Sociology Optional

Sociology Optional




1. Sociology - The Discipline: (a) Modernity and social changes in Europe and emergence of Sociology. (b) Scope of the subject and comparison with other social sciences. (c) Sociology and common sense.

2. Sociology as Science: (a) Science, scientific method and critique. (b) Major theoretical strands of research methodology. (c) Positivism and its critique. (d) Fact value and objectivity. ( e) Non-positivist methodologies.

3. Research Methods and Analysis: (a) Qualitative and quantitative methods. (b) Techniques of data collection. (c ) Variables, sampling, hypothesis, reliability and validity.

4. Sociological Thinkers: (a) Karl Marx - Historical materialism, mode of production, alienation, class struggle. (b) Emile Durkhteim - Division of labour, social fact, suicide, religion and society. (c) Max Weber - Social action, ideal types, authority, bureaucracy, protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism. (d) Talcolt Parsons - Social system, pattern variables. (e) Robert K. Merton - Latent and manifest functions, conformity and deviance, reference groups. (f) Mead - Self and identity.

5. Stratification and Mobility : (a) Concepts - equality, inequality, hierarchy, exclusion, poverty and deprivation. (b) Theories of social stratification - Structural func tionalist theory, Marxist theory, Weberian theory. (c) Dimensions - Social stratification of class, status groups, gender, ethnicity and race. (d) Social mobility - open and closed systems, types of mobility, sources and causes of mobility.

6. Works and Economic Life : (a) Social organization of work in different types of society - slave society, feudal society, industrial capitalist society. (b) Formal and informal organization of work. (c) Labour and society.

7. Politics and Society: (a) Sociological theories of power. (b) Power elite, bureaucracy, pressure groups and political parties. (c) Nation, state, citizenship, democracy, civil society, ideology. (d) Protest, agitation, social movements, collective action, revolution.

8. Religion and Society : (a) Sociological theories of religion. (b) Types of religious practices: animism, monism, pluralism, sects, cults. (c) Religion in modern society: religion and science, secularization, religious revivalism, fundamen talism.

9. Systems of Kinship: (a) Family, household, marriage. (b) Types and forms of family. (c) Lineage and descent. (d) Patriarchy and sexual division of labour. (e) Contemporary trends.

10. Social Change in Modern Society : (a) Sociological theories of social change. (b) Development and dependency. (c) Agents of social change. (d) Education and social change. (e) Science, technology and social change.



A. Introducing Indian Society :

(i) Perspectives on the Study of Indian Society : (a) Indology (G.S. Ghure). (b) Structural functionalism (M. N. Srinivas). (c) Marxist sociology (A. R. Desai).

(ii) Impact of colonial rule on Indian society : (a) Social background of Indian nationalism. (b) Modernization of Indian tradition. (c) Protests and movements during the colonial period. (d) Social reforms.

B. Social Structure:

(i) Rural and Agrarian Social Structure: (a) The idea of Indian village and village studies. (b) Agrarian social structure— evolution of land tenure system, land reforms.

(ii) Caste System: (a) Perspectives on the study of caste systems: G. S. Ghurye, M. N. Srinivas, Louis Dumont, Andre Beteille. (b) Features of caste system. (c) Untouchability-forms and perspectives

(iii) Tribal Communities in India: (a) Definitional problems. (b) Geographical spread. (c) Colonial policies and tribes. (d) Issues of integration and autonomy.

(iv) Social Classes in India: (a) Agrarian class structure. (b) Industrial class structure. (c) Middle classes in India.

(v) Systems of Kinship in India: (a) Lineage and descent in India. (b) Types of kinship systems. (c) Family and marriage in India. (d) Household dimensions of the family. (e) Patriarchy, entitlements and sexual division of labour.

(vi) Religion and Society : (a) Religious communities in India. (b) Problems of religious minorities.

C. Social Changes in India:

(i) Visions of Social Change in India: (a) Idea of development planning and mixed economy. (b) Constitution, law and social change. (c) Education and social change.

(ii) Rural and Agrarian Transformation in India: (a) Programmes of rural development, Community Development Programme, cooperatives, poverty alleviation schemes. (b) Green revolution and social change. (c) Changing modes of production in Indian agriculture. (d) Problems of rural labour, bondage, migration.

(iii) Industrialization and Urbanisation in India: (a) Evolution of modern industry in India. (b) Growth of urban settlements in India. (c) Working class: structure, growth, class mobilization. (d) Informal sector, child labour. (e) Slums and deprivation in urban areas.

(iv) Politics and Society : (a) Nation, democracy and citizenship. (b) Political parties, pressure groups, social and political elite. (c) Regionalism and decentralization of power. (d) Secularization.

