OPSC OAS Sociology Syllabus


Foundations 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, content analysis.

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:

  • Karl Marx : Historical materialism, alienation and class struggle.
  • Emile Durkheim : Division of labour, social fact, religion and society, suicide.
  • Max Weber : Social action, ideal types, authority, bureaucracy, protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism.
  • Talcott Parsons : Social system, pattern variables.
  • 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 and marriage in modern society; divorce and its implications; role conflicts.

6. Social Stratification : Concepts-hierarchy, inequality and stratification; theories of stratification-Marx, Davis and Moore and Melvin Tumin’s 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 intergenerational 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 labour 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. Social Change and Gender Issues: Social construction of gender, Equality vrs. Differences, impact of globalization on women, emergence of feminist thought, gender issues.


1. Historical Moorings of the Indian Society : Traditional Hindu social organisation; socio-cultural dynamics 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, backward caste movement.

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

4. Marriage, Family and Kinship: Marriage among different religious and tribal 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 socioeconomic 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; peasant movements.

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; 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 disadvantaged 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, religious reform movements.

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

11. Social Change and Development: Endogenous and exogenous sources of change and resistance to change; processes of change-sanskritisation and modernisation; agents of change-mass media, education and communication; problems of change and modernisation; structural contradictions and
breakdowns; Migration, Determinants and consequences of population growth, population policy and family welfare programmes, child welfare programmes.

12. Major Social Issues: Poverty, indebtedness, bonded labour, unemployment, depletion of forests, development related displacement, corruption, alcoholism, AIDS, drug addiction, violence against women, dowry. Child labour; Maternal and infant mortality rate in Odisha.

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