Sociology Optional Course For UPSC

Sociology optional subject for UPSC

Sociology is one of the optional subjects in the UPSC civil service examination. The IAS examination is a part of the IAS examination that has three stages that include a preliminary examination, main examination, and the interview round. In this article, you will get the whole syllabus of sociology. The sociology subject syllabus overlaps with the general studies paper first in UPSC mains examination and it is also helpful for the general studies essay paper. The nature of sociology focuses on contemporary issues in society. It is an optional subject of 250 marks with a total of 500 marks. This optional subject is a very popular choice among the candidates who want to become a successful IAS officer as in this subject the candidates get good information on how to deal with the problems of the society.

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Why is sociology an optional paper for UPSC?

Following are the reasons that define the importance of sociology and the reason behind choosing sociology as a subject for an optional paper in UPSC:- 

  • The subject is highly consistent among the top rankers.
  • Sociology offers great scoring potential as a candidate can easily score more than 300 marks with good answer writing.
  • This subject has a huge applied potential after being a theoretical subject and has a good relevance to the job roles.

Syllabus of sociology paper

Paper I

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 Durkheim- Division of labour, social fact, suicide, religion and society.

(c) Max Weber- Social action, ideal types, authority, bureaucracy, the protestant ethic, and the spirit of capitalism.

(d) Talcott 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.

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)  Labor 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, fundamentalism.

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  (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.

(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:- GS Ghurye, M N Srinivas, Louis Dumont, Andre Beteille.

(b) Features of the 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 labor, bondage, migration.

(iii) Industrialization and Urbanization 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 movement.

(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:- aging, 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.

Booklist for the preparation of sociology examination 

Sociology is one of the most popular optional subjects among the UPSC candidates. following are the resources that can be helpful for the students who are preparing for sociology:-

Booklist for Sociology Optional 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 Sociology Optional 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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