DETAILS OF POL SCIENCE OPTIONAL
Political science and International relations is a very popular optional subject among the list of optionals provided by the UPSC for the Mains exam. Many toppers found it extremely comfortable to take this subject as their optional as there are many advantages to the polotical Science subject.
Section A: Political Theory
- “An Introduction to Political Theory” by O.P Gauba.7TH EDITION, Mayur Publication
- “Political Theory: An Introduction” by Rajeev Bhargava and Ashok Acharya, 2nd edition, Pearson.
- “A History of Political Thought: Plato to Marx” by Subrata Mukherjee and Sushila Ramaswamy.
- “Western Political Thought: From Socrates to the age of Ideology” by Brian. R. Nelson.
- IGNOU BOOKLET MPSE-004 Social and Political Thought in Modern India
- “Modern Indian Political Thought: Text and Context” by Bidyut Chakrabarty and Rajendra Kumar Pandey.
- “Politics” by Andrew Heywood.
- “Political Theory: An Introduction” by Andrew Heywood.
- “Key Concepts in Politics” by Andrew Heywood.
- “Political Ideologies: An Introduction” by Andrew Heywood.
- “Western Political Thought: From Plato to Marx” by Shefali Jha.
- “Indian Political Thought: Themes and Thinkers” by M. P. Singh and Himanshu Roy.
Section B: Indian Government and Politics
- “India’s Struggle for Independence” by Bipin Chandra.
- “Introduction to the Constitution of India” by Dr Durga Das Basu.
- “Indian Government and Politics” by A.S.Narang, Geetanjali Publication
- “The Oxford Companion to Politics in India” by Niraja Gopal Jayal and Pratap Bhanu Mehta.
- “Politics in India” by Rajni Kothari.
- “Our Parliament: An Introduction to Parliament of India” by Subhash C. Kashyap.
- “Our Constitution: An Introduction to India’s Constitution and Constitutional Law” by Subhash C. Kashyap.
Section A: Comparative Politics and International Relations
- “The Globalization of World Politics: An Introduction to International Relations” by John Baylis, Steve Smith and Patricia Owens.
- “Global Politics” by Andrew Heywood.
- “Theories of Comparative Politics: The Search for a Paradigm Reconsidered” by Ronald H. Chilcote.
- IGNOU notes on Comparative Politics.
- “Theories of International Relations” by Palgrave publications.
- “The Oxford Handbook of International Relations” by Christian Reus-Smit and Duncan Snidal.
- “Understanding International Relations” by Chris Brown and Kirsten Ainley.
- “Introduction to International Relations: Theories and Approaches” by Georg Sorenson and Robert Jackson.
Section B: India and the World
- Indian Foreign Policy: An Overview by Harsh Pant
- International Relations- Mcgraw Hill education
- “IDSA website should be followed for articles.
- MEA website should be regularly followed for updates and articles.
- IR editorials should be followed in The Hindu and TheIndian Express.
Political Theory and Indian Politics
1. Political theory meaning and approaches
2. Theories of the state: Liberal, Neoliberal, Marxist, Pluralist, 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, S r i 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 ; millitant 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.
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 Comission 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; liberalilzation 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 Movements: Civil liberties and human rights movements; women's movements; environmentalist movements
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 globalisation.
7. Changing International Political Order:
a. Rise of super powers; strategic and ideological Bipolarity, arms race and Cold War; nuclear threat;
b. Non-al igned 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, SAARC, 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; 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 crisis in Afghanistan, Iraq and West Asia, growing relations with US and Israel; vision of a new world order.
POLITICAL SCIENCE Optional pros
- Overlap with General Studies (GS) -Political science has a good overlap with the general studies papers, especially GS Paper II. This overlap is true for both the prelims and the mains exams.
- Help in current affairs coverage - Many topics in this optional are related to current affairs, especially in Paper II of this optional subject. As such, this will definitely help in your current affairs preparation. Conversely, this subject has a contemporary nature and so, answers can be embellished by quoting examples and anecdotes from the daily newspaper reading as well.
- No background in subject needed - Another advantage of political science is that this is not a very technical subject. Hence, a candidate need not have any prior knowledge or experience in this subject. It can be read and understood if you access the right books and online sources. So, anyone with an interest in the subject can take it up.
- Help in the UPSC interview - A knowledge about polity and international relations will also comprehensively help in the UPSC interview. This is because of the strong linkage of polity and IR with current affairs. An understanding of political theories will also help candidates present their views better and in a more convincing manner.
POLITICAL SCIENCE Optional Cons
No doubt, there are very many advantages of political science optional. But, there could be a few difficulties also, especially if candidates do not think through before selecting this optional. Political science has a lot of theory-based concepts. This means the answers should be presented in a very crisp manner.