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SOCIOLOGY AND COMMON SENSE

LECTURE: 1 AND 2
HOW SOCIOLOGY IS DISTINCT FROM COMMON SENSE?

 Sociology knowledge aims to be General if not Universal. Whereas common-sense is particular and localized.
E.g. Tribal society

 Sociological approach includes arguments, facts, geography, history


WHAT IS A SOCIOLOGICAL APPROACH ?

 It should handle the empirical material relating to every type of society, his own society as well as other society. - A
Comparative Method i.e. Systematic use of Comparisons
E.g. Status of Women

 Its Search for Inter-connections among different domains of society. i.e. Economic, Political, Social, Cultural, religious etc.
(Methods: Survey research, Statistical Analysis, Participant Observation, Case studies etc)
E.g. Demonetization

 A shift – From General concepts, Methods and Theories of Sociology to current problems of society, Culture and
Politics in India. (i.e. Socially Relavant Topic)
PRE-REQUISITE OF THE RESEARCHER FOR A SOCIOLOGICAL
APPROACH

 Emile Durkheim Suggested, Systematic Investigation of a subject was not possible unless the investigator freed
himself from his perceptions of it. As perceptions shaped generally by limited experiences … (19)

E.g. Suicide (Anomie, Egoistic, Altruistic) A sociological interpretation to a known Psychological belief.
E.g. Religious Value and Economic Outcome (Protestant Ethics and Capitalistic Spirits)
TWO DOMINANT INTERPRETATIONS IN SOCIOLOGY

 Religious Interpretations

 Materialist Interpretation of History


IMPORTANT DISTINCTION IN SOCIOLOGICAL KNOWLEDGE

 Book View vs Field View

E.g. On social Mobility Rigidity of Caste System Vs Sanskritization


E.g.Village as little Republic – Inequality and Conflict
PROBLEMS IN COMMON SENSE APPROACH

 Common sense is not only localised – being bound by time, place, class, community, gender and so on –
E.g. Gender Roles – Public Private Debate

 it is also unreflective since it does not question its own origins and presuppositions or at least does not do so
deliberately and Methodologically.
E.g. Socialization, Locations and how meanings are created
CRITICISM OF SOCIOLOGICAL APPROACH

 Value Neutrality i.e. distinctions between Value Judgements and Judgements of reality.
THE WAY FORWARD

 Advancement of sociological knowledge becomes possible only when investigations made from different
standpoints keep themselves open to mutual correction.
E.g. Idea of Development

 Sociology gives an individual a better sense of alternatives available and its likely costs and benefits of each
available alternatives.
E.g. Women Empowerment
REFERENCE

 Beteille, Andre. 2002. ‘Sociology and common sense’ in Sociology. Essays on approach and method, OUP: New
Delhi. pp13-27