic status, unemployment, and being subjected to prejudice and discrimination are associated with greater risk for various disorders.

    Thursday, August 13, 2009

    summary on the moral -philosophical approach


    As old as classical Greek and Roman critics.

    PLATO emphasized moralism and utilitarianism

    HORACE literature should be delightful and instructive

    Basic function of such critics larger function of literature is

    · Teach morality

    · Probe philosophical issues

    · Interpret literature within the context of philosophical thought of a period or group.

    1.Pope’s ‘ Essay on man’--- understood if on e understands the meaning and role of reason in the 18th century thought.

    ---can also be religiously oriented.

    2. Hawthorne’s ‘Scarlet Letter’--- study of the effects of secret sin on a human soul – sin unconfessed before man and god.

    3. Robert Frost’s ‘stopping before woods over snowy evening’--- suggesting that duty and responsibility take precedence over beauty and pleasure.

    MATTHEW ARNOLD (Victorian critic)

    - Great literature work must possess high seriousness.

    - Moral critics -----aware of form, figurative language, aesthetic considerations but these are secondary.

    - moral or philosophical teaching asserting and stating what is right

    These approaches give total meaning of any literary work. They are less likely to err on the side of over interpretation

    Reader on the surface of text at least now understood part of it

    Reader who extracts interpretations neither supportable nor reasonable may miss key meaning

    Dull, pedestrian, uniformely literal approach anithesis to informed, imaginative, creative approach.


    - deficient in imagination

    - neglected newer sciences( should be given fullest possible chance to explain any knowledge or insight)

    - Too content with common sense interpretation.


    - avoided cultism and faddism

    - preserved scholarly discipline and maintained balance in literary criticism