Rural sociology is a new branch of sociology and or recent origin. Though studies on rural sociology were carried out earlier also, they increased in the middle of the 19th century, when due to modernizing forces the face of the rural society underwent drastic reformation. The prominent scholars engaged in rural sociology during this period were-Sir Henry Maine, Etton, Stemann, Innes, Baden Powell, Lewinski, Slater, Pallock etc.
The period, 1890-1920, in America is known as “exploiter period” during which rural societies faced many socio-economic problems, arresting the attention of intelligentsia and, thus, establishing study of rural society as an academic discipline. The appointment of ‘Country Life Commission’ by Theodore Roosevelt (1907) was the important landmark in the history of rural sociology. In 1916, J.N. Gillettee published the first text book on rural sociology.
The Second World War caused heavy destructions and damage to human society which needed reconstruction, especially in the USA. It also got encouragement from the world bodies like UNO, and its agencies like FAO, WHO, UNESCO etc.
In India, the importance of rural sociology gained recognition after independence. The majority of India’s population lived in rural areas and hence the importance of its study. The first systematic study of rural India was done by D.N. Majumdar which was followed by other by N.K. Bose, S.C. Dubey, and M.N. Srinivas. The government of India introduced several schemes for the development for rural India through the Planning Commission.