ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles By D N Dhanagare

Sharmila Rege (1964-2013)

In her classroom teaching Sharmila Rege constantly focused on how the interaction of students with the lived experiences of activists in social/ protest movements and also with the masses could deepen their understanding of social reality as well as the close linkages between theory and ideology on the one hand and between theory, ideology and praxis on the other. She believed that gender studies and dalit studies were organically linked.

Practising Sociology through History

Part 1 of this paper considered those sociologists who used classical texts, i e, Indological sources, with a view to understanding contemporary social structures, institutions, and cultural practices. Part II looks at the work of later sociologists, who make up a different category: Those who take into account and narrate the historical background of the social reality that constitutes their research. This paper lays stress on the necessity of a "substantive" use of history for sociological purposes. It takes particular note of those sociologists who have used history rigorously to arrive at broader levels of explanation, generalisation and theoretical abstraction, in the process thereby ensuring a "completion" of their sociological mission. It is this process that needs to be further exploited by present day sociologists. [This is the concluding part of the paper; the first part was published last week.]

Practising Sociology through History

This paper examines, in two parts, the extent to which Indian sociologists have creatively engaged themselves in systematic use of history for understanding and explaining social phenomena. It also critically assesses the rigour with which a reconstruction of past events and experiences has been attempted so as to understand and explain the present in sociological studies in India. While reviewing seminal writings of scholars who used Indology extensively, as also those of sociologists who have attempted systematic use of history in macroanalysis, this paper focuses attention on contributions of Indian sociologists who have used the historical method rigorously in rural studies, as also in studies of social movements, agrarian structure and change, caste and analysis of industrial and urban settings. Finally, it distinguishes between "metaphoric" and "substantive" use of history and opines that the real potential of historical sociology lies in the latter. It also expresses optimism that despite the initial indifference of Indian sociologists towards history, they are now rediscovering their discipline's roots in history and are also realising its intrinsic value in generating, what Earnest Nagel (1961) called, "historical explanation". [The second and concluding part will be published next week.]