Sociology and Ideology

Publication Type:



National Institute of Advanced Studies, Volume L2, Bangalore (2008)



I would like to use this occasion to discuss the relationship between sociology and ideology. My view of the subject, which has been much influenced by the work of M N Srinivas, is that it is desirable to keep the two apart, although it has proved difficult, particularly in India, to insulate the practice of sociology from the demands of ideology. In what follows I will have something to say both about the justification for keeping the two apart and the difficulty of doing so in a clear and consistent way. Those who wish to keep the two apart are obliged to explain, no matter how briefly, what they mean by sociology and by ideology. This is not an easy thing to do. Sociologists are by no means in complete agreement about the nature and scope of their discipline as an intellectual pursuit; and, moreover, their conception of the aims and objectives of sociology as a discipline may not correspond very well with their practices as sociologists. The concept of ideology has, if anything, an even wider range of connotations, and those who use it generally avoid giving it a clear or definite meaning.


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