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How to Prepare for Sociology Optional Strategy?

Sociology Optional Strategy

Sociology is a very interesting subject and easy to understand. It has a relatively short syllabus, which can be completed in a span of 4 months and is considered a safe optional with respect to marks. It has good overlap with general studies and helps in essay paper as well.

You should start with Paper I as it gives a holistic understanding of the sociological theories and fundamental concepts. After completing the paper I, Read paper II which is which is based on the Indian context. While preparing Paper II to try to link the subject matter of Paper II with the concepts learned in the Paper I as it will help build an analytical approach to understand the problems and development in Indian Society.

Strategy to cover sociology optional:(Sociology Optional Strategy)

  1. Go through each and every topic of the syllabus and try to memorize the syllabus.
  2. Read standard books and try to develop in-depth understanding about the concepts. Focus on sociological thinkers and proper understanding of sociological theories help build command over the subject.
  3. Prepare concise notes on each and every topic. This would make it easy to revise again and again.
  4. For paper 2, there are very few standard sources so note making becomes very important. The questions which are asked in paper 2 are current based and dynamic in nature but one is supposed to write while presenting sociological perspective. So, there has to be proper blend of static and current aspects in answers to get good marks.
  5. For this, one has to prepare accordingly and practice in advance. There is need to keep consolidating, whatever you read in static and current. For example- Topics like Informal sector, child labour, Slums and deprivation in urban areas, Violence against women, Poverty, deprivation and inequalities, Regionalism and decentralization of power, Secularization etc can be supplemented with current affairs news.
  6. Case studies conducted by various social researchers are very important in paper 2.Writing relevant case studies in answers prove instrumental in quality enrichment and make the answer actually sociological in nature.
  7. Do not segregate the syllabus of paper 1 and paper 2. You can always use the concepts of paper 1 while writing answers in paper 2 and similarly you can use examples from paper 2 while writing answers in paper 1. For example- While talking about farmer suicide, you can mention anomic suicide(Emile Durkheim Theory on Suicide).

While writing answers, followings points should be kept in mind:(Sociology Optional Strategy)

  1. Both the content as well as structure are important for writing a good answer. Always try to present your points in well-structured format with a proper introduction, body and conclusion.
  2. Focus on the keywords in the question and address all the parts.
  3. Always try to write a balanced answer. For example- If one has to critically examine in particular question then also you must write about the relevance of that particular thing briefly.
  4. The answer should be multi-dimensional in nature. For this, try to develop linkages between various sub-topics of the syllabus.
  5. Do mention views and statements of various thinkers and social researchers wherever possible but do not overdo it.
  6. You can use various data, highlights of govt reports, indexes, case studies etc to enhance the quality of your answers. The ability of a candidate to induct current affairs in Sociology answers reflect his/her in-depth understanding of the subject. This also provides some uniqueness to one’s answers.
  7. You can also draw diagrams and tables wherever possible.

One needs to have good answer writing practice to write well-structured answers and to score well in Sociology optional. One can start with attempting previous year questions. Once you complete the syllabus, do join a good test series. Keep learning from your mistakes. It is the key to continuous improvement. There is no right and wrong stated answer to a particular question in Sociology, it is completely based on one’s understanding and writing skills. So, one has to master the art of how to write a well structured, contextual, relevant, multi-dimensional, balanced and unique answer in a limited span of time.

In conclusion, I would say that the best strategy for Sociology optional is to have the right mix of reading and writing as well as proper revision of the notes.

Important Books for Sociology

Paper 1

  1. Classical Sociological Theory by George Ritzer
  2. Sociology Themes and Perspectives by Haralambos and Holborn (Blue book)
  3. Sociology Themes and Perspectives by M Haralambos with R M Heald(Orange book)
  4. Sociology by Anthony Giddens

The above books are required to develop a good understanding of the subject. These books are to be read selectively according to syllabus topics.

Paper 2

  1. Handbook of Indian Sociology by Veena Das
  2. Modernisation of Indian Tradition by Yogendra Singh
  3. Social change in modern India by M N Srinivas
  4. Sociological Background of Indian Nationalism by A R Desai
  5. Indian Society by S C Dube
  6. Caste in Indian politics by Rajni Kothari
  7. Caste by Surinder Jodhka

Selective reading of the above mentioned books is required.

  1. IGNOU notes
  2. Yojna & Kurukshetra Magazine Last 1-year issues
  3. Read good Sociological essays and articles online. In addition to this, refer EPW magazine and shodhganga site.


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