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IAS Gurukul

Sociology Optional Books

There are numerous books for sociology that are available. The problem in sociology is not the lack of quality content, but that it is abundant. On the internet, candidates come across several suggestions regarding the sociology optional books list by various candidates who have cleared the exam, coaching institutes and other aspirants who also have sociology as their optional. Multiplicity of suggestions greatly confuses the candidates regarding what is the correct list of books to refer to.

Sociology Optional Books: The Problem With Most Suggestions -

A recurrent problem that most candidates face is that most of the recommendations mention a very large numbers of sources. Some of the popularly suggested sources and books include IGNOU material, Ritzer’s Sociological Theory, Sociology Themes And Perspectives By Michael Haralambos & Martin Holborn, B.K. Nagla’s Indian Sociological Thought, Modernization of Indian Tradition by Yogender Singh, Social Movements In India By Ghanshyam Shah, Caste - Its Twentieth Century Avatar by MN Srinivas, Society In India by Ram Ahuja.


The above are just to mention a few! Some people actually recommend an even longer list!

Candidates are bewildered as to how they are expected to go through all these sources given the limited time on their hands and the additional burden of studying General Studies as well.

In short, such lengthy book lists are practically not feasible for most candidates.


Sociology Optional Books: What we advise?

We advise students to keep their book list short and simple. Instead of referring to tens of books for sociology, students are advised to keep their sources to a minimum.
IAS Gurukul class lecture notes will be rich in content, covering theories, studies and data from numerous sources. You may make your handwritten lecture notes as your primary source. Lecture notes, in fact, may suffice for many topics. In all, they will be good for anywhere from 90% to 95% of your sociology content.

Students are advised to supplement the class notes with content from two sources, as follows:

1. Read Essential Sociology by Nitin Sangwan (mandatory reading) for both papers 1 & 2.

2.Apart from Sangwan, students are advised to refer to only 1 of the suggested sources daily along with lectures.


Reference books for Paper 1 (Select any 1):

1. Sociology Themes and Perspectives by Haralambos and Holborn

2. Principles of Sociology by C.N. Shankar Rao

3.IAS Gurukul Paper 1 material Download

Reference books for Paper 2 (Select any 1):

1. Sociology of Indian Society by C.N. Shankar Rao

2.IAS Gurukul Paper 2 material Download

Download Free Sociology Books, click here

How to read the Sociology Optional Books:

How to read the Sociology Optional Books:

How to read them?

After the lecture, give 45-60 minutes to reading the same topic from two recommended books/ institute study material (at least one source) the same day.

Any additional information that you may come across from these sources should be added to your class notes. This will ensure that you have all relevant information in one place (your handwritten notes) and don’t have to read multiple sources/ books while revising.

Please note that you may or may not read the Sociology Optional Books/ material back to back.

The idea is to glance through the topic (which has been covered in the lecture) from a printed source to identify any worthwhile, new information.


Do not read every topic from multiple sources.

If a topic is clear from the lecture, class notes plus one/two of the recommended sources; consider it done and move ahead.