Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Sociology Pointers

Part 1 of Sociology is more theoretical and thus you cannot add much from the current affairs.

1. Sociology - The Discipline:

With regard to European modernity, rule is – intellectual change led to institutional change will led to technological change. This will automatically give answer to any question on European modernity
Secondly, relation with various field is very simple and there is always harmonious relation between sociology and other sciences and consider all other fields as static in your conclusion and how they are taking sociological methods to put dynamism in their field.
Sociology and common sense is nothing but the debate between positivist and critical or non positivist.

2. Sociology as Science:

There are mainly three methologies: Positivists, Non- positivist and Critical. The former emphasis on scientific methods : fact, objectivity; later on intellectual method through the application of mind which can never be measured (subjectivity), while non positivist refer to facts collected and applying their mind to come to conclusion (dynamic, values, interpretation).

3. Research Methods and Analysis

Methods can be read from haralambos

4. Sociological Thinkers:

Give extra time to understand rather than cramming. You will not be required to put same energy next time. Thinkers are most important and understand their theories thoroughly

5. Stratification and Mobility:

Refereed to Mahapatra Sir notes. No need for studying this if one has already done the theories. One can use marx, weber, parson, kate millet, srinivas, louie Dumont, A, beteille.

6. Works and Economic Life:

Did not find any relevant material on that.

7. Politics and Society:

Haralambos chapter on power is best for this.

8. Religion and Society:

       Approach on theories:
       1.    Evolutionary
       2.    Functional form of religion (Parson)
       3.    Marxist
       4.    Symbolic
       5.    Functional and dysfunctional

9. Systems of Kinship:

Notes of Mahapatra Sir. Donot refer much on kinship. Only try to read particular topics.

10. Social Change in Modern Society:

This chapter is mainly about change. There are some theories which can be understood easily.

In paper 1, maintain flow as functional -> Marxist -> interpretative (hermeneutic) -> critical -> structural functionalist -> phenomenology

Part 2 of sociology comprises of sociology of India. There are various dimensions you can add based on current realities in our society.

1.    Whatever you write, always remembers that there is nothing wrong in that (except theories). Therefore do not worry about the criticality of your answer
2.    Try to put some dynamism in the answer. Never relate to the specific scholars. Add some reports (not necessarily data) or findings.
3.    Write the exact nature of social issues and don’t create a rosy picture. But yes, try to give balanced answer in the end.
4.    Always follow phenomenological approach. (for ex : sociology of flower : it carry economic value, from political perspective, it can be used as election symbol; from religious perspective, it can be used to worship god; it carries aesthetic value as well; or I used to express love.)
5.    Always take the different opinions expressed in the editorials of newspapers or some opinion of our political leaders to show chauvinism with regard to female issues. You can put forward the name of editor, newspaper.
For ex

6.    Always interpret things from multi dimensional perspective.



Essay is one of the most important paper in UPSC Civil Services Mains Exam. It comprises of one essay of about 2500 words and carries 250 marks. Therefore, it is necessary to have a fair selection of the essay and maintain the flow with regard to your thoughts. Those who have sociology as optional can make use of various scholars and their theories to enhance their writing. My essay was ‘GDP or GDH’ (score – 140/250).

Selection of Essay

Selection of essay is most important because once you start with it, you cannot look back or start with a new one. Therefore select an essay in which you know you  can write. Now, some people will say that they don’t have the know-how about how to write such a long essay. I will say that it would be better to write good content (above 1500-1700 words will fetch you good marks).
After you select an essay, think it from a wider dimension and don’t confine to a particular sphere. Like in poverty, other than economic dimension, it has political, social, humanistic dimension as well. Further, we suffer from poverty of knowledge(women not demanding their rights in household), poverty of humanity( parents killing their child), poverty of culture, poverty of nationalism(NE exodus, regionalism) and so on.
In my context, I advocated that as GDH comprises respecting and promoting cultural harmony, it carries a significant meaning in Indian context with multiple cultures and thus can bridge trust deficit etc etc
Therefore, write as much as you can on the last page of the sheet and then try to streamline them in a fashion that it shows the flow of essay and your thoughts.
I would also prefer not to write out of context stories which have no relevance. I have seen people writing irrelevant stories in their essay to increase the length. It is better to write to the point and explain in a manner that is not repetitive.
Start essay with a ‘text/ quotation’ that sets the precedent for your first paragraph. If you are not able to remember any saying of a popular personality, better to avoid and start with something that is not abrupt but sets a platform for your topic.
The same flow shall be maintained in the body of the essay. Always try to analyse the point you put forward and never add irrelevant information at any cost.  In conclusion, always try to write your opinion (I did, not recommended) and what is your stand on the topic. The conclusion shall not be more than 200 words.

One Golden rule

Only writing constantly on any topic that appear in newspaper,  whether for 200 words will help a lot in increasing your essay marks. Always use simple English.

And last but not least

Insights is the best website on which you can increase your writing skills. It provides you ample opportunity for willing candidates to achieve the desired goals.

My Essays Written at Insights Website