Whether your UPSC Sociology syllabus is complete or not, you can always read this article!Because, UPSC syllabus is never ‘completely’ complete, not even for Rank 1. This article explains how to use current affairs through some previous year questions of UPSC Sociology.
- Getting your hands dirty is the only way to master application of current affairs. You can start practising it from day 1 of your UPSC Sociology preparation. Suppose you come across a news article covering Supreme Court verdict that allows entry of women of all ages in Sabarimala temple.
- Start relating these events to topics in UPSC Sociology syllabus. For example, can we relate the above verdict to:
- Emile Durkheim’s concept of Sacred and Profane
- An example of Social change
- Women and Patriarchy
- Secularisation and Secularism
- You may maintain a topic wise listing of daily current events you come across. The value it would add eventually is enormous.
Example 1: UPSC Mains, 2017
Q7. (a) Examine the relationship between the contemporary trends in marriage and changing form of family. (10 Marks)
Step 1 (Introduction): Introduce Family and Marriage as social institution.
Step 2 (Body): Mention different forms of family – joint, nuclear, patrilineal, neo-local, matriarchal etc. Move on to mention contemporary trends in marriage – same sex marriage, decline in child marriage, live-ins, delayed marriage, inter-caste, inter-religion marriage. You may quote thinkers here (Rupert Murdock, Ann Oakley etc.)
Step 3 (Quoting examples in body): Relate these trends to changing form of family. e.g earlier family had members of both genders – now this might not always true. Here, you can quote the impact of scrapping down of section 377 in India. This will impact family and marriage pattern both. Divorce is also related to Marriage. Now, divorce is more prevalent in Indian Society. This has led to increase in single-parent family.
Step 4 (Conclusion): You can conclude by mentioning how these changes are a part of ever-continuing change. Also, recommend that other parts of society should step in to accommodate these changes, and minimise any negative effect arising out of these changes.
Example 2: UPSC Mains, 2016
Q 6(b): “Social change can be brought about through development.” Illustrate from the contemporary situation of India.
Your knowledge of govt. schemes would prove handy in such questions.
Step 1 (Introduction): Introduce social change – change in structure and functions of social institutions etc. You may give an example to support your definition. Also, mention the role of development in bringing about such change. For example: Appointment of a dalit priest in Kerala temple in 2018.
Step 2 (Quoting examples in body):
- The question itself focuses on illustrations. You may quote multiple examples. For instance – Recent decision of Assam govt. to cut salary of employees who neglect their parents is aimed at changing attitude towards elderly.
- National Madarsa Modernisation programme is aimed at improving literacy rate among followers of Islam in India.
- Govt. To Give Rs 2.5 Lakh Incentive To Every Inter-Caste Marriage Involving A Dalit, It is aimed at breaking caste barriers, and ending marginalisation of Dalits.
Step 3 (Body): You can mention how development alone is not sufficient to bring about Social change. Again give examples to support your argument. Punjab and Haryana are developed states, however, child sex-ratio is still too low.
Step 4 (Conclusion): In any UPSC Mains answer, do not leave any issue unattended. That is, you must suggest a solution for the problem you mention. You are going to be a problem solver, not a journalist. For the above problem in Punjab, Haryana, you can quote Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao.
Example 3: UPSC Mains, 2015
Q 6(a): Discuss the impact of post-1970 feminist movement on Indian middle class.
If you write about feminist movements of India in general, it might not fetch you good marks. That’s the reason many candidates say, “I wrote complete answer, but did not get good marks.” The complete answer was not aligned to the demand of question.
This question demands emphasis on feminist movements after 1970.
Step 1 (Introduction): Briefly define feminist movement – their aims, objectives etc. Mention how post-1970 feminist movements were different from their predecessors.
Step 2 (Body): Mention some examples of these movements. Then move on to mention their impact. For example: Anti-price rise movements, movements against women atrocities, Shah-Bano case (civil rights of women) etc. Pre-1970 movements were dependent on other movements. This changed after 1970 – movements became independent, and had their own leadership.
Step 3 (Body, contemporary touch): Contemporary events are also post-1970, right? So, lend a contemporary touch to your answer. You may mention #meToo campaign, movement for temple entry [Sabarimala, Shani Signapur etc.], triple talaq, female genital mutilation etc. Also, mention how these movements are leveraging social media.
Step 4 (Conclusion): You can conclude by mentioning the overall change in gender dynamics of middle class. Also, mention how middle class is considered the most change-oriented group. Relate it to how these movements have helped middle class cope with the change that it itself induced. In short, these movements have helped middle class stay contemporary.
I hope these example help you to clear any confusion around smart use of current affairs in UPSC Sociology answers.
Until next time,
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