Thursday, 7 June 2012

Sociology Mains Syllabus with required Readings

Hello Friends,

I found a good document on material to be studied for Sociology optional. This is prepared by VISION IAS ( ) and am reproducing it below.

They are also offering test-series for GS and few other optionals like Socio, Pub Ad,  Geography etc. I have not myself taken these test series but apparently their feedback is prompt and good.


SOCIOLOGY (MAINS)                    


TOPICS                                                                                                 Reference Books
1.        Sociology - The Discipline:
(a)      Modernity and social changes in Europe and emergence of sociology.  – ESO – 13 (IGNOU, B.A )
(b)       Scope of the subject and comparison with other social sciences. – Sociology : T B Bottomore
(c)        Sociology and common sense.                                                      – Sociology : Anthony Giddens
2.         Sociology as Science:
(a)       Science, scientific method and critique.                                         - Sociology : Anthony Giddens
(b)       Major theoretical strands of research methodology.                      - Sociology : Anthony Giddens
(c)        Positivism and its critique.                                                            - Sociology by Haralambos and Holborn
(d)       Fact value and objectivity.                                                            – MSO – 002 ( IGNOU , MA )
(e)       Non- positivist methodologies.                                                     - Sociology by Haralambos and Holborn
3.         Research Methods and Analysis:                                             – MSO – 002 ( IGNOU , MA )
(a)       Qualitative and quantitative methods.
(b)       Techniques of data collection.
(c)        Variables, sampling, hypothesis, reliability and validity.

4.         Sociological Thinkers:                         – ESO – 13 (IGNOU, B.A ) , Sociological Thinkers : R K Mukherjee
(a)       Karl Marx- Historical materialism, mode of production, alienation, class struggle.
(b)       Emile Durkheim- 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 functionalist 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.            – ESO: 14 (IGNOU)

6.         Works and Economic Life:                                                  - Sociology by Haralambos and Holborn
(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:                                                        - Sociology by Haralambos and Holborn
(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:                                                    -- Sociology by Haralambos and Holborn
(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, fundamentalism.

9.         Systems of Kinship:                                                       - Sociology by Haralambos and Holborn
(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:                         - Sociology by Haralambos and Holborn (a,b,c)
(a)               Sociological theories of social change.            - Political Theory by O P Gauba (c,d)
(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 :              Indian Sociological Thought. from B. K. Nagla
(a)       Indology  (GS. Ghurye).
(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.          Social Background of Indian Nationalism : A R Desai
(b)       Modernization of Indian tradition.                     Modernization of Indian tradition - Yogendra Singh
(c)        Protests and movements during the colonial period.  Protests and movements during the colonial period – A R Desai
(d)       Social reforms                                                              Modern History – B L Grover

B.        Social Structure:
(i)         Rural and Agrarian Social Structure:
(a)       The idea of Indian village and village studies-                                             IGNOU , MSO – 004
(b)       Agrarian social structure - evolution of land tenure system,  land reforms.   Rural Sociology – Doshi & Jain

(ii)        Caste System:
(a)       Perspectives on the study of caste systems: GS Ghurye, M N Srinivas, Louis Dumont, Andre Beteille. –                                                                     Indian Sociological Thought. from B. K. Nagla
(b)       Features of caste system.
(c)        Untouchability - forms and perspectives

(iii)       Tribal communities in India:                                    Indian Society & Culture – Nadeem Husnain
(a)       Definitional problems.                                             Indian Social System – Ram Ahuja
(b)       Geographical spread.
(c)        Colonial policies and tribes.
(d)       Issues of integration and autonomy.

(iv)      Social Classes in India:                                               -  IGNOU , MSO – 004
(a)       Agrarian class structure.
(b)       Industrial class structure.
(c)        Middle classes in India.

(v)       Systems of Kinship in India:                     - IGNOU , MSO – 004 , Family , Marriage and Kinship    
                                                                              in India by Patricia Oberoi
(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:                                           - Indian Society & Culture – Nadeem Husnain
(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.        - Contemporary India – Neera Chandhoke
(b)       Constitution, law and social change.                              – Social Change in India – Yogendra Singh
(c)        Education and social change.                                                  – IGNOU , ESO – 14
Neera Chandhoke's book

(ii)        Rural and Agrarian transformation in India:
(a)       Programmes of rural development, Community Development Programme, cooperatives, poverty alleviation schemes.    
                           Rural Sociology – Doshi & Jain
(b)       Green revolution and social change.
(c)        Changing modes of production in Indian agriculture .
(d)       Problems of rural labour, bondage, migration.                  -IGNOU , MSO – 14
                                                                                               -Social inequalities in India – K L Sharma
(iii)       Industrialization and Urbanisation in India:                     -   IGNOU , MSO – 14
(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                                          -    Child Labour – Beena Das
(e)       Slums and deprivation in urban areas.                             -   IGNOU – Urban Sociology      

(iv)      Politics and Society:                                                       -     Politics in India - Paul R Brass
(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:                     -Social Movements In India by Ghanshyam Shah
(a)       Peasants and farmers movements.
(b)       Women’s movement.
(c)        Backward classes & Dalit movement.
(d)       Environmental movements.
(e)       Ethnicity and Identity movements.

(vi)      Population Dynamics:                                             -Social Demography : Asha Bhede & Kanitkar
(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.                  : IGNOU (ESO – 16 )

(vii)     Challenges of Social Transformation:
(a)       Crisis of development: displacement, environmental problems and sustainability.
(b)       Poverty, deprivation and inequalities.
(c)        Violence against women.                                           -Women in India – Neera Desai
(d)       Caste conflicts.                                                            -Politics in India : Sudipta Kaviraj
(e)       Ethnic conflicts, communalism, religious revivalism.       -   IGNOU (ESO – 16 )
(f)         Illiteracy and disparities in education.                          -           IGNOU (ESO – 16 )                      -THE TEAM VISION IAS   
                                                       Ajay Kr. Singh Niranjan, B.Tech. IIT Roorkee
                                         Co-Founder & Director ~ 09650617807 , 09968029039 ~
Email :
Contemporary India
- Neera Chandhoke


  1. cracking ias is not an easy task but choosing which course to be done for preparation is more difficult becoz if you dont hav the aim in mind then you need to be sure
    For this
    this will really help you as they have many options
    Thank you

  2. Dear Anon,
    Thankyou for your comment, but am afraid I dont understand what exactly you are trying to say.
    Are you talking about choosing the right optional? or choosing the right preparation method?

  3. sir please mention important books which help us to study sociology as optional within 2 or 3 month if we refer all the book above you have mentioned we cant complit syllabus within 3 month .so pleas give reply, i hope you must reply thank you!

  4. Dear Anil,

    If you are studying Sociology for the first time, I must insist that you take time to prepare, and not hurry up to finish it in 3 months. This is because UPSC is asking understanding-based and application-based questioning for which you need to have read many texts and perspectives. Nonetheless, to start you can read the following:

    Paper 1: Haralambos "Sociology- Themes and Perspectives"-
    IGNOU MA Sociology readings

    Paper 2: IGNOU BA Sociology readings. These are the most authoritative text on Paper2. So definitely read them

    Once you have gone through them, you can explore other texts for topics not covered in them, or for which you need more info.


  5. hii....thanks a lot for a detailed approach. This is very useful. Could you please suggest whether to go through all the reference books that you have mentioned...I have bought old haralambos but you have not mentioned it...I am a beginner so can I start up with that book?? please suggest me..thanks in advance