UPSC Political Science and International Relations (PSIR) Optional Syllabus

The UPSC Mains syllabus gives a list of 48 Optional Subjects which include Literature in different languages. Each Optional Subject has 2 compulsory papers.

The UPSC optional subject list contains 48 subjects in total, one of which is PSIR. The IAS Political Science and International Relations Optional papers are 250 marks each with a total of 500 marks.

The PSIR syllabus is very useful even after clearing the IAS exam as a large number of concepts can be used while working in the government. Apart from this, many candidates would find political science very interesting as it helps them clear the UPSC IAS Exam.

The optional paper is suitable for candidates from varied backgrounds ranging from international trade specialists, management consultants, teachers, and so on. IAS aspirants should integrate their preparation for PSIR with General Studies to be able to grasp all the concepts and secure a high rank in the UPSC exam.

1. Syllabus of PSIR Paper – I

  • Political Theory and Indian Politics:
    • Political Theory: meaning and approaches.
    • Theories of state: Liberal, Neo-liberal, Marxist, Pluralist, Post-colonial, and Feminist.
    • Justice: Conceptions of justice with special reference to Rawl’s theory of justice and its communitarian critiques.
    • Equality: Social, political, and economic; the relationship between equality and freedom; Affirmative action.
    • Rights: Meaning and theories; different kinds of rights; Concept of Human Rights.
    • Democracy: Classical and contemporary theories; different models of democracy—representative, participatory and deliberative.
    • Concept of power: hegemony, ideology, and legitimacy.
    • Political Ideologies: Liberalism, Socialism, Marxism, Fascism, Gandhism, and Feminism.
    • Indian Political Thought: Dharmashastra, Arthashastra, and Buddhist Traditions; Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, Sri Aurobindo, M. K. Gandhi, B. R. Ambedkar, M. N. Roy.
    • Western Political Thought: Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, John S. Mill, Marx, Gramsci, Hannah Arendt.
  • Indian Government and Politics
    • Indian Government and Politics
      • Political Strategies of India’s Freedom Struggle: Constitutionalism to mass Satyagraha, Noncooperation, Civil Disobedience; Militant and Revolutionary Movements, Peasant and Workers Movements.
      • Perspectives on Indian National Movement; Liberal, Socialist, and Marxist; Radical Humanist and Dalit.
    • Making of the Indian Constitution: Legacies of the British rule; different social and political perspectives.
    • Salient Features of the Indian Constitution: The Preamble, Fundamental Rights and Duties, Directive Principles; Parliamentary System and Amendment Procedures; Judicial Review and Basic Structure doctrine.
    • Principal Organs of the Union Government: Envisaged role and actual working of the Executive, Legislature, and Supreme Court.
    • Principal Organs of the State Government: Envisaged role and actual working of the Executive, Legislature, and High Courts.
    • Grassroots Democracy: Panchayati Raj and Municipal Government; Significance of 73rd and 74th Amendments; Grassroots movements.
    • Statutory Institutions/Commissions: Election Commission, Comptroller and Auditor General, Finance Commission, Union Public Service Commission, National Commission for Scheduled Castes, National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, National Commission for Women; National Human Rights Commission, National Commission for Minorities, National Backward Classes Commission.
    • Federalism: Constitutional provisions; changing nature of center-state relations; integrationist tendencies and regional aspirations; inter-state disputes.
    • Planning and Economic Development: Nehruvian and Gandhian perspectives; Role of planning and public sector; Green Revolution, land reforms and agrarian relations; liberalization and economic reforms.
    • Caste, Religion, and Ethnicity in Indian Politics.
    • Party System: National and regional political parties, ideological and social bases of parties; Patterns of coalition politics; Pressure groups, trends in electoral behavior; changing socio-economic profile of Legislators.
    • Social Movement: Civil liberties and human rights movements; women’s movements; environmentalist movements.

2. Syllabus of PSIR Paper – II

  • Comparative Politics and International Relations
    • Comparative Political Analysis and International Politics:
    • Comparative Politics: Nature and major approaches; Political economy and political sociology perspectives; Limitations of the comparative method.
    • State in Comparative Perspective: Characteristics and changing nature of the State in capitalist and socialist economies, and advanced industrial and developing societies.
    • Politics of Representation and Participation: Political parties, pressure groups and social movements in advanced industrial and developing societies.
    • Globalization: Responses from developed and developing societies.
    • Approaches to the Study of International Relations: Idealist, Realist, Marxist, Functionalist and Systems theory.
    • Key Concepts in International Relations: National interest, security, and power; Balance of power and deterrence; Transnational actors and collective security; World capitalist economy and globalization.
    • Changing International Political Order:
      • Rise of superpowers; Strategic and ideological Bipolarity, arms race and cold war; Nuclear threat;
      • Non-aligned movement: Aims and achievements.
      • The collapse of the Soviet Union; Unipolarity and American hegemony; Relevance of non-alignment in the contemporary world.
    • Evolution of the International Economic System: From Bretton woods to WTO; Socialist economies and the CMEA (Council for Mutual Economic Assistance); Third World demand for new international economic order; Globalisation of the world economy.
    • United Nations: Envisaged role and actual record; Specialized UN agencies—aims and functioning; the need for UN reforms.
    • Regionalization of World Politics: EU, ASEAN, APEC, AARC, NAFTA.
    • Contemporary Global Concerns: Democracy, human rights, environment, gender justice terrorism, nuclear proliferation.
  • India and the World
    • Indian Foreign Policy: Determinants of foreign policy; the institutions of policy-making; continuity and change.
    • India’s Contribution to the Non-Alignment Movement Different phases; current role.
    • India and South Asia:
      • Regional Co-operation: SAARC-past performance and future prospects.
      • South Asia as a Free Trade Area.
      • India’s “Look East” policy.
      • Impediments to regional cooperation: River water disputes; illegal cross-border migration; Ethnic conflicts and insurgencies; Border disputes.
    • India and the Global South: Relations with Africa and Latin America; Leadership role in the demand for NIEO and WTO negotiations.
    • India and the Global Centres of Power: USA, EU, Japan, China, and Russia.
    • India and the UN System: Role in UN Peace-keeping; Demand for Permanent Seat in the Security Council.
    • India and the Nuclear Question: Changing perceptions and policy.
    • Recent developments in Indian Foreign Policy: India’s position on the recent crises in Afghanistan, Iraq, and West Asia, growing relations with the US and Israel; Vision of a new world order.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top