This collection reflects Andre Beteille's long career in teaching and research in a single institutional setting as a scholar of sociology. With a new introduction, two new essays and a new appendix, the second edition emphasizes that sociology as an intellectual discipline should be concernedmore directly with the present than the past. Both the new essays complement the existing chapters in the book. Writing about sociology and current affairs in Chapter 2, Beteille makes a distinction between 'immediate-return' and 'delayed-return' research. Chapter 5 focuses on the important questionof difference between the study of one's own society and the study of other cultures. The new appendix includes a conversation between the author and Surendra Munshi on a variety of themes. Together, the two appendices in the book reiterate the author's conviction that the study of one's own societygains from the insights derived from the study of other societies.