In a path-breaking volume, contemporary India's most prominent sociologists reflect on and reframe the three 'classic' fields that have defined sociology in India since independence: family–marriage–kinship; caste and tribal inequalities; and belief, religion and religiosities. The authors, all of whom are experts in each of these areas, are seized by the need to intervene in the present moment that is being defined by global processes and elaborate the challenges facing the reframing of sociological scholarship in these arenas.
The essays in the volume assert a need to desist from finding singular theories of change and transformation. They recognise that these three fields are suffused with power, its ideologies, its representations and its practices. They thus argue for a need to empirically study their current manifestations in daily practices and in everyday social lives in India. The essays contend that the intersection of received diversities and the current unevenness in the processes of transformation in India are highly complex and multifarious and assert that these need to be examined at various scales from global to regional, national and local.
Exploring Sociabilities of Contemporary India also demands that the readers reflect on the ways hierarchies and practices of rule are imbricated in professional knowledge. Thus the authors argue for a methodological focus that combines a discursive deconstruction, a historical sensitivity and an empirical focus on practices.
Offering a new repertoire of issues, theories and perspectives, this volume will be invaluable to students and scholars of sociology and social anthropology.
Sujata Patel is National Fellow, Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla. Her research interests are in the areas of social theory, history of sociology/social sciences, urbanisation and city-formation, social movements, gender construction, and caste and class formation in India.