UPSC IAS Mains 2020: Optional Subject Syllabus for Political Science & International Relations

UPSC: Political Science & International Relations is one of the most popular optional subjects among the UPSC aspirants. In this article, we have provided a detailed Political Science & IR optional syllabus for UPSC IAS Mains 2020. 

Created On: Dec 3, 2020 13:36 IST
Modified On: Dec 3, 2020 13:36 IST
UPSC IAS Mains 2020: Optional Subject Syllabus for Political Science & International Relations
UPSC IAS Mains 2020: Optional Subject Syllabus for Political Science & International Relations

UPSC: The Union Public Service Commission offers a list of optional subjects to choose one optional subject from for the UPSC IAS Mains exams. Political Science is one of the commonly opted optional subjects in the exam. The syllabus of Political Science overlaps with other GS Papers and the study material is easily available for the aspirants. In recent years, we have seen many UPSC Toppers who opted for Political Science as their optional. In this article, we have provided a comprehensive UPSC Political Science Syllabus for the UPSC Mains 2020 candidates. 

Also Check: Political Science & IR Optional Previous Years’ Question Papers (2019 to 2009)

UPSC Optional Paper Syllabus for Political Science- Paper I (Political Theory and Indian Politics)

Political Science and International Relations syllabus majorly covers topics related to the Constitution of India, social justice, international organizations, the international economic system and trade, India’s foreign policy, and peacekeeping among others. 

A. Political Theory and Thinkers

  1. Political theory 
  • Meaning, Definition, and approaches
  1. Theories of the state
  • Pluralist, 
  • Liberal, 
  • Neoliberal, 
  • Marxist, 
  • Post-colonial 
  • Feminist.
  1. Justice 
  • Concept of justice with reference to Rawl’s theory of justice
  1. Equality 
  • Relationship between freedom and equality and; 
  • Political, Social, and economic; 
  • Affirmative action.
  1. Rights 
  • Meaning and theories; 
  • the concept of Human Rights
  1. Democracy 
  • different models of democracy - deliberative, participatory and representative, Contemporary and Classical theories
  1. Concept of power
  • hegemony, 
  • Ideology
  • legitimacy.
  1. Political Ideologies 
  • Marxism, 
  • Liberalism, 
  • Fascism, 
  • Gandhism, 
  • Feminism, 
  • Socialism.
  1. Indian Political Thought 
  • Dharamshastra, Arthashastra, and Buddhist traditions; 
  • Sri Aurobindo, 
  • B.R. Ambedkar, 
  • Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, 
  • M.K. Gandhi, 
  • M.N. Roy.
  1. Western Political Thought 
  • Plato, 
  • John S. Mill, 
  • Machiavelli, 
  • Aristotle,
  • Locke, 
  • Hobbes, 
  • Gramsci Marx, 
  • Hannah Arendt.

UPSC IAS Mains 2020: Optional Subject Syllabus for Sociology

B. Indian Government and Politics

  1. Indian Nationalism 
  • Political Strategies of India’s Freedom Struggle: 
  • Civil Disobedience, 
  • Non-cooperation;
  • Constitutionalism to mass Satyagraha, 
  • Peasant and workers’ movements, 
  • Revolutionary movements.
  1. Making of the Indian Constitution
  • Different political and social perspectives, 
  • Legacies of the British rule
  • Salient Features of the Indian Constitution 
  • Fundamental Rights and Duties, 
  • Judicial Review and Basic Structure doctrine, 
  • The Preamble, 
  • Directive Principles, 
  • Parliamentary System, 
  • Amendment Procedures.
  1. Principal Organs of the Union Government
  • Executive, Envisaged role and actual working of the Legislature, and Supreme Court.
  1. Principal Organs of the State Government
  • Executive, Envisaged role and actual working of the Legislature, and High Courts.
  1. Statutory Institutions/ Commissions 
  • Election Commission, 
  • Comptroller, and Auditor General, 
  • Finance Commission, 
  • Union Public Service Commission, 
  • National Backward Classes Commission, 
  • National Commission for Scheduled Castes, 
  • National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, 
  • National Commission for Women; 
  • National Commission for Minorities.

Also Check: Booklist and Resources for Political Science & IR Optional

  1. Federalism 
  • Changing nature of center-state relations; 
  • Constitutional provisions; and regional aspirations; 
  • integrationist tendencies, 
  • inter-state disputes.
  1. Planning and Economic Development 
  • The role of planning and public sector; 
  • land reforms and agrarian relations; 
  • liberalization, 
  • Green Revolution, 
  • economic reforms.
  1. Party System 
  • National and regional political parties, 
  • Ideological and social bases of parties; 
  • trends in electoral behaviour; 
  • patterns of coalition politics; 
  • Pressure groups, changing the socio-economic profile of Legislators.
  1. Social Movements 
  • Civil liberties, women's movements; 
  • environmentalist movements

UPSC Optional Paper Syllabus for Political Science- Paper I (Comparative Politics and International Relations)

A. Comparative Political Analysis and International Politics

  1. Comparative Politics 
  • Political economy, Nature and major approaches;
  • limitations of the comparative method.
  1. Globalisation 
  • Responses from developing and developed societies.
  • Approaches to the Study of International Relations
  • Idealist, Functionalist, Realist, Marxist, and Systems theory.
  1. Key concepts in International Relations 
  • Security, World capitalist economy and globalization; 
  • Balance of power and deterrence; 
  • National interest, and power; 
  • Transnational actors, and collective security.
  1. Changing International Political Order 
  • The arms race and Cold War; 
  • Rise of superpowers; strategic and ideological Bipolarity, 
  • nuclear threat;
  • Non-aligned movement: Achievements and Aims;
  • Collapse of the Soviet Union; 
  • Unipolarity and American hegemony; 
  • Relevance of non-alignment in the contemporary world.
  1. Evolution of the International Economic System
  • From Brettonwoods to WTO; 
  • Globalisation of the world economy; 
  • Socialist economies and the CMEA (Council for Mutual Economic Assistance); 
  • Third World demand for new international economic order.
  1. United Nations 
  • Envisaged role and actual record; 
  • Specialized UN agencies-aims and functioning; 
  • the need for UN reforms.
  1. Regionalization of World Politics 
  • ASEAN, 
  • SAARC, 
  • APEC, 
  • EU, 
  • NAFTA.
  1. Contemporary Global Concerns 
  • Human rights, 
  • Gender justice, 
  • nuclear proliferation, 
  • Democracy, environment,
  • terrorism.

B. India and the World

  1. Indian Foreign Policy 
  • Continuity and change: 
  • Institutions of policy-making, 
  • Determinants of foreign policy
  1. India and South Asia 
  • South Asia as a Free Trade Area
  • Regional Co-operation: SAARC –past performance and future prospects
  • Impediments to regional co-operation: 
  • ethnic conflicts and insurgencies; 
  • river water disputes; 
  • illegal cross-border migration; 
  • border disputes.
  • India's "Look East" policy
  1. India and the Global South 
  • Relations with Latin America and Africa,
  • Leadership role in the demand for NIEO and WTO negotiations
  1. India and the Global Centres of Power 
  • USA, China, EU, Japan, and Russia.
  1. India and the UN System 
  • Role in United Nation Peace-keeping
  1. India and the Nuclear Questions 
  • Perceptions and Changing policy
  1. Recent developments in Indian Foreign Policy 
  • India's position on the recent crisis in West Asia, 
  • Growing relations with US and Israel; 
  • Afghanistan and Iraq, the vision of new world order

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