Established in the year 1956, the Department of Sociology has been facilitating the students to study communities adopting instruction, research and extension modes from cultural anthropological and feminist perspectives and equip them with the necessary skills to tackle social issues and preserve native culture.
Teaching and research in Sociology at Gandhigram is also old as Gandhigram Rural Institute (GRI) itself. Teaching, research and extension activities by the faculty members specialized in the subject of Sociology had begun since the inception of the Institute in the year 1956. The present full-fledged Department of Sociology emerged after the conferment of the Deemed to be a University Status by UGC in the year 1976.
Since then, the Department of Sociology has been at the forefront of social science education in Gandhigram Rural Institute, offering in its early days inter-disciplinary Post Graduate Programmes of Rural Services, Rural Sociology and Panchayati Raj, Rural Sociology and currently offering M.A in Sociology and M.Phil (Development Sociology). Besides these, the Department is also offering Sociology Courses in other Departments like Political Science and Development Administration, Rural Development, Rural Technology Centre, Faculty of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry, Faculty of English and Foreign Languages and M.Tech (Renewable Energy) programme of Rural Energy Centre(REC).
The Department has been vigorously promoting sociological research through its Ph.D and PDF programmes, through its numerous research projects funded by national and international agencies and by organising several State, Regional and National Level Seminars, Workshops and Symposia focusing on marginalized communities and their empowerment.
The Department has a very active extension component and right from its genesis has been working with communities in the neighbouring villages, conducting a massive Campaign Again Female Infanticide in Tamil Nadu (CAFIT), sponsored by MHRD, GOI, and TNSAC-sponsored training programmes on Prevention and Control of HIV/AIDS for NGO Personnel.
In all these three aspects, namely, Teaching, Research and Extension, the Department’s focus is on the rural communities and the most marginalized and deprived among them. This is reflected in the courses offered, curriculum design, focus areas for research, and in the nature of its extension works. In tune with the changing times and societal needs, the thrust areas of research and teaching have been centered around Sociology of Development, Inclusive Policy Studies, Gerontology, Poverty, Media Studies and Population Studies.
In keeping with the foundational principles of GRI, the Department aspires to instill social consciousness and service mentality in the wards of the department and groom them as leaders, innovators, social entrepreneurs and academics who would effectively contribute to the overall development of their communities and village and eventually to the whole nation.