Exploring Sociological Domains
Manoj Kumar Jena
DOING SOCIOLOGY IN INDIA: GENEALOGIES, LOCATIONS AND PRACTICES by Sujata Patel Oxford University Press, 2011, 328 pp., 775
December 2011, volume 35, No 12

This striking book, a collection of thirteen papers, on the genealogy, locations and practices of sociology in India tries to locate within the complex, contradictory, and contesting histories of sociological traditions in the various settings during the colonial period and immediately after, before the spiralling expansion of the university system in the 1960s. It explores the discipline’s early language in Calcutta and later in Bombay, where it found its institutionalized expression, and its diffusion from there to the other parts of India. The cognizant among the writers are shadows of colonialism in its growth but attest to the vibrancy of its formation due to the guild of scholars and scholarship with public associations and social movements, such as nationalism. This book discusses the sociolo-gical vision of five scholars, Radhakamal Mukerjee, D.P. Mukherjee, M.N. Srinivas, A.R. Desai, and G.S. Ghurey.

Broadly the papers engage with four paradigms; firstly, that the discipline and its traditions are varied and diverse having a history of dialogue and contestations. Some of them draw their lineages from anthropology while others draw these from sociology; secondly, these find expressions both in its subjects and objects-scholars and their relationships established in teaching and learning processes within the professions and outside academia-in movements and associational groups which together represent its traditions; thirdly, that these diverse traditions need to be examined in terms of two phases-pre- and post-Independence; and lastly, that these traditions are enmeshed in the political process of constructing a society during the last hundred years or more.

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