UPSC » Sociology Syllabus for UPSC 2024

Sociology Syllabus for UPSC 2024

Sociology Syllabus for UPSC 2024: Get the complete UPSC Sociology syllabus for the Civil Services Exam. Learn about the important topics, exam pattern, and recommended study resources. Prepare effectively for the UPSC sociology optional with expert guidance and ace your civil services journey."

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Sociology is offered as an optional subject in the UPSC Civil Services Mains Exam, comprising of two papers, namely Optional Paper I and Paper II. This exam is a vital component of the prestigious IAS Exam, which consists of three stages:

  • Prelims 
  • Mains and
  • Interview 

Aspirants opting for Sociology as their optional subject will delve into the intricacies of society, its structures, and the dynamics that shape human behavior. Through this subject, candidates will develop analytical skills and gain a comprehensive understanding of social issues, inequalities, and transformations in contemporary society.



1. Sociology – The Discipline: 

(a) Modernity and social changes in Europe and emergence of Sociology. 

(b) Scope of the subject and comparison with other social sciences. 

(c) Sociology and common sense. 

2. Sociology as Science: 

(a) Science, scientific method and critique. 

(b) Major theoretical strands of research methodology. 

(c) Positivism and its critique. 

(d) Fact value and objectivity. 

( e) Non-positivist methodologies. 

3. Research Methods and Analysis: 

(a) Qualitative and quantitative methods. 

(b) Techniques of data collection. 

(c ) Variables, sampling, hypothesis, reliability and validity.

4. Sociological Thinkers: 

(a) Karl Marx – Historical materialism, mode of production, alienation, class struggle.

(b) Emile Durkhteim – Division of labour, social fact, suicide, religion and society. 

(c) Max Weber – Social action, ideal types, authority, bureaucracy, protestant ethic and the spirit of  capitalism. 

(d) Talcolt Parsons – Social system, pattern variables. 

(e) Robert K. Merton – Latent and manifest functions, conformity and deviance, reference groups.

(f) Mead – Self and identity. 

5. Stratification and Mobility : 

(a) Concepts – equality, inequality, hierarchy, exclusion, poverty and deprivation.

(b) Theories of social stratification – Structural func tionalist theory, Marxist theory, Weberian theory.

(c) Dimensions – Social stratification of class, status groups, gender, ethnicity and race.

(d) Social mobility – open and closed systems, types of mobility, sources and causes of mobility.

6. Works and Economic Life : 

(a) Social organization of work in different types of society – slave society, feudal society, industrial  capitalist society. 

(b) Formal and informal organization of work.  

(c) Labour and society. 

7. Politics and Society: 

(a) Sociological theories of power. 

(b) Power elite, bureaucracy, pressure groups and political parties. 

(c) Nation, state, citizenship, democracy, civil society, ideology. 

(d) Protest, agitation, social movements, collective action, revolution. 

8. Religion and Society : 

(a) Sociological theories of religion. 

(b) Types of religious practices: animism, monism, pluralism, sects, cults. 

(c) Religion in modern society: religion and science, secularization, religious revivalism, fundamen talism. 

9. Systems of Kinship: 

(a) Family, household, marriage. 

(b) Types and forms of family. 

(c) Lineage and descent. 

(d) Patriarchy and sexual division of labour.  

(e) Contem porary trends. 

10. Social Change in Modern Society :

(a) Sociological theories of social change.  

(b) Development and dependency. 

(c) Agents of social change. 

(d) Education and social change. 

(e) Science, technology and social change. 



A. Introducing Indian Society : 

(i) Perspectives on the Study of Indian Society : 

(a) Indology (G.S. Ghure). 

(b) Structural functionalism (M. N. Srinivas). 

(c) Marxist sociology (A. R. Desai). 

(ii) Impact of colonial rule on Indian society : 

(a) Social background of Indian nationalism.  

(b) Modernization of Indian tradition. 

(c) Protests and movements during the colonial period. 

