CAT 2007


The passage given below is followed by a set of three questions. Choose the most appropriate answer to each question.

The difficulties historians face in establishing cause-and-effect relations in the history of human societies are broadly similar to the difficulties facing astronomers, climatologists, ecologists, evolutionary biologists, geologists, and palaeontologists. To varying degrees each of these fields is plagued by the impossibility of performing replicated, controlled experimental interventions, the complexity arising from enormous numbers of variables, the resulting uniqueness of each system, the consequent impossibility of formulating universal laws, and the difficulties of predicting emergent properties and future behaviour. Prediction in history, as in other historical sciences, is most feasible on large spatial scales and over long times, when the unique features of millions of small-scale brief events become averaged out. Just as I could predict the sex ratio of the next 1,000 newborns but not the sexes of my own two children, the historian can recognize factors that made2 1 inevitable the broad outcome of the collision between American and Eurasian societies after 13,000 years of separate developments, but not the outcome of the 1960 U.S. presidential election. The details of which candidate said what during a single televised debate in October 1960 Could have given the electoral victory to Nixon instead of to Kennedy, but no details of who said what could have blocked the European conquest of Native Americans. How can students of human history profit from the experience of scientists in other historical sciences? A methodology that has proved useful involves the comparative method and so-called natural experiments. While neither astronomers studying galaxy formation nor human historians can manipulate their systems in controlled laboratory experiments, they both can take advantage of natural experiments, by comparing systems differing in the presence or absence (or in the strong or weak effect) of some putative causative factor. For example, epidemiologists, forbidden to feed large amounts of salt to people experimentally, have still been able to identify effects of high salt intake by comparing groups of humans who already differ greatly in their salt intake; and cultural anthropologists, unable to provide human groups experimentally with varying resource abundances for many centuries, still study long-term effects of resource abundance on human societies by comparing recent Polynesian populations living on islands differing naturally in resource abundance.

The student of human history can draw on many more natural experiments than just comparisons among the five inhabited continents. Comparisons can also utilize large islands that have developed complex societies in a considerable degree of isolation (such as Japan, Madagascar, Native American Hispaniola, New Guinea, Hawaii, and many others), as well as societies on hundreds of smaller islands and regional societies within each of the continents. Natural experiments in any field, whether in ecology or human history, are inherently open to potential methodological criticisms. Those include confounding effects of natural variation in additional variables besides the one of interest, as well as problems in inferring chains of causation from observed correlations between variables. Such methodological problems have been discussed in great detail for some of the historical sciences. In particular, epidemiology, the science of drawing inferences about human diseases by comparing groups of people (often by retrospective historical studies), has for a long time successfully employed formalized procedures for dealing with problems similar to those facing historians of human societies. In short, I acknowledge that it is much more difficult to understand human history than to understand problems in fields of science where history is unimportant and where fewer individual variables operate. Nevertheless, successful methodologies for analyzing historical problems have been worked out in several fields. As a result, the histories of dinosaurs, nebulae, and glaciers are generally acknowledged to belong to fields of science rather than to the humanities.

Question 71

According to the author, which of the following statements would be true?

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In each question, there are five sentences/paragraphs. The sentence/ paragraph labelled A is in its correct place. The four that follow are labelled B, C, D and E, and need to be arranged in the logical order to form a coherent paragraph/passage. From the given options, choose the most appropriate option.

Question 72

A. In America, highly educated women, who are in stronger position in the labour market than less qualified ones, have higher rates of marriage than other groups.

B. Some works supports the Becker thesis, and some appears to contradict it.

C. And, as with crime, it is equally inconclusive.

D. But regardless of the conclusion of any particular piece of work, it is hard to establish convincing connections between family changes and economic factors using conventional approaches.

E. Indeed, just as with crime, an enormous academic literature exists on the validity of the pure economic approach to the evolution of family structures.

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Question 73

A. Personal experience of mothering and motherhood are largely framed in relation to two discernible or “official” discourses; the “medical discourse and natural childbirth discourse”. Both of these tend to focus on the “optimistic stories” of birth and mothering and underpin stereotypes of the “godmother”.

B. At the same time, the need for medical expert guidance is also a feature for contemporary reproduction and motherhood. But constructions of good mothering have not always been so conceived and in different contexts may exist in parallel to other equally dominant discourses.

C. Similarly, historical work has shown how what are now taken for granted aspects of reproduction and mothering practices result from contemporary “pseudoscientific directives” and “managed constructs”. These changes have led to a reframing of modern discourses that pattern pregnancy and motherhood leading to an acceptance of the need for greater expert management.

D. The contrasting, overlapping and ambiguous strands with in these frameworks focus to varying degrees on a woman’s biological tie to her child and predisposition to instinctively know and be able to care for her child.

E. In addition, a third, “unofficial popular discourse” comprising “old wives” tales and based on maternal experiences of childbirth has also been noted. These discourses have also been acknowledged in work exploring the experiences of those who apparently do not “conform” to conventional stereotypes of the “good mother”?

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Question 74

A. Indonesia has experienced dramatic shifts in its formal governance arrangements since the fall of President Soeharto and the close of his centralized, authoritarian "New Order" regime in 1997.

B. The political system has taken its place in the nearly 10 years since Reformasi began. It has featured the active contest for political office among a proliferation of parties at central, provincial and district levels; direct elections for the presidency (since 2004); and radical changes in centre-local government relations towards administrative, fiscal, and political decentralization.

C. The mass media, once tidily under Soeharto's thumb, has experienced significant liberalization, as has the legal basis for non-governmental organizations, including many dedicated to such controversial issues as corruption control and human rights.

D. Such developments are seen optimistically by a number of donors and some external analysts, who interpret them as signs of Indonesia's political normalization.

E. A different group of analysts paint a picture in which the institutional forms have changed, but power relations have not. Vedi Hadiz argues that Indonesia's "democratic transition" has been anything but linear.

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Question 75

A. I had six thousand acres of land, arid had thus got much spare land besides the coffee plantation. Part of the farm was native forest, and about one thousand acres were squatters' land, what [the Kikuyu] called their shambas.

B. The squatters' land was more intensely alive than the rest of the farm, and was changing with the seasons the year round. The maize grew up higher than your head as you walked on the narrow hard-trampled footpaths in between the tall green rustling regiments.

C. The squatters are Natives, who with their families hold a few acres on a white man's farm, and in return have to work for him a certain number of days in the year. -My squatters, I think, saw the relationship in a different light, for many of them were born on the farm, and their fathers before them, and they very likely regarded me as a sort of superior squatter on their estates.

D. The Kikuyu also grew the sweet potatoes that have a vine like leaf and spread over the ground like a dense entangled mat, and many varieties of big yellow and green speckled pumpkins.

E. The beans ripened in the fields, were gathered and thrashed by the women, and the maize stalks and coffee pods were collected and burned, so that in certain seasons thin blue columns of smoke rose here and there all over the farm.

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