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BPSC-131: Introduction to Political Theory

BPSC-131: Introduction to Political Theory

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2022-23

If you are looking for BPSC-131 IGNOU Solved Assignment solution for the subject Introduction to Political Theory, you have come to the right place. BPSC-131 solution on this page applies to 2022-23 session students studying in BAG courses of IGNOU.

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Assignment Code:BPSC-131/ASST/TMA/2022-23

Course Code: BPSC-131

Assignment Name: Introduction to Political Theory

Year: 2022-2023

Verification Status: Verified by Professor


Assignment - I


Answer the following in about 500 words each.


Q1) Write a note on politics as a political activity. 20

Ans) Politics is a practical activity that involves discussion and conflict over how to best organise human potential. It is therefore a matter of power, or more specifically, the ability of social actors, organisations, and institutions to preserve or alter their physical and social environments. It concerns the resources that support this capability as well as the forces that shape and sway how it is used. As a result, politics is a phenomenon that affects both public and private life and is present in all groups, institutions, and communities. All relationships, institutions, and structures involved in the creation and continuation of societal life express it. Every part of our lives is shaped by politics, which is also central to the emergence of societal issues and the methods used to address them.


Politics Difficult to Define Precisely

It is impossible to give a concise definition of politics that encompasses all we automatically classify as political. The term "politics" has several meanings and uses. The closest we can get to a succinct definition of politics is that it is the process by which groups come to legally binding decisions by working to resolve conflicts among their members. This definition contains important details.


Nature of Politics

Politics is a group activity that involves participants who recognise or at least accept a shared fate. Robinson Crusoe was unable to engage in politics as a result. Politics assumes an initial plurality of viewpoints, if not regarding the ends themselves, then at least regarding the means. Politics entails bridging these gulfs through dialogue and persuasion. Politics consequently revolves around communication. Political decisions become the group's authoritative policy, obliging members to follow orders that may, in certain cases, be enforced through physical force. If choices are only made through the use of violence, force, or threat, it is unlikely that politics will exist since the process of achieving a consensus will be undermined. The communal nature of human life leads to the requirement of politics. We must exercise politics because we are social animals and have no other option.


Politics: An Inescapable Feature of the Human Condition

Despite the fact that the term "politics" is frequently used cynically to disparage the pursuit of private gain while posing as an interest in the public good, politics is in fact an unavoidable aspect of the human condition. In fact, according to the Greek philosopher Aristotle, "man is by nature a political animal." He didn't simply mean that politics are inevitable; he meant that they are the fundamental human activity. Political engagement is what most clearly distinguishes humans from other species. According to Aristotle, involvement in a political society is the only way for people to demonstrate their actual nature as morally upright, rational beings. Rarely, if ever, do group members first concur on the best course of action. Even if the aims are shared, there may still be disagreements on the means. However, a choice must be taken, and once it is, everyone in the group will be bound by it. Politics is therefore the process by which a variety of viewpoints can be presented and then incorporated into a final conclusion.


Q2) Examine if political theory is dead. 20

Ans) A political theory obituary was quickly written by many observers in the middle of the 20th century. Others mentioned its decrease. Others declared it to be dead. Political theory was said to be in the "doghouse" by one person. This pessimistic perspective is caused by the fact that the classical tradition in political theory is mostly filled with value judgments that are outside the purview of empirical testing. Normative theory was criticised by logical positivists in the 1930s and behaviouralism thereafter. According to Easton, political theory has lost its ability to be helpful since it is concerned with some sort of historical shape. He ascribes historicism in political philosophy to William Dunning, Charles H. Mcllwain, and George M. Sabine. This style of political theory opposes aspects of history and philosophy in political theory and has discouraged students from undertaking a comprehensive study of value theory.


Easton looked at the causes of political theory's downfall in general and its transition into historicism in particular. First and foremost, political scientists have a propensity to adopt the moral tenets of their time, which results in a loss of the constructive approach. The emphasis is on discovering and revealing one's values, which suggests that it is no longer necessary to consider the value of these moral ideals, but rather to simply comprehend their "origins, evolution, and social impact." Existing ideals are supported by historical examples. Second, moral relativism is to blame for the historical attention a thought has received. He cited historicism, moral relativism, hyper factualism, and positivism as the four main causes of the collapse of political philosophy.


