At the time when Covid-19 infection is razing through the world as a pandemic and people have been asked to lock themselves indoor as this is the only known way of saving lives, how do we make sense of people risking their lives to come out to the streets in twos and threes practically everywhere, despite authorities using barricades and sometimes brute force to prevent this.
How do we comprehend such inexplicable human social behaviour? What does Sociology Say?
Sociology is the study of humans as interacting and intentional beings. It is one of the social sciences with human collective life as its principal focus. While as an individual, human beings seem to autonomously exercise her will, as a collective she becomes a social being personifying the society that she lives in; and the norms, values, social practices and discourses of the society permeating through and inscribing on her. Sociology thus negotiates this fascinating and complex juxtaposition of individual vs. collective conscience.
Sociology as a modern discipline was born out of the dysphoria that engulfed a major part of the European society after the French revolution. Thanks to its founding scholars like August Comte (1798–1857) and Emile Durkheim (1858-1917), it grew as a discipline aspiring to be an exact science of human society; revelling in empirical research in search of social facts and irrefutable truths.
Sociology, as practiced today, is starkly different from this early imagination.
The rates in which societies have transformed into enormously complex, administratively and economically resilient, yet betraying social fragility and the impossibility of being founded on rationality alone has compelled Sociology to continuously change and reinvent itself, among other competing disciplines.
According to Dr. N. Nakkeeran, Professor, School of Global Affairs, & Deputy Director, Centre for Research Methodology, Ambedkar University Delhi, “This discipline has evolved into an enormously influential academic discipline that lays great emphasis on uniquely human aspect of social life such as will, agency, consciousness, power, identity, subjectivity and how they mediate and congeal collective life. While it continues to maintain its close association with empirical research, Sociology today equally engages with texts as its field of inquiry and fields as texts for its textual analysis.”
Sociology today is a promising career option and offers multiple opportunities
Sociology today is a promising option for young minds to pursue a challenging and stimulating undergraduate and graduate education, offered in almost all top ranking universities across the country. “Sociology offers the opportunity to engage with practically any problem in today’s society and tomorrow’s solutions. Such interests in special areas may also be pursued further by branching off to one of the numerous sub-disciplines of sociology such as urban sociology, medical sociology, sociology of education, industrial sociology, sociology of communication, sports sociology etc., or into adjunct disciplines such as culture studies, gender studies, social psychology, sociolinguistics etc.” adds Prof. Nakkeeran.
In terms of career, Sociology offers multiple options in the form of research, teaching and jobs in social and development sectors. A B.A or M.A degree in sociology from one of the good universities in the country also strongly builds students’ ability to articulate complex social issues in writing, which provides an edge over students from most other disciplines. Further, Sociology is offered as an option in union and state level public service and other competitive examinations.
Below listed are some of the best colleges and universities in the country offering sociology programmes at undergraduate or graduate levels: