#57 What is the Preferred Booklist and Syllabus for Political Science and International Relations?

What is international relations? What all does it cover? Is that a good choice?

Political science and international relations is one of the options offered by the upsc. It has been the most popular optional among the aspirant,majorly because of its correlation with GS paper and a chunk of if comes through current affairs making it even more easier to pick.

So what is PSIR optional all about? PSIR includes fundamentals of political science and our relations with international borders.

This is one of the most informative topics we can address by exploring our relationships with our neighbours in a more explanatory way.

But, the question arises who should take this subject? Do we need a specialisation of the subject? then the answer is no, no one is demanding a specific degree in this subject.Anyone who is interested in knowing more in depth the relations and policies of foreign Indians can take this.

So what is the syllabus for the subject?



A.Political Theory and Thinkers

1.Political theory 

Meaning, Definition, and approaches

2.Theories of the state








Concept of justice with reference to Rawl’s theory of justice


Relationship between freedom and equality and; 

Political, Social, and economic; 

Affirmative action.


Meaning and theories; 

the concept of Human Rights


different models of democracy – deliberative, participatory and representative, Contemporary and Classical theories

7.Concept of power




8.Political Ideologies 







9.Indian Political Thought 

Dharamshastra, Arthashastra, and Buddhist traditions; 

Sri Aurobindo, 

B.R. Ambedkar, 

Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, 

M.K. Gandhi, 

M.N. Roy.

10.Western Political Thought 


John S. Mill, 





Gramsci Marx, 

Hannah Arendt.

B.Indian Government and Politics

1.Indian Nationalism 

Political Strategies of India’s Freedom Struggle: 

Civil Disobedience, 


Constitutionalism to mass Satyagraha, 

Peasant and workers’ movements, 

Revolutionary movements.

2.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.

3.Principal Organs of the Union Government

Executive, Envisaged role and actual working of the Legislature, and Supreme Court.

4.Principal Organs of the State Government

Executive, Envisaged role and actual working of the Legislature, and High Courts.

5.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.


Changing nature of center-state relations; 

Constitutional provisions; and regional aspirations; 

integrationist tendencies, 

inter-state disputes.

7.Planning and Economic Development 

The role of planning and public sector; 

land reforms and agrarian relations; 


Green Revolution, 

economic reforms.

8.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.

9.Social Movements 

Civil liberties, women’s movements; 

environmentalist movements


A.Comparative Political Analysis and International Politics

1.Comparative Politics 

Political economy, Nature and major approaches;

limitations of the comparative method.


Responses from developing and developed societies.

Approaches to the Study of International Relations

Idealist, Functionalist, Realist, Marxist, and Systems theory.

3.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.

4.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.

5.Evolution of the International Economic System

From Bretton Woods 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.

6.United Nations 

Envisaged role and actual record; 

Specialized UN agencies-aims and functioning; 

the need for UN reforms.

7.Regionalization of World Politics 






8.Contemporary Global Concerns 

Human rights, 

Gender justice, 

nuclear proliferation, 

Democracy, environment,


B .India and the World

1.Indian Foreign Policy 

Continuity and change: 

Institutions of policy-making, 

Determinants of foreign policy

2.India and South Asia 

South Asia as a Free Trade Area

Regional Cooperation: SAARC –past performance and future prospects

Impediments to regional cooperation: 

ethnic conflicts and insurgencies; 

river water disputes; 

illegal cross-border migration; 

border disputes.

India’s “Look East” policy

3.India and the Global South 

Relations with Latin America and Africa,

Leadership role in the demand for NIEO and WTO negotiations

4.India and the Global Centres of Power 

USA, China, EU, Japan, and Russia.

5.India and the UN System 

Role in United Nation Peace-keeping

6.India and the Nuclear Questions 

Perceptions and Changing policy

7.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

What is the booklist for the subject?


➦ An Introduction to Political Theory by O P Gauba

➦ A History Of Political Thought: Plato To Marx by Subrata Mukherjee And Sushila Ramaswamy

➦ An Oxford Companion To Politics In India by Niraja Gopal Jayal And Pratap Bhanu Mehta

➦ India’s Struggle For Independence – Bipan Chandra

➦ IGNOU BOOKLET MPSE-004 Social and Political Thought in Modern India

➦ “The Oxford Companion to Politics in India” by Niraja Gopal Jayal and Pratap Bhanu Mehta.

Additional Books

➦ Indian Government And Politics – B L Fadia

➦ Foundations Of Indian Political Thought- V.R Mehta

➦ “Political Ideologies: An Introduction” by Andrew Heywood.

Paper II

Reference Books

➦ Global Politics- Andrew Heywood

➦ Challenges and Strategy: Rethinking India’s Foreign Policy by Rajiv Sikri

➦ Does The Elephant Dance?: Contemporary Indian Foreign Policy- David M. Malone

➦ “The Globalization of World Politics: An Introduction to International Relations” by John Baylis, Steve Smith and Patricia Owens.

Additional References

➦ International Relations- Mcgraw Hill education

➦ India’s Foreign Policy Challenges and Opportunities by GoI publication

Other Important References

➦ IGNOU notes on Comparative Politics.

➦ “IDSA website (should be followed for articles)

➦ MEA website (for current affairs)

➦ IR editorials from daily newspaper

➦ MPS-004 Comparative Politics: Issues And Trends By Expert Panel Of GPH

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