Indian Civil Services Syllabus -Sociology

Detailed Preliminary and Main exam Syllabus for Sociology - Optional are:

Preliminary Exam-  Unit I : Basic Concepts :

  • Society, community, association, institution. Culture-culture change, diffusion, Cultural-tag, Cultural relativism, ethnocentrism, acculturation.
  • Social Groups-primary, secondary and reference groups.
  • Social structure, social system, social action.

  • Status and role, role conflict, role set.
  • Norms and values-conformity and deviance.
  • Law and customs.
  • Socio-cultural processes :
  • socialisation, assimilation, integration, cooperation, competition, conflict, accommodation, Social distance, relative deprivation.

Unit II :Marriage, Family and Kinship :

  • Marriage : types and norms, marriage as contract, and as a sacrament.
  • Family : types, functions and changes.
  • Kinships : terms and usages, rules of residence, descent, inheritance.

Unit III :Social Stratification : Forms and functions; Caste and Class. Jajmani system, purity and pollution, dominant caste, sanskritisation.


Unit IV : Types of Society : Tribal, agrarian, industrial and post-industrial.

Unit V :Economy and Society :
Man, nature and social production, economic systems of simple and complex societies, non-economic determinants of economic behaviour, market (free) economy and controlled (planned) economy.

Unit VI : Industrial and Urban Society : Rural-Urban Continuum, urban growth and urbanization-town, city and metropolis; basic features of industrial society; impact of automation on society; industrialisation and environment.


Unit VII : Social Demography : Population size, growth, composition, and distribution in India; components of population growth-births, deaths and migration; causes and consequences of population growth; population and social development; population policy.

Unit VIII :Political Processes :Power, authority and legitimacy; political socialisation; political modernisation, pressure groups; caste and politics.


Unit IX :Weaker Sections-and Minorities :Social justice-equal opportunity and special opportunity; protective discrimination; constitutional safeguards.

Unit X : Social Change :Theories of change; factors of change; science, technology and change. Social movements-Peasant Movement, Womens Movement, Backward Caste Movement, Dalit Movement.

  • Sociology Syllabus for Main Examination Paper-I
  • General Sociology/Foundations of Sociology/Fundamentals of Sociology


1. Sociology-The Discipline : Sociology as a science and as an interpretative discipline; impact of industrial and French Revolution on the emergence of sociology; sociology and its relationship with history, economics, political science, psychology and anthropology.

2. Scientific Study of Social Phenomena : Problem of objectivity and value neutrality; issue of measurement in social science; elements of scientific method-concepts, theory and fact, hypothesis; research designs-descriptive, exploratory and experimental

3. Techniques of data collection and analysis : Participant and quasi-participant observation; interview, questionnaire and schedule case study, sampling-size, reliability and validity, scaling techniques-social distance and Likert scale.

4. Pioneering contributions to Sociology:
a) Karl Marx : Historical materialism, mode of production, alienation and class struggle.
b) Emile Durkheim : Division of labor, social fact, religion and society.
c) Max Weber : Social action, ideal types, authority, bureaucracy, protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism.
d) Talcott Parsons : Social system, pattern variables.
e) Robert K. Merton : Latent and manifest functions, anomie, conformity and deviance, reference groups.

5. Marriage and Family :Types and forms of marriage; family-structure and function; personality and socialization; Social control; family, lineage, descent and property; changing structure of family marriage and sex roles in modern society; divorce and its implications; gender issues; role conflicts.

6. Social Stratification :Concepts-hierarchy, inequality and stratification; theories of stratification-Marx, Davis and Moore and Melvin Tumins critique; forms and functions; class-different conceptions of class; class-in-itself and class-for-itself; caste and class; caste as a class.

7. Social Mobility :Types of mobility-open and closed models; intra-and inter-generational mobility; vertical and horizontal mobility; social mobility and social change.

8. Economic System : Sociological dimensions of economic life; the impact of economic processes on the larger society; social aspects of division of labor and types of exchange; features of pre-industrial and industrial economic system; industrialisation and social change; social determinants of economic development.

9. Political System : The nature of power-personal power, community power, power of the elite, class power, organisational power, power of the un-organised masses; authority and legitimacy; pressure groups and political parties; voting behaviour; modes of political participation-democratic and authoritarian forms.

