Download IGNOU BPSC 134 Solved Free Assignment 2023-24

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BPSC 134


IGNOU BPSC 134 Solved Free Assignment

BPSC 134 Solved Free Assignment July 2023 & January 2024

Assignment i

Q. 1. Critically examine the role of international organisations and multilateralism in world politics.

Ans. One of the most significant developments that happened and which has deeply influenced the international relations at the end of the Cold War is the growth of multilateralism.

It refers to alliance of multiple countries and their agreement to work together in order to gain common goals or to address common issues.

Multilateralism helps the countries to take membership or to form an alliance at equal footage without any discrimination in any form. It is therefore opposite to unilateralism in that sense.

Though the institutions like United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), General Agreement on Trade and Tariff (GATT) were the main form of multilateralism during Cold War era and did play an important role in diffusing the Cold War tensions, the real essence of multilateralism could be seen in the post-Cold War era.

Other developments are the formal establishment of WTO to institutionalise international trade relations, conclusion of many free trade agreements, such as NAFTA, which saw free flow of goods, services, human resources between the member countries, formation of new groupings and mechanisms like the BRICS, Shanghai Cooperation Organization, formation of other economic initiatives and trade corridors and infrastructural developments and connectivity like the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) are the examples of growth in multilateralism at trade, political and security levels.

The bipolarity of the Cold War had ensured stability and smooth functioning of the international system.

Bipolarity led to the modification of international sets of standards and order by the agreements between the two super powers.

Bipolarity had formed a scenario where powerful state could influence the behaviour of comparatively weaker states.

On the other hand, unipolarity explains how the most powerful state could influence the behaviour of other states (with or without their approval).

Revitalised Approach towards International Organisations

There were many international organisations during the Cold War period. The organizations like the UN, World Bank, IMF, etc. were a victim of the Cold War as their functioning was hindered by the interests and perceptions of the two super powers who tried to use them to advance their own ideological and strategic objectives.

They were viewed as the proponents of the ideologies of their Cold War allies and were used as tools to influence the foreign and domestic policies of developing countries.

Understanding the role of these organisations were to understand their nature and growth in international relations.

The end of Cold War has changed the mindset of how nations would understand the working, nature and role of these organisations.

The stress is on the levels and patterns of interactions between the actors including state and the non-state international organisations.

The growth of new international regimes, structures, rules of behaviour, etc. have become more important than looking at them from the ideological prisms.

Q. 2. Explain the basic tenets of Feminism in international relations.

Ans. The women in Europe challenged the social, economic and political role given to them and emphasizing that these roles are not natural. The society has restricted the women to household work and men to economic and political spheres.

The central themes in feminism are public and private divide; patriarchy; sex and gender; and equality and difference.

Feminists opined that there is an artificial and unnatural public and private divide where public is restricted to men and women take care of private sphere.

Politics like political parties and government fall in the realm of public life – dominated by men.

Feminists stressed on private life such as family and relationships are also a part of political sphere.

Feminists requires the breaking down of public and private spheres that will transfer responsibilities to the state and seek provision of generous welfare to women and support programmes.

Feminists have attacked patriarchal nature of society that lets the male head of the family to decide the rules for women as they cannot have her own choice. Feminists further stated on the sex and gender classification.

Sex is a biological difference between a male and a female whereas gender is a social construct which means that the role of a man and woman is governed by the society.

Lastly, there is difference; there are feminists who say that women need to celebrate their difference.

They stressed that women need not be ‘male identified’. Rather they can enjoy womanhood and celebrate their different traits of being caring, warm, protective and child-bearing.

IR has largely talked about causes of war and conflict, development of international law and diplomacy, and global expansion of trade and commerce.

But the important missing factor is that they have not talked of people. The dominant theories have not included the women in the domestic and international politics.

Realism stressed on power and struggle and believed that male are the participants in foreign policy decision-making.

Feminists accuse IR to be gender blind as it does not include women’s voice and opinions.

State’s policy is controlled on the factor of export earnings, financial matters and comparative labour costs.

But state has not stressed much on delivery of social services, provision of full employment, alleviation of poverty and removal of social inequalities.

But women have confronted these challenges and worked hard to make their voice heard.

Assignment ii

Q. 1. Discuss characteristics of various types of powers in the international system.

Ans. There are two types of power i.e., ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ which are used by the great power to influence the behaviour of other states.

Hard Power: Hard power is when the country uses the military and economic means as an influence on the behaviour or interests of other political bodies. It is a form of political power which is often aggressive that is it uses coercion.

It is most immediately effective when imposed by one political body upon another of lesser military and/or economic power.

Hard power is often linked with possession of some specific tangible resources, such as population, territory, natural resources, economic and military strength and many others.

It is a time-effective method as generating hard power requires much less time because its resources are tangible.

