UNDERSTANDING POLITICAL THEORY
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Q. 1. Discuss the revival of Political theory.
Ans. Revival of Political Theory are following points:
Political Theory is not Dead: The political theory during the last several decades has declined. But the declining condition does not indicate that political theory is dead.
Incredible attachment to value conception, great apathy towards the application of scientific methods and techniques, and the predo-minance of philosophy over political theory made it considerably irrelevant in the real world.
So, we can draw a subtle distinction between declining condition of political theory and its death. Political science in general and political theory in particular was always treated as very important branch of social science.
Political science was and still is a very popular subject and is studied and taught in almost every university.
Up to the Second World War political science generally meant the study of state and different political organisations and institutions such as legislature executive, judiciary political parties pressure groups, etc.
The subject was restricted within the activities of these organisations and institutions. Political theory revolved around these traditional conceptions.
This traditional outlook considerably dwarfed the content and scope of political theory: Particularly in the field of policy-making political theory had no spectacular role to play. BPSC 101 Solved Free Assignment 2023-24
But the real scope of political theory is much broader than the one envisaged by traditional thinkers.
Commencement of Resurgence: The post-Second World War period specifically the 1950s-witnessed new directions in the development of political theory and it is observed that the War served as a dividing line between the old and the new concepts of political theory.
A large number of scholars from Europe migrated to America and many of them began serious research work on political theory and their interest did not lie in the study of political theory in traditional way.
They arrived at the conclusion that the traditional method of analysing political phenomena and theory was not adequate for new reforms or rejuvenation of political theory.
New methods are to be devised. This tendency finally laid the foundation of a new way of studying political theory.
A critic writes, “Consequently the large new generation provided the impetus for the search of a new kind of political science”.
The main resurgence was found in United States where American Political Science Association and Rockefeller Foundation played the pioneer role.
A large number of researchers gathered at various research institutes and universities of America and their painstaking efforts really enriched the empirical approach to the study of political theory leading to its resurgence.
Resurgence is Multi-faceted Pluralism: The Resurgence in Political Theory that took place after the Second World War assumed various shapes and manifestations and the present space cannot comprise them all.
Some may be briefly stated. One such manifestation is pluralism. Pluralism wants to emphasise that in any society there are numerous individuals who cherish different tastes, interests and values. IGNOU BPSC 101 Solved Free Assignment
Pluralism has a clear liberal lineage.The state or authority cannot impose any decision upon the people against their wishes.
In any liberal society or pluralist society there can exist number of institutions and organisations to cater the interests and values of individuals.
After the 1950s, states of Europe and America could not ignore the variety of individuals’ interests.
Political scientists also wanted to propound the doctrine that there might be conflict among individuals so far as their tastes and interests are concerned.
But that does not create an atmosphere of animosity or long drawn struggle as Marx and his followers assumed. That is, pluralism proceeded to prove that pluralist society is much better than a regimented one.
Pluralism further assumes that there is no need of class struggle or revolution for establishment of an ordered society.
Pluralist society is endowed with certain self- regulating mechanisms which have enough ability to put society into order.
Q. 2. Explain what is state.
Ans. There are various forms of the state which are different from one another in important ways. The Greek city-state is clearly different from the modern nation state, which has dominated world politics since the French Revolution.
In the study of politics, there is the explanation of what is meant by those terms. The main objective is to discuss how each form distinguishes itself from the other and the significance of such distinction.
State: Differences on Account of Political Insti-tutions/Social Context
There are differences in states in terms of their political institutions and in terms of the social context within which they are situated and which they try to maintain.
The liberal-democratic state is characterized by representative institutions such as a parliament and an independent judiciary, the leader control the fascist state.
The state is therefore, differently structured and operates in a social framework of a very different kind. IGNOU BPSC 101 Solved Free Assignment
The state is not the same as the government. In fact, it is a complex of various elements of which the government is only one.
Ralph Miliband’s Views on State: Ralph Miliband talks about the different elements which together constitute the state in his book ‘The State in Capitalist Society.
First one is the government and the second is the administrative element, the civil service or the bureaucracy which is supposed to be neutral.
In the list, the third is the military and the police, the ‘order- maintaining’ or the repressive arm of the state and the fourth is the judiciary. The fifth one is the local government.
These units have considerable independence from the central government in some federal systems which control their own sphere of power, where the government is constitutionally debarred from interfering.
The final and the sixth element is the representative assemblies and the parliament in the British system. IGNOU BPSC 101 Solved Free Assignment
The political parties also perform role in the representative assembly that, at least partly, the competitive fight between the government and the opposition is enacted.
