Sociology optional is one of the highly popular optional subjects among the UPSC aspirants owing to its short and crisp syllabus, ease of understanding, and availability of good resources. Anu Kumari (AIR 2 in IAS Exam 2017) is one of the most famous toppers who had Sociology as an optional subject.
Moreover, sociology optional has gained such immense popularity owing to several reasons including:
- Consistency: This subject has been highly consistent among the top rankers over the years.
- Scoring Potential: It offers great scoring potential as one can easily score 300+ marks with decent writing practice.
- Relevance to the job role: The theoretical knowledge of the subject has huge applied potential. It introduces the aspirant with the societal norms and practices making him efficient in understanding and evaluating the policy decisions. It involves the study of human society in detail which is very much relevant to the job role.
Syllabus of Sociology Optional
Sociology Optional syllabus for UPSC Main Examination is divided into Paper-1 and Paper-2. While Paper-1 comprises of the core sociological concepts, Paper-2 largely deals with Indian society. We’ve here tabulated the topic-wise sociology optional syllabus for your convenience.
Paper 1: Fundamentals of Sociology
|Sociology – The Discipline||
|Sociology as Science||
|Research Methods and Analysis||
|Stratification and Mobility||
|Works and Economic Life||
|Politics and Society||
|Religion and Society||
|Systems of Kinship||
|Social Change in Modern Society||
Paper 2: Indian Society: Structure and Change
|Introducing Indian Society||Perspectives on the study of Indian society||
|Impact of colonial rule on Indian society||
|Social Structure||Rural and Agrarian Social Structure||
|Tribal communities in India||
|Social Classes in India||
|Systems of Kinship in India||
|Religion and Society||
|Social Changes in India||Visions of Social Change in India||
|Rural and Agrarian transformation in India||
|Industrialization and Urbanisation in India||
|Politics and Society||
|Social Movements in Modern India||
|Challenges of Social Transformation||
Booklist for Sociology Optional
Sociology Optional is one of the popular optional subjects among UPSC aspirants owing to its crisp syllabus. The resources for this optional is also widely available. Below is the paper-wise booklist for sociology optional:
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
Note: You do not need to read these books cover to cover. Refer to the syllabus and read only the syllabus-specific topics. You can prepare short notes for ease of understanding and quick revision.
How to prepare Sociology Optional For UPSC?
Sociology Optional is a preferred choice among many UPSC aspirants owing to its generic syllabus. However, there are various theories that can be extremely difficult to understand without expert guidance. Hence, first and foremost, it is important to seek external guidance if you do not have any mentor or senior who can guide you with the subject. Thereafter, following approach can be used to enhance your preparation:
- Analyse the syllabus carefully: First and foremost, it is important to mind-map the syllabus carefully. Go through the entire syllabus once or twice to understand the topics that you need to cover from each part of the syllabus.
- Start with NCERTs: Sociology is introduced in Class XIth for the first time. Hence, the NCERTs of Class XIth and XIIth will prove to be extremely beneficial for basic understanding of the syllabus. Go through the NCERTs once or twice to understand the basic concepts of the subject.
- Glance through previous year papers: Glance through the previous year papers to understand what kind of questions are being asked in the syllabus. Thereafter go through the answer scripts of toppers’ to understand how to write the answers.
- Complete the syllabus: Next, refer to the standard books to complete the syllabus topic-by-topic. Make small notes for all the topics that are quick to revise.
- Revision and Answer-writing: Once you have completed about 60-70% of the syllabus, start with answer-writing practice. Start with answering the previous year questions and then start with mock tests.
- Full-Length Tests: Writing full-length tests is extremely important to master time management. You should have a practice of attempting all the questions in the 3 hours time limit. Hence, make sure you write full-length tests in a simulated environment.
This is a brief overview of the UPSC Sociology Optional syllabus, book list and preparation strategy. If you’re still on the fence about choosing an optional, you can check out how to choose UPSC Optional subject in the linked article.
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