Strategy:Sanjita Mohapatra, AIR 10 (2019)

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Sociology Strategy

Hi Everyone!

My journey in UPSC has been long. And along with it someone who has been a constant companion is my optional: “Sociology”

Why I chose it?

Because I fell for it 😊. I developed a deep interest in the subject once I understood the basics. And it was a wonderful trip together ending on a happy note!


·       As I had no idea about Sociology, I bought the basic book first: “Sociology Themes and Perspectives: M Haralambos and R M Heald” – the orange small book. This gave me a detailed idea about the subject. I developed an interest in it.

·       I took 3 months course in Sociology from Upendra Gaur in Delhi. I made my basic notes using above class notes.

·       My sources:

§  Haralambos & Holborn Sociology themes and perspectives 8th Edition : selected chapters. I have mentioned the chapters along with specific page nos which I read from Haralambos (big Blue one) in a pdf uploaded in the drive.

§    Various study material provided by Upendra Sir

§ Essential Sociology by Seema and Nitin Sangwan: only selected chapters specific to paper 2.

§   Dynamic portion value addition for Paper 2 from Vamshi Sir’s notes and test series answers

§  Topper’s IAS test series answers

§ Specific chapters from IGNOU used during initial notes making.

§ Visited many sociological websites to get an insights on various topics

§  Telegram group of friends where we would do sociological analysis of all the current events and write sociological answers

·       I made extensive notes for major topics as per syllabus and stuck to it and revised it diligently

·       Writing frequent test series helped me put my knowledge into perspective. If you just keep reading you won’t understand how to produce it in answers. Hence repeated revisions have to be followed by writing Q&A. That helps to structure your answers as well as knowledge. Hence answer writing is irreplaceable.

·       Below mentioned is the link to the drive where I have uploaded my self-scanned handwritten notes for various topics.

·       How to use the notes:


§  Use them as the basic notes from which you yourself can make your own notes

§  You will not be able to understand thinkers in the first round of reading if you are doing self-study

§  You need to read each thinker at least twice and then watch some videos on the thinkers in YouTube to understand better.

§  Don’t panic, thinkers are bit tough but once you get a grasp it becomes enjoyable.

§  For thinkers: Start with August Comte, even if he is not mentioned in syllabus, because without understanding the philosophy of the “father of sociology” you cannot move forward

§   Then Start with E.Durkheim, and move on to Karl Marx

§ Next you should read Talcott Parsons which should be followed by Merton. Because without understanding Parsons, you cannot understand Merton

§   Read Max Weber next

§  Finish with G.H.Mead: my notes are not sufficient to study Mead, find some other resources as well. I followed some parts from Sangwan.

For certain topics like Stratification, Women related issues, Religion and Society I extensively followed Haralambos (big blue one). The drive contains a PDF mentioning the part I followed from Haralambos. So use that part as well along with notes. For paper 2, certain topics may be read from Sangwan.

Below mentioned is the link to the video where I have discussed about numerous queries raised by aspirants:

My preparation journey was 3 years long. Hence, I have made use of extensive resources from various places to value add. Mentioning all of this here is not possible as I don’t even remember half of those. I have just laid out the basic things I did. Don’t follow anything blindly because that never works.

The notes are especially for those aspirants who have no idea where to start from, feeling clueless and doing self-study. This may help give you a base.

Those who have already did coaching and have their own notes it may not be that beneficial for you.

At the end, all the very best. Kindly help each other and prevent any misuse of the notes. Avoid any misuse of the notes.