Indian Society Continuities, Contradictions and Paradoxes

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Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation ElectiveSUS1FC0354

Course Coordinator and Team: Adjunct Faculty

Email of course coordinator: TBA

Pre-requisites: NA


With focus on the contemporary society, the course aims to introduce students to the complexity of social structure and institutions of Indian society through a close study of the continuities, changes and paradoxes that have characterized India and help students to gain a better understanding of contemporary Indian Society.


Brief description:

The ‘idea of India’ as a nation constructed through theoretical, historical and popular discourses stands in sharp contrast to the complex and often contradictory on-the-ground realities of Indian society. Beginning with an introduction to the demographic and social diversity of the India, the course aims to unpack the social and cultural complexity through a close study of the continuities, changes and paradoxes that have characterized India. For example, extended families persist in urban areas, education does not necessarily lessen social discrimination against Dalits, urban villages are an accepted part of city life and an established category in the Indian census, and female foeticide is highest among some of the most affluent regions in the country. Each of these social facts is at some level counterintuitive, for they belie the expectations of theory, and our perceptions of India as modern. And yet they animate the reality of the Indian landscape and are quite recognizable to us from our own everyday experiences and through the ambit of our social networks. Examining these and other paradoxes from the vantage point of theoretical debates in Indian Sociology on modernity and tradition, the course will traverse through some specific indispensable themes such as, continuity and change in social structure and institutions, debates on development, environment and other thematic like caste, gender, sexuality, the issues of conflict and violence and the globalization, class and consumption.

Tentative List of Readings (Select Chapters):

  • Dube, S.C. 1990. Society in India. New Delhi : National Book Trust
  • Khilnani, S.1999.The Idea of India. New Delhi: Penguin.
  • Singh, Y. 1993. Social Change in India: Crisis and Resilience. New Delhi : HarAnand
  • Uberoi, P. 1993. Family, Kinship and Marriage in India. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.
  • Romila Thapar. 2008. Past and Prejudices, New Delhi: National Book Trust
  • T. K. Oomen. 2005. Crisis and Contention in Indian Society. New Delhi: Sage Publications
  • T N Madan .2006. Religions of India In Veena Das Oxford handbook of Indian Sociology pp: 203-223
  • Bhasin K. 2003. Understanding Gender. New Delhi : Women Unlimited Publications
  • Satish Desphande. 2006. Exclusive Inequalities Merit, Caste and Discrimination in
  • Indian Higher Education Today. Economic and Political Weekly 41(24).
  • Nigam, A. Menon, N. 2004. Power and Contestation: India Since 1989
  • M.S.A Rao, (ed).2008. Social Movements in India. New Delhi: Manohar Publishers


Tentative Assessment schedule with details of weightage:


S.NoAssessmentDate/period in which Assessment will take placeWeightage
1First AssignmentSecond week of September20%
2Second AssignmentSecond week of October25%
3Group Project and PresentationEnd October/ Early November15%
4End Semester ExamAs per AUD Academic Calendar40%