Sunday, February 28, 2010

Local theory

Sorry im a day late!

Local Theory on Social Needs

A typical need to build a theory based on her expereince!

Tuesday 7th March 2006

Human beings in general have two kinds of social needs. One is to identify oneself with others, empathise and belong to a group-the need for belongingness. Another is the need to distinguish oneself from others…reinforce one’s own uniqueness, one’s exclusiveness in one’s own mind…to feel special and different. The two needs coexist. Perhaps when a population is almost uniform and kind of homogeneous …when people in it are nearly similar, the need for distinguishing oneself gains more importance. But when there are a lot of differences…socio economic cultural etc. the need for belonging becomes greater. I don’t know if it is true for greater systems but in my personal experience I guess it is so.

Basically I arrived at this from the seemingly weird way in which so much stratification happened in my school while so little existed in a larger school that my friend went to.

In my school almost all the children came from the same socio economic background...elite, middleclass and upper middle class and upper class. No first generation literates, all westernised having educated parents with TVs, fridges, vehicles etc. My friend’s school had representatives from all sections of society, ranging from children of the poor to those of the rich, from the children of the illiterate to the highly educated families, and yet, at least according to my friend, there was barely any stratification. Even if there was it was none too rigid. Perhaps when the kids are from such varying and diverse backgrounds, there was a greater need to bridge the existing gaps and identify with each other. Whereas in my school, perhaps there was need to MAGNIFY the existing differences to make one feel unique and special. There were socio economic differences, who’s rich, who’s kool and who’s ‘in’. That’s what it was I guess.

12th March 2006

My theory is becoming stronger and stronger. In everything I read I find it or ideas leading to it and its becoming broader too.

My theory is that when there is a lot of homogeneity to start with people begin to feel too common and their need to distinguish themselves becomes IMMENSE. Thus conflicts are greater in small intimate social groups as (Georg Siramel noted) because they share a sense of belonging, of identity. This could also be because each of us has a part in us that detests what we are …everything we stand for…thanatos. (death drive)

This was my understanding of Vimal Aunty’s explanation about how people tend to get angrier with others when they do something they themselves have done. There is a great sense of indignation when a person identifies oneself with the act. Perhaps this boils down to a need to change. I guess the basic need could be a need to change .perhaps the belonging identity and the differentiation / specialisation need are both manifestations of the need to change.

Anyway coming back to my theory, there is a greater need for identity and belonging in a highly heterogeneous group. Thus as people fulfil their needs a homogeneous groups becomes heterogeneous and a heterogeneous group becomes homogeneous all in cycles, its more or less like the theory of ‘incoherent homogeneity’ to ‘coherent heterogeneity’. In fact IT is that.

Somehow I feel I’ve complicated life…I started off with ‘identity’ as ‘belongingness’ and ‘group identity’ and ended up with it being ‘individual identity’ or the need to specialise. I guess basic needs could then just be identity. Maybe I should leave this obsession for a while, study sociology with an open mind, sans bias and come back to it later if I still want to.


  1. breakthrough!!! too good baap... feel like having a talk...

  2. Good to see she was learning from her classes, not by rote, but with intense interest.