Sociology: Debunking preconceived notions about people and cultures
One of the most vibrant disciplines, Sociology is the systematic study of human social behaviour, groups and societies, writes Achla Pritam Tandon.delhi Updated: May 17, 2010 23:31 IST
One of the most vibrant disciplines, Sociology is the systematic study of human social behaviour, groups and societies.
Having a sociological perspective helps debunk many of the common, preconceived notions about people around us as well as across cultures. A sociologist follows the growth of society from its primitive state and also examines it in its transformative aspects. Along with a heightened sensitivity to the physical and social environment, sociologists maintain a high degree of objectivity and rigour, when documenting data.
Unlike many other subjects, sociology is a new subject for most students. The BA (Hons) programme in Delhi University aims to introduce the students to the dynamics of interconnections between different spheres of social life. Students are engaged around debates of contemporary as well as theoretical concern, such as groups, culture, structure, tradition and modernity in India, etc. Besides dealing with issues of identity and forms of resistance, students get an exposure to economy, polity, religion and family as institutions. They are also acquainted with linkages between theory and research, objectivity and various methods of data collection. Students get to have various perspectives of urban, industrial life, environment as well as gender related themes. The kaleidoscope of social stratification in its various forms like caste, class, gender, race and occupation is also unveiled within various theoretical perspectives. Through the use of ethnographies, conceptual analysis and theoretical understanding, sociology students are oriented to an imagination transcending the here-and-now kind of thinking.
Some of our students go in for teaching and research in national and international universities. The number of sociology students entering professions such as law, print and visual media, and human resource management is steadily increasing. For years, it has been a popular option for civil services exams with a high success rate. There is tremendous scope emerging for students of sociology in a variety of other occupational settings like social work/NGOs, market analysis, public health/hospital administration, urban planning, community service banking, film making, corporate communications etc.
Ironically, despite the wide interest it generates and its immense scope, Sociology (Hons) is taught in only eight Delhi University colleges.
Students wanting to pursue sociology should have some curiosity and will to confront vital questions about the social world around them. Most colleges give some preference to students coming from social science background, though science and commerce students are also eligible. Ability to articulate concepts and debates in a concise manner is a definite advantage.
Achla Pritam Tandon is Associate Professor, Hindu College.