(v) Social Movements in Modern India : (a) Peasants and farmers movements. (b) Women’s movement. (c) Backward classes & Dalit movements. (d) Environmental movements. (e) Ethnicity and Identity movements.

(vi) Population Dynamics : (a) Population size, growth, composition and distribution. (b) Components of population growth: birth, death, migration. (c) Population Policy and family planning. (d) Emerging issues: ageing, sex ratios, child and infant mortality, reproductive health.

(vii) Challenges of Social Transformation : (a) Crisis of development : displacement, environmental problems and sustainability. (b) Poverty, deprivation and inequalities. (c) Violence against women. (d) Caste conflicts. (e) Ethnic conflicts, communalism, religious revivalism. (f) Illiteracy and disparities in education.

How to prepare for sociology optional for IAS?

Sociology optional is one of the most popular subjects. It is widely chosen by many UPSC aspirants throughout the country. The scope of sociology optional is more open towards both science and humanities background candidates. Everyone can opt for sociology optional since no academic background is needed to study this subject. One only needs to have zeal and be passionate about learning about the subject. Also, it is a very scoring subject if it is studied with the right approach. You can refer to various tips given below while doing the preparation.

1.         The syllabus of sociology optional is short. So make sure to divide your time wisely and study accordingly. The time left after completing the syllabus can be further utilized in preparing for other general studies papers.

2.         While doing preparation it is always better to figure out the most important topics by solving previous year question papers. When you become aware bout the most important areas start focusing on them. It is because most of the questions are asked from that particular topic. It is the right strategy in order to score well. After preparing these topics, prepare for those which are not so important so as to be on a safer side. In this way, you can cover the whole syllabus in a more systematic manner and chances of scoring well will be more. Also don’t skip any topic you never know questions might come from the topics which you didn’t cover.

3.         Also in compulsory questions, while writing long answers provide an introduction to the answer. The introduction can include a general explanation of the question asked and followed by a definition of the authors or thinkers or simply explaining the basics of the question asked. This gives an impression to the examiner that the student has conceptual clarity of the question. It will help to fetch good marks. Also in the end a conclusion can also be provided. The conclusion should summarize the entire answer in a few lines while providing a positive note for the question asked.

4.         While writing answer use a language which is easy to understand and simple though maintain the essence of the answer and don’t deviate from the question. Focus your answer with regard to the question asked in the paper. Use diagrams and examples to explain the answers this will help you to fetch more marks. For better results understand the topics at which you are good and others not so good. Focus on improving the weak topics and practice the questions relate to topics at which you are good. This will help you in doing preparation in the right manner and score well. Many of the students know the answer during the time of the exam. But still are not able to score good marks in the exam. This is because they don’t answer the questions in a proper manner due to which marks are deducted. So to score good marks, it’s better to answer each question and present it in a proper manner.

5.         Before beginning the preparation go through the syllabus well. Understand the syllabus to know what actually is asked in the exams. If you know the syllabus well then it gives a clear understanding to you as to what could be asked in the exam. Also, it helps to know which topics to be studied.

6.         Marks distribution is another aspect about which a student should know well. Through this one can categorize the topic which carries the highest weight age and the ones which don’t have high weight age. This helps in proper planning for the main exam.

7.         Most of the time aspirants become worried whether they will be able to crack the exam and score good marks in the subject. But remember to stay confident. Confidence combined with perseverance will help you to ace the exam. During the preparation, the phase doesn’t have a doubt about your abilities. Believe that you can do it and you will definitely come out with flying colors in the exam.

8.         It is very important to thoroughly study the whole syllabus twice and thrice. And then keep on revising it as many times as possible. Revision helps to absorb the things in a better way. It helps to keep the whole of the syllabus in our brain for a longer duration. If a student keeps on learning and doesn’t revise what he has studied then he tends to forget the thing on the day of the exam. This is because what he/studies didn’t ever get registered in his brain. Thus revision is the key factor to restore things in the brain

9.         Write the answers properly for every question. Before the final exam, write as many long answers as possible. This will help you to present the answers in a better way during the mains exam. Also answer writing practice will be an added advantage for all subjects. Also use diagrams, illustrations, and other relevant aspects of the answers. Focus on presenting the answer well so that the examiner cannot deduct the marks in any part and give you good marks for the questions. This can be achieved by regular practice of answer writing.

10.       Most of the students are unable to manage the time during the exam. This happens because many times a candidate spends a lot of time thinking about an answer to particular questions and this leads to a lot of wastage of time. Instead of this one needs to specify and allocate proper time to each and every question. It will help to finish the paper on time. Also, time management is important to avoid any last-minute hassle. When less time is left and there are more questions left to be answered then many times a candidate marks a wrong answer even if he/she knows the correct answer.