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Civil Service Mains Examination - Sociology Syllabus - 2019

Sociology is the scientific study of society, social relationships including patterns of social communication and culture. It uses a variety of methods to investigate and analyse the body of knowledge about social order, transformation and change. In terms of UPSC, Sociology Syllabus for UPSC IAS Exam plays an important role in deciding the rank of candidates in UPSC IAS Exam.

UPSC Sociology Syllabus PDF [Download]

Why Sociology is so important?

Sociology has turned out as a vital part of General Studies (paper) well as an optional paper in the Civil Services Mains Examination. Being one of the easiest optional subjects, many candidates choose Sociology as an optional for UPSC IAS Mains Exam. Like, other optional subjects’ sociology has two papers. Paper I of Sociology deals with the fundamentals of Sociology where Paper II of Sociology optional deals with the Indian society, its structure, and change.

Why many consider Sociology for optional paper?

It is easy to understand and is scoring. It is a pure social science and is very popular among arts and humanities students. Since it is easy to understand in terms of concepts, even science background students can attempt it safely. Sociology has a shorter syllabus. The subject helps with the essay paper since generally at least one essay is asked about social issues. Besides, it will also help in the interview round. Sociology also helps in the ethics paper. It is interesting, especially if social and civil issues matter to the aspirant. It helps to understand society and its myriad layers and functioning. Many successful aspirants consider sociology is good option instead of Geography. Because, for geography they need to be absolutely correct in maps otherwise, one can lose marks and there is a lot of competition for Geography, since many aspirants opt for this. Also, students need to distinguish their answers from other. Many also feel that the UPSC syllabus for Geography is bigger than Sociology.

Sociology – Main Syllabus

Paper – I


    1. Sociology - The Discipline
    1. Modernity and social changes in Europe and emergence of sociology.
    2. Scope of the subject and comparison with other social sciences.
    3. Sociology and common sense.
    2. Sociology as Science:
    1. Science, scientific method and critique.
    2. Major theoretical strands of research methodology.
    3. Positivism and its critique.
    4. Fact value and objectivity.
    5. Non- positivist methodologies.
    3. Research Methods and Analysis:
    1. Qualitative and quantitative methods.
    2. Techniques of data collection.
    3. Variables, sampling, hypothesis, reliability and validity.
    4. Sociological Thinkers:
    1. Karl Marx- Historical materialism, mode of production, alienation, class struggle.
    2. Emile Durkheim- Division of labour, social fact, suicide, religion and society.
    3. Max Weber- Social action, ideal types, authority, bureaucracy, protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism.
    4. Talcolt Parsons- Social system, pattern variables.
    5. Robert K. Merton- Latent and manifest functions, conformity and deviance, reference groups.
    6. Mead - Self and identity.
    5. Stratification and Mobility:
    1. Concepts- equality, inequality, hierarchy, exclusion, poverty and deprivation.
    2. Theories of social stratification- Structural functionalist theory, Marxist theory, Weberian theory.
    3. Dimensions – Social stratification of class, status groups, gender, ethnicity and race.
    4. Social mobility- open and closed systems, types of mobility, sources and causes of mobility.
    6. Works and Economic Life:
    1. Social organization of work in different types of society- slave society, feudal society, industrial /capitalist society.
    2. Formal and informal organization of work.
    3. Labour and society.
    7. Politics and Society:
    1. Sociological theories of power.
    2. Power elite, bureaucracy, pressure groups, and political parties.
    3. Nation, state, citizenship, democracy, civil society, ideology.
    4. Protest, agitation, social movements, collective action, revolution.
    8. Religion and Society:
    1. Sociological theories of religion.
    2. Types of religious practices: animism, monism, pluralism, sects, cults.
    3. Religion in modern society: religion and science, secularization, religious revivalism, fundamentalism.
    9. Systems of Kinship:
    1. Family, household, marriage.
    2. Types and forms of family.
    3. Lineage and descent.
    4. Patriarchy and sexual division oflabour.
    5. Contemporary trends.
    10. Social Change in Modern Society:
    1. Sociological theories of social change.
    2. Development and dependency.
    3. Agents of social change.
    4. Education and social change.
    5. Science, technology and social change.

    Paper - II: Sociology Syllabus

    1 INDIAN SOCIETY: STRUCTURE AND CHANGE A. Introducing Indian Society:

    (i) Perspectives on the study of Indian society:
    1. Indology (GS. Ghurye).
    2. Structural functionalism (M N Srinivas).
    3. Marxist sociology (A R Desai).
    (ii) Impact of colonial rule on Indian society :
    1. Social background of Indian nationalism.
    2. Modernization of Indian tradition.
    3. Protests and movements during the colonial period.
    4. Social reforms.
    B. Social Structure:
    (i) Rural and Agrarian Social Structure:
    1. The idea of Indian village and village studies.
    2. Agrarian social structure - evolution of land tenure system, land reforms.
    (ii) Caste System:
    1. Perspectives on the study of caste systems: GS Ghurye, M N Srinivas, Louis Dumont, Andre Beteille.
    2. Features of caste system.
    3. Untouchability - forms and perspectives.
    (iii) Tribal communities in India:
    1. Definitional problems.
    2. Geographical spread.
    3. Colonial policies and tribes.
    4. Issues of integration and autonomy.
    (iv) Social Classes in India:
    1. Agrarian class structure.
    2. Industrial class structure.
    3. Middle classes in India.
    (v) Systems of Kinship in India:
    1. Lineage and descent in India.
    2. Types of kinship systems.
    3. Family and marriage in India.
    4. Household dimensions of the family.
    5. .
    (vi) Religion and Society:
    1. Religious communities in India.
    2. Problems of religious minorities.
    3. Patriarchy, entitlements and sexual division of labour
    C. Social Changes in India:
    (i) Visions of Social Change in India:
    1. Idea of development planning and mixed economy.
    2. Constitution, law and social change.
    3. Education and social change.
    (ii) Rural and Agrarian transformation in India:
    1. Programmes of rural development, Community Development Programme, cooperatives, poverty alleviation schemes.
    2. Green revolution and social change.
    3. Changing modes of production in Indian agriculture .
    4. Problems of rural labour, bondage,migration.
    (iii) Industrialization and Urbanisation in India:
    1. Evolution of modern industry in India.
    2. Growth of urban settlements in India.
    3. Working class: structure, growth, class mobilization.
    4. Informal sector, child labour.
    5. Slums and deprivation in urban areas.
    (iv) Politics and Society:
    1. Nation, democracy and citizenship.
    2. Political parties, pressure groups , social and political elite.
    3. Regionalism and decentralization of power.
    4. Secularization
    (v) Social Movements in Modern India:
    1. Peasants and farmers movements.
    2. Women's movement.
    3. Backward classes & Dalit movement.
    4. Environmental movements.
    5. Ethnicity and Identity movements.
    (vi) Population Dynamics:
    1. Population size, growth, composition and distribution.
    2. Components of population growth: birth, death, migration.
    3. Population policy and family planning.
    4. Emerging issues: ageing, sex ratios, child and infant mortality, reproductive health.
    (vii) Challenges of Social Transformation:
    1. Crisis of development: displacement, environmental problems and sustainability.
    2. Poverty, deprivation and inequalities.
    3. Violence against women.
    4. Caste conflicts.
    5. Ethnic conflicts, communalism, religious revivalism.
    6. Illiteracy and disparities in education.


    NOTE - check the recent syllabus

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