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MPS-004: Comparative Politics: Issues and Trends

MPS-004: Comparative Politics: Issues and Trends

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2023-24

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Assignment Code: MPS-004/ASST/TMA/2023-24

Course Code: MPS-004

Assignment Name: Comparative Politics: Issues and Trends

Year: 2023-2024

Verification Status: Verified by Professor

Answer five questions in all, selecting at least two questions from each section. Each question is to be answered in about 500 words. Each question carries 20 marks.


Q2) Briefly describe the main approaches to the study of Nationalism.

Ans) The study of nationalism is approached through various lenses within academic discourse. Some of the main approaches to understanding nationalism include:

  1. Primordialism: This perspective considers nationalism as an inherent, natural, and ancient sentiment deeply rooted in human psychology and ethnic ties. It emphasizes historical, linguistic, or cultural commonalities as the basis for nationhood. Primordialists focus on shared ancestry, traditions, and kinship to explain the origins and strength of nationalist sentiments.

  2. Modernism: Contrary to primordialism, the modernist approach sees nationalism as a relatively recent social construct that emerged with modernity. It attributes the rise of nationalism to socio-economic and political changes, such as industrialization, urbanization, and the spread of education. Modernists emphasize the role of the state, mass media, and education in fostering a collective national identity.

  3. Ethnosymbolism: This perspective emphasizes the symbolic elements of nationalism, highlighting the significance of myths, symbols, rituals, and cultural practices in shaping national identities. Ethnosymbolists stress the importance of shared historical memories, folklore, and traditions in fostering a sense of belonging and identity among people.

  4. Instrumentalism: Instrumentalists view nationalism as a strategic tool used by political elites to achieve specific goals. They emphasize the instrumental nature of nationalism, suggesting that leaders manipulate national sentiments for political, economic, or ideological purposes. Nationalism is seen as a means to consolidate power, gain support, or divert attention from domestic issues.

  5. Postcolonial and Critical Approaches: These perspectives critique nationalism as a construct that often excludes or marginalizes certain groups based on race, gender, or ethnicity. They highlight the role of colonialism, imperialism, and power dynamics in shaping national identities and argue for the deconstruction of dominant nationalist narratives.

  6. Cosmopolitanism and Transnationalism: These perspectives challenge the exclusive nature of nationalism and advocate for a more inclusive, globalized approach. They emphasize interconnectedness, cultural hybridity, and the fluidity of identities across national borders, promoting a sense of shared humanity and universal values.

Q3) In what ways has globalization affected state sovereignty? Explain.

Ans) Some ways in which globalization has affected state sovereignty include:

  1. Economic Interdependence: Globalization has led to increased economic interconnectedness among nations. States now participate in global markets, subjecting their economies to international trade, investment, and financial flows. As a result, states often cede some economic decision-making authority to global institutions like the World Trade Organization (WTO), International Monetary Fund (IMF), and multinational corporations, limiting their absolute control over economic policies.

  2. Supranational Organizations: The rise of supranational organizations, such as the European Union (EU), ASEAN, and NAFTA, challenges state sovereignty. These entities often require member states to comply with common regulations, laws, and policies, transferring certain decision-making powers from individual states to the collective entity. This can undermine a state's autonomy in areas like trade, immigration, and legal matters.

  3. Technological Advancements: Technological innovations and the rapid exchange of information facilitated by the internet have reshaped the global landscape. Communication technologies allow transnational movements, activism, and the spread of ideas, challenging the state's control over information flows and public discourse.

  4. Global Challenges: Global issues like climate change, terrorism, pandemics, and migration transcend national borders, necessitating collective action. States often cooperate through international agreements and organizations to address these challenges, leading to a shared responsibility that dilutes individual state authority.

  5. Legal and Human Rights Norms: The proliferation of international law and human rights norms affects state sovereignty. States are increasingly held accountable for human rights abuses, and international legal mechanisms, such as the International Criminal Court (ICC), have jurisdiction over certain crimes, limiting a state's discretion in handling internal affairs.

  6. Shifts in Political Power: The emergence of powerful non-state actors, such as multinational corporations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and terrorist groups, challenges state authority. These actors often wield significant influence and can impact state policies and decisions.

Q4) What do you understand by self–determination? Evaluate the debate on self–determination.

Ans) Self-determination is the principle that nations or peoples have the right to freely determine their political status, pursue their economic, social, and cultural development, and ultimately choose their own destiny without external interference. This principle recognizes the inherent right of communities to make decisions regarding their governance, identity, and future.

