Sociology optional is one of the most popular optional subjects in the UPSC Civil Services Examination. Many students with sociology optional typically clear the IAS exam year after year. Syllabus is limited and the concepts can be grasped with a person who has no academic background in the subject.

At Vajirao and Reddy Institute, located in Delhi, we attempt to provide one of the best Sociology optional coaching classes in India. Sociology at Vajirao and Reddy Institute is taught by team of Senior Mentors, who (with their years of experience teaching sociology to CSE aspirants) is regarded as one of the leading sociology optional teachers and UPSC preparation faculty across the India.

Sociology Optional Course: Key Features

Sociology courses at Vajirao and Reddy Institute offer students several advantages, such as coverage of the complete syllabus, focus on conceptual clarity, personal interaction to clarify doubts and mentoring, daily revision, emphasis on answer writing, UPSC pattern Mock Tests series, updated Study Material, Daily Doubts Clearing, Personal Attention to every student, Online Backup of missed classes, highlighting of linkages with current affairs, latest studies & reports to fetch more marks in the exam and Lifelong Association & Support.

Students at Vajirao and Reddy Institute are encouraged to think for themselves, develop powers of critical analysis, and focus on clarifying their concepts and to continuously engage in debate and discussion. Learning at Vajirao and Reddy Institute therefore is a continuous affair for the faculty as well as the students. Classes are decidedly and deliberately interactive which, in our assessment and experience, produces better results.

Sociology optional Online and Offline Classes:

Sociology regular classroom batches at Vajirao and Reddy Institute have limited seats. Large numbers of students who are unable to secure a seat or cannot travel to Delhi for classes opt for our Sociology Online course which is also hugely popular amongst the UPSC aspirants and is availed by students across the country.

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Benefits of choosing Sociology optional:

  • Small Syllabus: Covered well fully in 3.5 months
  • Consistent results: Highest selections in CSE Every Year since 1989
  • High Scoring: Realistically possible to score 300+
  • Easy to understand
  • No prior background required
  • Overlaps with GS and Essay papers
  • Limited books to be read
  • Interesting subject matter

During the paste 5-6 years a large number of technically, and other discipline qualified aspirants opted for sociology optional, students having optionals like history, political science, anthropology, physics and economics also, preferring this subject as optional.

Why Sociology is most popular optional subject among in Students

  1. Sociology is a interesting subjects.
  2. This is a scoring and easy to understand subject matter.
  3. Sociology also seems to be the practical subject so far as the society is concerned.
  4. Syllabus is well defined for both the papers.
  5. The subject matter identifies itself with the day to day development of our society, which we observe and experience.
  6. Sociology helps to score more marks in General Studies and Essay paper.
  7. Sociology not a technical subject this subject is a equally easy to all candidates.
  8. Sociology is a Dynamic subject and cover General Studies Mains Paper—III, Topic Social Issue & Social Problems  and also near to our social values so no need for factual study.
  9. Because this subject cover completely our social values and principles so maximum questions ask in interview from this subject.

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Sociology Optional Syllabus

PAPER – I

FUNDAMENTALS OF SOCIOLOGY

Section – A

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 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.

Section – B

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, 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.

PAPER–II

INDIAN SOCIETY : STRUCTURE AND CHANGE

Section – A

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.

Section – B

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.

Preparation Strategy

Outline your preparation schedule by investigating through the syllabus as well as the set of already asked question papers, and receive this subject afresh even though you could be a student of social science in university. Do not get overwhelmed or disillusioned by either your academic knowledge or you perception about this optional. Segregation of important, most important and least important optics/question is very essential.

The questions can be very deceptive. If you fail to dig out their essence, as at time you may, you would get diverted towards psychological or anthropological way thereby missing the real bus of sociology. Hence, try not only to stick to you expression of sociology but also to understand the meaning of the question from its root.

Since the first paper emphasises theory and thinkers, you should try and attempt as many question from the sections. And, if you really do so in the first four sections, you will be able to answer atleast three question comfortably and of course, you would score fairly to balance the second paper. The rest two large questions  covering the topics like marriage and family, social stratification and mobility, political systems, religion and social changes and developments etc., you can again score fairly better batter if you design your own way of practising of preparation.

You performance in the second paper will depend a great deal on your style and mode of presentation. However, you should have a basic if not advanced level of preparation, which can be attained by grasping some of the standard books.

Remember, that being a student of sociology, read out or prepare clippings of each and every opinion of well known communist, author or editorials on regular basis covering the following topics :

  1. Socio-cultural transformation
    1. Marriage (Hindu, Muslim etc.)
    1. Frustration, Alcoholism, etc.
    1. Socio-political changes
    1. Empowerment of Women
    1. Child labour
    1. Social values and depreciation
    1. Education policy, trend and opportunity
    1. Caste-creed system
    1. Religious intolerance and patronage
    1. Tribal societies
    1. Problems of AIDS, drugs and other abuses
    1. Development and Displacement
    1. Problems of Nation building in India.
    1. Issues related to Caste based politics.
    1. Problems related to Weaker Sections of the Society, Youth and Women.

And, in addition to such reading you are expected to look into the “Engagement column” of the newspapers to find out holding of such talks, discussion or critical analysis of such social topics.

lastly, you should always be cautious in selecting the reading material for this subject. However, a lot of materials are available in the market but these materials are not considered good because of number of faults and mistakes. Therefore, you should concentrate on basic texts books available in the market. Since there is no standard reading for many of the sub-topics viz, ethos of science, consequences of science and technology, situation analysis of children and generation gap which you may be tempted to example, go to a professional, professor at university or an institute of repute.

Suggested Reading List

  1. NCERT XI and XII (Four Books)
  2. Sociology : T.B. Bottomore
  3. Sociology-Themes and Perspectives : Haralambos.
  4. Indian Society : David Mandelbaum
  5. Social change in Modern India : M.N. Srinivas.
  6. The Hindu : Tuesday Paper
  7. Thinkers and Theories in Sociology : From Comte to Giddens : Sujit Kumar Choudhary.
  8. Introduction to Social Anthropology : Madan and Majumdar
  9. Modernisation of India Tradition : Y. Singh
  10. Why Study Sociology ? : Elliott Krause.
  11. Social Stratification : K.L. Sharma
  12. Social Movement : Ghanshaym Shah or M.S.A. Rao
  13. Indian Society : Ranm Ahuja
  14. Indian Social System : Ram Ahuja
  15. Indian Social Problems : Ram Ahuja
  16. IGNOU Materials on Sociology
  17. Vajirao & Reddy Institute’s Study Material.