Hard Power would always be ineffective when there is a deadlock between two nations or if both are holding equal status in the world Usage of hard power generally aggravates the problem as it results in an eye for an eye.

Hard power requires much more resources and financial capacity to be used, thus it does not work for weaker states.

Soft Power: Soft power is defined as the ability to attract and co-opt, instead of coercing, shaping the preferences of others through appeal and attraction.

Soft power is defined as the ability to attract and co-opt, instead of coercing, shaping the preferences of others through appeal and attraction.

It is a persuasive form of power that is derived from attraction and emulation. It is grounded on intangible resources like tourism, culture, and heritage. It is the ability to get what one wants without coercion.

The importance and relevance of soft power are growing as more of humanity becomes connected.

This enhanced presence everywhere on the globe has the potential to generate a surge of global opinion. Soft power is used in complex situations and helps a nation to achieve difficult outcomes.

On the basis of the capability of the state to influence other states, a power can be categorized as global, regional or sub- regional power.

Global Power: This type of power exerts its influence at a global level and is also called as ‘great’ power. The power has both the ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ powers to influence other states in their domestic as well as foreign policy decisions.

Paul Kennedy (1987) opined that great power is dependent upon the political environment of that period and that power can be measured in terms of the power of other states.

The resources availability, economic strength and military ability for a sustained campaign are some of the features of the great power.

Kenneth Waltz opined that with the help of mutual understanding, the states decide on who are the ‘great’ powers of a period (Waltz 1979, 131).

Martin Wight in his opined that a ‘great’ power has the ability to create, define and monopolise the international conflict. Wight said that the ‘dominant’ power does not deny the existence of other powers in the international system.

According to Kenneth Waltz, the five essential requirements to be a ‘great’ power are: state’s popula-tion and territory and availability of resources and resource mobilization and economic output and power and political stability and military strength and outreach.

If any of these elements is absent, it can make a state a power but not a great power.

Regional Power: A regional power possesses the similar features as that of great power but is restricted to a particular region and plays a very dominant role in determining the issues of the region, guiding the economic activities of states, playing a vital role in the intra-regional trade and security, etc.

A regional power would also have an important role on the cultural aspects of other states and will have all the ‘soft’ power qualities.

Therefore, the basic characteristics of a regional power are the economic indicators such as the major share in regional GDP and per capita income and per capita production and per capita expenditure and regional trade.

The regional power also plays a crucial role of a cultural hegemon in the sense that its own culture, media, social relations, outlook, music and movies can play a dominant role in socio-cultural aspects of other states in the region.

Therefore, its own diaspora plays a crucial role at socio-cultural levels and also as a pressure group at political level.

Sub-regional Power: A sub-regional power can affect the neighbouring countries and at a relatively smaller regional level and also in determining the sub-regional issues.

The power can also guide its neighbours in their foreign policy options, dominates the trade and investments, posses much larger military strength and enjoys relatively better political environment.

The sub-regional power aims to be an important player at regional level and look towards becoming a regional player. These powers at the various levels work towards retaining and improving their position.

The regional power also aims to be a global power and a sub-regional power aims at achieving the position of a regional power.

The position of these powers at various levels is dependent upon the political and other environments of that particular period.

Q. 2. Critique of modernisation theory.

Ans. Modernization theory is an outlook that the less developed countries can acquire development with the help of accelerating economic growth and replacing the traditional values and socio-political and economic systems with that of the developed countries.

Modernization theory is equal to the development with mass industrialization, a higher level of economic growth, and the liberal democratic values.

Walt Whitman Rostow, an American economist and political theorist set forth the best known modernization theory.

He opined that all countries have to undergo four stages of economic development for achieving the status of a developed country. These are:

The first stage is the ‘traditional’ stage, in which people do not support the work ethic and save little money and believed that the economic backwardness is part of their fate.

At this stage, people do not think much about changing their living standard so that very little social change takes place at this stage.

The second stage is the ‘take-off” stage in which less developed countries think about changing their future and discard traditional values.

Because of these reasons, people start to save and invest money, promote competitions that lead to achievements and economic growth can be seen at this stage.

The third stage sees the country improves its technology and form new industries and moves toward technological maturity.

This stage also saw the changes in the traditional values and social institutions into that of the developed countries.

The fourth stage is that the country enters into the final phase of development and is characterized with higher levels of economic growth, consumption and standard of living.

Dependency theorists believed that modernization theory is ethnocentric and takes no notice of the social and cultural arrangements in other parts of the world and to their unique historical experiences.

The scholars who propogated modernization were unsuccessful to examine the impact of colonization on former colonies, especially in figuring out the historical process over centuries that created an unfavourable condition for developing countries.

The dependency theorists opined that modernization theorists have ignored the exploitation inherent in the economic relations between the developed and the developing countries in terms of trade and investment.