Various Forms of State: There are various forms of state. It is interplay of various factors like religion, kinship, war, property, political consciousness and technological advances.
The various forms in the process of historical evolution of state are: Tribal State, Oriental Empire, Greek City State, Roman World Empire, Feudal State and the Modern Nation State.
In the year 1648, the Modern Nation state arose after the Treaty of Westphalia was signed which led to emergence of territorial state consolidating political authority within a particular territory excluding domestic from external.
The liberal and Marxist perspectives dominates the modern concept of state and the liberal perspective is dynamic as it has changed with time depending on interests and needs of individuals and the society.
According to the Marxist notion, the liberal idea of state is rejected calling the state as an instrument of class and seeks to establish a classless and stateless society through the proletarian revolution.IGNOU BPSC 101 Solved Free Assignment
Q. 3. Write a note on modern Liberalism/Welfarism.
Ans. There was a new change in society after the problems mentioned above. The problem was the uprising of the working class.
The rising working-class examined the classical liberalism and its core argument to support negative liberty, i.e. laissez- faire market.
Laissez-faire individualism uplifted the capitalist economy and hence the working class was not given its due share. This gave birth to a new form of liberalism came up i.e., Modern Liberalism, also known as welfarism.
The modern liberalism thinkers believed that the government has to remove hindrances that stand in the way of individual freedom.
T.H.Green was the main promoter of this statement who believed that excessive power of government might have constituted the greatest obstacle to freedom in an earlier era, but by the middle of the 19th century these powers had been greatly reduced or mitigated.IGNOU BPSC 101 Solved Free Assignment
The other obstacles were poverty, disease, discrimination and ignorance that could be overcome only with positive (positive liberty) assistance of government.
The ides of positive liberty was introduced by John Stuart Mill (1806-73) and consequently the transition from negative to positive liberalism.
Mill began with a defense of laissez-faire individualism but understood its weaknesses in the light of the new socio-economic realities and proceeded to modify it. He was on a lookout for an area where state intervention could be justified.
He drew a difference between two types of actions of men: ‘self-regarding actions’ whose effect was confined to the individual himself and the ‘other-regarding actions’ which affected others.
Mill made an effort to define a sphere where an individual’s behaviour could be regulated in the interests of the community.
Thus, he examined a positive role for the state in securing social welfare even if it meant curbing liberty of the individual to some extent.
Mill also gave a sound theory of taxation and pleaded for the limitation of the right of inheritance and stressed on state provision of education.
T.H. Green (1836-82), L.T. Hobhouse (1864-1929) and H.J. Laski (1893-1950) after Mill, developed the positive concept of liberty.
Green suggested a theory of rights and stressed on the positive role of the state in creating conditions under which men could effectively exercise their moral freedom.
Hobhouse and Laski promoted that private property was not an absolute right and that the state must fix the welfare of the people – no matter if it is constrained to curtail the economic liberty of the privileged few.
An important element of negative liberty was positive liberty that complemented each other. IGNOU BPSC 101 Solved Free Assignment
There are many contemporary liberal thinkers, known as Libertarians, which have sought to lay renewed stress on negative liberty.
Some of the prominent ones are Isaiah Berlin (1909-97), F. A. Hayek (1899-1992), Milton Friedman (1912-2006) and Robert Nozick (1938-2002).
A form of social liberalism emerged from the late 19th century onwards which looked more favourably on welfare reform and economic management and became the characteristic theme of modern or twentieth-century liberalism.
John Stuart Mill best describes the view besides those of Kant, Green and Hobhouse. The modern liberalism establishes an affirmative relationship between liberty (especially, the positive variant) and human progress in a very different manner.
According to the modern liberals, the man is a ‘progressive being’ with unlimited potential for self-development and one which does not jeopardize a similar potential in others.
There is a more sympathetic attitude of modern liberalism towards the state known as welfarism. IGNOU BPSC 101 Solved Free Assignment
The First World War interrupted the process of modern liberalism or welfarism as the destruction was massive but the positive outcome was the overturning of four of Europe’s great imperial dynasties – Germany, Austria, Hungary, Russia and Ottoman Turkey-into liberal democracies.
Europe was reshaped by the Treaty of Versailles on the basis of the principle of self determination, which in practice meant the breakup of imperialists in nationally homogeneous states.
After that, the League of Nations was created in the hope of preventing wars and settling international disputes in a peaceful manner but these steps could not put a stop to the future wars.
