Current Affairs for Sociology Optional: Gone are the days when we work hard to cram bookish knowledge. The study of practical events through given theoretical pieces of evidence is called a perfect study. These days many people are taking Sociology as their optional in UPSC mains. But they lack in many areas with their strategies to wrap up things. You will be surprised to know that from the past 3 4 years almost every question in Sociology optional paper is influenced by current affairs. You can’t write a generalized answer in sociology as it needs a dominant sociological perspective in current affairs based questions.
Students who score very high marks in Sociology always suggest enhancing quality of content with contemporary relevance.
- There was a question in 2019 Sociology Paper 1, i.e., In the light of judicial intervention on ‘live in relationships’, discuss the future of marriage and family in India. In the recent case of khushboo vs. kanniamal, SC gave many remarkable judgments on live in relationship status. While reading this question we feel skeptical because we do read major sociological domains like family and marriage in theory but the answer is only based on current connect.
- Taking one more instance, there was a question asked in 2019 Sociology Paper 2. It is ‘Highlights the main features of the ‘interlinking of rivers’ project in India. What could be its probable advantage to Indian Agriculture?’ Although this question has its roots in the late 20th century also but to answer it in a more systematic way one must have read about every work going under this project. It is also a fully-fledged contemporary question.
These are just two demonstrations but the reality is much bigger. The simple tip for answer writing these days is to make it more connected with current scenarios. This is the demand of UPSC because the administration of people can only be done via practical and real knowledge of the issues on the ground level.
How can you enhance the quality of the content with current affairs?
Comparatively, usage of recent issues in answers is very necessary for Paper 2 of Sociology. With its name “Indian society: structure and change”, we understand that it is dynamic. We cannot add any example or event that happened 50 years ago to explain recent minority problems. For example, with the influence of Artificial Intelligence, many problems will be solved and created at the same time. Apart from science and technology, it affects the labor division system on a large scale. This is a very frequently asked area from paper 2. Current affairs are very useful for paper 2 because Sociology always overlaps with many General Studies subjects. To overcome your burden if you start preparing current issues through sociological theories, it will make you prepared for other mains paper also. A proper blend of the static and dynamic portion is responsible for fetching more marks. Almost all Paper 2 topics like poverty, women and minority aristocracies, rural and urban development, family, kinship, religion, caste and so on are best understood through current affairs only. Examiners will consider it as a plus point on your side.
Several Current affairs related to sociological theories:
Always try to articulate your answer in such a way so that an examiner comprehends it accurately. Your approach should be descriptive and organized. Let us take a look at various social issues to establish a correlation between sociology and current problems.
- Live in relationship:
The trend of live in relationship majorly prevails in western countries. But with time we can feel its effects coming to India also. People prefer living in a relationship without engaging through marriage. They can take to avoid responsibilities that one gets after marriage. Although earlier this concept was criticized by many it is accepted as a mature choice these days. There are many provisions regarding the same including s.khushboo vs. kanniamal, Article 21, domestic violence act 2005 and so on. The relationship status is based on Cohabitation under which two or more people live together for sexual or romantic needs without marriage for a temporary or permanent basis. There is another feature called Deviance that people use to quote live in relationship. The term explains habits that violate certain social norms and values and defame society. Society often rejects certain steps with the majority.
Arguments in favour of live-in relationship:
The partners are free to do according to their will. There are no restrictions and complications. The patriarchal society receives strong disapproval through this step. Women are also entitled to equal rights and freedom to live in relationship. This relationship helps in breaking endogamy. However, people mark it as deviance but in the long term, it will result in proper social stability.
Arguments against live in relationship:
The role of a family is very vital in adding values among children. Such type of practice may lead to fatal results. It has reduced the role of the family because there is no commitment to such relations. The values of emotion power are getting less respected.
Sometimes, we can relate it as a way toward modernization. We cannot term this concept as an issue because it depends on priorities.
