Sociology is one of the most popular optional for UPSC examination and also an optional with one of the highest success rate. Because of this, there is a lot of books and course material available in the market. However every sociology topper has emphasized on the importance of limiting resources for its preparation. Hence we are presenting you a list of books for sociology optional that are a must read and also an additional list of books that you can use as reference or additional reading material.
The sociology optional syllabus is divided into Paper 1 and Paper 2.
The paper 1 of sociology has a standard set of books that need to be studied and one need not venture further in search of new books. This is because the syllabus of paper 1 is static and there is not much new addition to the already complied notes.
The books that may be relevant to the paper 1 are still many in number, but if an aspirant starts reading an individual book for each sociological thinker, you might get mastery over your optional but you are sure to fail your preliminary examination.
The must read books for paper 1 are:-
Sociology Themes and perspectives: M.Haralombos and RM Heald (The orange book)
Sociological Themes and perspectives: Haralombos and Holborn (The blue book)
You can read either of these two books. Haralombos is a standard textbook for sociology paper 1 that will help you understand the basic sociological concepts with a lot of examples and case studies.
UPSC also favors this book a lot and a lot of questions have been directly asked from this book over the years. For examples, questions about ethnomethodology and phenomenology have been directly lifted from this book.
Sociological theory by George Ritzer
This is another book for sociology optional that is highly recommended. The thinkers are explained in great detail in this book with separate chapters.
You can also go through:-
Essential Sociology by Nitin Sangwan
This is a good book primarily because it has been written by an ex student of sociology and a successful UPSC aspirant exclusively for this examination.
Sociology- Anthony Giddens This book can also be selectively read for understanding the current trends in sociology.
IGNOU BA booklets:
The IGNOU BA booklets are also additional material which can be read. The best feature of these booklets is that they start each topic from the scratch and build a story around it.
The syllabus of paper 2 on the other hand is dynamic and requires frequent additions and updates with inclusion of current affairs issues as well.
Hence, selective reading and reference from multiple books can be done. However it is important to note that these books are not be read cover to cover and are to be used only for selective note making.
The must-read books for paper 2:
Societal problems by Ram Ahuja
Sociology of Indian Society by C.N Shankar Rao
These are two books that you can read once and make notes of, to have a comprehensive view of the society of India.
Handbook of Indian Sociology- Veena Das
Modernization of Indian Tradition- Yogendra Yadav
Caste in its Twentieth Century Avatar- M.N Srinivas
Social background of Indian Nationalism- A.R Desai
These are some good books on Sociology of India by eminent Indian sociologists. Selective reading of these books can help in developing a general understanding of sociology that is relevant to India.
IGNOU MA Material:
The IGNOU booklets for MA are also a good source material to study prominent Indian sociologists.
Economic and Political Weekly (EPW) can be selectively read .the new and current case studies that are taking place in sociology find their way into this magazine. However it should not be read cover to cover as it will cost the aspirant a lot of precious time.
An aspirant can read either The Hindu or The Indian Express and can use it to make current affairs notes relevant to the sociology optional.
Often the editorials in these newspaper name lesser known sociologists or sociological concepts which the students can use to enrich their notes.
Current affairs for sociology- by Pranay Aggarwal
Pranay sir compiles the current affairs and global reports relevant to sociology in the Current affairs booklet for sociology. Students can study the book to understand which topics are relevant in current affairs for sociology and which reports should be quote in the examination answer sheet.
The list is exhaustive in itself and an aspirant need not search for further books for sociology. Pranay sir’s class notes and the additional notes made by an aspirant from these sources will be enough to get 300 plus in sociology optional mains, provided these notes are revised multiple times.