Thursday, 25 February 2021

Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Unit

The Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Unit is an initiative by the Student Association of the academic year 2020-2021 to promote an inclusive culture that provides opportunities for all the students to learn, explore, and grow, personally, professionally, and intellectually. The EDI Unit will lead, coordinate, and guide all the clubs, cells, societies, and other initiatives that focus on critical issues concerning equality, diversity, and inclusion.


  • To build an active peer community of future leaders and budding activists and advocates
  • To create a platform for interdisciplinary conversations and to serve as an important adjunct to course work through various student-initiated activities
  • To facilitate holistic and collaborative learning by creating opportunities for developing creative and critical thinking

Equality Committee

The Equality Committee elected once every year will be responsible for coordinating the activities of all the cells, clubs, and societies within the department that focuses on various aspects of equality, diversity, and inclusion. The committee will consist of two faculty coordinators, the president of the student association, and 3 EDI coordinators representing BA, MA, and MSW programmes. The Sociology and Social Work Association will be responsible for initiating elections each year to elect the representatives from each cluster. The Equality Committee will lead on the planning, development, and delivery of various activities organized under the EDI Unit.

Responsibilities of the EDI Coordinators

  • Work collaboratively with the various clubs functioning within the EDI Unit, to increase participation and develop robust knowledge sharing mechanisms
  • Work in conjunction with the club coordinators for setting objectives, initiating activities and projects, and ensuring the principles of equality, diversity, and inclusion are embedded and informing all undertakings of the clubs
  • Oversee the conduct and documentation of all the activities of the club and function as the point of contact for the Association and the Department
Cells and Club within the EDI Unit

The Student Association of the academic year 2020-2021 initiated three clubs/cells within the EDI Unit.

Gender and Sexuality Cell

The Gender and Sexuality Cell under the Sociology and Social Work Association is an initiative to contribute to the achievement of SDG Goal 5 - Gender Equality.

The UN explains that gender equality is not only a fundamental human right but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world. The activities of the cell are aligned with the 9 Targets and 14 Indicators for SDG 5. The cell creates forums for discussions on gender equality, queer rights, violence against women, reproductive and sexual health, gender-responsive policy analysis and evaluation, empowerment through technology, etc. The cell aims to give profound importance to creating opportunities for members and the student community to voice against long-standing inequalities and organize awareness campaigns and programmes.

The club committed its activities for its first academic year 2020-2021 to organizing activities that initiated discussions on some of the crucial issues in establishing a sustainable pathway toward achieving gender equality.


  • To facilitate a platform for discussions on the importance of gender equality in achieving sustainable development
  • To encourage individuals to take action that redresses long-standing inequalities by organizing awareness campaigns and programmes
  • To document, analyze, and understand gender data on COVID19 (objective specific to the current academic year)

Environmental Justice Club

The concept of environmental justice is not yet fully integrated into the language and spirit of the SDGs. This club is based on the premise that “many ‘environmental’ problems are, by their very nature, problems of justice.” Committing to the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals - Agenda 2030, the Environmental Justice Club will initiate discussions and debates to understand the intersection of environmental and social issues. The club will provide a platform for students to transform into environmental justice leaders and advocates for those affected by ecological injustice.

SDG 10 calls for reducing inequalities in income as well as those based on age, sex, gender, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion, economic or any other status within a country. The Environmental Justice club proposes to facilitate activities such as campaigns for environmental literacy, a sustainability champion programme to recognize the various initiatives and efforts of the students, and so on. SDG 12 discusses responsible consumption and production. In this regard, the club aims to initiate small-scale projects within the university campus to promote environmental sustainability and contribute to the university's effort to build and sustain a green campus. The club will also organize discussion forums and pitch competitions to encourage innovation and creativity to contribute to the SDG goal of ensuring clean water and sanitation for all.


  • To facilitate a platform for interdisciplinary conversations on environmental justice and raise awareness of environmental justice issues
  • To train students to become advocates for environmental justice issues
  • To promote sustainability on campus and actively support the efforts taken by the administration, faculty, and student community in sustaining a green campus

Human Rights and Social Justice Cell

The Human Rights and Social Justice Cell aims at operationalizing the commitment of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to Leave No One Behind (LNOB). All the activities of the cell will emerge from the core belief that we cannot hope for sustainable development without realising human rights and strengthening social justice.

Human rights and social justice are an intrinsic part of sustainable development. The cell aims at training budding leaders and advocates to develop a human rights-based approach to policy formulation, implementation, and evaluation. The cell will create platforms for the discussion of the human rights dimensions of the 2030 Agenda and contemporary issues in human rights and social justice by bringing together students, academicians, researchers, advocates, and other experts.


  • To create a platform that promotes sensitization and awareness regarding various aspects and issues concerning human rights and social justice
  • Operationalise the commitment to Leave No One Behind (LNOB) by initiating various activities such as awareness campaigns, workshops, discussions, lectures, research, and competitions that address the intersectional experiences and the root causes of inequalities
  • To encourage and train individuals to understand and adopt a human rights-based approach to research, advocacy, and programming

Roundtable 2 - Why We Should All Be Feminists

The Department of Sociology and Social Work organised the second roundtable of this academic year on the topic – "Why we should all be feminists", on 25th February 2021. The panellists were students from various courses within the department- Ananya Sunil Nair (2PSEco), Pooja A (4PSEco), Shifa Mohammad (4PSEco), Gurneesh Arora (6PSEco) and Tina Maria Dsouza (2MSoc). Nithya R. from 4MSoc was the moderator for the event.

