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UPSC Optional Subject Syllabus: Political Science and International Relations Notes - UPSC

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Table of contents
Paper - I
Paper - II
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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 Aurobindo, 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

  • 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.
  • Making of the Indian Constitution: Legacies of the British rule; different social and political perspectives.
  • Salient Features of the Indian ConstitutionThe 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.
  • Grassroots Democracy: Panchayati Raj and Municipal Government; significance of 73rd and 74th Amendments; Grassroot movements.
  • 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.
  • Federalism: Constitutional provisions; changing nature of centre-state relations; integrationist tendencies and regional aspirations; inter-state disputes.
  • 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.
  • Caste, Religion and Ethnicity in Indian Politics.
  • Party SystemNational 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.
  • Social Movements: Civil liberties and human rights movements; women’s movements; environmentalist movements.

Paper - II

Comparative Politics and International Relations Comparative Political Analysis and International.

Politics

  • Comparative Politics Nature and major approaches; political economy and political sociology perspectives; limitations of the comparative method. 
  • State in comparative perspective: Characteristics and changing nature of the State in capitalist and socialist economies, and,  advanced industrial and developing societies. 
  • Politics of Representation and Participation: Political parties, pressure groups and social movements in advanced industrial and developing societies. 
  • Globalisation: Responses from developed and developing societies. 
  • Approaches to the Study of International Relations: Idealist, Realist, Marxist, Functionalist and Systems theory. 
  • 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. 
  • 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. 
  • 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. 
  • United Nations: Envisaged role and actual record; specialized UN agencies-aims and functioning; need for UN reforms. 
  • Regionalisation of World Politics: EU, ASEAN, APEC, SAARC, NAFTA.
  • 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 Centres 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.
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