Courses » Sociological Perspectives on Modernity

Sociological Perspectives on Modernity


The objective of the course is to enable students to understand modernity as a socio-cultural product in specific socio-historical contexts. The course exposes students to theoretical perspectives to look at modernity and its constituents as a practice deeply embedded in culture and society. It familiarises students with encountering problems in their everyday life from more rationalist perspectives. It attempts to critically engage with and interrogate the multiple views on modernity.



Not required

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Dr. Sambit Mallick is Associate Professor of Sociology at the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati. He specializes in the sociology of science and technology, and also includes historical sociology and philosophy of the social sciences among his research interests. His research and teaching are at the intersection of ‘philosophy’, social theory, and science and technology studies. He teaches ‘Sociology of Science’, ‘Science, Technology and Innovation: Sociological Perspectives’, ‘Sociology of India: Conformities and Contradictions’, ‘Sociological Perspectives on Modernity’, ‘The Study of Society’, ‘Sociology of Development’, ‘Interrogating Modernity’, ‘Science, Technology and Society’, ‘Sociological Theory’, ‘Research Methods in Sociology’, ‘Perspectives on Science, Technology and Society’, and ‘Emerging Knowledge Societies’ at IIT Guwahati. His courses under NPTEL have attracted a large number of students even from the remote areas in India and abroad.


Week - 1: Introduction: Modernity as a project of Enlightenment
Week - 2: Modernist paradigm in sociology: modern science, industrialisation and development
Week - 3-5: Sociological modernism: Marx, Weber and Simmel
Week - 6-7: Structuralist interpretation: Levi-Strauss and Althusser
Week - 8-9: Western Marxism: Lukacs, Gramsci and Touraine
Week - 10: Synthesising modernity: Wallerstein, Giddens and Habermas
Week - 11: Deconstructing modernity, modernity in non-modern contexts, the idea of alternative or multiple modernities
Week - 12: Reflexivity: dialectic of engaging with and interrogating modernity

  • A. Giddens, The Consequences of Modernity, Polity, 1989
  • J.P.S. Uberoi, The European Modernity: Science, Truth and Method, Oxford University Press, 2002
  • J. Alam, India: Living with Modernity, Oxford University Press, 1999
  • S. Hall, D. Held and A. McGrew (Eds.), Modernity and its Futures, Polity/Open University Press, 1992
  • S. Hegde, ‘Modernity’s Edges: A Review Discussion’, Social Scientist, 28 (9-10): 33-86, 1999
  • K. Kumar, Prophecy and Progress: The Sociology of Industrial and Post-industrial Society, Penguin, 1986
  • J. Habermas, The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity, Polity, 1987
  • M. Foucault, Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings, 1972-1977, Pantheon, 1980
  • J.F. Lyotard, The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge, University of Minnesota Press, 1984
  • E. Said, Orientalism: Western Concepts of the Orient, Penguin, 1985
  • Z. Bauman, Intimations of Postmodernity. Routledge, 1992
  • P. Abbott and C. Wallace, An Introduction to Sociology: Feminist Perspectives, Routledge, 1990
  • F. Jameson, Postmodernism, or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism, Verso, 1991

  • The exam is optional for a fee.
  • Date and Time of Exams: April 28 (Saturday) and April 29 (Sunday) : Morning session 9am to 12 noon; 
  • Exam for this course will be available in one session on both 28 and 29 April.
  • Registration url: Announcements will be made when the registration form is open for registrations.
  • The online registration form has to be filled and the certification exam fee needs to be paid. More details will be made available when the exam registration form is published.

  • Final score will be calculated as : 25% assignment score + 75% final exam score
  • 25% assignment score is calculated as 25% of average of Best 8 out of 12 assignments
  • E-Certificate will be given to those who register and write the exam and score greater than or equal to 40% final score. Certificate will have your name, photograph and the score in the final exam with the breakup. It will have the logos of NPTEL and IIT GUWAHATI. It will be e-verifiable at nptel.ac.in/noc.