Monday, 28 February 2022

Annual Sociology Lecture Series 2022: The Invisible Virus and the Visible Injustice by Dr Vatsala Aithal

This online webinar titled "The invisible virus and the visible injustice" was conducted by the Department of Sociology and Social Work Students Association In collaboration with Socius, the Applied Sociology Students’ Collective. Dr Vatsala Aithal, is a renowned economist and sociologist, working as faculty of Applied Social Sciences in Germany. Dr Aithal has had a good rapport with CHRIST (Deemed to be University) for more than five years, which made the talk even more engaging and interesting.

Dr Aithal began her talk by emphasizing how the Covid-19 virus is invisible whereas poverty is so much visible in our society. Her background as a global scholar is significant to her work with refugees, as she adopts a socio-economic perspective in her talk.

Dr Aithal talked about the contrast between societal and development requirements of the virus and how the last two years have been very interesting with respect to Covid-19. As the Covid-19 virus expands in contemporary society, other social problems like poverty and unemployment are on the rise.

Poverty is visible in all domains be it economic, sociological, political or ecological. The growth of Covid-19 in our economic and social domain has reached a tipping point, which impacts the corporate sector the most, which is now being acknowledged by the government. According to her, the onset of this global virus has led to equalization of the social and economic equilibrium, worldwide. However, the provision of supplies by government hospitals like ventilators and oxygen did not involve equal distribution

Further, there were discussions ranging from Global North and South and their high standards of living. We also discussed the international division of labour, production, trades and tariffs. Dr Aithal then pointed out how most people in today's society is committed to sustainable development but still use plastic and contribute to the overall pollution in society. Concluding remarks were given by Dr Aithal who answered a few questions raised by the students about consumerism and health factors amid the Covid 19 situation.

The Vote of Thanks was given by Ishani Choudhary who thanked Dr Vatsala Aithal, Dr Victor Paul, HOD Sociology and Social work and faculty members.

Friday, 11 February 2022

Annual Sociology Lectur Series 2022: Understanding the Law through the Lens of Sociology

Socius, the Applied Sociology Students Collective in association with the Department of Sociology and Social Work Student Association organized a lecture titled “Understanding the Law through the Lens of Sociology” as part of the Annual Sociology Lecture Series 2022. The lecture was delivered by Prof Sitharamam Kakarala, Director of the School of Policy and Governance, Azim Premji University, Bengaluru. The lecture was appropriate in view of the current social circumstances. It helped students of sociology look at societal problems and the law with respect to them through the lens of sociology. Prof Kakarala structured the lecture in such a way that it was easy to follow through.

He began by underlining the meaning of law and then explained the various approaches to looking at law briefly. Prof Kakarala, through various instances, substantiated how both social context and law influence each other. A social question gets translated into a protest which has implications for certain implications and then gets legally represented. He cited the current Hijab issue as an example, with his interest lying not in its resolution but rather in the social context. He reflected upon the issue by remarking how protests emerge in the context of the new ideology and new social forces evolving

The sovereign law is the dominant view of the law, which gives an objective lens to understanding society. Thereby, it can be termed a ‘positive law’. Historians and philosophers have seen the law from another perspective outside the framework of the state. In this context of statelessness, religion influences the understanding of the law. The third king of approach to law views it as a source of social solidarity. As per this notion, humans actively create standard norms and principles for action.

Moreover, the law has a technical and a non-technical side and a social side. On its technical side, it is an autonomous discipline and a positive science since its conclusions are arrived at after logical reasoning. There is a need to understand how this discipline affects our everyday life since it has a social side as well, much like the discipline of physics, which the professor used as a metaphor to support the point. Therefore to understand law sociologically, one needs to take into account the social context. Professor Kakarla explained how laws have evolved, transformed and acquired the meanings they have right now. They were embedded in a social context when the country already had a number of systems co-existing, like the scriptures. Therefore the nature and scope of those rights keep getting redefined in view of different emerging social forces.

The lecture was followed by a question and answer session, wherein the students present for the talk put forward their doubts and queries to the professor, who answered them in detail. The event came to an end with a vote of thanks.

Thursday, 3 February 2022

Annual Sociology Lecture Series 2022: Methodological Dialogues Between Anthropology and Psychoanalysis

The Department of Sociology and Social Work Student Association organized its Annual Sociology Lecture Series in conjunction with Socius, Applied Sociology Student's Collective. The first lecture of this series was held on the 4th of February by Professor Anup Dhar, a Senior Fellow at the Livonics Institute of Integrated Learning and Research (LILR).

The welcome address was given by Serene Scaria of 2MSoc, who also introduced the speaker for the event - Dr Anup Dhar, who spoke about the connection between Post-Freudian psychoanalysis and Micro-ethnography.

The focus of this lecture was on micro-ethnography, which is based on the client's life history, wherein psychoanalysis takes place across a person's lifespan or for an extended time. The connection between these two methodological domains lies in the interest of the participants' language, history, and the power of listening and understanding subtext and the nuances of dialogue. The purpose of psychoanalysis is to enable the client to reflect on their image through the medical lens of the analyst, who acts as a mirror into the client's innermost, unconscious thoughts and desires.

Next, Professor Dhar explained the layers of language and culture through which an organism passes, leading to a dichotomy between the macro cultural world and the micro-social world. Hence, studying the methodological dialogues between anthropology and psychoanalysis through a bi-focal vision becomes necessary. The unique perspective of psychoanalysis explores the social structures which constrain the individual through material goods as they age and grow older. The process of transference is based on the axis of conscious and unconscious speech that can be understood by a psychoanalyst trained to pick up on subtext and unconscious cues that sometimes surface through speech and language.

Professor Dhar elaborates on how culture can be understood through its history and origin, becoming culture as an entity. The perception of culture beyond reality is complex, involving various archetypes of collective dictionaries that unite individuals. This axis of conscious and unconscious communication plays a role in semi-structured and unstructured interviews. A two-layered understanding of dialogue (conscious and unconscious speech) has been harnessed by psychoanalysis in the domain of micro-ethnography.

The unconscious domain manifests itself through dreams, subtext in speech, and spontaneous body language, which is not done consciously by the individual. Clinical ethnography refers to the unconscious taken into account as part of the research process between the participant and the researcher. Prof. Dhar connects the birth of culture to how childhood desires are manifested through speech, based on a lifetime of socialization and conditioning. Psychoanalysis allows us to identify the unconscious quips in language, speech, dialogue, and communication.

To conclude, integrating psychoanalysis into ethnography is the only way to apply this methodology in real-life situations. The question-answer session was interactive, with the idea of ethics and power dynamics in psychoanalysis coming into the picture. Hence, the lecture allowed students to glimpse how we can apply psychoanalysis to micro-ethnography through the conscious and unconscious mind. Sanskriti Chakraborty of 2MSoc gave the vote of thanks and concluded the session with a heartfelt note of gratitude.