Lasswell attempted to advance the goals and directions set forth by Merriam by developing a scientific political theory with the ultimate goal of regulating human behaviour. Scientific political theory describes rather than prescribes, in contrast to the classical approach. In order to address the contemporary political problem, Strauss reiterates the value of classical political theory. He disagrees with the idea that all political theory is ideological in origin and reflects a certain socio-economic interest because most political theorists are driven by the desire to identify the fundamentals of the proper social order.


Truth must be a political philosopher's main concern. Philosophies from the past are examined for coherence and consistency. The writers of the political theory classics are superior because they were brilliant and careful in their writing. Comparing the "new" political science to traditional political philosophy, particularly that of Aristotle, Strauss finds that its methods and goals were flawed. Aristotle believed that a political philosopher or political scientist had to be objective since he had a more thorough and precise comprehension of human aims. Because philosophy and science both have theoretical and applied components, political science and political philosophy are interchangeable terms.


In response to Easton's criticism of historicism, Strauss asserts that the new science is to blame for the fall in political theory because it highlighted and aided the West's broader political crisis by generally ignoring normative matters. According to Vogelin, political philosophy and political science are interdependent, and neither is possible without the other. Political theory is an experiential knowledge of the proper order in both the individual and society, not an ideology, utopia, or scientific approach.



Assignment - II


Answer the following questions in about 250 words each.


Q1) What are J.S. Mill’s notions of Liberty’? Explain. 10

Ans) According to Mill, liberty should promote the development of "individuality." Therefore, freedom in Mill's perspective appears to be more than just the lack of constraints and involves the conscious development of particular desired attitudes. This is why Mill is frequently regarded as leaning toward a positive conception of liberty. The idea of choice is fundamental to Mill's interpretation of freedom. This is clear from his assertion that a person who allows others to "determine his course of life for him" lacks the ability to be "independent" or to make decisions for oneself.


People needed to fight against influences or norms and practises that prevented self-determination in order to realise their individuality and, in turn, achieve the condition of freedom. However, Mill also believed that relatively few people had the ability to rebel and exercise free will. The others were content to live in "unfreedom" by submitting to "apelike mimicry." This makes Mill's idea of liberty seem elitist as only a small group, not the general populace, could benefit from individualism.


Mill made a distinction between self-regarding and other-regarding behaviours, i.e., those that affected the individual solely and those that affected society as a whole, when discussing acceptable or defensible constraints on human liberty. Additionally, Mill firmly believed in the significance of liberty as a tool for advancing social good. This is especially true of his defences of unrestricted freedom of speech, thinking, and expression as well as the right to union and assembly. Since truth will emerge through a free competition of ideas, Mill believed that all constraints on open conversation should be lifted. It should be noted that in the current list of liberties, freedom of expression is regarded as a more desirable democratic ideal than economic liberty.


Q2) Discuss equality of opportunity. 10

Ans) An incredibly appealing concept that is concerned with what is considered to be the beginning point in life is equality of opportunity. The inference is that for there to be equality, all people must start off on an even playing field. However, this need not have any egalitarian repercussions. Uneven results are permissible and justified precisely because everyone had an equal starting point. It gives everyone the same chance to compete in a system that maintains hierarchy. If that's the case, it doesn't seem like a very egalitarian principle. Thus, equality of opportunity is a sign of an unequal society, even if it is founded on the lofty ideal of merit. This theory is based on the dichotomy between nature and convention, with the claim being that ethically acceptable distinctions can be made based on various natural attributes such as abilities, skills, hard effort, and so forth.


The acceptability of maintaining open careers to talents, offering fair equal chance, and the several variations on the idea of positive discrimination all contribute to the institutionalisation of equality of opportunity. All of these contribute to the appearance of rationale and acceptability in the system of inequality. The essential premise is that advantage itself is unaffected by criticism as long as the competition has been fair. The attempt to artificially separate the accomplishments and failures of one generation from the next is yet another issue with equality of opportunity. It is clear from this that the liberal view of equality is grounded in equality of opportunity. Due to the fact that these are chances that result in unequal outcomes, this advocacy runs counter to any genuine notion of equality. As a result, this principle doesn't care about the results and is just concerned with the process.


Q3) Elaborate upon justice as a term of synthesis. 10.