- Economic Slowdown and Indian Society:
Everybody is familiar with the fact of the current economic slowdown of our country. There is the depreciation of Indian rupee in the international money market. The concept of externalities is very significant in economics. It stands for the indirect positive and negative impacts of economic activity. Costs of externalities like suicide, pollution, etc. can be connected from the economic slowdown. Indian society has a feature of non – materialism that many times becomes a hurdle in our growth rate. Weber takes the reference of capitalism to explain any slowdown. Indian citizens do not prefer capitalism due to values like hard work that leads to the slow growth of the economy. The idea of religion that has rejected the idea of worldly affairs is also making people lazy and less work-oriented. People are saving more and investing low. The division of labor is also divided into society favoring patriarchal norms. Many such social institutions are breaking the organization of the economy in countries like India.
How the economy impacts society?
The functionalist perspective assumes that the economy’s health always defines our nation’s progress within social and political spheres. Marxist theory of communism states the bourgeoisie suppression over labor and working-class in an economy. Even the middle class is going towards the working class category. Several economic systems make the social system clear.
- Ayodhya Verdict:
After many events and many hearings on the Ayodhya land dispute case, a historical judgment has come. A bench of five judges unanimously decided to give judgment in the favor of Ram Mandir. The land is given to the Hindu community and an area of 5 acres is given to the Muslims for their mosque. The case openly describes that Indian secularism is not defined based on majority thought. In our constitution, there is no distinction based on religions. Therefore, the wrong act of demolishing Babri Masjid could not be ignored. Within the place of worship act, it is mentioned that duty to protect equally all faiths is the duty of a state. It comes under the basic feature of our constitution.
According to Marxian theory, religion always befools people from reality. People rely only on religion to solve their problems and it results in unemployment, economic slowdown, depression and so on. Political systems are also using pious religious norms to put their agendas. This is also creating a problem in our society.
Religion also creates communalism and creates differences among masses.
- Artificial Intelligence:
AI is an emerging field worldwide. In India also we are progressing in this area. Recently, in Kerala, through artificial intelligence, a robot was created for the police force. There are plenty of other examples where AI has intervened in our daily lives. AI is like a need that is required to create equilibrium in social conditions. This is called a dynamic equilibrium. However, every coin has two sides. We also know about the disadvantages of an AI system. Robots are machines and we are not sure when these will stop working. It can hamper so many works and jobs. A legal framework is required to remove such issues.
Views against Artificial Intelligence:
The foremost argument is about the legal system. For example when any robot causes any injury to anybody, who will be held liable for this? Such instances always strike in mind. There are many developments in our country regarding AI but no comprehensive legislation has formed to regulate it.
For the poor and middle class, it is devastation because of fewer job security. Works are becoming technological and less labor-intensive. It is also creating new kinds of kinship patterns. In the future, it is possible to see the relationship between humans and robots. There are no ethical boundaries. It is very important to define AI legally before anything else.
Advantage from AI:
It improves many human errors with less time and more speed. Vehicles relying on AI assist in reducing the number of accidents. The notion of caste might be removed with more AI technologies. The upper and lower caste model will be broken. With maximum productivity levels, a country’s GDP will grow high by the proper utilization of AI technology.
- The middle class has stopped growing:
The most dangerous outcome of the current economic slowdown scenario is the stability of the middle class. The process of a slowdown is not a new issue. This has its roots in the late 90s. After the 2008 economic depression, the world economy got failed which impacted India also. Middle-Class people are not able to afford certain items and it causes drawbacks for our economy. Everyone wants a proper housing condition so does the middle class. This aspiration from the middle class leads to an increase in tax revenue of the government. An increase in tax will lead to more subsidies and schemes like MGNREGA. This forms a vicious cycle of the middle class. On the other hand, agriculture is stagnant. In India, nearly 40% of agricultural produce is wasted after production. The implementation of various government schemes has failed.
According to Marx, for growth, our economy is moving towards Privatization. It makes the bourgeoisie class more powerful. Capital assets of a country are concentrated in few hands only. Due to an increase in population, the exploitation of the working class has increased and people are compelled to work on low wages. This has stopped the growth of the middle class. Marxism defines a theory called the Polarisation of the classes in which the world is slowly turning polarized. There will be only two ends left that are the bourgeoisie and the proletariat and the middle class will be disappeared.
The government must focus on the development of the middle class also with proper implementation of policies and schemes. Agriculture, domestic market, business and so on must be inclusive.
These are certain instances when recent ongoing affairs are highlighting various sociological theories. Many perspectives can be written from a single topic. Try to establish a connection between theory and practice.