Recommended Sociology Books for IAS

Sociology is a popular subject among IAS Aspirants and requires a holistic understanding of the entire syllabus. This post lists the most recommended Sociology books for IAS Paper 1 and Paper 2.

Sociology Books for Paper 1

1. Sociology- Themes and Perspectives by Haralambos and Holborn

The most definitive and must read book for Paper 1, often considered the Bible of Sociology. In fact to understand what’s Sociology is all about read Themes and Perspectives by Haralambos and Holborn. This book touches upon all aspects of paper 1 be that family, marriage, kinship, stratification, power, economic system etc. In the old Prelims syllabus nearly 20-25 questions were asked from this book alone. Even in mains, this book is indispensable. The biggest plus point about Sociology Themes and Perspectives is its language. Simple, easy to understand, comprehensive. It also contains relevant case studies of different social systems and phenomena that should be quoted in the IAS mains to score well.

2. Sociological Theory by George Ritzer

Since the chapter on Sociological Thinkers is crucial to your understanding of other topics of Paper 1 and will largely determine your score in this paper a good book is recommended on this topic. Sociological Theory by George Ritzer is highly recommended for covering thinkers in detail.

It covers all the sociological theories under three parts – Classical theories (Karl Marx, Max Weber, Emile Durkheim, George Simmel),  Modern theories and post-Modern theories.

In this way, it Sociological Theory by Ritzer covers the Paper 1 syllabus in detail and even goes beyond so when UPSC revises the civil services syllabus, this book will still be relevant.

3. Methodology and Techniques of Social Research by Jaspal Singh

Unit 3 of Sociology syllabus is about Research Methods and Analysis. Many students tend to skip this section altogether in their preparation as they don’t consider it that important from the Mains viewpoint. But given UPSC’s fickle nature they could ask more than one question from this unit. To plug this hole you should read Methodology and Techniques by Jaspal Singh.

Methodology and Techniques explains the basics and details of various research methodologies used by social researchers as well as techniques of data collection and sampling methods. A good book to tackle the unit 3 syllabus.

How to cover the other units of Paper 1?

The topics like Systems of Kinship, Religion and Society, Works and Economic Life don’t require dedicated book rather they they are based on the works of social thinkers. So first understand their work in depth and then combine this understanding with topics and social studies from Haralambos  to frame your answers. Also prepare your own clippings of social surveys if you come across them in magazines or The Hindu to make your answers stand out.

Also ReadSociology Optional Preparation Strategy for UPSC Mains

Sociology Books for Paper 2

4. Indian Sociological Thought by BK Nagla

BK Nagla has authored a very important book titled Indian Sociological Thought that covers that contribution of all the important sociologists and schools of sociology in India. All the different perspectives and narratives of Indian sociology, be that the sub-altern perspective or Marxist or Functionalist or Stratification or Cultural etc are covered.

This will equip you to answer Paper 2 questions with confidence. Indian Sociological Thought is a recommended book for Paper 2.

5. Caste Its Twentieth Century Avatar by M.N Srinivas

The most striking reality of India is not class but caste and M.N Srinivas, one of the foremost Indian Sociologists, explains the caste system from the structural-functionalist perspective in a language that is very easy to comprehend.  Caste its Twentieth Century Avatar explains how caste equations have evolved in India after the Independence phase and particularly after the Mandal politics of 1990’s.

Caste and its 20th Century Avatar by M.N Srinivas tries to understand how the caste structure and equations has changed over the years.

6. Social Change in Modern India by M.N Srinivas

Social change is another important focus of the Sociology syllabus. After all no society, however rigid, is completely statics and change in different degrees modifies it in myriad ways. To understand the changes taking place in Indian society right from the British period M.N Srivivas has written this very short and readable book called Social Change in Modern India. Through this book Srinivas refutes Louis Dumont’s theory of a static and unchanging India. A Social Change in Modern India for Sociology mains paper.

IGNOU Notes

I can go on about sociology books but the fact is the above books are enough to cover the meat of the syllabus. For rest of the syllabus instead of referring individual books go through the IGNOU notes that covers the remaining paper 2 syllabus adequately.

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51 thoughts on “Recommended Sociology Books for IAS”

  1. Thank you very very much sir….for your great initiative…. it is just splendid…. thank you for your hard work & valuable time for us….

  2. Sir one more thing to ask… how to prepare & make the essay paper more live, more to the point & more effective… how to make the notes which will tell the story it self……. & thanks again…

  3. respected sir thanx for the reply can you give me guidance for csat 2012,so please can i get your email id as i need to ask you few queries or directly on your blog add contact me

  4. you have made sociology quite a frightening subject. is it true ? is socio really that bad for civil services for which even a dearth of books is insufficient ? should i take psychology then ? i am confused b/w socio and psycho.