The session commenced at 4 PM with a welcoming note from Ahana Mukherjee, followed by an introduction to the topic and an overview of feminism by Nithya. Following this, panellist Ananya Sunil kicked off the session by discussing the history of feminism. She glossed over the four waves of feminism and ended with a note on modern-day feminism.

The influence of social media on feminism and activism was picked up by Pooja A. She spoke about how the advent of online platforms had changed the discourse relating to modern-day feminism, and how feminist issues have been combined with a broader call for social justice. She also talked about how language helps perpetuate patriarchy.

Following this, Shifa talked about the heavy stigma around feminism and busted popular myths regarding feminism. She ended her segment with a note on how these myths have created a burden for feminism, which needs to be shed in order to move forward.

Next, Gurneesh spoke about the stereotypes that are present in today’s society. She provided many facts and valuable insights and helped the audience gain a real-world picture of all the issues that plague today’s society. Finally, Tina, the final panellist, discussed the necessity of ‘intersectionality’ in feminism. Her discussion extended toward discussing how the different identities every person has influenced their lives, opinions and experiences. Moreover, she examined the privileges that different identities have over others. The session came to end at 5:30 PM, with all the panellists giving a concluding note and with a vote of thanks given by Archana. This roundtable proved to be a great success, and the audience gained well-rounded information on the topic of discussion.

Tuesday, 23 February 2021

The Development of Teaching and Research in Sociology in India

 Socius, Applied Sociology Students Collective, DSSWA organised the guest lecture ‘The Development of Teaching and Research in Sociology in India’ by Prof R S Deshpande on 23rd February 2021. Prof Desphande is the former Director of ISEC and a Rajiv Gandhi National Fellow of ICSSR. He has worked with various policy bodies of the Government of India and the Government of Karnataka. He has also been a consultant to various projects of the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and Land Equity International and was the Vice-Chairman of the WTO Cell of Karnataka.

The welcome speech and introductory note were delivered by Anshu Pal.

Dr Deshpande started out by outlining the development of sociology by the founding fathers. The depth of observations, the strength of the theory, the conceptualisation of sociological terms by early scholars are what laid the foundation for the discipline of sociology. He then shifted the focus to the trends and development of sociology in India. Prof. Deshpande is of the opinion that discussing the works of prominent sociologists in India chronologically does not reveal trends in the discipline, rather it is more important to look at the development change in the components of sociology over the years through the conceptualisation and development of concepts.

Three typologies of trends mentioned by Dr Deshpande are:

  • Through the schools of sociology
  • Through gurus - initiators and followers
  • Through conceptualisations, which would be the primary focus of his talk

British and American were the two international schools of thought. Most of the early sociology students in India, who later became early generation sociologists did their PhDs in the USA and Britain, and thus these schools had a great influence on Indian schools. This is similar to the trend seen in other disciplines in India, like economics There are three prominent Indian schools of sociology. The first is the Bombay School, which was initiated by Patrick Geddes who held a position in Sociology and Civics at Bombay University from 1919 to 1925. The second school is the Delhi School of Economics which had an amalgam of social sciences. The emphasis initially here was on villages, village economy, rural sociology. The third school is the Lucknow School started by Radhakamal Mukherjee. He had a deep interest in economics and sociology. He made attempts to bring fieldwork and empiricism into sociology, long before Srivinas did. Prof Desphande then talked about how prominent sociologists had specific methods and areas they specialised in, and often their students would be ardent followers of these methods, thereby creating a ‘cult’. He believes that colonisation, cult creation, and politicisation are present in every social science. He further discussed trends through conceptualisation, detailing them in order.

Prof Deshpande concluded by emphasising the need for Indianisation of sociology, Indianised methodologies, an understanding of Indian societies from an insider’s perspective, and the need to teach both sides of a concept - both its merits and its criticisms as well. The highly informative lecture was followed by an interesting Q&A session where attendees asked questions on the role sociology can play in policymaking and transdisciplinary and interdisciplinary trends in sociology.

The session was concluded with a Vote of Thanks delivered by Anshu Pal.

Friday, 12 February 2021

Roundtable 1 - The Social Dilemma: A discussion on the Netflic Documentary-Drama

The Department of Sociology and Social Work Association organized a Roundtable Discussion on the topic ‘The Social Dilemma- Netflix Documentary’ on 12th February 2021. The panellists were students from various courses within the department- Devraj Singh Rathore (2PSEco), Annet Rose Anthony (4PSEco), Suryaveer Singh Deora (6PSEco), Nishant Narula (6PSEco), Vidhibharat Shah (2MSoc) and Keshavi Agrawal (2MSoc).

The session commenced at 4 PM, with an opening note from the President of the Department of Sociology and Social Work Association, Aashik Matthews. Following this, the first panellist, Keshavi kickstarted the discussion by giving the audience a prelude to the topic. She also spoke about human-algorithm interaction.

Next, Devraj talked about how instant gratification has become a necessity for many today, and how social media has become a new addiction. Vidhi examined the effect of the algorithms behind social media platforms, and how they are engineered to induce users to spend more time on social media.

Nishant picked up this discussion and continued to speak more about the algorithm and the benefits it can provide as well, as the privacy vs. personalization issue. Suryaveer discussed the reasoning behind the tech giants’ motive for obtaining users’ data and attention. He further spoke about concepts like ‘monetisation of thought’. Finally, Annet gave clarity on the public sphere in the era of big data.

The session was wrapped up with a question-answer session open to the audience and ended at 5:30 PM with a vote of thanks delivered by Archana. The roundtable received positive feedback and was tagged as a success.