10. Educational System : Education and Culture; equality of educational opportunity; social aspects of mass education; problems of universalisation of primary education; role of community and state intervention in education; education as an instrument of social control and social change; education and modernisation.

11. Religion :Origins of religious beliefs in pre-modern socieites; the sacred and the profane; social functions and dysfunctions of religion; monistic and pluralistic religion; organised and unorganised religions; semitism and antisemitism; religion, sect and cults; magic, religion and science.

12. Science & Technology :Ethos of science; social responsibility of science; social control of science; social consequences of science and technology; technology and social change.

13. Social Movements :Concepts of social movements; genesis of social movements; ideology and social movement; social movement and social change; types of social movements.

14. Social change and Development :Continuity and change as fact and as value; theories of social change-Marx, Parsons and Sorokin; direted social change; social policy and social development. Paper-II Study of Indian Society

1. Historical Moorings of the Indian Society :Traditional Hindu social organization; socio-cultural dynymics through the ages; impact of Buddhism, Islam, and the West, factors in continuity and change.

2. Caste System :Origin of the caste system; cultural and structural views about caste; mobility in caste; caste among Muslims and Christians; change and persistence of caste in modern India; issues of equality and social justice; views of Gandhi and Ambedkar on caste; caste on and Indian polity; Backward Classes Movement; Mandal Commission Report and issues of social backwardness and social justice; emergence of Dalit consciousness.

3. Class Structure :Class structure in India, agrarian and industrial class structure; emergence ofmiddle class; emergence of classes among tribes; elite formation in India.

4. Marriage, Family and Kinship:Marriage among different ethnic groups, its changing trends and its future; family-its structural and functional aspects-its changing forms; regional variations in kinship systems and its socio-cultural correlates; impact of legislation and socio-economic change on marriage and family; generation gap.

5. Agrarian Social Structure : Peasant society and agrarian systems; land tenure systems-historical perspectives, social consequences of land reforms and green revolution; feudalism-semi-feudalism debates; emerging agrarian class structure; agrarian unrest.

6. Industry and Society :Path of industrialisation, occupational diversification, trade unions and human relations; market economy and its social consequences; economic reforms liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation.

7. Political Processes : Working of the democratic political system in a traditional society; political parties and their social base; social structural origins of political elites and their orientations; regionalism, pluralism and national unity; decentralisation of power; panchayati raj and nagarpalikas and 73rd and 74th constitutional amendments.

8. Education :Directive Principles of State Policy and primary education; education; educational inequality and change; education and social mobility; the role of community and state intervention in education; universalisation of primary education; Total Literacy Campaigns; educational problems of disadvantages groups.

9. Religion and Society :Size, growth and regional distribution of different religious groups; educational levels of different groups; problems of religious minorities; communal tensions; secularism; conversions; religious fundamentalism.

10. Tribal Societies :Distinctive features of tribal communities and their geographical spread; problems of tribal communities-land alienation, poverty, indebetedness, health and nutrition, education; tribal development efforts after independence; tribal policy-isolation, assimilation and integration; issues of tribal identity.

11. Population Dynamics :Population size, growth, composition and distribution; components of population growth; birth rate, death rate and migration; determinants and consequences of population growth; issues of age at marriage, sex ratio, infant mortality rate; population policy and family welfare programmes.

12. Dimensions of Development : Strategy and ideology of planning; poverty, indebtedness and bonded labor; strategies of rural development-poverty alleviation programmes; environment, housing, slums, and unemployment; programmes for urban development.

13. Social Change :Endogenous and exogenous sources of change and resistance toc hange; processes of change-sanskritisation and modernisation; agents of change-mass media, education and communication; problems of change and modernisation; structural contradictions and breakdowns.

14. Social Movements :Reform Movements : Arya Samaj, Satya Sadhak Samaj, Sri Narayanguru Dharma Paripalana Sabha, and Ram Krishna Mission.
Peasant movements-Kisan Sabha, Telengana, Naxalbari.
Backward Castes Movement : Self-respect Movement, backward castes mobilisation in North India.

15. Women and society :Demographic profile of women; special problems-dowry, atrocities, discrimination; existing programmes for women and their impact. Situational analysis of children; child welfare programmes.

16. Social Problems : Prostitution, AIDS, alcoholism, drug addiction, corruption.


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