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Sociology Book For UPSC

Sociology Books For UPSC:
A guide to find the right resources for sociology

Once an aspirant zeros down the optional of his choice for UPSC Mains, the next step will obviously be to search for books and materials to start the preparation. This itself is a tedious task as the market is flooded with books and coaching institute materials, where a new book is launched every other month. Thus an aspirant can easily get confused and end up wasting money and time by piling on materials.

This can further lead to demotivation and a negative mindset where the candidate does not know where to start their preparation from and which books to skip. Thus to bring some order into this confusion, we have discussed the important and highly recommended sociology books for UPSC below.

It is recommended that you start your preparation from other books and sources after you have thoroughly read Pranay Sir’s class notes atleast one. If you were unable to attend the classes or have skipped some of them, you can either get the physical copy of the handwritten notes from the Rajendra Nagar market or download them for free from the internet. This will help you get a basic understanding of the syllabus as Sir has covered each and every topic in the Syllabus diligently.

As we know, the syllabus is divided into two parts: Paper 1 and Paper 2.

Sociology books for UPSC: Paper 1

  • Sociological Theory by George Ritzer:
    This book covers the sociology thinkers and their theories in detail. These theories form a significant part of your syllabus for Paper 1 and a good grip on them will lay a very good foundation for sociology.

    You can add on to your class notes from this book and also use it for reference .This book should be enough to cover your thinkers comprehensively.

  • Sociology Themes and Perspectives: M Haralambos and R M Heald
    This is a highly recommended book to gain conceptual clarity in sociology. It has a lot of examples and case studies that can be quoted in the examination answer sheet.

    However, while making notes from the book, it is important that you write only that many examples as you can remember on the day of examination and not stuff your notes with examples.

    The book is also a favorite of UPSC as many direct questions are asked from it, like questions on phenomenology and ethnomethodology, especially from the last chapter of the book- Sociological theories.

  • Essential Sociology by Nitin Sangwan
    This is also a good sociology book for UPSC, especially since it has been written for UPSC aspirants with sociology optional by an ex-aspirant himself who has managed to clear the examination.

    The book is thus designed to align sociology with the requirements of UPSC Syllabus to gain maximum outcome by reading it. The chapters on research and methodology can especially be studied from this book alone.

  • IGNOU BA material
    IGNOU BA material for Paper 1 is also a good way of understanding the basics of sociology. The plus point of the IGNOU material is that they start each topic from the scratch and build a story. It also tries to interact with the reader with one line questions asked after every topic.

    The topics on emergence of sociology, social stratification, and system of kinship and selective reading of chapters on religion can also be done if you do not wish to read the complete material.

Sociology books for UPSC: Paper 2

Selecting material for paper 2 is a little more difficult because it is comparatively dynamic in nature. A single book or a single source will not suffice and the notes also need to be continuously updated by the aspirant himself/herself from their newspaper readings and current affairs preparation.

However some recommended sociology books for paper 2 are:

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

  • Social problems by Ram Ahuja

These books can be selectively read for preparation of sociology of Indian society. Social problems by Ram Ahuja is especially good for understanding the caste structure and social stratification in the Indian society.

  • IGNOU BA material

IGNOU BA material is also a good source for understanding the sociology of Indian society. The chapters on Indian Sociological thinkers like Srinivas and AR Desai are also very comprehensive.

Apart from it, the chapter on Rural and Agrarian structure and social transformation and challenges are also very well written.

  • Economic and Political Weekly

Selective reading of the EPW magazine can also be done for the topic of ‘Emerging issues’ apart from your newspaper readings. However, the magazine is not to be read from cover to cover and the aspirant has to use his/her best judgment in selectively making notes from the magazine.

  • Current Affairs and Misc. Topics IAS Gurukul

IAS Gurukul also produces a book on current affairs especially for sociology and it can be used to figure out which current topics are relevant for sociology paper 2 and the kind of notes that need to be made for Paper 2.

A very important element of the UPSC preparation in general and sociology optional in particular is the need to limit your resources.

Repeated revisions of the above mentioned sociology books for UPSC with regular answer writing practice is enough to put you in 300 plus club of the sociology optional paper.