The Department of Sociology and Social Work organized an interactive session with Dr. Shiv Visvanathan on 15th February 2020 for the undergraduate and postgraduate students of Sociology. Dr. Visvanathan, is currently a Professor at Jindal Global Law School, Sonipat, and Director, Centre for the Study of Knowledge Systems, O.P Jindal Global University. He is an Indian public intellectual and social scientist best known for his contributions to Science and Technology Studies, and for the concept of cognitive justice a term he coined.
The discussion gave interesting insights into Sociology as a dissenting science and reimagining dissent in contemporary India. Dissent today is one of the most critical acts of democracy. It is considered as the custodian of difference, giving voice to minorities and people on the margins. One has to stop thinking of the idea of the opposition in negative terms. Democracy without dialogue and opposition is incomplete. Dr. Visvanathan emphasized the crucial role that sociology plays in capturing these dissenting voices.
From its inception, Sociology has been a dissenting science. Dissent should be understood within the broader framework of the theory of democracy and the theory of knowledge. In contemporary India, Dissent is treated as unacceptable, obsolete and even anti-national. Thus Dr. Visvanathan says that it has become more important than ever before for sociologists to engage with the idea of dissent both as a concept and as an activity.
The lecture was followed by a question-answer session. Students raised questions concerning various contemporary issues. There were discussions on practicing sociology in India, research and the methodology of the social sciences. The lecture was very informative as it successfully laid the foundation for further research and discussion on reimagining dissent in contemporary India.