Introduction to Political Theory


Prof. Mithilesh Kumar Jha

IIT Guwahati

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SKU: IIT Guwahati Category:


The major objective of this course is to introduce the students to some of the key concepts and ideas of politics which shape our political discourse. These concepts are essentially contested concepts and yet inevitable for understanding and explaining the politics of any country or society. A clear understanding of these debates or contestations over some of the key concepts and ideas of politics, it is hoped, will help the students develop their own independent views and judgments about politics and democracy in their own societies as well as in the world at large.


UG and PG students of Humanities and Social Sciences, Sciences and Engineering


Dr. Mithilesh Kumar Jha teaches Political Science in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati. His research interests are – political thought in comparative perspective particularly Indian and Western political thought, political theory, Indian politics especially language and related issues of state formations in modern India. His important publications are Language Politics and Public Sphere in North India: Making of the Maithili Movement, Oxford University Press, New Delhi (2018); Glimpses of Mithila and Maithili: The Correspondence of George Abraham Grierson, Kalyani Foundation: Darbhanga (2013).

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1. Join the course
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COURSE ENROLMENT FEE: The Fee for Enrolment is Rs. 3000 + GST

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After enrolling, learners can watch lectures and learn and follow it up with attempting/answering the assignments given.

3. Get qualified to register for exams
A learner can earn a certificate in the self paced course only by appearing for the online remote proctored exam and to register for this, the learner should get minimum required marks in the assignments as given below:

Assignment score = Score more than 50% in at least 9/12 assignments.
Exam score = 50% of the proctored certification exam score out of 100
Only the e-certificate will be made available. Hard copies will not be dispatched.”

4. Register for exams
The certification exam is conducted online with remote proctoring. Once a learner has become eligible to register for the certification exam, they can choose a slot convenient to them from what is available and pay the exam fee. Schedule of available slot dates/timings for these remote-proctored online examinations will be published and made available to the learners.

EXAM FEE: The remote proctoring exam is optional for a fee of Rs.1500 + GST. An additional fee of Rs.1500 will apply for a non-standard time slot.

5. Results and Certification
After the exam, based on the certification criteria of the course, results will be declared and learners will be notified of the same. A link to download the e-certificate will be shared with learners who pass the certification exam.


Course Details

Week 1:  Political Theory: Introduction & Liberty
Week 2:  Liberty & Equality
Week 3:  Equality & Rights
Week 4:  Rights & Justice
Week 5:  Justice
Week 6:  Power
Week 7:  State and sovereignty – I
Week 8:  State and sovereignty – II
Week 9:  Democracy
Week 10:  Citizenship
Week 11:  Politics & Environmental ethics – I
Week 12:  Politics & Environmental ethics – II & Concluding lecture

Books and References

  1. Catriona Mckinnon (ed.), Issues in Political Theory, Oxford University Press, 20122.
  2. H. John and G. Paul, Introduction to Political Theory, Pearson Education, New Delhi, 20073.
  3. G. Gerald, Political Concepts and Political Theories, Westview Press, Oxford, 20004.
  4. Rajeev Bhargava and Ashok Acharya (eds.), Political Theory and Introduction, Pearson, 20085.
  5. Bryan Barry, Liberty and Justice: Essay in Political Theory, Clarendon Press, 19916.
  6. Will Kymlicka, Contemporary Political Philosophy: An Introduction, Oxford University Press, 20027.
  7. Robert A Dahl, Democracy and Its Critique, Yale University Press, 19898.
  8. A. Dworkin, Taking Rights Seriously, Duckworth, 19779.
  9. Steven Lukes, Power: A Radical View, Macmillan Press, 1974.
  10. John Rawls, A Theory of Justice, Oxford University Press, 1971
  11.  Amartya Sen, The Idea of Justice, Allan Lane, 2009


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