Thus, according to dependency theorists, Rostow’s modernization theory emerges from ‘One size fits all’ assumption and it fails to address the real reasons for the underdevelopment of the peripheral countries.

Q. 3. Explain different versions of Constructivism.

Ans. Modernist Constructivism: The Modernist Constructivism features ‘objective hermeneutics’ with a ‘conservative interest in understanding and explaining social reality’.

Hermeneutics refers to a method of interpretation and the ‘objective hermeneutics’ refers to the method proposed by Neo-Kantians as per the understanding of knowledge production by Immanuel Kant.

The Neo-Kantians believed that the learning is a process of applying a priori forms our minds on the object of study.

Hence, the main objective of ‘Objective Hermeneutics’ is to understand consciousness and motivations that lead to actions.

It is also dependent on the cause and effect analysis and reconstruction of historical processes to understand particular events.

One more important feature of the modernist constructivism is its conservative interest in the understanding and explanation of the social reality instead of human emancipation.

Wendt’s constructivism also known as Structural Constructivism is a modified version of the international structure given by the Neo-realism and Neo-liberalism.

Wendt believed that both Neo- realism and Neo-liberalism view the structure of the international system through a material lens.

Neo-realists believed that the structure of the international system is characterized by the distribution of material capabilities.

Neo-liberals viewed the structure as capabilities and institutions. But, Wendt believed that the structure is a distribution of ideas.

Modernist Linguistic or Rule-Oriented Constructivism: Nicholas Onuf believed that the international relations are governed by the rules and these rules are made up of the structures of language.

Because of this reason, Modernist Linguistic Constructivists employ ‘Subjective Hermeneutics’, which is a belief that objective knowledge is impossible since the ‘reality is the creation of language’.

Onuf also stated that the rules in international relations are the statements about ‘what should do’.

‘What’ informs the actors about the ‘standard behaviour’ and ‘should’ is a requirement that each actor in international relations has to follow that standard behaviour.

These rules are instructed from the three categories of speech acts, according to their function and includes ‘instruction-rules’, ‘directive-rules’, and ‘commitment-rules’.

Some of the Modernist Linguistic Constructivism related scholars other than Nicholas Onuf are Friedrich Kratochwil, Karen Litfin, Neta Crawford, Christian Reus-Smit, Jutta Weldes and Ted Hopf.

Radical Constructivism: The German philoso-phers such as Martin Heidegger (1889-1976), Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889- 1951), and French philosophers Michel Foucault (1926-1984) and Jacques Derrida (1930-2004) are famous for the works of Radical Constructivism.

The two acholars namely Heidegger and Wittgenstein believed that the social facts are made up of the structures of language and therefore, both of them challenged positivism and objectivity in the study of social facts.

Similarly, the post-modernism suggested by Foucault focused on exposing the relations between power and knowledge.

Derrida believed that post structuralism tried to deconstruct the dominant readings of reality.

The influence of these philosophers led the Radical Constructivists adopt a subjective hermeneutics to interpret social reality, and unmask relationship between truth and power.

Critical: Critical Constructivism goes with the emancipatory mission and the pragmatist approach and objective hermeneutics and states that in the active role of our mind in interpreting our experiences and observations and it believes that we revise our beliefs according to our experience.

It also states that the theory is always influenced by experiences and the former have to be made compatible with the evidence.

Critical Constructivists also opined that the present international system is not given and is the outcome of a historical process and this process has resulted in the inclusion and exclusion of certain people.

Assignment iii

Q. 1. World System Theory.

Ans. Immanuel Wallerstein proposed the World Systems Theory and is the comprehensive version of the dependency theory.

This is in contrast to the moderate and radical dependency theorists, who limit their study to the economic relations between the core and periphery.

The World Systems theory stresses on a broader geographical framework and draws on the Lenin’s understanding of imperialism and World Systems theory holds that the world as it is today can be understood only in the context of the development of global capitalism.

Wallerstein opined that this capitalist world-economy is characterized by the ‘production for the market to gain the maximum profit, and unequal exchange relations between the core and the peripheral states’.

Further, this global capital has formed a hierarchical structure, which decides the position of each state within this world-economy.

With the help of this hierarchical structure and market mechanisms, the core exploits the periphery. Wallerstein introduces the ‘semi-periphery’ as a third category between the ‘periphery’ and the ‘core’.

The World Systems theorists opined that the possibility of changing position in the core/ semi-periphery/periphery hierarchy is very rare and therefore they remain as the enduring features of the capitalist world- economy.

Hence, the World Systems theory is a critic of liberal and modernization theories of socio-economic and political development.

World Systems theory also believes that the semiperiphery states divide the periphery and it makes a unified opposition against the core a difficult task.

The core carried on its hegemony due to the divisions within the semi-periphery- periphery camps.