The debate on self-determination revolves around several key aspects

  1. National Sovereignty: Advocates argue that self-determination is fundamental to national sovereignty and democracy. Allowing communities to determine their future ensures democratic governance and protects against external imposition or oppression.

  2. Ethnic and Cultural Rights: Self-determination is often linked with the protection of ethnic, linguistic, and cultural identities. It's seen as a means to safeguard the rights of minority groups within larger nation-states, preventing assimilation and preserving cultural diversity.

  3. Secession and Independence: One of the most contentious aspects is the pursuit of secession or independence by certain regions or groups within a state. Critics argue that granting unconditional self-determination could lead to the fragmentation of states and threaten territorial integrity.

  4. International Law and State Sovereignty: The debate also revolves around the legal and ethical aspects of self-determination within the framework of international law. It raises questions about the balance between state sovereignty and the rights of communities within those states.

  5. Conflict and Stability: The pursuit of self-determination often leads to tensions, conflicts, or even wars between different groups or with the state authorities. Critics argue that allowing secession based on self-determination can destabilize regions and have broader geopolitical repercussions.

  6. Global Governance and Intervention: International support for self-determination can lead to international intervention in internal affairs, as seen in various secessionist movements. This raises concerns about the legitimacy of external interference and the impact on state sovereignty.


Q6) What do you understand by ethnic identity? Why do ethnic groups get politically activated?

Ans) Ethnic identity refers to a person's sense of belonging to a particular ethnic or cultural group, characterized by shared customs, traditions, language, history, and often a collective consciousness of belonging. It's a complex and multifaceted aspect of an individual's identity that is shaped by both self-perception and external societal factors.

Ethnic groups often get politically activated due to various reasons:

  1. Marginalization and Discrimination: Ethnic groups may face discrimination or marginalization within society, leading to socio-economic disparities, limited access to resources, and unequal opportunities. This marginalization can prompt political activism to demand equal rights and representation.

  2. Cultural Preservation: Threats to cultural heritage, language, and traditions can mobilize ethnic groups to protect and preserve their cultural identity. Political activism serves as a means to safeguard and promote their unique cultural practices and beliefs.

  3. Political Representation: Lack of adequate political representation or exclusion from decision-making processes can motivate ethnic groups to seek political participation. They may organize to secure political representation and ensure their voices are heard in governance and policymaking.

  4. Historical Grievances: Past injustices, such as colonial oppression or ethnic conflicts, can foster a sense of collective grievance among ethnic groups. These historical experiences may fuel activism aimed at addressing past wrongs and seeking justice or reparations.

  5. Identity Assertion: Ethnic groups may engage in political activism as a means of asserting their distinct identity and asserting their place in a multicultural society. This could involve demands for recognition and respect for their unique identity.

  6. Resource Allocation: Competition over resources, such as land, jobs, or economic opportunities, can trigger political mobilization among ethnic groups. Perceived inequities in resource distribution may lead to demands for fairer allocation.

  7. External Influences: Sometimes, external factors like international support, diaspora involvement, or global movements related to human rights and self-determination can influence ethnic groups to mobilize politically.

Q8) Describe and evaluate major trends of Human Development in developing countries.

Ans) Human development in developing countries has witnessed several significant trends over the years, reflecting progress, challenges, and ongoing transformations. Here are some major trends:

  1. Health Improvements: There has been noticeable progress in healthcare, leading to increased life expectancy, reduced child mortality rates, and better maternal health. Access to healthcare services, vaccination programs, and disease control measures have contributed to these improvements.

  2. Education Expansion: Efforts to enhance education accessibility and quality have led to increased enrollment rates in primary and secondary education. However, challenges persist regarding disparities in access, gender inequality, and the need for quality education.

  3. Economic Growth: Many developing countries have experienced economic growth, leading to a rise in per capita income and standards of living. However, the distribution of wealth and benefits remains unequal, often leading to income disparities and poverty persistence.

  4. Urbanization: Rapid urbanization has been a significant trend, with more people moving from rural to urban areas in search of better opportunities. This shift poses challenges in terms of urban infrastructure, services, employment, and accommodation.

  5. Technological Advancements: The digital revolution has brought significant changes, offering new opportunities for development. Access to technology, especially mobile phones, and the internet, has improved communication, access to information, and economic opportunities.

  6. Environmental Concerns: Development has come at the cost of environmental degradation. Climate change, deforestation, pollution, and natural resource depletion pose challenges to sustainable development and human well-being.

  7. Gender Empowerment: Efforts to promote gender equality and women's empowerment have seen progress, with increased access to education and healthcare for girls and women. However, disparities persist in various aspects, including political representation and economic participation.

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