Whether you join a coaching institute or not, you need to build a conceptual understanding of important topics in UPSC Sociology. This makes reading some BASIC BOOKS extremely important. In addition to these basic books, you may go for HIGHLY SELECTIVE reading of some reference books.
Basic Books for UPSC Sociology
Oxford Sociology dictionary [Must Read] Click here : For conceptual clarity of common terms like FAMILY, SOCIETY, MARRIAGE etc. The book will help you in giving a brief introduction of these topics in UPSC Mains exams. Questions will come from these topics, and introducing them is a must. Whether you attend a coaching or not, this book is a must read. Click here
Sociology Paper 1
- Haralambos & Holborn Sociology : Themes and Perspectives [Must Read] Click here [Cost is slightly on the higher side, however, it’s worth every penny spent on it]
- Sociology : Themes and Perspectives by Haralambos and Heald Click here
They form the backbone of Sociology preparation. The book by Haralambos and Holborn (Blue book) is written in a very easy-to-understand language. There are many examples, case studies etc. to elaborate a topic. That’s why it is thicker. Do NOT read the book cover to cover. Go for selective reading of the book. Keep syllabus and previous year questions by your side while reading the book.
The book by Haralambos and Heald (Orange book) has been recommended by many previous year toppers. You may find it difficult to get hold of the content in the first reading. However, on subsequent reading you would find developing a sociological insight. The book is thinner. At the end of every chapter a sociological analysis of the topic is given.
- Sociological Theory by George Ritzer Click here
Read ONLY Sociological Thinkers from this book. If you are starting after Prelims, read only the topics mentioned in syllabus. If you are reading before Prelims, you can cover the entire chapter of thinkers. This would give a wider picture of how a particular thinker looked at social phenomenon. Do not forget to read the biography of thinkers. This would give an insight into how their life events shaped their attitude towards society. For example, Karl Marx was forced to leave Germany. He spent almost his entire life in poverty. This had an impact on his theory.
Sociology Paper 2
- Indian Sociological Thought by B K Nagla [Must Read] Click here
This book is like Haralmbos of Paper 2. Read concepts like Indology, Structural functionalism and Marxist Sociology multiple times. They are covered in 4-5 pages each. Then, read the respective theorists G S Ghurye, M N Srinivas, A R Desai. Their concepts can be utilized in most of the topics of Paper 2. Also, relate their theories to the theories in Paper 1 e.g. Functionalism, Marxism etc. UPSC, is now, asking Paper 2 topics in Paper 1, we should change our preparation strategy accordingly.
- Modernization of Indian tradition by Yogendra Singh Click here
In addition to the syllabus topic “Modernization of Indian tradition,” it also helps in other topics of Paper 2. Topics like “Sanskritisation,” “Westernisation” etc. are covered in lucid manner. You may need multiple reading of a particular topic.
Introducing Sociology Click here
Understanding Society Click here
Indian Society Click here
Social Change and development in India Click here
You cannot ignore these books at any cost. Examples, illustrations and definitions in these books can be directly used in answers. Topics like “Social movement” are dealt with in detail. Another example, Why politics is wedded to caste. and why it is not an abnormal incident is covered properly. You can also try using terminologies from NCERTs in your answers.
Reference Books (last for UPSC Sociology)
Read these books only if the books mentioned above and government sources do not adequately cover a topic. These books should be read highly selectively. You would be digging your grave if you read them end to end.
Sociology by Anthony Giddens Click here
Contemporary Sociology by Francis Abraham Click here
Social problems in India by Ram Ahuja Click here
Indian Society and Culture by Nadeem Hasnain Click here
Social movements in India by Ghanshyam Shah Click here
Social Change in modern India by M N Srinivas Click here
We are working on filtering out the most relevant materials from the above government sources.
You can enter your doubts, if any, in comments section (end of the page). Hope this article is useful!
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