YOGENDRA SINGH, Indian Sociology, Social Conditioning and Emerging Concerns, Vistaar Publications, New Delhi, 145 pp, Rs. ,45.
SOCIOLOGY, as a science which studies the relations between groups of people, their value systems and behavioural attitudes, has come a long way since the nineteenth cefttury. Stimulated by the writings of Weber and provoked by the Marxist alternative, sociologists have moved away from the Durkheimian view of the collective essence and started analysing the ,ideas, values and attitudes of individuals. The latter approach had become essential since within the collectives many social dysfunctions kept emerging and threatened the social fabric. Sociologists became more useful in finding out the reasons of social conflicts than in advertising the picture of an harmonious social organism. By their diagnosis of dysfunctions, they could be expected to contribute to appropriate reform and information strategies. This applicatory use of sociology for social engineering is exemplified by the fact that the craft has ramified into numerous different fields linked up with the various social sectors and professions.
Some of the ramifications can be observed in India, especially during the last decade. The retrospective contribution of Yogendra Singh, which apparently has been commissioned by the International Sociological Association on the occasion of the World Sociology Congress at New Delhi in 1986, presents a picture of a rich and varied sociological community. Although not exactly a window dressing, the effort to give an overview of the last half a century of Indian Sociology is not devoid of statements to the effect that there has been a linear development of new initiatives with increasing momentum and conceptual sophistication. The resulting dullness could have been evaded.
A critical reflection would have vitalised the now rather boring treatment of the various developments with an unending vine of topics and authors. To the credit of the author, it should be added, however, that he has been fair to all schools in Indian sociology. With respect to the Marxist contribution, for example, he states that, among others as a consequence of publications in Economic and Political Weekly, Social Scientist and