Our understanding of Indian social institutions has been largely based on our knowledge of village communities. While these field studies on villages are no doubt valuable, there is a danger of treating them as bases of generalizations regarding Indian society as a whole. The evolution of urban sociology as an academic discipline contributes to a fuller understanding of Indian social institutions and has vital relevance in the context of wider theoretical problems.
Urbanization is a global process and is integral not only as an index of economic development but as a crucial factor of social change. In the Indian context the fallout is even more complex, and the questions even more challenging. What are the changes that result from this interaction between tradition and modern urbanization? Which aspects of caste, kinship and religion have been affected in the new urban contexts? What are the new forms of associations and relationships and how have the traditional forms intermeshed with the new.? What is their impact on rural life? What are the demographic and ecological aspects of urbanization and social change?
The texts in this reader focus on the issues raised above; the collection of texts reflect the phenomenal developments in the field of urban sociology since the late sixties and take into account recent research wherever possible. Bringing together significant sociological studies by eminent foreign and Indian sociologists the reader will be an important source book for scholars in the field.
M S A Rao, Chandrashekar Bhat, Laxmi Narayan Kadekar