40 ní counting: JNUís Centre for Social Systems celebrates 40 years

The Centre for the Study of Social Systems (CSSS) in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) is celebrating 40 years of its establishment.

The Centre was set up in 1971, five years after JNU was established following the enactment of the JNU Act, 1966.

A three-day international conference on the topic "Sociology Matters" is being held on the campus to mark the occasion. At least 250 participants, including alumni from across the world, will be speaking at the conference scheduled to begin on December 18.

Professor Maitrayee Chaudhuri, who has been teaching at the centre for the past 23 years, said: "In contemporary India, there has been a certain undermining of sociological studies due to an increased interest in technology and scientific education. This is a discursive discipline and academicians tend to work in their own space. It is time to convey to the people that sociology has come of age."

She said sociology should not be seen as a "service provider". "We do not provide solutions to problems. We help to understand and communicate problems, and our solutions are not based on power equations," she said.

Chaudhuri said Indian scholars have begun to get more visibility abroad and the western dominance in the field of sociology was not absolute anymore.

Professor Anand Kumar, who teaches political sociology at the centre, said, "At a time when management, technology and globalisation are taking over our lives, it is essential to emphasise the science of society."

He said the centre, over the past 40 years, has produced not just academicians but also bureaucrats, media persons and businessmen as well.

Students believe that the centre has been able to make a mark in the country and elsewhere because of the inclusive culture of JNU in general and at the centre in particular.

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