If we look carefully at this structure we find that the relationships and interactions have changed overtime. A Brahmin may not be only a practising priest; he/she may also be a scientist or a doctor. And a Shudra may have risen up to become a merchant or an influential person in society.
Since social structures are created by people, they can change over time. In order to be able to say that a structure exists, it must persist over time. If the structure of a small gap changed completely it would be inappropriate to say that the group had a social structure. Although change is always possible, small groups and larger organisations do not change easily. Thus, structures do change over time, despite their enduring character. If we take the example of caste structure in India, we do find that despite the changes the caste structure still gives us a picture of the hierarchical structure of our society.
When we talk of hierarchy we mean not just a vertical arrangement such as Brahmin on the top rung, followed by Kashtriya and Vaishya with the fourth rung taken up by the Shudras and lastly, the untouchables having the most marginalised positions. These positions are not merely classificatory arrangements but indicate a great deal and many aspects of the relative position and power each of these segments enjoy in society. Patterned interactions of a society that reflect a hierarchical arrangement, which in turn indicates the economic, political, cultural interaction among groups and their status in society. You must have gathered the following when you think of the term social structure: i.
Social structure is a patterned set of rules. ii These rules and frameworks to be considered a social structure must continue and endure over a time. iii. Since social structure is a set of rules which are made by human beings they are liable to change in the long run. iv.
Social structures reflect some dimensions of interaction such as power, economic resources, prestige, values, etc. Having come to a basic understanding of social structure you must be wondering why such regularity of behaviour occurs and how these patterns get established.