Rural Sociology: Scientific Study of Rural Society

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The term ‘Rural Sociology’ refers to the scientific examination of Rural Society. Essentially, it involves the systematic exploration of Rural Society, encompassing its institutions, activities, interactions, and social change. It delves into not only the social connections of individuals in rural settings but also considers urban settings for comparative analysis. In this way, Rural Sociology primarily focuses on describing and analyzing the different types of groups that exist in rural environments. As a scientific discipline, Rural Sociology concentrates on every aspect of rural lifestyles, including customs, demographics, and interactions with urban populations.

This particular branch of sociology focuses on the impact of rural society on the global stage, mainly with regards to economics and social theory. Numerous rural areas are valuable hubs of resources, which occasionally encounter distinctive obstacles arising from technological advancements, infrastructure developments, and agricultural enterprises. Scholars in the field of rural sociology frequently strive to highlight the contrasts between rural and urban lifestyles, as well as the shared social problems experienced by both population groups.

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The first textbook on sociology was published by J.N Gillette in 1916. According to D. Sanderson, rural sociology pertains to the study of rural life within the rural environment (Sanderson, D.: rural sociology and social organization, p. 10). F. Stuart Chapin defines rural sociology as the study of the rural population, rural social organization, and the social processes at work in rural society (Chaplin, F. Stuart: social structure in rural society, p. 7).

From the aforementioned definitions, it is evident that rural sociology focuses on understanding the social interactions, institutions, activities, and changes that occur within rural society. It examines the structure, setup, and social organizations of rural communities and provides comprehensive knowledge about rural social phenomena.

The question of whether sociology qualifies as a science with its own subject matter sparks much debate. Science is commonly defined as an organized body of knowledge or a synthesized collection thereof. If we employ the scientific method to gather facts in any given field, it can be regarded as a science, regardless of the subject matter. The scientific method entails systematic observation, classification, and interpretation of data. Rural sociology is believed to adhere to this scientific method.

Rural Sociology utilizes scientific methods, including observation, interviews, case studies, schedules, and questionnaires. The initial step in these methods involves data collection through observation, followed by data classification and the presentation of results based on accepted data. The validity of these results is then verified.

Rural Sociology revolves around conducting empirical research to examine the social relationships and activities within rural areas. Its methodology is based on scientific investigation of factual information, as well as the exploration of overarching principles and theories that explain these phenomena.

The laws and principles of Rural Sociology are universally applicable, consistently yielding the same outcomes regardless of time or location. An illustration of this is the correlation between family disorganization and social disorganization, which holds true universally.

The principles of Rural Sociology remain true and valid when tested repeatedly. Their accuracy can be assessed by anyone. For instance, one can analyze the law that a rise in divorce rates signifies the acceleration of family disorganization. These principles are accessible for examination by anyone, in any location.

Similar to Sociology, Rural Sociology also recognizes a cause-and-effect connection between different phenomena. In contemporary society, divorce rates rise as a result of family disorganization. Likewise, the expansion of the population brings about an upsurge in poverty and unemployment within rural communities. These instances demonstrate that family disorganization and population growth serve as causes, while divorce, poverty, and unemployment emerge as their effects.

Rural sociology can make predictions about social relationships, activities, and incidents based on cause-effect relationships. For instance, it can anticipate the number of divorces and other outcomes if there is a significant increase in family disorganization. By understanding cause and effect, rural sociology can determine the future based on the present.

Based on the conditions mentioned above, rural sociology is considered to be a scientific field. However, there are factors that restrict the scientific nature of this subject. Many objections have been raised by sociologists against considering Rural Sociology as a science.

Rural Sociology is a recently established branch of Sociology that has its unique subject matter and methodology. Its scope encompasses the study of various groups in the rural environment, as described and analyzed by Lawry and Nelson.

Rural Sociology, commonly known as the sociology of Rural Society, primarily focuses on the study of rural social life. Like the sun is the center of the solar system, Rural Society takes center stage in Rural Sociology. Its main purpose is to examine the nature and fundamental components of Rural Society from both a structural and functional perspective. This encompasses analyzing the behavior patterns, social interactions, relationship network, standard of living, and socio-economic conditions of rural individuals. Hence, the scope of Rural Sociology widens as the boundaries of Rural Society expand.