Ans) Justice's role is to reconcile disparate freedoms and equalities, as well as to reconcile freedom in general and all of its manifestations with equality in general and all of its manifestations. Justice, in a nutshell, is the synthesis of opposing values and the maintenance of these values in a condition of equilibrium. Both liberty and equality are interconnected. Equality improves the content of freedom. In addition, it is freedom that gives men the ability to demand equality. Give men freedom, and sooner rather than later they will demand equality. There are various methods to illustrate how equality and liberty are interconnected.


Consider how a blatantly unequal distribution of income can undermine the right to vote and the freedom of speech. The wealthy are better positioned to both campaign and spread ideas. The propaganda machine is more accessible to the wealthy. Economic democracy and political freedom must coexist. A closer look reveals that, despite initially seeming to be mutually exclusive, a number of political ideals are actually complementary and interconnected. In any event, justice's job is to combine or resolve the diverse, frequently at odds values. Justice is the guiding principle that determines how different rights—political, social, and economic—are distributed in the sake of equality and freedom. Such a notion of justice develops over time as social cognition progresses. It is a developing idea that reflects social reality and aspiration in this way.



Assignment - III


Answer the following questions in about 100 words each.


Q1) Theory of Natural Rights 6

Ans) Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau believe that men had natural rights when they lived in the state of nature, and that these rights were given to people as though they were the fundamental characteristics of man. The notion of natural rights, in Bentham's opinion, was "a rhetorical non-sense upon stilts." Additionally, he asserted that we cannot simultaneously enjoy the rights of a civil and an uncivil state since it is more challenging to uphold natural rights in actuality the more perfect they appear to be in the abstract. Laski opposes the concept of natural rights as a whole. When he asserts that rights "are not natural in the sense that a permanent and unchanging catalogue of them can be compiled, rather they are natural in the sense that under the limitations of a civilised life, facts demand their recognition," he demonstrates his understanding of the importance of rights.


Q2) Substantive democracy 6

Ans) The procedural view's limitations are addressed by substantive democracy, which contends that social and economic disparities may make it difficult for people to participate in the democratic process. It concentrates on results, such as socioeconomic equality, rather than goals in order to effectively serve the governed. In a sense, it discusses the "common good" as opposed to the advantage of a select few. Through redistributive justice, the rights of oppressed groups like women and the poor are safeguarded, allowing the state to intervene to create the conditions necessary for their political participation. Rousseau maintained that formal varieties of democracy are tantamount to slavery and that the only democracies with political legitimacy are egalitarian democracies, in contrast to Schumpeter who thought that a notion of democracy which aims for ambitious types of equality is harmful.


Q3) Gender mainstreaming as a strategy 6

Ans) Through the development of gender capability and accountability, gender mainstreaming is an organisational method to integrate a gender perspective into all facets of an institution's policies and operations. The majority of significant development organisations as well as numerous governments have now accepted "gender mainstreaming" as a method of advancing gender equality. Gender mainstreaming serves as a tool rather than an end in and of itself. Targeted initiatives to support women are still required notwithstanding the mainstreaming plan. Because gender equality has not yet been achieved and gender mainstreaming procedures are still in their infancy, women-specific programmes are required. Women-specific programmes can empower women and serve as a vital breeding ground for concepts and tactics that can be used to more general interventions.


Q4) Libertarian theory of citizenship 6

Ans) Libertarian citizenship can be attributed to Margaret Thatcher's British Conservative government in 1979, which prioritised commercial rights over social rights. It was thought that the state couldn't continue to afford its social rights (welfare policy). Citizenship, according to libertarians, is the result of individual freedom of choice and contract. It views market society as the foundation of society and a good example of civic life. According to Robert Nozick, people use affiliation, market transaction, and private activity to express their values, views, and preferences. Market freedom is valued by libertarians because it promotes "entrepreneurial freedom." They desire both the freedom to acquire and own property and its protection. As a result, protective institutions are required for the protection of the right to property, with the state proving to be the most effective of all. Individualism based on the free market is criticised for not providing a strong enough foundation for social unity.


Q5) Censorship 6

Ans) Today, censorship is typically seen as a remnant of a less enlightened and far more harsh era. Censorship is the suppression or regulation of opinions, open discourse, and information that circulates within a society. By manipulating the cultural realm, censorship is a technique that the state or society can employ to maintain their position of authority. As cultural hegemony considers some words or actions to be decent and others indecent and goes on to dominate its meaning and idea, the cultural domain plays a significant part in determining "what is acceptable" in society. To protect citizens from various types of "damage" present in society, censorship may be given legal status in the state constitution.

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