(d) Social reforms. 

B. Social Structure: 

(i) Rural and Agrarian Social Structure: 

(a) The idea of Indian village and village studies. 

(b) Agrarian social structure— 

evolution of land tenure system, land reforms. 

(ii) Caste System: 

(a) Perspectives on the study of caste systems: G. S. Ghurye, M. N. Srinivas, Louis Dumont, Andre  Beteille. 

(b) Features of caste system. 

(c) Untouchability-forms and perspectives 

(iii) Tribal Communities in India:  

(a) Definitional problems.  

(b) Geographical spread. 

(c) Colonial policies and tribes. 

(d) Issues of integration and autonomy. 

(iv) Social Classes in India: 

(a) Agrarian class structure.  

(b) Industrial class structure.

(c) Middle classes in India. 

(v) Systems of Kinship in India:  

(a) Lineage and descent in India. 

(b) Types of kinship systems. 

(c) Family and marriage in India. 

(d) Household dimensions of the family. 

(e) Patriarchy, entitlements and sexual division oflabour. 

(vi) Religion and Society : 

(a) Religious communities in India. 

(b) Problems of religious minorities. 

C. Social Changes in India: 

(i) Visions of Social Change in India: 

(a) Idea of development planning and mixed economy. 

(b) Constitution, law and social change.  

(c) Education and social change. 

(ii) Rural and Agrarian Transformation in India: 

(a) Programmes of rural development, Community Development Programme, cooperatives, poverty  alleviation schemes. 

(b) Green revolution and social change. 

(c) Changing modes of production in Indian agriculture. 

(d) Problems of rural labour, bondage, migration. 

(iii) Industrialization and Urbanisation in India:  

(a) Evolution of modern industry in India.  

(b) Growth of urban settlements in India. 

(c) Working class: structure, growth, class mobilization. 

(d) Informal sector, child labour. 

(e) Slums and deprivation in urban areas. 

(iv) Politics and Society : 

(a) Nation, democracy and citizenship. 

(b) Political parties, pressure groups, social and political elite. 

(c) Regionalism and decentralization of power. 

(d) Secularization. 

(v) Social Movements in Modern India : 

(a) Peasants and farmers movements. 

(b) Women’s movement. 

(c) Backward classes & Dalit movements.  

(d) Environmental movements. 

(e) Ethnicity and Identity movements.  

(vi) Population Dynamics : 

(a) Population size, growth, composition and distribution. 

(b) Components of population growth: birth, death, migration. 

(c) Population Policy and family planning. 

(d) Emerging issues: ageing, sex ratios, child and infant mortality, reproductive health.

(vii) Challenges of Social Transformation : 

(a) Crisis of development : displacement, environmental problems and sustainability.

(b) Poverty, deprivation and inequalities. 

(c) Violence against women. 

(d) Caste conflicts.  

(e) Ethnic conflicts, communalism, religious revivalism. 

(f) Illiteracy and disparities in education. 


Frequently asked questions

Get the most common questions on Sociology Syllabus for UPSC 2024.

What is the importance of studying sociology for the UPSC examination?

Answer: Studying sociology is crucial for the UPSC examination as it helps candidates develop a comprehensive understanding of society, culture, an...Read full

What are the key topics covered in the sociology syllabus for UPSC?

Answer: The sociology syllabus for UPSC covers a wide range of topics, including the sociological perspectives, theories, and methods, social insti...Read full

How can I effectively prepare for the sociology portion of the UPSC examination?

Answer: To prepare for the sociology portion of the UPSC examination, start by thoroughly understanding the syllabus and identifying the core conce...Read full

Is Sociology a good optional for UPSC?

Answer: The Sociology optional stands as a top choice among UPSC aspirants due to its concise syllabus, comprehensibility, and abundant high-qualit...Read full

Which book is best for sociology optional in UPSC?

Answer: Here are some recommended books for Sociology optional in UPSC: “Introduction to Sociology” by Anthony Giddens....Read full