IAS Mains Political Science 2020 Topic-wise Important Questions

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Political Theory: Meaning and Approaches

  1. What is the nature of crisis in pol theory? Suggest remedies.

  2. Examine the pace of obligation in political theory.

  3. Examine nature and limits of rights of resistance & revolution recognized in modern pol theory.

  4. Relevance of contextualist approach to study of pol theory

  5. Normative vs empirical debate in pol theory

  6. Changing analytical perception in pol theory

  7. How far & in what respect behaviorism improvement upon traditional approach. Assess post behaviorism

  8. Pol theory definition by Sabine

  9. Marxist approach for study of pol theory with pol science in recent years

  10. What is meant by behavioural approach to politics? Is it a fool-proof approach? How far is it correct to say that the behavioural approach to political analysis appeared in order to counteracts the Marxist approach?

  11. Political Theory is, quite simply, man’s attempt to consciously understand and solve the problems of his group life and organization. It is the disciplined investigation of political problems. Not only to show what a political practice is, but also to show what it means. In showing what a practice means, or what it ought to mean, political theory can alter what it is (Sabine).

  12. Behaviouralism is a subtle defense of status quo

  13. Behaviouralism has revolutionized political science.

  14. Behavioural and post- behavioral – is it correct to call them evolution? Substantiate.

  15. Post-behaviour stands for both an intellectual tendency & a concrete academic ovement — Eastern David. Comment

  16. Normative Behavioural approach to study political science.

  17. Nature and scope of Pol Sc. & examine to what extent it can be considered as science or only as teaching for successful acquisition & exercise of power.

  18. “Behaviouralism has revolutionised Political Science”. Comment (200 Words)

  19. Traditional Approach and its significance. Comment (200 Words)

Theories of the State: Liberal, Neo-Liberal, Marxist, Pluralist, Post-Colonial and Feminist

  1. Attempt critique to right to resist the state & bring out place of revolution in democratic state.

  2. “The individual has but one right; the right of equal freedom with everybody else & state has but one duty, duty of protecting that right against fraud & violence” Comment.

  3. Critically examine Marxist theory of state w.r.t dictatorship of proletariat.

  4. Examine critically pluralist argument against theory of sovereignty

  5. Discuss the Marxist Approach to the study of politics with particular reference to the development of Political Science as a discipline in recent years. (300 Words)

  6. Discuss the feminist perspective on the State. (300 Words)

Justice: Conceptions

  1. Freedom, justice & good government need not necessity be identified with rule of majority. Critically assess

  2. Social justice is not reconcilable with right to property. Comment

  3. Critically analyze state of theory of liberalism with special reference to its concepts of liberty, democracy and justice


  1. Comment on productive forces and production relations.(200 words)

  2. Marx turns Hegel upside down. Comment on the basis of what Marx appropriates from Hegel and what difference Marx has with Hegel.(200 words)


  1. Critically analyze Plato’s theory of justice ?(200 words)

  2. Explain Plato’s communism and compare it with modern communism ?(200 words)

  3. Most Plato interpreters through the ages have been seduced by his greatness. They have taken his political philosophy as a benign idyll, without taking into account its dangerous tendencies toward totalitarian ideology. Comment. (200 words)

  4. Popper’s critique of Plato is based on the notion that the idea portrayed in the Republic makes him an enemy of the open society. Do you disagree? (200 words)

  5. Explain the conception of Justice in Plato’s republic. (200 words)

Indian Political Thought

  1. Analyze M.N. Roy’s ideational journey from Marxism to Radical Humanism. (300 Words)

  2. “The true source of right is duty. If we all discharge our duties, rights will not be far to seek.” (M. K. Gandhi ) Comment (300 Words)

  3. Critically analyse Sri. Aurobindo’s views on nationalism. (300 Words)

Equality: Social, Political and Economic

  1. Elucidate the concept of Liberty and Equality and examine the view that the two cannot be reconciled in modern state. (300 Words)

  2. Discuss the evolution of the theories of human rights from natural rights to collective and environmental rights. (300 Words)

Western Political

  1. “Machiavelli’s political philosophy was narrowly local and narrowly dated.” (Sabine). Comment. (300 Words)

  2. “The sole end for which mankind is warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number is self-protection.” (J. S. Mill) comment. (300 Words)

  3. Discuss the evolution of the theories of human rights from natural rights to collective and environmental rights. (300 Words)

  4. “Western thought one might say has been either Platonic or anti-Platonic but hardly ever non-platonic.” (Popper). Comment. (300 Words)

  5. “Mill was the prophet of empty liberty and an abstract individual.” Comment (300 Words)

  6. “Hobbes starts as an individualist but ends as an absolutist”. Comment (300 Words)

  7. ” The reason why men enter into civil society is the preservation of their property.” ( Locke ) Comment (300 Words)

  8. Critically analyze the role or Pressure groups in the advanced industrial societies.(300 Words)

Indian Nationalism or Salient Features of the Indian Constitutions

  1. Discuss the nature of Peasants Movements during the Indian freedom struggle.(300 Words)

  2. Do you agree with the view that Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles of state policy constitute the ‘Core and Conscience of the Indian Constitution.? Comment on the emerging trends in their relationship. (300 Words)

Political Theory: State in Comparative Perspective

  1. Do you think that neo-colonialism or economic colonialism is one of the major reasons for the underdevelopment of third world countries? Substantiate. (300 Words)

  2. What do you mean by an economic system? Differentiate between the capitalist and the socialist economies. Will it be correct to say that modern economic systems are neither purely capitalist nor socialist in their functioning? (300 Words)

