Books for IAS Aspirants with Sociology Optional

Sociology optional is very popular among IAS aspirants. If you are appearing in UPSC exam with this subject, it could be very helpful for handling the social issues in GS paper. Further, in paper of essay, you would get at least one topic from Sociology. Moreover, sociology will help you in the last stage i.e. the interview in handling questions of social issues. We will cover strategy for preparation of Sociology for IAS Mains.

Sociology as an optional paper is preferred by many due to following reasons.

  • Short Syllabus
  • Scoring if attempted properly
  • Basic understanding of society helps with the preparation.
  • It is easy to cover by candidates of any background (Science/Arts/Commerce etc.)
  • It will be helpful in other papers like General Studies and Essay.

Strategy for Candidates of Sociology Optional

Books for Sociology

Do preparation for ‘Preparation’

Yes. You are reading correctly. To start your CSE preparation, do your preparation well. It simply means you should know yourself first. Know your capabilities and make a list of your strength and weakness. Chalk out the availability of career options. Understand level of dedication and hard work required to clear UPSC exam. If you feel that you can invest same level of rigor as needed, then only you should start investing your time and efforts in it.

You should also collect all information related eligibility, the number of attempts permitted, syllabus, books, optional available etc. Enquire about number of coaching’s available and their contribution in UPSC selection. I am suggesting joining any coaching. It happens several times that IAS aspirants join ‘xyz’ coaching institute just by getting impressed by advertisement and after sometimes they realise that they could do their preparation by own or other one was better. It will be always better to keep information of all resources and source of those resources required for UPSC preparation.

Two things not to miss for a single day.

After deciding, you should start two things in your routine. As drinking water or breathing are important to survive. In the same way, reading ‘Hindu’ and watching RSTV programs are must to clear UPSC exam. Any IAS aspirant should start with these two resources. It’s very difficult to express in words about utility of these two. If you get opportunity, meet a person who has cleared this exam; if he will be asked about his strategies, he will start speaking about these two.

Go through Syllabus

People will suggest you to do practice of answer writing for essay type questions. But, your writing skill will help you only when you know the topic. Vocabulary or fancy writing skill will be going in waste in absence of knowledge. Therefore, finish your syllabus of prelims and mains along with syllabus of sociology. Once you will have basic knowledge of all topics of syllabus, you would be able to relate them with your surroundings and current affairs. This correlation will help you to improve quality of your answer.

In short, finish syllabus at your fastest speed. Take help of basic study materials like IGNOU notes, NCERT books and books like

Haralambos  and

Sociological Theory by Ritzer

Modernization of Indian tradition by Y.Singh and



Amazon Liks to buy Good Books

Secondary Books for Sociology:

Apart from above basic books, you would need other books to re-read topics. Books given below can be used for second reading of sociology.

K. Nagla


M N Srinivas

A R Desai

Handbook of Indian Socio by Veena Das

Louis Dumont,

Andre Beteille.

Nadeem Husnain

Ram Ahuja

Contemporary India – Neera Chandhoke

Social Movements in India by Ghanshyam Shah

Social Demography: Asha Bhede &

Politics in India: Sudipta Kaviraj

National & Social Issues by Smarak Swain.

Magazines and Other Resources:

There is a magazine called seminar which would be helpful. Economic and Political Weekly covers several articles related to sociology.

Profuse use of thinkers name and views:

Sociology optional demands genuine use of views of thinkers, case studies, book’s names etc. Avoid writing your views like aspirants of Pub Ad. Instead enrich answer with the views and opinions of thinkers and sociologists. But, it does not mean that you have to vomit out all theories in your answer book, add only relevant views and opinions of thinkers and case studies to increase credibility of your answer. All addition must look natural.

Modules for Sociology Preparation.

Module 1- Independent topics:


Sociology – The Discipline:

Sociology as Science:

Research Methods and Analysis:


Introducing Indian Society:

(i) Perspectives on the study of Indian society

(ii) Tribal communities in India

(iii) Impact of colonial rule on Indian society

(vi)Population Dynamics

Module 2- Thinkers:


Sociological Thinkers

Karl Marx

Emile Durkheim

Max Weber

Talcott Parsons

Robert K. Merton

Mead – Self and identity

Module 3- Stratification, Caste and Class:


Stratification and Mobility:


Caste System

Social Classes in India

Module  4-Work, Economic Life, Agriculture, Industry:


Works and Economic Life


Rural and Agrarian transformation in India

Industrialization and Urbanisation in India

Module 5- Politics, Western and Indian:


Politics and Society


Politics and Society

Module 6- Religion, Western and Indian:


Religion and Society


Religion and Society

Module 7- Family, Kinship, Marriage:


Systems of Kinship


Systems of Kinship in India

Module  8- Social Change:


Social Change in Modern Society


Visions of Social Change in India

Social Movements in Modern India

Challenges of Social Transformation

Make your own notes and give a proper revision before one month of Mains.

Wish you good luck.

About the author

Dr. SS

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