Unemployment as a Grave Social Problem

Unemployment as a Grave Social Problem

By Shameem Nazir

An individual, who is ready and willing to work at the prevailing rate of wages but does not find work, is considered to be unemployed. It is important here to mention that the person , who voluntarily remains unemployed : living on alms or spending a parasite life , cannot be treated as unemployed; unemployment is thus a condition in which an individual is not in a state of remunerative occupation despite his desire to do so.
As per the Labour Bureau, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Government of India (GOI), Jammu Kashmir has very high unemployment rate and as per a survey conducted by the bureau in 2015-16, Jammu Kashmir has 72 unemployed persons per thousand, which means the number of unemployed youth in the state is over 9 lakh based on the 2011 census. Unemployment in Jammu and Kashmir is not normal; it is what famous sociologist Emile Durkheim called pathology.
From the above report, unemployment in Jammu and Kashmir is a social problem, which affects and damages society. The personal and social costs of unemployment include:
Unemployment Leads to Late Marriage
The rising rate of unemployment in Jammu and Kashmir is one of the main reasons for late marriages .The 2009 study conducted by the University of Kashmir’s department of sociology under the supervision of Prof. B A Dabla had revealed that the actual age of marriage in Kashmir had risen to 31 years in male and 27 years in female category respectively. The study had stated that major causes of late marriage in Kashmir valley were; acute poverty , dowry in different shapes , attaining modern education , the conflict situation and rising rate of unemployment.
Unemployment is Directly Correlated to Poverty
Unemployment is directly linked with poverty- one who is unemployed is faces a whole host of different problems. In response to this , he/she indulges in various illegal activities which are against what Emile Durkheim called the ‘’collective consciousness ‘’.
Unemployment leads to tensions and Family issues
Unemployment causes physical hardships and mental agony not only to the individual of the employable age, but also to his/her family. It is the financial hardship that is produced through unemployment which directly affects the family relationship of the person. Atkinson and ,argued that, marriage and family are negatively affected by the unemployment experience
Unemployment and Psychological Trauma
A major effect of unemployment is that it tends to be socially isolating. At the psychological level there is shock, shame, loss of confidence and loss of occupation identity. This results in a tendency to withdraw from contact with others.
Unemployment and Anti-social Behaviour(s)
Some people may reject the norms of the society which has apparently rejected them and engage in anti-social behaviors, what Robert Merton calls being a ‘’victim of anomie’’. However, it should be emphasized that such people represent only a tiny fraction of the unemployed.
Unemployment and Stigma
Erving Goffman (1968) defined stigma as any physical or social attribute that so devalues an actor’s social identity a so s to disqualify him or her from ‘full social acceptance’. Individuasl tend to make negative associations with those who are unemployed, which often leads to unfair discrimination.
Unemployment and Social Division(s)
There is increasing division between those families with children with both parents in the paid work force and those with no parents with paid work. Here , unemployment is a cause for social division among employed and unemployed.
Unemployment is a grave concern for/ of society and if immediate measures are not taken to curb the menace, it will not only hamper economic development but also be a curse and bane for society .It is high time to come with a prudent solutions to curb, the repercussions and consequences of unemployment. In the final analysis, unemployment affects not only the workers, but also the whole social network of the person thus, causes strains on marriages and friendships. It disrupts the identity a person gets from work and separates people from the social mechanisms that integrate them into society.

The Author is pursuing Masters in Sociology. He can be reached at: [email protected]

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