How to prepare Sociology for UPSC | Syllabus, Booklist & Strategy for Sociology UPSC

Sociology is one of the highly popular optional subjects among the UPSC aspirants owing to its short and crisp syllabus, ease of understanding, and availability of good resources. Anu Kumari (AIR 2 in IAS Exam 2017) is one of the most famous toppers who had Sociology as an optional subject.

Moreover, sociology has gained such immense popularity owing to several reasons including:

  • Consistency: This subject has been highly consistent among the top rankers over the years.
  • Scoring Potential: It offers great scoring potential as one can easily score 300+ marks with decent writing practice.
  • Relevance to the job role: The theoretical knowledge of the subject has huge applied potential. It introduces the aspirant with the societal norms and practices making him efficient in understanding and evaluating the policy decisions. It involves the study of human society in detail which is very much relevant to the job role.

Syllabus of Sociology Optional

Paper 1: Fundamentals of Sociology

Sociology - The Discipline

  1. Modernity and social changes in Europe and the emergence of sociology.
  2. Scope of the subject and comparison with other social sciences.
  3. Sociology and common sense.

Sociology as Science

  1. Science, scientific method and critique.
  2. Major theoretical strands of research methodology.
  3. Positivism and its critique.
  4. Fact value and objectivity.
  5. Non- positivist methodologies.

Research Methods and Analysis

  1. Qualitative and quantitative methods.
  2. Techniques of data collection.
  3. Variables, sampling, hypothesis, reliability, and validity.

Sociological Thinkers

  1. Karl Marx- Historical materialism, mode of production, alienation, class struggle.
  2. Emile Durkheim- Division of labor, social fact, suicide, religion, and society.
  3. Max Weber- Social action, ideal types, authority, bureaucracy, the protestant ethic, and the spirit of capitalism.
  4. Talcott Parsons- Social system, pattern variables.
  5. Robert K. Merton- Latent and manifest functions, conformity and deviance, reference groups.
  6. Mead - Self and identity.                       

Stratification and Mobility

  1. Concepts- equality, inequality, hierarchy, exclusion, poverty and deprivation.
  2. Theories of social stratification- Structural functionalist theory, Marxist theory, Weberian theory.
  3. Dimensions – Social stratification of class, status groups, gender, ethnicity and race.
  4. Social mobility- open and closed systems, types of mobility, sources and causes of mobility.

Works and Economic Life

  1. Social organization of work in different types of society- slave society, feudal society, industrial /capitalist society.
  2. Formal and informal organization of work.
  3. Labour and society.

 Politics and Society

  1. Sociological theories of power.
  2. Power elite, bureaucracy, pressure groups, and political parties.
  3. Nation, state, citizenship, democracy, civil society, ideology.
  4. Protest, agitation, social movements, collective action, revolution.

 

Religion and Society

  1. Sociological theories of religion.
  2. Types of religious practices: animism, monism, pluralism, sects, cults.
  3. Religion in modern society: religion and science, secularization, religious revivalism, fundamentalism.

Systems of Kinship

  1. Family, household, marriage.
  2. Types and forms of family.
  3. Lineage and descent.
  4. Patriarchy and sexual division oflabour.
  5. Contemporary trends.

Social Change in Modern Society

  1. Sociological theories of social change.
  2. Development and dependency.
  3. Agents of social change.
  4. Education and social change.
  5. Science, technology and social change.

Paper 2: Indian Society: Structure and Change

Introducing Indian Society

Perspectives on the study of Indian society

  1. Indology (GS. Ghurye).
  2. Structural functionalism (M N Srinivas).
  3. Marxist sociology (A R Desai).

Impact of colonial rule on Indian society

  1. Social background of Indian nationalism.
  2. Modernization of Indian tradition.
  3. Protests and movements during the colonial period.
  4. Social reforms.

Social Structure

Rural and Agrarian Social Structure

  1. The idea of Indian village and village studies.
  2. Agrarian social structure - evolution of land tenure system, land reforms

Caste System

  1. Perspectives on the study of caste systems: GS Ghurye, M N Srinivas, Louis Dumont, Andre Beteille.
  2. Features of caste system.
  3. Untouchability - forms and perspectives.

Tribal communities in India

  1. Definitional problems.
  2. Geographical spread.
  3. Colonial policies and tribes.
  4. Issues of integration and autonomy.

Social Classes in India

  1. Agrarian class structure.
  2. Industrial class structure.
  3. Middle classes in India

Systems of Kinship in India

  1. Lineage and descent in India.
  2. Types of kinship systems.
  3. Family and marriage in India.
  4. Household dimensions of the family.

 Religion and Society

  1. Religious communities in India.
  2. Problems of religious minorities.
  3. Patriarchy, entitlements and sexual division of labor

Social Changes in India

Visions of Social Change in India

  1. Idea of development planning and mixed economy.
  2. Constitution, law and social change.
  3. Education and social change.

Rural and Agrarian transformation in India

  1. Programmes of rural development, Community Development Programme, cooperatives, poverty alleviation schemes.
  2. Green revolution and social change.
  3. Changing modes of production in Indian agriculture .
  4. Problems of rural labour, bondage, migration.

 

Industrialization and Urbanisation in India

  1. Evolution of modern industry in India.
  2. Growth of urban settlements in India.
  3. Working-class: structure, growth, class mobilization.
  4. Informal sector, child labour.
  5. Slums and deprivation in urban areas.

 

Politics and Society

  1. Nation, democracy and citizenship.
  2. Political parties, pressure groups, social and political elite.
  3. Regionalism and decentralization of power.
  4. Secularization

 

Social Movements in Modern India

  1. Peasants and farmers movements.
  2. Women’s movement.
  3. Backward classes & Dalit movement.
  4. Environmental movements.
  5. Ethnicity and Identity movements.

 

Population Dynamics

  1. Population size, growth, composition and distribution.
  2. Components of population growth: birth, death, migration.
  3. Population policy and family planning.
  4. Emerging issues: ageing, sex ratios, child and infant mortality, reproductive health.

 

Challenges of Social Transformation

  1. Crisis of development: displacement, environmental problems and sustainability.
  2. Poverty, deprivation and inequalities.
  3. Violence against women.
  4. Caste conflicts.
  5. Ethnic conflicts, communalism, religious revivalism.
  6. Illiteracy and disparities in education.

Booklist for Sociology Optional

Booklist for Paper 1:

  • Introduction to Sociology by Anthony Giddens
  • Sociological Theory by George Ritzer
  • Sociology Themes and Perspectives by Haralambos & Holborn
  • A Dictionary of Sociology by John Scott
  • Sociological Thought by Francis Abraham and John Henry Morgan
  • An Introduction to Political Theory by O P Gauba

Booklist for Paper 2:

  • Social Change in Modern India by M N Srinivas
  • Caste Its Twentieth Century Avatar by M N Srinivas
  • Handbook of Indian Sociology by Veena Das
  • Indian Society: Themes and Social Issues by Nadeem Hasnain
  • Modernization of Indian Tradition by Yogendra Singh
  • Rural Sociology by S.L Doshi and P.C Jain
  • Social Background of Indian Nationalism by A R Desai

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