The study of rural population is the fundamental focus of Rural Sociology, examining various aspects such as nature, characteristics, size, density, and distribution. The objective of Rural Sociology is to investigate the factors influencing population growth, the negative impacts on Rural Society, as well as rural-urban migration for the benefit of the entire country.

Rural community is the oldest organization of mankind. Rural Sociology, therefore, primarily focuses on the divine origin, nature characteristics, social attributes, and human ecology of rural community. Additionally, it explores the homogeneous rigid and conservative nature of existing customs, traditions, folkways, mores, norms, values and similar aspects in rural community.

Social organization is the foundation of society and social life, making it the primary focus of Rural Sociology. Its main purpose is to offer essential insights into rural social organization, encompassing aspects such as spiritual lives, religious activities, sacred relationships, and the divine concepts of rebirth, Karmaphala, etc.

When we talk about rural social institutions, we are referring to established ways of governing relationships among people in rural areas. Rural sociology examines the structure, characteristics, and roles of these institutions. Examples of rural social institutions are family, marriage, kinship, religion, and caste. Rural Sociology evaluates the sociological significance of these institutions within rural communities.

Rural economy, also referred to as agricultural economy, relies heavily on agriculture for the livelihood of rural people. Rural Sociology studies the causes of agricultural failure and proposes ways to enhance agriculture in rural areas. This includes the adoption of advanced agricultural technology, modernization of traditional farming methods, establishment of open markets, and agricultural training for farmers. These aspects form an essential part of studying Rural Society.

Rural Sociology primarily examines the two processes involved in rural social interaction: conjunctive and disjunctive. Conjunctive processes in rural areas encompass cooperation, accommodation, and assimilation. Conversely, disjunctive processes consist of competition and conflict. Therefore, Rural Sociology focuses on understanding the nature, characteristics, and social significance of these processes.

Rural Society is principally centered around religion, as it is considered the core element of rural life. Consequently, religion plays a crucial role in Rural Society. In this context, Rural Sociology examines the concept and societal significance of rural religion and its influence on Rural Society.

Culture, in the sense we understand it, encompasses a wide range of elements such as knowledge, belief, moral law, art, custom, and other abilities acquired by individuals within a society. In the rural setting, culture is characterized by strict adherence to rigid and conservative dogmas, and is largely unchanging. It comprises of ancient customs, traditions, folkways, mores, norms, values, and similar aspects. Rural Sociology examines the intricacies of rural culture, including its various structural organizations, cultural patterns, traits, and the phenomenon of cultural lag within rural contexts.

Rural Society is commonly referred to as a breeding ground for numerous social issues. These issues encompass poverty, unemployment, population growth, illiteracy, castes, and untouchability. Rural Sociology focuses on examining the causes and negative consequences of these problems, as well as proposing solutions for their elimination in order to benefit the entire country.

Social control refers to society’s control over individuals, which is more formal and rigid in rural societies. The field of rural sociology focuses on studying the informal means and agencies of social control, such as religions, customs, folkways, mores, and norms. In rural societies, primary groups like family and neighbors play a significant role in social control.

Social change refers to alterations in social organization, specifically in the structure and functions of society. In the present era, Rural Society is experiencing significant transformations, primarily due to the influence of modernizing forces driven by financial aspects. These changes occurring in the twentieth century are quite remarkable. To better understand the pace at which social change is happening in Rural Society, Rural Sociology takes necessary measures. Furthermore, Rural Sociology examines the different factors responsible for social changes in a systematic manner.

Rural planning and reconstruction are crucial for underdeveloped societies, particularly in Indian rural society which suffers from poverty and backwardness. There are numerous social problems that afflict rural communities, and the state as well as the central government should intervene with systematic and planned initiatives to eradicate these issues and improve rural life. A.R. Desai emphasizes that Rural Sociology provides guidance in addressing these subjects. The scope of Rural Sociology is extensive, as it covers various aspects of rural society and life. Despite being a young and progressive science, it extensively studies the different facets of rural society and life.

The significance of rural sociology can be accurately assessed when it understands the significance of rural society. Rural society portrays a scientific representation of rural life. Villages hold importance as they provide necessary resources for urban areas.