There are many occasions such as harsh peace terms imposed by victorious Allies, Great Depression, Nazi uprising and Soviet Communism that threatened liberalism because during the postwar period, the old rhetoric Sharing the Wealth gave way to a concentration on growth rates as liberals inspired by the British economist J. M.
Keynes’ policy – wanted the government to borrow, tax, and spend not only merely to counter contractions of the business cycle, but to encourage the expansion of economy.
Therefore, a further development of social welfare programme occurred in liberal democracies during the postwar decades.
There were many modern welfare state practices that began in Britain and America which provided not only usual forms of social insurance but also pensions, unemployment benefits, subsidized medical care, family allowances and government-funded higher education.
Asia and Africa also adopted the liberal democratic model that emerged from the dissolution of the British and French colonial empires in the 1950s and early 60s.
The western model was taken over by many new nations believing that these model and institutions would lead to the same freedom and prosperity that had been achieved in Europe. The outcome of the same was mixed.
Q. 4. What do you understand by Dictatorship of the Proletariat? Elaborate.
Ans. The dictatorship of the proletariat is the outcome of the proletariat revolution. It is also known as the socialist state created by the bourgeois to suppress the proletariat. IGNOU BPSC 101 Solved Free Assignment
The stage is now opposite and the proletariat will use the state apparatus against the bourgeois.
The bourgeois will try to stage a counter revolution to restore the old system and so the coercive institutions of the state are needed to restrain the bourgeois.
The main instrument of oppression is the state. The dominant class to oppress the dependent class has created the state. It is a class instrument.
The interest of the creator is taken care of by its state which is the property owning class. This class has always been in a minority whether it is the masters or the feudal lords or the capitalists.
The minority has therefore oppressed the majority viz., the slaves or the peasants or the proletariat through the coercive organs of the state.
The state is under the control of the majority under the dictatorship of the proletariat. The coercive apparatus of the state is used by the majority against the minority.
Marx believed that all states have been dictatorships and so the socialist state is not an exception. It is also a dictatorship. The state has always been used by one class to suppress the other class. IGNOU BPSC 101 Solved Free Assignment
The proletariat class will use the coercive organs of the state such as the army, the police, prison, judicial system, etc., against the bourgeois class in the socialist state.
Marx proclaimed that if democracy means the rule of the majority then the proletariat state is the most democratic state, because for the first time in the annals of history, power comes into the hands of the majority which was in the hands of the minority before the proletariat state.
Therefore, if the rule is the majority, then only the proletariat state can be called a democratic state.
Q. 5. What is Conservatism? Explain with reference to the views of Michal Oakshot.
Ans. For Oakeshott, conservatism is not a credo, a body of principles, or an ideology. It is disposition to enjoy what is available rather than to look for something else.
Let innovation be within the limits of knowledge and probability, for people really seldom know what they are doing.IGNOU BPSC 101 Solved Free Assignment
Innovation under gradualism is the procedure of the conservative; the innovator must prove there will be some benefit; innovation should resemble growth; it should be aimed at a specific defect to be cured; it should be slow enough in pace for one to observe consequences and make adjustments; and finally innovation is important and it should be limited to what is intended.
Rules and their stability are important, and apparently they may be adopted in the sense of a premeditated goal.
For the conservative, government is limited in that it provides general rules of conduct or regulation, and people are permitted the enjoyment of making their own choices.
Government should not be an instrument to inflame the passions of men; rather it must strive for moderation – not because moderation is a virtue or a truth about men – but because, pragmati-cally speaking, moderation is essential if men are to escape being locked in an encounter of mutual frustration.
Government moderation provides for us the skepticism for which we do not have the time or inclination.IGNOU BPSC 101 Solved Free Assignment
While Oakeshott affirms the function of a moral ideal, he does not, as Burke did, affirm its truth. He is an Englishman because he is an Englishman, and that is that.
Thus, in education the tradition is passed on-not the text which tells how to do something technical, but the language of inquiry and explanation which we get from what some of us has called “the Great Tradition.”
Many comments on education run through the essays, and they suggest, indeed, that the author is not the sophisticated atheist that he sometimes intimates he might be (e.g., on p. 197 he associates religious rites and magical spells in rather a loose manner).
The educated man is thus more than a manipulator of tools; he is one who understands them and appreciates their stubborn resistance to change.
