The department of Sociology and Development Studies at IIT Indore was founded in January 2013 with the objective of conducting research and teaching on the problems of social transformation and change in the modern world. The focus of this department is on the analysis and critique of global inequalities, based on the premise that sociology of development can only be taught and analyzed from an interdisciplinary perspective.
The study programs and research activities of this department focus on the integration of social, political, historical, cultural and economic approaches to developmental issues and to global and regional disparities. The core thematic concerns of this department include questions of inclusive national development, the everyday problems of the marginalized social groups and the developmental challenges faced by people in the global South. It also provides training and research skills to undergraduate and PhD students to understand and explore the theoretical and practical dimensions of different developmental issues such as poverty reduction, sustainable natural resource governance and conflict prevention. Along with these goals, the departmental teaching and research also focuses on social change and transformation of norms and values, and new forms of socio-political and economic structures that have emerged in South Asia in the 21st century.
Such studies are geographically limited due to an overall absence of good quality research 'institutions of national importance' in the Malwa region of Madhya Pradesh (except IIT Indore) and specific absence of dedicated institutions that studies water sciences. The studies are thematically limited due to the confinement of water research into the domain of civil and environmental engineering, which has led to the redressal of water scarcity and river governance only partially.