Sociological Perspectives on Modernity


Prof. Sambit Mallick

IIT Guwahati

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SKU: IIT Guwahati Category:


The objective of the course is to enable students to understand modernity as a socio-cultural product in specific socio-historical contexts. The course exposes students to theoretical perspectives to look at modernity and its constituents as a practice deeply embedded in culture and society. It familiarises students with encountering problems in their everyday life from more rationalist perspectives. It attempts to critically engage with and interrogate the multiple views on modernity.




Sambit Mallick is Professor of Sociology at the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati. He specializes in the sociology of science and technology, and also includes historical sociology and philosophy of the social sciences among his research interests. His research and teaching are at the intersection of philosophy, social theory, and science and technology studies. His courses under NPTEL have attracted a large number of students even from the remote areas in India and abroad.

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Total hours


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1. Join the course
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COURSE ENROLMENT FEE: The Fee for Enrolment is Rs. 3000 + GST

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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: Modernity as a project of Enlightenment
Week – 2: Modernist paradigm in sociology: modern science, industrialisation and development
Week – 3-5: Sociological modernism: Marx, Weber and Simmel
Week – 6-7: Structuralist interpretation: Levi-Strauss and Althusser
Week – 8-9: Western Marxism: Lukacs, Gramsci and Touraine
Week – 10: Synthesising modernity: Wallerstein, Giddens and Habermas
Week – 11: Deconstructing modernity, modernity in non-modern contexts, the idea of alternative or multiple modernities
Week – 12: Reflexivity: dialectic of engaging with and interrogating modernity


A. Giddens, The Consequences of Modernity, Polity, 1989
J.P.S. Uberoi, The European Modernity: Science, Truth and Method, Oxford University Press, 2002
J. Alam, India: Living with Modernity, Oxford University Press, 1999
S. Hall, D. Held and A. McGrew (Eds.), Modernity and its Futures, Polity/Open University Press, 1992
S. Hegde, ‘Modernity’s Edges: A Review Discussion’, Social Scientist, 28 (9-10): 33-86, 1999
K. Kumar, Prophecy and Progress: The Sociology of Industrial and Post-industrial Society, Penguin, 1986
J. Habermas, The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity, Polity, 1987
M. Foucault, Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings, 1972-1977, Pantheon, 1980
J.F. Lyotard, The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge, University of Minnesota Press, 1984
E. Said, Orientalism: Western Concepts of the Orient, Penguin, 1985
Z. Bauman, Intimations of Postmodernity. Routledge, 1992
P. Abbott and C. Wallace, An Introduction to Sociology: Feminist Perspectives, Routledge, 1990
F. Jameson, Postmodernism, or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism, Verso, 1991


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