Whether or not the tradition is true, Oakeshott believes, I think that we should be initiated into the moral and intellectual habits and the achievements of our society, a partnership between the past and the present, and we should share such concrete knowledge as we may have.IGNOU BPSC 101 Solved Free Assignment
“Habit” is perhaps the word for the author, who, like Duns Scotus, might say that knowledge is in the will rather than in a Thomistic intelligence.
But Oakeshott has much in his favour when he shows his preference for traditional British education.
His study of Hobbes is no doubt the most brilliant of the essays in the volume, but the most lucid, most damning, and most compelling is the final one, “The Study of Politics in a University.”
From this, it would seem that the British universities are beginning to drift into the superficiality of behaviorism and into the non-intellectualism of vocational training in political activity.
Political Science becomes ideology; it is problem-solving outside of habit or tradition; its professors write the cookbooks for the young men who are wasting their lives in the bureaucracy.
The rationalists produce “cribs” or “ponies” for those who think politics is easy, like Isocrates at the end of Aristotle’s Politics. No doubt, both England and America must start over their university teaching of politics.
Q. 6. Write a note on Ecological Feminism.
Ans. Ecological feminism is the branch of feminism that examines the connections between women and nature. Its name was coined by French feminist Françoise d’Eaubonne in 1974.IGNOU BPSC 101 Solved Free Assignment
Eco-feminism uses the basic feminist tenets of equality between genders, a revaluing of non-patriarchal or nonlinear structures, and a view of the world that respects organic processes, holistic connections, and the merits of intuition and collabo-ration.
To these notions eco-feminism adds both a commitment to the environment and an awareness of the associations made between women and nature.
Specifically, this philosophy emphasizes the ways both nature and women are treated by patriarchal (or male-centred) society.
Eco-feminists examine the effect of gender categories in order to demonstrate the ways in which social norms exert unjust dominance over women and nature.
The philosophy also contends that those norms lead to an incomplete view of the world, and its practitioners advocate an alternative worldview that values the earth as sacred, recognizes humanity’s dependency on the natural world, and embraces all life as valuable.IGNOU BPSC 101 Solved Free Assignment
Q. 7. Examine Jacques Derrida’s views on Post-modernism.
Ans. Derrida gave a new turn to post-modernity and, then, there came post-structuralism.
In a long series of extremely demounting books published since the middles of 1960s, Derrida has developed his own particular poststructuralist blend of philosophy, linguistics and literary analysis.
It goes by the name of deconstruction. In our day-to-day life we talk about so many things.
When a shocking crime takes place, we often link it with the politicians of our region. Crime has been politicized. And, then, we often talk about the corruption, which has plagued our bureaucracy.
When we happen to read some of the fictions of Shobha Dey, we conclude that this lady is an incurable pornography writer.
In these and a thousand other ways, we are used to talking about things as though they have an essential meaning or root cause. Derrida denies it.
The postmodern thought tends to reject the idea of things having a single, basic meaning. There is no single reason, there are reasons.
Post-modernity embraces fragmentation, conflict and discontinuity in matters of history, identity and culture. IGNOU BPSC 101 Solved Free Assignment
It is suspicious of any attempt to provide all-embracing, total theories. And, it rejects the view that any cultural phenomenon can be explained as the effect of one objectively existing, fundamental cause.
Derrida’s central theoretical concern is with deconstruction. In deconstruction, Derrida tries to dig out the meaning of meaning.
A text, for instance, Mahabharata gives a meaning to us: We should fight, if injustice is done to us.
This meaning is not the only meaning of the text. There could be several other meanings of Mahabharata. Pandavas were very keen to build their own empire.
They were imperialists and the demand for justice was only an excuse. Readers could provide several other meanings to the battle of Mahabharatas.
The structuralists look for the conditions, which allow texts to be meaningful, and it shares their interest in the relationships between language and thought.
Derrida, in his deconstruction theory, is interested to find out how the meanings of texts can be plural and unstable than in fixing them to a rigid structure.
Q. 8. Distinguish between procedural and sustentative democracy.
Ans. Procedural democracy is a democracy in which the people or citizens of the state have less influence than in traditional liberal democracies.
This type of democracy is characterized by voters choosing to elect representatives in free elections. IGNOU BPSC 101 Solved Free Assignment
Procedural democracy assumes that the electoral process is at the core of the authority placed in elected officials and ensures that all procedures of elections are duly complied with (or at least appear so).
It could be described as a republic (i.e., people voting for representatives) wherein only the basic structures and institutions are in place.
Commonly, the previously elected representatives use electoral procedures to maintain themselves in power against the common wish of the people (to some varying extent), thus thwarting the establishment of a full-fledged democracy.
