Social Network Analysis Approach for Studying Caste, Class and Social Support in Rural Jharkhand and West Bengal: An Empirical Attempt

  • Anil Kumar Choudhuri
  • Rabindranath Jana
Part of the Intelligent Systems Reference Library book series (ISRL, volume 65)


In Jharkhand, without having any effective measure of land reforms and the Panchayats as well as the absence of peasant mobilization, Total Literacy Campaign or organized women’s movement, major portion of the people having dependence upon the market forces have, no doubt, extended their livelihoods to various distant urban-industrial job markets. Unlike in Jharkhand, in West Bengal, economic and political / organizational changes have been taken place. Redistribution of land through land reforms, increase of wage rate and rise of Gram Panchayat have been as a source for the rural poor in Bengal. As a result, there is competition among the land owners to retain labourers and the land-owners’ authority has been weakened. Under the circumstances, in the present article, an attempt has been made to study the pattern of social networks of people in the two regions concerning social stratification by caste/ community composition, occupational class, ownership of land and their inter-face among themselves. For the study, four villages from Jharkhand and two from West Bengal were purposively selected and applying complete enumeration method and considering Head of a household or his representative as respondent, data on structural variables as well as few composite variables were collected. Besides household survey, methods of case history and group discussion with the people were also undertaken for collecting other information useful for the study. Then social network analysis techniques were adopted to analyze the data. Social Network Analysis has brought out that in Jharkhand the domain of articulation of ties of social help and support among the villagers against vulnerabilities, at the time of urgency or crisis, is primarily based upon traditional primordial relationship, kinship and, that way, spreads among the members of the same caste or community. In the Rarh region of West Bengal, its base is, on the other hand, secular. It circulates primarily along the ties of neighborhood and friendship. Recently, new secular relationships have been added to this list. But these are sort of contractual, exchange-oriented relationships as these are related to the employers, leading persons in different institutions or organizations, “experts”, influential persons and so on. The findings from the study may be much useful to the planners of development and methodologically, a triangulation of methods of case history, groups discussion with the concerned people and household survey may be effective strategy for future research study in the allied area.


Social stratification social help reciprocity isolatedness reachability connectedness within and between caste/ and class interaction 


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sociological Resaerch UnitIndian Statistical InstituteGiridihIndia
  2. 2.Sociological Research UnitIndian Statistical InstituteKolkataIndia

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