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Bridging the social networks

delhi Updated: Jun 24, 2009 01:13 IST

It is often argued that knowledge starts with wonder!

Sociology starts with wonder about the obvious and exotic in human societies. If you have ever wondered why you feel obliged to give a gift in return when you receive one or what prompts otherwise benign looking people to kill someone for daring to marry outside the caste, here is a discipline for you.

In India, Sociology is a relatively new entrant compared to other social science disciplines. It studies order and change, institutions and processes, individuals and collectivities in a society.

It pays special attention to similarity and difference across cultures. As a humanistic discipline sociology unpacks the taken-for-granted world of our everyday lives and develops a critical awareness about it.

Do you have it in you?

Students seeking to study Sociology at the undergraduate level should be curious about diversities of human social existence across the globe and be ready to get familiar with history, politics and cultures of India. Thus a social science or humanities background would be helpful in handling the course but it is not an essential requirement for studying the subject. The discipline demands a keen perception of empirical social realities, an ability to handle abstract concepts, acute analytical capacities and felicity with oral and written communication.

What’s in store?

The syllabus for BA Sociology (Hons.) course was revised in 2005 to provide a contemporary and vibrant curriculum to the students. It teaches basics of the discipline and provides grounding in Indian sociology in the first year of study. This is followed by an in-depth study of substantive areas of sociological enquiry such as kinship and marriage, religion, economic and political processes across cultures in the second year.

The course is rounded off in the final year with papers on key theoretical perspectives and methods of carrying out a sociological enquiry.

Career moves

Sociology graduates are valued assets in private, public and voluntary sectors of the economy, where their analytical skills, knowledge of socio-cultural dynamics and ability to interrogate data from a variety of perspectives are indispensable. Typically a sociology graduate branches out into a career in law, business administration, journalism, mass media, social work, development studies, civil services, film-making and film studies. In each of them, the skills acquired and perspective evolved during the graduation in sociology would be immensely useful.