Procedural democracy is quite different from substantive democracy, which is manifested by equal participation of all groups in society in the political process.
Certain southern African countries such as Namibia, Angola, and Mozambique, where procedural elections are conducted through international assistance, are possible examples of procedural democracies.
Substantive democracy is a form of democracy in which the outcome of elections is representative of the people. IGNOU BPSC 101 Solved Free Assignment
In other words, substantive democracy is a form of democracy that functions in the interest of the governed.
Although a country may allow all citizens of age to vote, this characteristic does not necessarily qualify it as a substantive democracy.
In a substantive democracy, the general population plays a real role in carrying out its political affairs, i.e., the state is not merely set up as a democracy but it functions as one as well.
This type of democracy can also be referred to as a functional democracy. There is no good example of an objectively substantive democracy.
The opposite of a substantive democracy is a formal democracy, which is where the relevant forms of democracy exist but are not actually managed democratically.
The former Soviet Union can be characterized in as such, since its constitution was essentially democratic but in actuality the state was managed by a bureaucratic élite.
Procedural democracy is a democracy in which the people or citizens of the state have less influence than in traditional.
This type of democracy is characterized by voters choosing to elect representatives in free elections. IGNOU BPSC 101 Solved Free Assignment
Substantive democracy is a form of democracy in which the outcome of elections is representative of the people. In other words, substantive democracy is a form of democracy that functions in the interest of the governed.
Although a country may allow all citizens of age to vote, this characteristic does not necessarily qualify it as a substantive democracy.
Q. 9. Examine the issue of representation in democracy.
Ans. In democracy, the representative is the govern-ments as they are elected. The government works for the interest of the people if elections are freely contested and if participation is widespread and if citizens enjoy political liberties.
Representation refers to the process by which political power and influence which the entire citizenry or a part of it might have upon actions of the government with their express or implied approval and is exercised on its behalf by a small number among them with a binding effect upon the whole community thus represented.
A representative government is a government which means ‘the whole people’, or some numerous portion of it. IGNOU BPSC 101 Solved Free Assignment
The function of this government is to control the power through deputies periodically elected by the people themselves.
According to J.S. Mill, ‘the people must possess this ultimate power completely and they must be masters of all the operations of government’.
There are five important principles of representation in a liberal democracy as follows:
. The ultimate power is in the hands of the people (the popular sovereignty principle).
. There are very few who enjoys this power on behalf of the many (the deputation principle).
. There are periodic elections to elect the deputies; or representatives.
. The decisions taken by these deputies have a binding effect on the community (the governance principle).IGNOU BPSC 101 Solved Free Assignment
The people are the ultimate masters and remain the final judge of performance of the government and their deputies (the accoun-tability principle).
There are many things done by the representatives and sanctioned by convention, the expectations of voters, personal convictions and the fact that they are ‘leaders’.
The interest of the citizens and the representation are in conflict most of the time.
In this situation, government represents varying interests:
A government is representative if it works on the best available knowledge and if individuals are sufficiently well instructed so that each of them or the average one is more likely than not to reach the correct decision, this knowledge is disclosed by the verdict of the majority of voters.
The government can constitute the interest of the individual.The government can depict the collective interest of the people which is better off under the centralized decision than they would have been had they all pursued individual interests.
People are constrained for their own good and the government is representative in such situations when it pursues the collective interest.
A government is representative when the structure of interests is such that any course of action puts individuals in conflict situation. The government works in the best interest of a majority.IGNOU BPSC 101 Solved Free Assignment
Q. 10. What are the limits of a representative democracy? Elaborate.
Ans. Representative democracy is a limited and indirect form of democracy. The limited aspect of democracy is in the sense that participation in government is infrequent and brief, being restricted to the act of voting every few years.
The indirect part of the democracy believes that the public does not exercise power by itself, but selects those who will rule on its behalf.
This form of rule is democratic only as far as representation establishes a reliable and effective link between the government and the governed.
For a representative democracy to work, there are several conditions that have to be met. IGNOU BPSC 101 Solved Free Assignment
First, there has to be an opportunity for genuine competition in the selection of leadership (if people think that elections are rigged, or pre-determined, there can be no meaningfully honest competition).
Second, there has to be free communication, both among the people and in the press. IGNOU BPSC 101 Solved Free Assignment
Third, voters have to believe that a meaningful choice exists between candidates and that differences in policy are honestly reflected in each.
The degree to which these three factors are present go a long way to determining the effectiveness of a representative democracy.