Sociology Optional Syllabus UPSC


Source- Jagran Josh



1. Sociology - The Discipline:

  •  Modernity and social changes in Europe and emergence of Sociology. 
  •  Scope of the subject and comparison with other social sciences. 
  •  Sociology and common sense. 

2. Sociology as Science:

  •  Science, scientific method and critique. 
  •  Major theoretical strands of research methodology. 
  •  Positivism and its critique. 
  •  Fact value and objectivity. 
  •  Non-positivist methodologies. 

3. Research Methods and Analysis:

  • Qualitative and quantitative methods. 
  •  Techniques of data collection. 
  • Variables, sampling, hypothesis, reliability and validity. 

4. Sociological Thinkers:

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

5. Stratification and Mobility :

  •  Concepts - equality, inequality, hierarchy, exclusion, poverty and deprivation. 
  • Theories of social stratification - Structural func tionalist theory, Marxist theory, Weberian theory. 
  •  Dimensions - Social stratification of class, status groups, gender, ethnicity and race. 
  •  Social mobility - open and closed systems, types of mobility, sources and causes of mobility. 

6. Works and Economic Life :

  •  Social organization of work in different types of society - slave society, feudal society, industrial capitalist society.
  • Formal and informal organization of work. 
  •  Labour and society. 

7. Politics and Society:

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

8. Religion and Society :

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

9. Systems of Kinship:

  •  Family, household, marriage. 
  • Types and forms of family. 
  • Lineage and descent. 
  • Patriarchy and sexual division of labour. 
  •  Contemporary trends. 

10. Social Change in Modern Society :

  •  Sociological theories of social change. 
  •  Development and dependency. 
  •  Agents of social change. 
  •  Education and social change. 
  • Science, technology and social change.



A. Introducing Indian Society :

(i) Perspectives on the Study of Indian Society :

  •  Indology (G.S. Ghurye). 
  •  Structural functionalism (M. N. Srinivas). 
  •  Marxist sociology (A. R. Desai). 

(ii) Impact of colonial rule on Indian society :

  •  The social background of Indian nationalism. 
  •  Modernization of Indian tradition. 
  • Protests and movements during the colonial period. 
  • Social reforms. 

B. Social Structure:

(i) Rural and Agrarian Social Structure:

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

(ii) Caste System: 

  •  Perspectives on the study of caste systems: G. S. Ghurye, M. N. Srinivas, Louis Dumont, 
  • Andre Beteille. 
  •  Features of the caste system. 
  •  Untouchability-forms and perspectives

 (iii) Tribal Communities in India: 

  •  Definitional problems. 
  •  Geographical spread. 
  • Colonial policies and tribes. 
  •  Issues of integration and autonomy. 

(iv) Social Classes in India:

  •  Agrarian class structure. 
  •  Industrial class structure. 
  •  Middle classes in India. 

(v) Systems of Kinship in India: 

  •  Lineage and descent in India.  
  • Types of kinship systems. 
  • Family and marriage in India. 
  • Household dimensions of the family. 
  • Patriarchy, entitlements and sexual division of labour. 

(vi) Religion and Society :

  •  Religious communities in India. 
  •  Problems of religious minorities. 

C. Social Changes in India:

(i) Visions of Social Change in India:

  •  The idea of development planning and mixed economy. 
  •  Constitution, law and social change. 
  •  Education and social change. 

(ii) Rural and Agrarian Transformation in India:

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

(iii) Industrialization and Urbanisation in India: 

  • Evolution of modern industry in India. 
  • Growth of urban settlements in India. 
  • Working class: structure, growth, class mobilization. 
  • The informal sector, child labour. 
  • Slums and deprivation in urban areas. 

(iv) Politics and Society :

  •  Nation, democracy and citizenship. 
  •  Political parties, pressure groups, and social and political elite. 
  • Regionalism and Decentralization of power. 
  •  Secularization. 

(v) Social Movements in Modern India :

  •  Peasants and farmers movements. 
  •  Women’s movement. 
  •  Backward classes & Dalit movements. 
  •  Environmental movements. 
  • Ethnicity and Identity movements. 

(vi) Population Dynamics :

  •  Population size, growth, composition and distribution. 
  •  Components of population growth: birth, death, migration. 
  •  Population Policy and family planning. 
  •  Emerging issues: ageing, sex ratios, child and infant mortality, reproductive 
  • health. 

(vii) Challenges of Social Transformation :

  • Crisis of development: displacement, environmental problems and sustainability. 
  •  Poverty, deprivation and inequalities. 
  •  Violence against women. 
  •  Caste conflicts. 
  •  Ethnic conflicts, communalism, religious revivalism. 
  • Illiteracy and disparities in education.

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