The past few decades have seen tremendous changes, both in the larger conditions that characterise the world and in the shifts in the way people relate to each other, to social relationships, identity, place and culture. Given the changes that have occurred in the very ideas of ‘society’ and the ‘social’, how has the discipline of sociology equipped itself to understand this transformation? What are the challenges of capturing the interrelations between the state, market and society? Can sociological imagination enable innovation and newness as researchers struggle to make sense of the rapidly altering worlds they encounter?
In this context, this book brings together research conducted in new and unconventional sites to present a different sociological imagination that bypasses the dominant categories (that of caste and village) through which India is sociologically known and represented. It presents a collection of essays by young scholars attempting to redefine the contours of the discipline—through the choice of field sites, the exploration of new issues and problems, and the reworking of traditional anthropological methodology in new, unconventional sites.
This volume deals with contexts as diverse and unique as a genetics laboratory; a Bollywood editing studio; a community arts project spanning an urban village, a bus journey, and a town that has ceased to exist; a defence think-tank; and family and communal relationships in a transformed world. While reflecting the authors’ concern with changing issues, methodology and field sites, they are also accounts of personal journeys into the discipline of sociology.
The essays challenge and push the boundaries of sociology and provide a re-imagining of India through new sites and methods of research. It will be invaluable for students and researchers in sociology at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
Mahuya Bandyopadhyay and Ritambhara Hebbar are Professors of Sociology, School of Development Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai.
List of Figures
1. Is there a New Sociology in India? Reflections on Altered Realities, New Field Sites and Methodological Challenges
Ritambhara Hebbar and Mahuya Bandyopadhyay
2. Muslim Mothers in the Times of Terror
3. The Gift of Guru Ki Maseet: Celebrating the Exemplary on the Frontier of Social Sciences
4. Reflections on Defence and Security Analyses in India
S. M. Faizan Ahmed
5. Studying Laboratories: A Sociological Inquiry of Research Practices in Genetics
6. Understanding the Social in the Making of the Moving Image
7. Knowing and Representation: Unravelling Contexts through Images and Conversations
About the Editors and Contributors