Political science is a form of science; also a branch of philosophy that deals with the detailed study and analysis of political aspects of a country. Right from the political behavior to the way governance is held and conducted, policy-making and decisions, systematic consolidation of power, etc., it provides the complete knowledge about the political fabrication in both theoretical and practical aspects.
Political Science deals with
- Detailed study of political values
- Analysis of politically inclined institutions.
- Systematic study of principles in politics.
- Policies with respect to governance and power.
- Authority and rules governing politics of a nation.
- Constitutional laws and amendments.
Political Science Mains Syllabus (Paper I)
Political Theory and Indian Politics
- Political Theory: meaning and approaches.
- Theories of the State: Liberal, Neoliberal, Marxist, Pluralist, Post-colonial and feminist.
- Justice: Conceptions of justice with special reference to Rawl’s theory of justice and its communitarian critiques.
- Equality: Social, political and economic; relationship between equality and freedom; Affirmative action.
- Rights: Meaning and theories; different kinds of rights; concept of Human Rights.
- Democracy: Classical and contemporary theories; different models of democracy – representative, participatory and deliberative.
- Concept of power, hegemony, ideology and legitimacy.
- Political Ideologies: Liberalism, Socialism, Marxism, Fascism, Gandhism and Feminism.
- Indian Political Thought: Dharamshastra, Arthashastra and Buddhist traditions; Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, Sri Aurobin, M.K. Gandhi, B.R. Ambedkar, M.N. Roy.
- Western Political Thought: Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, John S. Mill, Marx, Gramsci, Hannah Arendt.
Indian Government and Politics
1. Indian Nationalism: Political Strategies of India’s Freedom Struggle: Constitutionalism to mass Satyagraha, Non-cooperation, Civil Disobedience; Militant and revolutionary movements, Peasant and workers’ movements.
Perspectives on Indian National Movement: Liberal, Socialist and Marxist; Radical humanist and Dalit.
2. Making of the Indian Constitution: Legacies of the British rule; different social and political perspectives.
3. Salient Features of the Indian Constitution: The Preamble, Fundamental Rights and Duties, Directive Principles; Parliamentary System and Amendment Procedures; Judicial Review and Basic Structure doctrine.
4. (a) Principal Organs of the Union Government: Envisaged role and actual working of the Executive, Legislature and Supreme Court.
(b) Principal Organs of the State Government: Envisaged role and actual working of the Executive, Legislature and High Courts.
5. Grassroots Democracy: Panchayati Raj and Municipal Government; significance of 73rd and 74th Amendments; Grassroot movements.
6. Statutory Institutions/Commissions: Election Commission, Comptroller and Auditor General, Finance Commission, Union Public Service Commission, National Commission for Scheduled Castes, National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, National Commission for Women; National Human Rights Commission, National Commission for Minorities, National Backward Classes Commission.
7. Federalism: Constitutional provisions; changing nature of centre-state relations; integrationist tendencies and regional aspirations; inter-state disputes.
8. Planning and Economic Development : Nehruvian and Gandhian perspectives; role of planning and public sector; Green Revolution, land reforms and agrarian relations; liberalization and economic reforms.
9. Caste, Religion and Ethnicity in Indian Politics.
10. Party System: National and regional political parties, ideological and social bases of parties; patterns of coalition politics; Pressure groups, trends in electoral behavior; changing socio- economic profile of Legislators.
11. Social Movements: Civil liberties and human rights movements; women’s movements; environmentalist movements.
Aspirants targeting UPSC 2020, may check the linked article.
Political Science Mains Syllabus (Paper II)
Comparative Politics and International Relations
1. Comparative Politics: Nature and major approaches; political economy and political sociology perspectives; limitations of the comparative method.
2. State in comparative perspective: Characteristics and changing nature of the State in capitalist and socialist economies, and, advanced industrial and developing societies.
3. Politics of Representation and Participation: Political parties, pressure groups and social movements in advanced industrial and developing societies.
4. Globalisation: Responses from developed and developing societies.
5. Approaches to the Study of International Relations: Idealist, Realist, Marxist, Functionalist and Systems theory.
6. Key concepts in International Relations: National interest, Security and power; Balance of power and deterrence; Transnational actors and collective security; World capitalist economy and globalization.
7. Changing International Political Order:
Rise of super powers; strategic and ideological Bipolarity, arms race and Cold War; nuclear threat;
Non-aligned movement: Aims and achievements;
Collapse of the Soviet Union; Unipolarity and American hegemony; relevance of non-alignment in the contemporary world.
8. Evolution of the International Economic System: From Brettonwoods to WTO; Socialist economies and the CMEA (Council for Mutual Economic Assistance); Third World demand for new international economic order; Globalization of the world economy.
9. United Nations: Envisaged role and actual record; specialized UN agencies-aims and functioning; need for UN reforms.
10. Regionalization of World Politics: EU, ASEAN, APEC, SAARC, NAFTA.
11. Contemporary Global Concerns: Democracy, human rights, environment, gender justice, terrorism, nuclear proliferation.
India and the World
- Indian Foreign Policy: Determinants of foreign policy; institutions of policy-making; continuity and change.
- India’s Contribution to the Non-Alignment Movement: Different phases; current role.
- India and South Asia:
Regional Co-operation: SAARC – past performance and future prospects.
South Asia as a Free Trade Area.
India’s “Look East” policy.
Impediments to regional co-operation: river water disputes; illegal cross-border migration; ethnic conflicts and insurgencies; border disputes.
- India and the Global South: Relations with Africa and Latin America; leadership role in the demand for NIEO and WTO negotiations.
- India and the Global Centers of Power: USA, EU, Japan, China and Russia.
- India and the UN System: Role in UN Peace-keeping; demand for Permanent Seat in the Security Council.
- India and the Nuclear Question: Changing perceptions and policy.
- Recent developments in Indian Foreign policy: India’s position on the recent crisis in Afghanistan, Iraq and West Asia, growing relations with US and Israel; vision of a new world order.
Also, Check Other Optional Subject’s Syllabus
Preparation Tips for Political Science
- Reading two newspapers every day is a must.
- Quotes from politicians and major anecdotes to be remembered without fail.
- Make detailed notes about political analysis given by famous political thinkers like Plato, Karl Marx, Aristotle, etc. Include contemporary names too.
- Every great political thinker has his views, ideologies, approach, and theory. Make sure to study each one of them systematically and elaborately. This is a crucial part of your preparation.
- Judicial terms associated with the subject are supportive elements and do not form the core of political science. Do not stand misguided here. Your detailed understanding of these terms to political science is a major asset, and hence, you should focus on them too.
- Concepts tend to overlap at many places, identify the difference and similarities amongst such related terms.
- List various political ideologies in a tabular column. It’ll be easy to remember and compare.
- List out similarities and dissimilarities between related terminologies. Without visual study tools, you’ll get confused in the core part of the subject.
- Create as many charts possible for a thorough understanding of the subject.
- Apart from daily newspapers, going through and analysing related government websites is a sure shot help in the exam paper.
- Major political events and their relevant dates to be noted down correctly and memorized without fail.
- You could also get many important points for your answers by following major political debates on news channels.
Good books for reference
- NCERT books a must.
- Indian Polity by Laxmikanth.
- Introduction to political theory by O P Gauba
- Politics in India by Rajni Kothari.
- India’s foreign policy by V P Dutt.
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