• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

This book looks at the sociology of India from two perspectives: first, understanding the cultural traditions of India with special reference to religious and ethical values; and second, exploring the growth of the sociological traditions of India.

Divided in two parts, the book goes beyond mere description of the main religious traditions and looks at the ethical values that are embedded in the religio-secular traditions of India. It also projects the sociological traditions of India as a historical process, a process of growth of sociological knowledge. The basic premise of the discussion is not one dominant cultural tradition but the plurality that characterizes the cultural, religious, and value traditions of India, and pluralism that characterizes the sociology of India.

Sociological Traditions: Exemplars, Interpreters
Sociological traditions: Exemplars, interpreters

As one traces the evolution of sociology from school to school, true theoretical alternatives appear. Problems are posed, new theories are instituted. The relations of theory and method have to be rethought again and again.

—DON MARTINDALE, The Nature and Types of Sociological Theory

Methodological pluralism is a well-recognized characteristic of sociological thought everywhere. Raymond Aron, the French sociologist, once wrote about ‘two typical schools’ of sociology (in the West), the ‘Marxist’ and the ‘American’, in Volume I of Main Currents in Sociological Thought (1967). Similarly, British political philosopher W.G. Runciman identified ‘four traditions’ of British sociology, namely, ‘the evolutionary, the politico-economic, the ethnographic and the administrative reformist’ (see his Sociology in Its Place and Other Essays, 1970).

India is ...

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