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Trends in Previous 5 Years and Strategy for PSIR Mains

Trends in Paper 1 Part A

  • Western Political Thought:
    • Trace the evolution of western political thought from ancient to contemporary period. [2020]
  • Plato:
    • Explain Aristotle’s critique of Plato’s Idealism. [2019]
    • ‘Plato was an enemy of the open society’. (Popper). Comment. [2015]
  • Aristotle:
    • Explain Aristotle’s critique of Plato’s Idealism. [2019]
    • Everywhere inequality is a cause of revolution’. (Aristotle). Comment. [2017]
    • Comment on Aristotle’s conception of equality. [2015]
  • Machiavelli:
    • Comment on Machiavelli on secularism. [2020]
    • Critically examine Machiavelli’s views on religion and politics. [2018]
    • Compare and contrast the views of Kautilya and Machiavelli on statecraft. [2015]
  • Thomas Hobbes and John Locke:
    • Comment on Hobbesian notion of political obligation. [2017]
    • How would I and my fellow human beings behave if we were to find ourselves in a state of nature, and what does this behaviour tell us about our innate predispositions? Thomas Hobbes. Discuss. [2016]
    • John Locke is a father of liberalism. Explain. [2018]
  • S. Mill:
    • Representative democracy…means the people as a body must be able to control the general direction of government policy. (J.S. Mill) [2020]
    • John Stuart Mill is a ‘reluctant democrat’. (CL Wayper). Comment. [2018]
  • Karl Marx:
    • Discuss Karl Marx’s concept of class. [2020]
    • Differentiate between freedom and liberty. Discuss Marx’s notion of freedom. [2017]
    • Explain Marx’s understanding of human essence and alienation. [2016]
    • Discuss the relationship between base and superstructure in Marxist theory. [2015]

 

  • Gramsci:
    • According to Gramsci, ‘hegemony is primarily based on the organisation of consent.’ Comment. [2019]
    • Comment on Gramsci’s concept of hegemony. [2016]
    • Discuss Gramsci’s notion of organic intellectuals. [2015]
  • Hannah Arendt:
    • Critically examine Hannah Arendt’s conceptual triad of labour, work and action. [2019]
    • Discuss Hannah Arendt’s analysis of the role of ideology in the modern totalitarian regime. [2016]
  • Political Theory:
    • Discuss the significance of normative approach to Political Theory. [2020]
    • Comment on resurgence of political theory. [2019]
    • Comment on the decline of Political Theory. [2018]
    • Comment on the post behavioural approach. [2016]
  • Theories of State:
    • Comment on Post Colonial theory of State. [2020]
    • Write a short note on pluralist theory of the State. [2019]
    • Critically examine the neoliberal theory of State. [2018]
    • Comment on neoliberal perspective of the State. [2017]
    • Discuss the feminist theory of the State. [2016]
    • Examine the challenges to sovereignty of the State in the contemporary world. [2015]
  • Justice:
    • Make a comparative assessment of Greek perspective of Justice and Rawlsian perspective of Justice. [2020]
    • Examine communitarian perspectives on justice. [2019]
    • Comment on distributive justice. [2018]
    • Analyse John Rawls’ justification of discrimination to achieve the goals of justice. [2018]
    • ‘Rawls’ theory of justice is both contractual and distributive’. Examine. [2017]
    • Critically examine John Rawls argument for democratic equality. [2016]
    • Comment on difference principle in the Rawls theory of justice. [2015]
  • Equality:
    • Comment on equality of opportunity. [2020]
    • Equality means fair treatment rather than equal treatment. Comment. [2018]
    • Comment on affirmative action. [2016]
  • Rights:
    • Assess the significance of right to property in political theory. [2020]
    • Discuss the doctrine of ‘rights as trump’. [2019/15m/200w/4b]
    • What do you understand by three generation of human rights? [2018]
    • What do you understand by multiculturalism? Discuss Bhikhu Parekh’s views on multiculturalism.[2017]
    • The implementation of human rights is regarded as a matter of changing the conduct of states. Comment. [2016]
    • Comment on the idea of Natural Rights. [2015]
  • Democracy:
    • Write a short note on Deliberative democracy. [2019]
    • Comment on Substantive democracy. [2018]
    • Critically examine MacPherson’s views on democracy. [2018]
    • Deliberative democracy does not have its salience without participation and Participatory democracy does not have its credence without deliberations. Comment. [2017]
    • Explicate the features of representative democracy. [2016]
    • Elaborate the difference between participatory and deliberative democracy. [2015]
  • Power:
    • Examine the nature and meaning of power. [2020]
    • Explain the relationship between power, authority and legitimacy. [2018]
    • Distinguish between power and authority. [2015]
    • Discuss the ‘crisis of legitimacy’ in capitalist societies. (Habermas). [2015]
  • Ideologies:
    • Liberalism as a revolutionary idea. [2020]
    • Compare negative and positive concepts of liberty. [2019]
    • The political ideology of Globalisation is neoliberalism. Comment. [2016]
    • Define socialism. Discuss the salient features of Fabian socialism. [2017]
    • Discuss the key features of pre-Marxist socialist theory. [2015]
    • What is the contemporary relevance of Marxism? [2019]
    • ‘Nothing against the state, nothing over it, nothing beyond it’. (Mussolini). Comment. [2018]
    • Distinguish between liberal feminism and radical feminism. [2019]
    • Comment on Ecofeminism. [2017]
    • Comment on Postmodernism. [2017]
  • End of Ideology:
    • Discuss the end of Ideology debate. [2019]
    • Write a brief note on the End of History. [2017]

Indian Political Thought

  • Ancient thought and Kautilya:
    • Explain the sources of ancient Indian Political Thought. [2020]
    • Discuss Kautilya’s views on the elements of the State. [2019]
    • What do you understand by the notion of statecraft? Discuss the theory of statecraft as given by Kautilya. [2017]
    • Compare and contrast the views of Kautilya and Machiavelli on statecraft. [2015]
  • Sri Aurobindo:
    • According to Sri Aurobindo, Swaraj is a necessary condition for India to accomplish it’s destined goal. Comment. [2017]
    • Discuss Sri Aurobindo’s views on cultural nationalism. [2016]
  • K. Gandhi:
    • Explain ideological components of Gandhism. [2020]
    • Discuss MK Gandhi’s concept of Swaraj. [2019]
    • Examine Gandhi’s critique of modernisation. [2016]
    • Comment on Gandhi’s views on the state. [2015]

 

  • R. Ambedkar:
    • Comment on Ambedkar on Constitutionalism. [2020]
    • Discuss Ambedkar’s ideas on Annihilation of Caste. [2018]
    • ‘Political democracy could not last unless social democracy lay at its base’. (BR Ambedkar). Comment. [2017]
    • Discuss Dr. BR Ambedkar’s idea of state socialism. [2016]

Sources and strategy

  • Stick to your notes and revise them repeatedly.
  • If possible make mind maps and tables for thought and theory for quick revision.
  • In case of lack of material, stick to IGNOU.
  • Answer writing key for conceptual clarity, interlinkage and scholars to quote.

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