  3. Discuss the importance of Systems Theory in modern political analysis. (300 Words)

  4. What do you mean by an interdisciplinary approach to Political Science? (200 words)

  5. Research should be more relevant to society and Intellectuals have a positive role to play in a society. Comment on this on the background of post behavioral revolution. (200 words)

  6. Post behavioralism is a near hysterical response to political frustrations engendered by the disconcerting and shocking events of the late sixties and early seventies. Comment. (200 words)


  1. Comment on the idea of good represented by Aristotle. How is this different from the Platonic notion of good espoused through the theory of forms? (200 words)

  2. The idea of Polis is central to Aristotle’s interpretation of man as a political animal. Comment. (200 words)

  3. How is Aristotle’s defense of slavery in Greek Society consistent with his ideals of democracy? (200 words)

Political Theory-Meaning and Approaches

  1. Charles Taylor called humans ‘self interpreting animals’. For Gadamer,’ interpretation is the distinctive human mode of being’.

  2. Make sense of the above statements in the light of Political theory and the need for it. (300 words)

  3. Deep down, political theories are ideologies. And therefore, political theory is an intellectual passion of the elites. Discuss. (300 words)

  4. There is a widespread belief that all evaluations are subjective. This makes political theory impossible. Discuss. (200 words)

  5. In the 1950’s political philosophy was deemed dead. The 1960’s witnessed a revival of political theory. Discuss the reasons behind this revival leading to the blurring of theory and philosophy. (200 words)

  6. The revived political theory differs in a number of respects from its earlier manifestations. Explain. (200 words)

  7. Conventional political theory has been shaken by the emergence of an antifoundational list critique that challenges the rationalism that has been lying at the heart of political theory. Comment. (200 words)

  8. Comment on the notions of

    1. Falsification (150 words)

    2. ‘Paradigm’ in the works of Thomas Kuhn (150 words)

  9. Is political science a ‘science’? How do you think is the discipline of political science different from natural sciences. (200 words)

  10. Differentiate between normative and empirical political theory. (200 words/UPSC- 2012)


  1. Explain the radical view of power in Steven Lukes. (200 words)

  2. How do you relate the Marxist conception of exploitation to Steven Lukes’ conception of power. (200 words)

  3. Knowledge is power. Comment. (200 words)

  4. How does Foucault’s conception of power as productive and capillary differ from earlier forms of power both as repressive and ‘power to’, in the sense in which Arendt and Talcott Parsons’ used the term. (200 words)

  5. Politics is a concept driven by power. Comment. (200 words)

  6. Explain the notion of Power in Marx and Weber (UPSC 2011/ 200 words)


  1. Erosion of authority can pave way for totalitarian rule. Comment. (200 words)

  2. What is authority? How is ‘authority’ in a conservative tradition different from the liberal idea of authority? (200 words)


  1. Discuss the idea of legitimate power. How does the concept of hegemony complicate the notion of legitimacy? (200 words)

  2. How would you relate the feminist conceptualization of patriarchy to the concept of hegemony? (200 words)

  3. Explain the difference between hegemony and domination in Gramsci. (UPSC 2013/200 words)


  1. Comment on

    1. Legitimation crisis in the works of Jurgen Habermas (150 words)

    2. David held’s conception of Legitimacy. (150 words)

  2. Explain the relation between constitutionalism and legitimacy in liberal democracies. (200 words)


  1. Does Fukuyama’s End of History thesis celebrate an end of ideology? Critically analyse. (200 words)

  2. Explain the conception of ideology in the writings of Karl Marx. (200 words)

  3. Comment on false consciousness in Marxist thought. (200 words)

  4. Human societies secrete ideology as the very element and atmosphere indispensable to their historical respiration and life. (Althusser). Comment. (200 words)


  1. In western political thought, liberty and equality will always be in an eternal tension. Comment. (300 words)

  2. Differentiate between equality of welfare and equality of opportunity. (200 words)

  3. Explain the idea of complex equality proposed by Michael Walzer. (200 words)

  4. For Ronald Dworkin’s, Equality is the sovereign virtue. Comment. (200 words)

  5. Explain in 200 words

    1. equality of resources

    2. equality of capabilities

  6. Is there a conception of equality in Marxist thought. Explain. (200 words)

Indian Government and Politics- Planning and Economic Development

  1. Explain the following: (300 words)

    1. Gandhian perspective of development

    2. Neharuvian perspective of development

  2. Explain the idea of “collapse of the Indian state” in the works of Atul Kohli. (200 words)

  3. Passive revolution, conceived by Gramsci, is an important category to explain Indian Politics. Comment. (200 words)

  4. Do you agree with the idea that the Indian state is a neoliberal state. Substantiate. (200 words)

  5. Do you agree the Planning Commission has lost its relevance post liberalization? Substantiate. (200 words)

Indian Government and Politics- Party System

  1. Analyse the changing socio economic profile of the legislators post independence. Or Do you agree there has been a democratisation of the indian parliament since independence. Explain. (300 Words).

  2. Analyse the pattern of coalition politics in India in the last two decades.(200 words)

  3. What have been the recent trends in electoral behavior in India since 1990’s? (200 words)

  4. What are Pressure groups? How do they work?. Explain by giving an example relevant to the Indian context. (200 words)

  5. Explain “the congress system in India” in the writing of Rajni Kothari. (200 words)


  1. Examine the major debates in contemporary democratic theory. ( 250 words)

  2. Explain how deliberative democracy tries to improve the functioning of liberal democracies. ( 250 words)

Political Culture

  1. Do you agree that political culture of a society is highly significant aspect of the political system ? ( 250 words)

  2. Explain the causes of revival of political culture approach since the 1990s. ( 250 words )