Political Science and International Relations Optional

Political Science and International Relations Optional



Political Theory and Indian Politics :

1. Political Theory: meaning and approaches.

2. Theories of state : Liberal, Neo-liberal, Marxist, Pluiralist, post-colonial and Feminist.

3. Justice : Conceptions of justice with special reference to Rawl’s theory of justice and its communitarian critiques.

4. Equality : Social, political and economic; relationship between equality and freedom; Affirmative action.

5. Rights : Meaning and theories; different kinds of rights; Concept of Human Rights.

6. Democracy : Classical and contemporary theories; different models of democracy—representative, participatory and deliberative.

7. Concept of power : hegemony, ideology and legitimacy.

8. Political Ideologies : Liberalism, Socialism, Marxism, Fascism, Gandhism and Feminism.

9. Indian Political Thought: Dharamshastra, Arthashastra and Buddhist Traditions; Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, Sri Aurobindo, M. K. Gandhi, B. R. Ambedkar, M. N. Roy.

10. Western Political Thought : Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, John S. Mill, Marx, Gramsci, Hannah Arendt.

Indian Government and Politics

1. Indian Nationalism :

(a) Political Strategies of India’s Freedom Struggle : Constitutionalism to mass Satyagraha, Non-cooperation, Civil Disobedience; Militant and Revolutionary Movements, Peasant and Workers Movements.

(b) 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.


(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 behaviour; changing socio-economic profile of Legislators.

11. Social Movement : Civil liberties and human rights movements; women’s movements; environmentalist movements.


Comparative Politics and International Relations Comparative Political Analysis and International Politics :

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; Transational actors and collective security; World capitalist economy and globalisation.

7. Changing International Political Order : (a) Rise of super powers; Strategic and ideological Bipolarity, arms race and cold war; Nuclear threat; (b) Non-aligned Movement : Aims and achievements. (c) 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; Globalisation of the world economy.

9. United Nations : Envisaged role and actual record; Specialized UN agencies—aims and functioning; need for UN reforms.

10. Regionalisation of World Politics : EU, ASEAN, APEC, AARC, NAFTA. 11. Contemporary Global Concerns : Democracy, human rights, environment, gender justice terrorism, nuclear proliferation.

India and the World

1. Indian Foreign Policy : Determinants of foreign policy; the institutions of policy-making; Continuity and change.

2. India’s Contribution to the Non-Alignment Movement Different phases; Current role.

3. India and South Asia : (a) Regional Co-operation : SAARC-past performance and future prospects. (b) South Asia as a Free Trade Area. (c) India’s “Look East” policy. (d) Impediments to regional co-operation : River water disputes; illegal cross border migration; Ethnic conflicts and insurgencies; Border disputes.

4. India and the Global South : Relations with Africa and Latin America; Leadership role in the demand for NIEO and WTO negotiations.

5. India and the Global Centres of Power : USA, EU, Japan, China and Russia.

6. India and the UN System: Role in UN Peace-keeping; Demand for Permanent Seat in the Security Council.

7. India and the Nuclear Question : Changing perceptions and policy. 8. Recent developments in Indian Foreign Policy : India’s position on the recent crises in Afghanistan, Iraq and West Asia, growing relations with US and Isreal; Vision of a new world order.

How to prepare for political science and international relations for IAS?

Political science and international relations as an optional subject is the best choice. A wide variety of study material is available on it. So you can simply go through whole material to grasp the basic knowledge of the syllabus. Also, there is a significant overlapping of this subject with the general studies paper. Given below are few tips that can be used by candidates during the preparation of this optional subject.

1.         Understanding the syllabus is one of the foremost things to be done in advance before starting the preparation. After which start your preparation in a systematic manner. Have a glimpse at various definitions of different thinkers and authors and develop a link with various topics and chapters which can be later used while writing answers for the final exam.  Also, do a general reading of the text of different topics in order to have a conceptual understanding and clarity of the topic. This will enhance your knowledge about the subject and will definitely help in better preparation for the final exam.

2.         While preparing a student refers to various books and study material but a few days before the exam it’s not possible to study the entire book. So for easy understanding, a student should do note-making wherein all concepts and other fundamentals of the syllabus are integrated at the same place. All diagrams, figures, definitions, examples, and other various important things are compiled in a single place without many explanations and providing a clear understanding of the topic. This will help in last-minute preparation. It will be beneficial for revision and a better understanding of the concepts and develop the basic knowledge of the subject.

3.         In compulsory questions, while writing long answers provide an introduction to the answer. The introduction can include a general explanation of the question asked and followed by a definition of the authors or thinkers or simply explaining the basics of the question asked. This gives an impression to the examiner that the student has conceptual clarity of the question. It will help to fetch good marks. Also in the end a conclusion can also be provided. The conclusion should summarize the entire answer in a few lines while providing a positive note for the question which has been asked.

4.         While writing answer use a language which is easy to understand and simple though maintain the essence of the answer and don’t deviate from the question. Make use of your rich vocabulary and eye-catching phrases, other important quotes of famous authors. These will give an idea to the examiner that candidates have high knowledge of various things. Also, focus your answer with regard to the question asked in the paper. Use diagrams and examples to explain the answers this will help you to fetch more marks. Also always start yours with some famous quotes or lines. The beginning of the answer should be the best and follow it with other relevant information.

The questions asked should be answered with a positive note or it can be a visionary note. Answers should include enough explanations without leaving any important aspect of the answer left unanswered. In addition to this many of the students know the answer during the time of the exam. But still are not able to score good marks in the exam. This is because they don’t answer the questions in a proper manner due to which marks are deducted. So to score good marks, it’s better to answer each question and present it in a proper manner.

5.         The best thing to do during preparation is to be relaxed and prepare with peace of mind. Being panic and stressed will not help in scoring good marks. If you prepare with stress and panic then it will hinder your preparation and you may tend to lose marks in the exam. Drink as much water as you can during the exam to cool down and try to keep your mind at peace. So it’s better to stay calm and relaxed and prepare without any kind of stress. This will boost your score and result in better marks in the exam.

6.         Practicing past year paper is one of the most vital factors involved in the preparation. If you practice past year papers then you can an idea of what exactly has been asked in the previous exam. And about what are the important topics through which most of the questions arise in the exam. This helps to plan your preparation in a better way and study properly. If you are well versed with previous exam papers then you get an insight about what is most important from the exam point of view and accordingly you can solve and practice questions for the final examination

7.         Most of the students are unable to manage the time during the exam. This happens because many times a candidate spends a lot of time thinking about an answer to particular questions and this leads to a lot of wastage of time. Instead of this, one needs to specify and allocate proper time to each and every question. It will help to finish the paper on time. Also, time management is important to avoid any last-minute errors or mistakes. When less time is left and there are more questions left to be answered then many times a candidate marks a wrong answer even if he/she knows the correct answer.

8.         It is very important to thoroughly study the whole syllabus twice and thrice. And then keep on revising it as many times as possible. Revision helps to absorb the things in a better way. It helps to keep the whole of the syllabus in our brain for a longer duration. If a student keeps on learning and doesn’t revise what he has studied then he tends to forget the thing on the day of the exam. This is because what he/studies didn’t ever get registered in his brain.