Classical Sociological Theory


Prof. R. Santhosh

IIT Madras

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This course introduces students to the formative period of sociology and the socio-cultural as well as the intellectual factors behind the emergence of the discipline. It provides a comprehensive understanding and an in-depth analysis of the stalwarts of classical sociological theory such as Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim, Max Weber, and G H Mead. It explains how the theoretical concerns of these scholars laid the foundation for the subsequent development of sociology as a distinct social science discipline with precise theoretical as well as methodological foundations. Thus, the course enables students to develop a sociological perspective and theoretical insights through a systematic analysis of the key theorists of the discipline.


Undergraduate as well as postgraduate students of sociology, aspirants of competitive examinations and general public who are interested in the discipline of sociology.


Dr. R. Santhosh teaches sociology at the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Madras. He specializes in field of sociology of religion, focusing on Hindu and Islamic religiosity in the late modern contexts in India.

Additional information


IIT Madras

Total hours


Certification Process

1. Join the course
Learners may pay the applicable fees and enrol to a course on offer in the portal and get access to all of its contents including assignments. Validity of enrolment, which includes access to the videos and other learning material and attempting the assignments, will be mentioned on the course. Learner has to complete the assignments and get the minimum required marks to be eligible for the certification exam within this period.

COURSE ENROLMENT FEE: The Fee for Enrolment is Rs. 3000 + GST

2. Watch Videos+Submit Assignments
After enrolling, learners can watch lectures and learn and follow it up with attempting/answering the assignments given.

3. Get qualified to register for exams
A learner can earn a certificate in the self paced course only by appearing for the online remote proctored exam and to register for this, the learner should get minimum required marks in the assignments as given below:

Assignment score = Score more than 50% in at least 9/12 assignments.
Exam score = 50% of the proctored certification exam score out of 100
Only the e-certificate will be made available. Hard copies will not be dispatched.”

4. Register for exams
The certification exam is conducted online with remote proctoring. Once a learner has become eligible to register for the certification exam, they can choose a slot convenient to them from what is available and pay the exam fee. Schedule of available slot dates/timings for these remote-proctored online examinations will be published and made available to the learners.

EXAM FEE: The remote proctoring exam is optional for a fee of Rs.1500 + GST. An additional fee of Rs.1500 will apply for a non-standard time slot.

5. Results and Certification
After the exam, based on the certification criteria of the course, results will be declared and learners will be notified of the same. A link to download the e-certificate will be shared with learners who pass the certification exam.


Course Details

Week 1: Introduction to sociology; uniqueness of sociological perspective
Week 2: Historical context of the emergence of sociology: European Enlightenment
Week 3: August Comte, Herbert Spencer and early thinkers of modernity
Week 4: Karl Marx
Week 5: Karl Marx
Week 6: Emile Durkheim
Week 7: Emile Durkheim
Week 8: Max Weber
Week 9: Max Weber
Week 10: GH Mead
Week 11: Classical theory and methodological orientations in sociology
Week 12: Sociology and modernity: wrapping up and conclusion

Books and References

1. Haralambos and Holborn. 2014. Sociology Themes and Perspectives. Harpin Collins
2. Ritzer George. 2016. Classical Sociological Theory. Rawat Publications
3. Royce Edward. 2015. Classical Social Theory and Modern Society. Rawat Publication
4. Aron, Raymond. Main Currents in Sociological Thought (Vol. 1 &II).Routledge Publications.
5. Morrison, Ken 2012. Marx Durkheim Weber: Formations of Modern Social Thought. Sage Publications


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