Q. 2. Elements of national power.

Ans. The elements of national power were grouped by Hans Morgenthau under permanent and temporary elements. Organski has segregated it into two: natural determinants and social determinants.

Palmer and Perkins and several others make a differentiation between tangible and intangible elements of national power. Broadly, the elements of national power include the following:

  • Geography, Natural resources including raw materials and food,
    .Population, Economic development and industrial capacity,
    .Technology, Military preparedness,
    . Ideology, Leadership, Organization and quality of government,
    .National character and morale, and Diplomacy.

Q. 3. Classical Realism

Ans. Realists frequently claim to draw on an ancient tradition of political thought. Among classic authors often cited by realists are: Thucydides, Niccolò Machiavelli, Thomas Hobbes, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Max Weber.

Realism as a self- conscious movement in the study of international relations emerged during the mid-20th century and was inspired by the British political scientist and historian E.H. Carr. Carr attacked what he perceived as the dangerous and deluded “idealism” of liberal internationalists and, in particular, their belief in the possibility of progress through the construction of international institutions, such as the League of Nations.

He focused instead on the perennial role of power and self-interest in determining state behaviour. The outbreak of World War II converted many scholars to that pessimistic vision.

Thereafter, realism became established in American political science departments, its fortunes boosted by a number of émigré European scholars, most notably the German- born political scientist and historian Hans Morgenthau.

It is the realism of Carr, Morgenthau, and their followers that is labeled classical.

Classical realism was not a coherent school of thought. It drew from a wide variety of sources and offered competing visions of the self, the state, and the world. Whereas Carr was influenced by Marxism.

Morgenthau drew on Friedrich Nietzsche, Weber, Carl Schmitt, and American civic republicanism. Classical realists were united mainly by that which they opposed.

Critical of the optimism and explanatory ambition of liberal internationalists, classical realists instead stressed the various barriers to progress and reform that allegedly inhered in human nature, in political institutions, or in the structure of the international system.

The fortunes of classical realism, grounded as it was in a combination of history, philosophy, and theology, waned during the era of social-scientific behaviourism in the 1960s.

Its fortunes were revived by the emergence of neo-realism during the 1970s.

Q. 4. What is balance of power? Explain.

Ans. In International Relations, BoP refers to the distribution of equal power among nations. When the power is distributed equally, then no single state can dominate others and no state feels threatened.

Balance of Power theory believes that if one state becomes powerful, then it will attack the weaker state and provides an opportunity to the threatened states to form a defensive coalition.

According to Sidney Fay, it is just equilibrium so that none of the nations become strong to exert its will or force on another state.

Inis Claude opined that it is “A system in which some nations regulate their power relations without any interference by any big power”.


(i) Temporary and Unstable: BoP is temporary and short lived and the countries constantly change their allegiances and alliances in order to serve their national interests.

(ii) Requires Active Intervention: BoP is not a gift from nature and is to be constructed and maintained with the active intervention from political leaders.

(iii) War Tests the Efficacy of BoP: BoP put a stop to the outbreak of war and it is broken when the war happens.

(iv) Not a Device of Peace: BoP exists because of the volatile international situation and is not a guarantee of peace.

(v) Big Powers are the Main Players: The main players are the strong powers in creating and maintaining BoP and the small powers are either allied partners or spectators or victims in the play.

(vi) Requires Multiple States: For BoP to exist the requirement is the multiple states to maintain power relations.

(vii) National Interest is the Priority: It can be acquired by any State and the national interest forms the basis of deciding

Q. 5. Concept of emerging centers of power.

Ans. After the Cold war was over, the growing economic and technological interdependence led to the redistribution of power.

The state no longer controlled all the resources and enjoyed absolute economic might and therefore the distribution of power became dynamic, random and vague.

There are many countries which are in the process of increasing their economic, military and political powers comparatively than other states began to be described as ’emerging powers’.

‘Emerging powers’ are the countries which should have required land mass with vast natural resources and population.

With the advancement in the technology, the modern idea of economic development needs the countries with huge manufacturing base, self-sustainability in agricultural production, political stability and sustainable policy making process, states with these qualities were called as the emerging powers’.

These emerging powers were supposed to adjust themselves to the changing global dynamics in economic, political and strategic spheres and also should be in a position to take up leadership position.

Therefore, the post-Cold War period saw the emergence of new centres of power which vary from nation-states to association of states to non-state actors.

On the basis of the economic development, military capability, political stability and cultural strength, BRICS countries of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa are generally described as ’emerging’ powers or ’emerging’ economies.

Some other countries which are described in a similar manner are Mexico, Indonesia etc.

Another emerging centre of power is the European Union as a single economic community which is a member of G-20 and also finds representation at various other multilateral platforms.

Japan, Germany, France, UK also remain as great powers in their own domain. US continued to be described as the sole superpower or global hegemon.

IGNOU BPSC 132 Solved Free Assignment 2023-24

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