Question 1. Discuss three factors that determine the outcome of politics of social divisions.
Answer: There are three factors that determine the outcome of politics of social divisions –
- People’s Perception This is the most important factor which decides the outcome of politics of social divisions. If people see their identities in singular and exclusive terms, it will lead to social division and even violence. As long as people in Northern Ireland saw themselves as only Catholic or Protestant, their differences were difficult to reconcile.
It is much easier if people see that their identities are multiple and complementary to the national identity. A majority of Belgians now feel that they are as much Belgian national or citizens as they are Dutch or French/German speaking. This feeling binds them together. Though, India is a multicultural country, the feeling of nationalism binds us together.
2. Role of Community and Culture The outcome depends on how political leaders raise the demands of any community. It is easier to accommodate demands that are within the constitutional framework and are not at the cost of another community. For instance, the demand for ‘only Sinhala’ was at the cost of the interest and identity of the Tamil community in Sri Lanka.
3. The Role of Political Party and Government The Role of Political Party and Government reacts to demands of different groups. This is observed in Belgium and Sri Lanka. If the rulers are willing to share power and accommodate the reasonable demands of the minority community, social divisions become less threatening for the country. B ut if they try to suppress such a demand in the name of national unity, the end result is often quite the opposite. Such attempts at forced integration often sow the seeds of disintegration, Thus, the assertion of social diversities in a country need not be seen as a source of danger. In a democracy, the political expression of social divisions is normal and can be healthy.
Question 2. When does a social difference become a social division?
Answer: A social difference means the difference in a group of people due to their race, religion, language or culture. It becomes a social division when some social differences are joined by another set of social differences.
In other words when two or more social differences, join together, it turns into a social division. e.g., the difference in the blacks and the whites in America is due to their different races which is a social difference. It becomes a social division when, say, the income factor is also seen. The blacks tend to be poor and homeless and the whites tend to be rich and educated. This creates a division in the people making them feel that they belong to different communities.
Question 3. How do social divisions affect politics? Give two examples.
Answer: Social divisions affect politics in both negative ways and positive ways-
- Negative Impact If we observe social division and politics together at first sight.
- It would appear that the combination of politics and social divisions is very dangerous and explosive.
- Democracy involves competition among various political units/parties. Their competition tends to divide society.
In case political parties start competing in terms of some prevalent social differences it can further lead to social conflict and the disintegration of society. e.g., Yugoslavia and Northern Ireland.
In Northern Ireland, there has been a violent and bitter ethnopolitical conflict for many years.
In the same way political competition along religious and ethnic lines led to the disintegration of Yugoslavia into six independent countries.
2. Positive Impact
- Wherever social divisions exist, they are reflected in politics.
- In democracy, it is only natural that political parties.
- Would talk about these divisions.
- Make different promises to different communities.
- Look after due representation of various communities.
- Make policies to redress the grievances of the disadvantaged communities.
- Social divisions also affect voting in most countries. People from one community tend to prefer some party more than others.
- In many countries, there are parties that focus only on one community, e g . ., DMK, AIADMK, BSP in India.
Question 4. ……… social differences create possibilities of deep social divisions and tensions ………. social differences do not usually lead to conflicts.
Answer: Overlapping, cross-cutting.
Question 5. In dealing with social divisions which one of the following statements is not correct about democracy?
- Democracy always leads to disintegration of society on the basis of social divisions .
- Democracy is the best way to accommodate social diversity.
- Due to political competition in a democracy, social divisions get reflected in politics.
- In a democracy, it is possible for communities to voice their grievances in a peaceful manner.
Question 6. Consider the following three statements.
- Social divisions take place when social differences overlap.
- It is possible that a person can have multiple identities.
- Social divisions exist in only big countries like India.
Which of the following statements is/are correct?
(a) 1, 2 and 3 (b) 1 and 2 (c) 2 and 3 (d) Only 3
Question 7. Arrange the following statements in a logical sequence and select the right answers by using the codes given below.
- But all political expression of social divisions need not be always dangerous.
- Social divisions of one kind or the other exist in most countries.
- Parties try to win political support by appealing to social divisions.
- Some social differences may result in social divisions.
Which of the following statements is/are correct?
(1) 4, 2, 3, 1 (2) 4, 2, 1, 3 (3) 4, 1, 3, 2 (4) 1, 2, 3, 4
Question 8. Among the following which country suffered disintegration due to political fights on the basis of religious and ethnic identities?
1) Belgium, 2) India, 3) Yugoslavia, 4) Netherlands.
Question 9. Read the following passage from a famous speech by Martin Luther King Jr in 1963. Which social division is he talking about? What are his aspirations and anxieties? Do you see a relationship between this speech and the incident in Mexico olympics mentioned in this chapter?
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character let freedom ring. And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring-when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles Protestants and Catholics- will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: ‘Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “we hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.’’
Answer: There is mention of racial discrimination in the speech of Martin Luther King Jr in 1963. His aspirations were the freedom ring in every village, every hamlet, every state and every city. He thought that one day the freedom ring will ring and he has a dream that his four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the col our of their skin but by the content of their character.