UPSC Sociology: High impact articles by Sociologists

This post is a compilation of articles by Sociologists themselves. The articles are directly related to topics mentioned in UPSC syllabus. Smart reading of these first hand articles would help in opinion formation and analysis of questions asked in UPSC Mains, which is the trend now.

How to read these articles for maximum impact in UPSC Sociology-

  • Keep UPSC Sociology syllabus with you before you read the articles.
  • Relate the syllabus topic the article is related to.
  • Great if you can also relate it to previous year questions asked in UPSC Mains.
  • Write important points from the article in your notebook (under relevant UPSC Sociology syllabus topic)
  • If you are done with above steps, there is no need to read the articles again.
  • This post would be updated on regular basis.

Don’t carve reservation for minorities out of OBC quota

-by Gail Omvedt

Scholar of the Dalit movement Gail Omvedt supported reservation for minorities, but said the allocation should not be carved out of the existing quota for Other Backward Classes (OBCs), but added to it by increasing the percentage of reservation.

Caste, race and sociologists – I

-by Gail Omvedt

Marx understood caste as a form of division of labour connected with the specific Indian form of the Asiatic village, and believed that it would wither away under the impact of industrialisation and modern transport and communications. Unfortunately, his Indian followers, especially Marxian sociologists, have taken this as a license to completely ignore caste – though Marxist historians, from R.S. Sharma to the brilliant D.D. Kosambi, have made important contributions.

Caste, race and sociologists – II

-by Gail Omvedt

The idea of the innumerable jatis in hierarchies being transformed into ethnic-like blocs seems to fit much experience (the caste-based “voting blocs” of politics), but are these really competing on a non-hierarchical basis? Have these larger caste blocs (Yadavas as a group, Brahmans as a group, Pariahs as a group, etc.) really changed their places in a hierarchy, or moved into a position sufficient to say that a hierarchy no longer exists?

Why caste persists in politics

-by Andre Beteille

People dine with one another now. To insist on these rules of ritual purity in the age of the college canteen, he says, would cause a scandal. The “custom of marrying within the caste is still widely observed,” he accepts, but adds “it will be difficult to argue that caste consciousness in matrimonial matters has been on the rise in recent decades.”

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The Indian middle class – Andre Beteille

-by Andre Beteille

A new middle class began to emerge in India in the middle of the 19th century in the womb of an ancient hierarchical society. The society within which it began to take shape was not one of classes, but of castes and communities. Even though it has grown enormously in size and importance in the last 150 years, its growth has not led to the disappearance of the multitudinous castes and communities inherited from the past. The peculiarity of the Indian middle class arises not so much from its intrinsic character as a class as from the social environment within which it has to operate.

Secularism re-examined 

-by Andre Beteille

Is there a distinctively Indian conception of the secular, and is it radically different from the western one? In seeking answers to these questions it is important to avoid being pushed into extreme positions. Obviously the idea of the secular acquires some of the colour of the social environment in which it operates, but that does not mean that it cannot be fruitfully compared – or contrasted – with its counterparts elsewhere.

Andre Beteille’s Dream World: Caste Today

-by Andre Beteille

Regarding intermarriage, where is the evidence that it is on the increase? Here we can be more precise, at least in the sense of giving the beginnings of a numerical estimate. I will give just one village example, which is one more than Beteille gives.

India’s destiny not caste in stone [on caste system in India]

-by Andre Beteille

Democracy was expected to efface the distinctions of caste, but its consequences have been very different from what was expected. Politics is no doubt an important part of a nation’s life in a democracy, but it is not the only part of it. There are other areas of life in which the consciousness of caste has been dying down, though not very rapidly or dramatically.

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I haven’t lost faith in democracy. It is here to stay…

-by Andre Beteille

Conversion everywhere has been partly for opportunistic reasons. But it would be wrong to say it has been entirely for those reasons, even in India. For instance, in Bengal there were people who converted to Christianity because they felt that Hinduism had exhausted itself.

Caste And Hinduism

-by Gail Omvedt

The illogic in the ‘Caste System’ article begins with a basic, unexamined
premise: that there is some entity called ‘Hinduism’, a religion which has
lasted 4,000 years and which comprehends ‘classical’ as well as ‘medieval’
and ‘modern’ forms.

It’s a farmers’ movement in Maharashtra, not a strike

-by Yogendra Yadav (politician)

This is the real significance of the farmers’ strike in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. It is not a localised, seasonal, crop-specific or calamity-driven distress. This protest is linked directly to the crisis of Indian agriculture. This crisis, in today’s India, takes three forms. First, there is an ecological crisis of Indian agriculture. Modern agricultural practices associated with Green Revolution are unsustainable.

Globalization and Social Transformation: Yogendra Singh 

-by Yogendra Singh

There are also apprehensions about the resilience of cultural tradition in countries like India. If the economic and political aspects of globalization often produce contradictory results, how are we to apprehend their impact on our society and culture? This essay tries to find answers to these queries by examining Professor Yogendra Singh‟s views about the sociology of culture change in globalized India.

Modernization and Its Contradictions: Yogendra Singh

-by Yogendra Singh

The issues of growth, development, weaker sections, human rights, social justice and distributive shares have attracted attention of scholars and concerned people and organizations, including the civil society. Contradictions at the cognitive as well as substantive levels are integral to the process of modernization. The question of cultural identity has surfaced prominently even in the face of considerable growth, development and education.

Middle class anxieties: Yogendra Singh

-by Yogendra Singh

What explains the diminishing appeal of the poverty-removal paradigm?
It is because of the social mobility in India – a large number of people who were once poor can today at least aspire for better jobs. I have seen in my study of villages that people try for agriculture innovations to improve their conditions, but they don’t find support and linkages to the market. So they move to the cities.

 Violence, Gender,and Subjectivity by Veena Das

-by Veena Das

From civil wars and ethnic riots to governmental and medical interventions at a more bureaucratic level, the authors address not only those extreme situations guaranteed to occupy precious media minutes but also the more subtle violence of science and state. However particular and circumscribed the site of any fieldwork may be, today’s ethnographer finds local identities and circumstances molded by state and transnational forces, including the media themselves. These authors contest a new political geography that divides the world into “violence-prone areas” and “peaceful areas” and suggest that such descriptions might themselves contribute to violence in the present global context.

Yogendra Singh’s Theory of Social Change [link not working currently]

These articles are useful for Indian Society (GS 1) as well.

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Related articles:

Important books for UPSC Sociology | By Ashish Kumar, 304 marks in Sociology

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