  5. Ashish Kumar Agrawal

    Sir, i have heard that 1500-1600 candidates are selected only for interview, is it true? if yes then on what basis?
    is it top 1500 that qualify mains?

  6. sir,can you suggest me books for hindi & english for compulsory indian language & books for csat paper 1 & 2
    please reply as soon as possible thank you

    1. With regard to “Sociological Thought” by Abraham and Morgan I would like to point out that this book does not cover RK Merton, as mentioned in the post. Kindly refer a book where I can study about RK Merton and Mead from mains syllabus perspectives.

  7. Dear sir, I am confused between geography and sociology, I am from engineering background and working in a company. Sir I want to know whether its possible to complete the syllabus of geography given that I m working… My other optional is pub ad. I hv heard that socio has a compact syllabus and can be covered easily. The same is not the case with geography. Plz suggest me fr revision.point of view. Though I know that geography is highly scoring but again would I get enough time to revise 2 to 3 times before exam? Thanks in advance….

  8. thanks, 1st of all 4 ur prestigious times 4 us,pls suggest us pub ad. & sociology books.also 4 csat prelisms….. thanks SALAAMINDIA……

  9. Dear Sir, i m confused in sociology books ,there r so many books but i do not know which books i should preferred can u make my job easy in terms to selection the books. neetu

  10. sir i wnts sociology books in hindi madium pls tell me about that books & from where to get that books in hindi

  11. sir i wnts sociology books in hindi madium pls tell me about that books & from where to get that books in hindi

  12. hello sir
    i m confused in selecting mains subject.I m B.Tech IT pass out.
    i want to select maths with sociology but maths has low selection ratio.
    plz help in selecting my optionals so i could clear this exam.

  13. hello sir
    i m confused in selecting mains subject.I m B.Tech IT pass out.
    i want to select maths with sociology but maths has low selection ratio.
    plz help in selecting my optionals so i could clear this exam.

  14. Sir,
    Thank you for this wonderfully systematic blog.
    I cleared prelims year 2011 but could not make it through the mains.
    I had sociology and history,with history being my honors subject at graduation level, got roughly equal marks in both.
    Should I opt for public administration instead of sociology? i have been told its a more ‘scoring’ subject?
    Thank you

  15. Sir,
    Thank you for this wonderfully systematic blog.
    I cleared prelims year 2011 but could not make it through the mains.
    I had sociology and history,with history being my honors subject at graduation level, got roughly equal marks in both.
    Should I opt for public administration instead of sociology? i have been told its a more ‘scoring’ subject?
    Thank you

  16. Im an engineering graduate.. I took geography as one of my optionals.. Im confused in choosing the second optional whether sociology or pub ad.. As both are new to me i dont know the difference between these two. Plz give some suggestions sir..

  17. Shailesh Kumar Vishwakarma

    sir
    i want sociology book in hindi medium please sir tell me about that book & from where to get that book in hindi

  18. Shailesh Kumar Vishwakarma

    sir
    i want sociology book in hindi medium please sir tell me about that book & from where to get that book in hindi

  19. sir i would like write in telugu language…
    i like choose optionlas are Pub ADMin nd Telugu..
    or suggest any optionals.. iam not prefor any coaching..
    give some valuable suggestions to motify towards to reach my goal.
    books details for preparing for civils..
    than q very much..
    i am wait valuable back to me… (sorry)for any interruption.

  20. Dear Sir ,

    I am age of 31 years under SC Category. I have completed 10 th class in the year 1998 12th in 2009 and degree in 2012.I am very Serious in preparing IAS. Kindly guide me without any hesitation,I want to do the top in IAS. Pls be associated with me.
    Thanks

    Vijay

    9347944666

  21. RAM JI KUSHWAHA

    Im an engineering graduate.. . Im confused in choosing the optional whether sociology or pub ad.. As both are new to me i dont know the difference between these two. Plz give some suggestions sir..

  22. Hi,
    I would like to take sociology optional. Im an engineering graduate. Will doing MA Sociology from Ignou help in optional. What is the petcentage of its use in sociology optional.

  23. I am Soumya.I have applied for ODISHA CIVIL SERVICES EXAM-2015.My prelimnary exam is already completed and main exam will be on Jan 15,2015.So I have only 2 months of time.I have taken SOCIOLOGY AND PUBLIC ADMIN. as my compulsory Optional paper. I am currently employed in pvt company…so I am not getting enough time to study.

    I have already written all the syllabus of sociology and pub. ad below for your reference.

    Please kindly tell me the books name with author that will come as sufficient for this subjects. I want you to tell me those books name which will be sufficient to crack the exam. I know I am behaving like a mad, but due to my time constraint ,I am saying this.

    Please tell me minimal no. of books name at the earliest.

    PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION

    1. Basic concepts : Meaning, Scope and Significance; Public and Private

    Administration; Evolution of the Discipline; Comparative Public Administration;

    Development Administration; New Public Administration; New Public

    Management Perspective.

    2. Principles of Organisation : Hierarchy, Unity of Command, Span of Control,

    Authority and Responsibility, Coordination, Supervision, Centralisation and

    Decentralisation, Delegation.

    3. Theories of Organisation : Classical Theory, Scientific Management Theory,

    Bureaucratic Theory, Human Relations Theory, Behavioural Approach, Systems

    Approach.

    4. Administrative Behaviour : Leadership, Policy Formulation, Decision Making,

    Communication, Motivation, Morale.

    5. Accountability and Control : Concepts; Legislative, Executive and Judicial

    Control over Administration; Citizen and Administration; Civil Society, People’s

    Participation, Right to Information.

    6. Comparative Administrative Systems : USA, UK, France: Features,

    Recruitment, Training, Promotion.

    7. Personnel Administration in India: Recruitment to all India and Central

    Services, Training, Promotion; Union Public Service Commission.

    8. Financial Administration: Budget – Concept, Formulation, Execution;

    Accounts; Audit; Comptroller and Auditor General of India.

    9. Central and State Administration in India: Features of Indian Constitution;

    President, Prime Minister and Council of Ministers, Central Secretariat, Cabinet

    Secretariat, Prime Minister’s Office, Planning Commission, Finance Commission,

    Election Commission; Governor, Chief Minister, State Secretariat, Directorate,

    District Administration.

    10. Local Government: Evolution; 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendment Acts.,

    Rural and Urban Local Governments in Orissa – Structures, Functions, Finances,

    Problems and Prospects.

    SOCIOLOGY

    Unit I : Basic Concepts :

    Society, community, association, institution, culture, culture change, diffusion, Cultural

    log, ethnocentrism, acculturation.

    Social Groups-primary, secondary and reference groups.

    Little Tradition and Great tradition,

    Status and role, role conflict, role set, social control.

    Norms and values-conformity and deviance,

    Law and customs.

    Socio-cultural processes :

    socialization, assimilation, integration, cooperation, competition, conflict,

    accommodation, universalization and parochialization.

    Unit II : Marriage, Family and Kinship :

    Marriage : types and forms, marriage as contract, and as a sacrament.

    Family : types, functions and changes.

    Kinships : terms and usages.

    Unit III : Social Stratification :

    Forms and functions; Caste, Class and gender, Jajmani system, purity and pollution,

    dominant caste, sanskritisation.

    Unit IV : Types of Society :

    Tribal, agrarian, industrial and post-industrial, society.

    Unit V : Economy and Society :

    Economic systems of simple and complex societies, non-economic determinants of

    economic behaviour, market (free) economy and controlled (planned) economy.

    Unit VI : Industrial and Urban Society :

    Rural-Urban Continuum and contrast, urban growth and urbanization, town, city and

    metropolis; urban slums; impact of automation on society; industrialisation and

    environment.

    Unit VII : Social Demography :

    Population size, growth, composition, and distribution in India; components of

    population growth-births, deaths and migration; population policy.

    Unit VIII : Political Processes :

    Power, authority and legitimacy; political socialisation; political modernisation, pressure

    groups; caste and politics, Religion and politics.

    Unit IX : Weaker Sections-and Minorities :

    Protective discrimination; Constitutional safeguards.

    Unit X : Social Change :

    Theories of change; factors of change; science, technology and change. Social

    movements-Peasant Movement, Women’s Movement, Backward Caste Movement, Dalit

    Movement.

    REGARDS

    SOUMYA

  24. Sir I am a science student i want start ias pepration give me righ way how to start study and selection best suvjecct

  25. Hi Vimlaksh,

    Would you please help me to give some advice on Sociology reference books for UPSC and some notes which would help my nephew on the exam.

  26. BOOKS BY J P SINGH
    1. Bharat Ka Adhunik Samaj, Jaipur: Rawat Publishing House, 2019.
    2. Manavshastra Sabdakosh, Jaipur: Rawat Publishing House, 2019.
    3. Samajhastra, New Delhi: PHI Learning, 2017 (3rd Edition).
    4. Adhunik Bharat Men Samajik Parivartan: New Delhi: PHI Learning, 2016 (2nd Edition).
    5. Samajshastra Paribhashik Shabdavali, Patna: Bihar Hindi Granth Academy, 2010.
    6. Samaj Vigyan Vishwakosh (Encyclopaedia of Sociology and Allied Sciences), New Delhi: PHI Learning, 2009.
    7. Samajshashtra ke Multava, New Delhi: Prentice-Hall of India, 2011(3rd Edition).

  27. Hi
    I am hindi medium student for upse exam please guide me regarding study material of sociology subject for optional exam in hindi medium .

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