Thursday, 18 March 2021

Annual Sociology Lecture Series - Lecture 1: The Necessity of Theory by Prof Dilip Menon

 The Department of Sociology and Social Work Association and Socius, Applied Sociology Students Collective organised the first lecture of the Annual Sociology Lecture Series on 18th March 2021. The lecture was on the topic ‘The Necessity of Theory’ and was delivered by Prof Dilip M Menon.

Archana Jayaprakash from 4 MSOC welcomed the gathering and introduced the speaker. This was followed by Prof Victor Paul delivering the introductory note.

Prof Dilip Menon began by talking about the uniqueness of the theoretical imagination of sociology and the diverse ways in which it has been used to explain the social world. He focused on the unique conditions of theorising in India, a diverse, colonial space. He elaborated on how the colonial influence has shaped the way Indian sociological thought has been shaped; it has been a mixture of elements like the colonisation of thought, and questioning of the knowledge received from colonial forces, like the colonial archives. He highlighted the role of oral histories in constructing theories on Indian societies.

Prof Dilip also discussed the Europhone Theory and the influence European and other Western histories have had on the narration of India’s history. There has been a change in how we understand communities, societies, and individuals. Our focus now is more on the atomisation of human beings.

He discussed all these aspects with several examples and then went on to remind everyone of the continued relevance of sociology in a rapidly changing India, where there are many societies changing in a multitude of ways.

Prof Dilip’s talk thus touched on many areas of theorisation and the unique conditions and challenges faced in theorising India. His thought-provoking talk was followed by a fruitful Q&A session. Nithya from 4 MSOC proposed the vote of thanks.

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