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GS Mains Classes 2023, Batch Starts: 12th August

Sociology Optional by Amit Bosh

  • Category
    Optional
  • Test Date
    2022-01-14 07:00:00
  • Evaluated
    Yes

Instruction:

  • Attempt One question out of the given two.
  • The test carries 15 marks.
  • Write Your answer in 150 words.
  • Any page left blank in the answer-book must be crossed out clearly.
  • After Writing the Answer upload your copy in JPEG format in the comment box.
  • Evaluated Copy will be re-uploaded on the same thread after 2 days of uploading the copy.
  • Discussion of the question and one to one answer improvement session of evaluated copies will be conducted through Google Meet with concerned faculty. You will be informed via mail or SMS for the discussion.

Question #1. Examine the historical antecedents behind emergence of Sociology as a discipline. 

Question #2. Sociology is a systematic study of Social Action in a modern and contemporary setting. Discuss.

(Examiner will pay special attention to the candidate's grasp of his/her material, its relevance to the subject chosen, and to his/ her ability to think constructively and to present his/her ideas concisely, logically and effectively).

Model Answer

Question #1. Examine the historical antecedents behind emergence of Sociology as a discipline. 

Demand of the question:

The question wants us to look into the historical developments which led to the rise of Sociology as a discipline and how they impacted the emergence of the subject. 

Answer of the question:

The dictionary meaning of the word antecedent is events which happened prior to the phenomenon we are talking about. By historical antecedents behind emergence of sociology, we mean those developments which happened before the rise of Sociology as a distinct discipline which have direct bearing on the rise of the subject. Such historical incidents started with the American War of Independence.

The US War of Independence, gave rise to two unique ideas of (a) Liberty, meaning freedom laced with responsibilities for the citizens, and (b) Republic, where it is the people, who choose their leader and Head of State. In US War of Independence, French soldiers also participated, as they were sent by the French State to fight against the British and in turn help George Washington and his followers.

These French soldiers would carry these two ideas with them to France, where the common people were trampled under the feet of the Nobility and Clergy. Resultant, these ideas would act as catalysts in the French Revolution of 1789, causing the fall of the Monarchy and rise of the First Republic in France. In turn, the French Revolution would give rise to two major ideas of (a) Right to ask questions for the commons, and (b) Right to logical answers.

These two ideas, subsequently would give rise to ‘Rationality’ and ‘Scientific Temper’, which would fuel the scientific revolution and industrial revolution in England.

Post French Revolution of 1789, given the atrocities being carried forward by the First Republic, chaos would reign-in in the society for long. It is in this backdrop, that number of leading philosophers would try to find out a logical/rational solution to the problem of on-going chaos and restore normalcy. One of these leading philosophers was Saint Simon, who was of the opinion of studying the society properly to provide solution as in his opinion the nature of the chaos was social. Finally, it would be the student of Saint Simon, August Comte, who would establish the new subject ‘Sociology’ in the book Positive Philosophy (1838), to study society and social phenomenon.

Question #2. Sociology is a systematic study of Social Action in a modern and contemporary setting. Discuss.

Demand of the question:

To understand the nature of Sociology and link of the subject with social action on one hand and modernity on the other.

Answer of the question:

Sociology as a distinct discipline emerged in 1838 in Europe. To find an answer to the chaos, that set in the French society in the aftermath of French Revolution and in England, in the aftermath of the Industrial revolution, in the backdrop of the resulting sudden changes from the emergence of rationality and modernity, Saint Simon and his student August Comte set in a journey to study society. The two would write a book by the name “Plan for scientific operations necessary for reoganisation of society (1822)”, where they would talk about the necessity to study society as in their opinion, the nature of the chaos was societal. Subsequently in 1838, August Comte would write the book Positive Philosophy, where he would lay down the idea of formation of this new subject.

Hence, we may, very easily say, that Sociology emerged as a distinct discipline in the wake of the rise of modernity in Europe. Here we need to keep in mind that by Modernity, we mean, rise of Rationality and logic which promotes Scientific Thinking.

On the other hand, the subject Sociology has been defined by number of Sociologist as a study of Social Action. Say for example, Max Weber defines Sociology as ‘the study of Social Action’. On the other hand, in his first major work ‘The Structure of Social Action (1937)’, Talcott Parsons defined the locus of sociological theory to be in the external fields of institutional structures build with the help of social actions.

If we breakdown the definitions given by these greats, what we understand is that, it is through Social Action or interaction between two social actors, especially by systematising the interactions between the actors a social system is created which in turn shapes the society at large. And Sociology as a subject, studies this system in the setting of modern and complex societies. As we have discussed before, the very emergence of the subject has taken place to study the nitty gritty of the modern and complex societies.

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Note: You have to write your answers on an A4 size sheet leaving margins on both sides based on UPSC pattern. Mention Your Name on 1st page and Page Number on each page. After writing the answer, Click pictures of each page of your answer sheet, merge them all in a single PDF and upload in the Your Answer Copy section of the same question.

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