With a sociology background, you can get into a wide range of careers, say experts. In India, there are typically five major career channels for those with degrees in this social science – civil services, research institutions, non-government organisations, teaching Classes 11 and 12 and the media.
The research institutions option has been “growing over the last 20 years because of the emergence of areas such as gender studies and microfinance,” says Anand Kumar, professor at JNU and organising secretary of the All India Sociological Conference, which marked Indian Sociological Society’s diamond jubilee celebrations. About 1500 sociologists, young and old, from around the country and about 50 from Sweden, United States, Germany, Canada, Thailand, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Turkey, Vietnam and Africa took part in the event.
Kumar adds, “NGOs prefer sociology students more than history students.” BK Nagla, retired professor of sociology and ex-president of the North-West Indian Sociological Society, says MD University, Rohtak, is responding to the needs of the time. “This is the era of privatisation and globalisation. We are thinking of, without compromising on the old components, laying emphasis on specialisation. Sociology is linked with mass communication, MBA, engineering, medicine and law. We have already developed courses with micro-specialisation.” Depending on his chosen specialisation, a student takes optional papers in that branch from the first semester onwards – such as sociology of journalism/ mass communication, media and society. In the case of the business administration specialisation, he’ll take papers like industrial sociology and sociology of management. “Earlier the student would get a ‘mixed specialisation’ by taking one rural-related optional with one from another area. It’s becoming clearer now because of micro-specialisation,” says Nagla.
Talking of markets, corporate sociology is a new topic in this subject.
Another participant, Kalindi Jena, associate professor, Rama Devi Women’s Autonomous Colleges, Utkal University, says, “Except engineering and medicine, sociology can be applied everywhere.”
“No other field is as diversified as sociology,” says G Satyanarayana, former head, department of sociology and principal, University College of Arts and Social Sciences, Hyderabad. More infrastructure projects in the country mean more work for sociologists as they are needed to carry out feasibility and impact studies.”
“The corporate sector depends on market surveys. It wants to understand people’s needs and then develop and market its products. Sociology is a field which will the gap between planners, administrators, government, the corporate sector, philanthropists and the people,” he says.