The majority of the world population resides in villages, with two-thirds still living in rural areas. Developing nations have an even higher proportion of rural population to total population. It is widely acknowledged that villages are essential components of the entire world. Throughout history, many social thinkers, planners, and bureaucrats have recognized the importance of rural life and society. As a result, Rural Sociology plays a crucial role in studying the largest portion of the global population and holds a significant position within the social sciences.

Villages are the foundation of human civilization and culture. When villages modernize, they can grow into cities or towns. However, when a city or town is ruined, it does not become a village. Therefore, villages are the origin of our culture. Additionally, the population of villages is the primary source of urban life and the workforce of the country. The true essence of a person can be witnessed in villages, not in towns.

The ecological factors greatly shape the ways of living and cultural patterns of man. Land, water, plants, and atmosphere are the main components of ecology, and they have a significant impact on social life. Rural Sociology plays a crucial role in investigating and analyzing this interdependence, making it of vital importance.

Rural progress and reconstruction depend on people’s understanding of rural life and problems. Rural sociology explores rural psychology and helps comprehend rural society.

Rural sociology’s main objective is the reformation of rural areas. This field of study supports various endeavors that contribute to this goal.

  • Organization: Village unit which are dis-organized and can be organized through rural sociology. It improved in the co-ordination of various units and helps in bringing an improvement in economic, social and health conditions.
  • Economic Betterment: Through detailed study of village problems and observation rural sociology gives stress on the importance of increasing the quantity and quality of production. This results in to raising the standard of living.
  • Provide Technology and Systematic Knowledge and reforms in Farm Production: Main occupation of 80% population of village is agriculture. In order to improving this main occupation of rural people. The earlier researches in rural sociology were made in agricultural college.
  • Solutions of Pathological Social Problems: Rural sociology examines the social pathological problems and it suggests ways for the improving these problem.
  • Education: The improvement t, the development of any community depends on its education. Rural sociology lays stress on education in rural problems.
  • Planning for Development: Rural sociology encourages the development of various plans for any rural development program. The work must be carried out according to these plans for the progress in rural society. The practical value of the study of rural sociology is widely recognized today. As long as the villages and the rural society assume importance, the rural sociology shall continue to acquire importance.

The primary investigative techniques employed by rural sociology include:

  • Questionnair
  • Schedule
  • Interview
  • Participant observation
  • Social survey
  • Social research
  • Statistical method
  1. Questionnaire: In social research the questionnaire is used comprehensively. In the questionnaire method, as is evident from the name, a list of such questions is compiled, which throw light upon the different aspects of the problem. Usually the questions are accompanied by ‘yes’ and ‘no’ as their answers and the information has to reject the wrong answer. The questionnaire method is the most popular method in the rural social research.
  2. Schedule: The schedule method resembles the questionnaire to some extent, inasmuch as it, too, requires a list of questions, the answers to which supply the data. But these questions are taken by the observer to the informant and filled by the observer himself. Usually, this method is made use of only in a limited sphere. It involves more time, energy and money. This method archives greater minuteness in detail.
  3. Interview: In the interview method, evidently enough, the observer faces the information and questions him across the table, nothing done the information which the questions elicit. This certainly does elicit much useful information. Actually, much of the success of the interviews depends upon his individual ability.
  4. Participant observation: As is evident by the name, in the participant observation method, the observer participates with the people whom he is observing. This gives him opportunity to come into direct contact with the people who are to provide him with his information and obtain much useful information. This method finds an uninhibited use in many anthropological studies.
  5. Social survey: The word survey means to oversee or to look over. Social survey is intended to be study of the social aspect of a community’s composition and activities. It aims at the collection of quantitative facts. It presents programmers for improvement and development.
  6. Social research: Another important method of rural study is social research. Social research is the discovery of new truths about society. It is a systematic method of discovering new facts or verifying old facts, their sequences, inter-relationship, causal explanations and natural laws, in this way social research or investigation discovers new facts about social activities, social circumstances, social assumptions, social groups, social values, social institutions etc. it locates those natural laws which stimulate different phenomena in social life.

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Rural Sociology: Scientific Study of Rural Society. (2016, Jun 14). Retrieved from

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