HS 831: Urban Sociology

This course aims to give the students an overview of the field of Urban Sociology. It attempts to provide an awareness of the various theoretical perspectives. It also deals with the peculiar features of Third world urbanization in general and the process of urbanization in India in particular.

 1)   Basic concepts: Urban, rural, urbanism, urbanization, city, town, metropolis and megalopolis.

2)   Social theory, capitalism and the Urban question: conceptualizations of: Toennes, Durkhiem, Marx and Engels, Weber, Redfield.

3)   The Urban as an ecological community: The traditional ecological approaches of Park, Burgess and Mckenzie and contemporary Human ecological approach of Hawley and Duncan.

4)   The urban as a cultural form: The views of Simmel, Louis Wirth, Gans and Janet Abu-Lughod. Critiques of this approach.

5)   Recent theoretical perspectives: Neo-Weberian perspectives of Pahl, Rex and Moore. The neo-Marxist approaches of Lefebvre, Harvey, Castells, Lojkine and Mingione. Impact of Post modern theories.

6)   Process of urbanization in Third World countries with special reference to India: Difference between First world and Third world urbanization. Impact of colonialism and neo-colonialism. Role of the state.

7)   Sociological implications of Indian urbanization: Impact on class and occupational structures, religion and polity, kinship networks. Case studies of selected cities.


Saunders, Peter. Social Theory and the Urban Question, London: Hutchinson, 1981. 

Rao, M.S.A., Urban Sociology in India, Delhi: Orient Longman, 1974. 

Rao, M.S.A., Bhatt, C. and L.N. Kadekar.  A Reader in Urban Sociology, New Delhi: Orient Longman, 1991. 

Safa, Helen (ed). Towards the political economy of urbanization in the Third world countries, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1986. 

Naidu, Ratna.  Old Cities and New Predicaments, New Delhi: Sage publications, 1991. 

Gilbert and Gugler.  Cities, Poverty and Development, Urbanisation in the Third World, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982. 

Pickvance, c.G (ed).  Urban Sociology: critical essays, London:Methuen, 1976. 

Dear Michelson and Scott, Alan (eds).  Urbanisation and Planning in Capntalist society, New York: Methuen, 1976. 

Vishwanathan, S. (ed).  Structure and Transformation, Theory and Society in India, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2001. 

Sarai Reader 02 . The Cities of Everyday Life, New Delhi: Sarai, CSDS, 2002.