Social Scientist. v 2, no. 20 (March 1974) p. 47.


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REPORT ^ 47

few months. A significant number of students are being obliged to seek careers in activities of this sort. In conditions like those that prevail in India, where jobs are scarce and a decent life has to be fought for, the quality of work seldom provokes a criticism. Rather, the intelligent youngster is likely to be anxious to succeed in terms of the social order. In the U S, for a white youth from a secure economic background, survival is relatively easy. He is thus less oppressed by thoughts of a livelihood and can afford the time and energy to develop a sensitivity towards the nature of his future functions. Disaffection with the society begins to set in when these functions are found wanting in creativity or human values.

It has been suggested to me by George Stern that a deeper reason for student unhappiness resides in the emergence of the students as a group of 'surplus population' in the society with increasingly fewer tasks to perform for the economy and that their situation is not unlike that of the blacks and other depressed classes. There is no doubt that such an alienation is in fact operative. It may also be sufficiently widespread to provide a sound economic basis for an analysis of the student situation. However, despite the importance of this idea, I will not pursue it further here for lack of adequate knowledge.

Community and Family Relations

Before the dominance of the market economy, there was a time when the interdependence of people was more obvious and the notion of the solidarity of the community and the family had a good deal of meaning. The unity in the economic life of relatively autonomous communities led to meaningful relationships as well. In areas where the forces of capitalism began to dominate, this pattern of comparative isolation began to disintegrate. The economic life of individuals or groups came to depend progressively more on the world market. With the emergence of giant enterprises and monopoly capitalism, more primitive modes of production began to decay and disappear. The partial insulation of the communities "was breached and they were exposed to the world at large.

Sociologists, Marxists in particular, have studied in depth the social consequences of such a global dependence. As the individual begins to see that his livelihood depends not so much on his immediate milieu as on external forces, he comes to feel that his ties to the community, which "were once sources of security and identity, are chains of incarceration. Such ties limit his freedom which he needs for his fulfilment and success. Thus relationships which make demands and are based on nothing more substantial than social and familial loyalties suffer attrition and are replaced by transient companionships of convenience or necessity. Economic compulsions force people to leave their communities to seek/their fortunes elsewhere. The coherence of self-enclosed existence of small groups breaks down. The joint family disintegrates into the nuclear family.

The break up of communities and the joint family system is well



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