The course will introduce fundamental concepts of political philosophy through a critical reading of some of the major texts and thinkers from both the western and Indian political tradition. The central question of the course would be to trace how various political thinkers have impacted the development of different political institutions, from the polis to government and democracy.
The focus of this course will be to understand how globalization affects public and social actions and how state and non-state actors, individual and collective actors, cooperate and oppose each other on the world’s stage, reshaping classic inter-state relations. This course will be completely pluridisciplinary and will be based on case studies of some of the major challenges brought by globalization – financialization and economic globalization, new interdependences, migration and conflicts, among others. It will also focus on the attempts at reorganizing the world order after the fall of the Berlin Wall and will use cartography as tool for enlightening complex processes of global change.
Principles and Practices of Democracy
This course will introduce defining principles of democracy and how they have translated into various democratic systems throughout space and time. From a study of definitions of democracy, democratic norms and institutions, the course will compare various forms of democracies across the world and equip students with the conceptual and analytical tools required to understand the functioning of contemporary political institutions.
A comparative study of political systems, this course would provide students a foundational framework to examine political events through theoretical analysis, like explaining the relationship between democracy and economic development or the functioning of authoritarian regimes. This course will aim at developing tools for political comparison; to critically engage with concepts and events like democratic transition, democratization, de-democratization, political conflict, civil wars etc.
Introduction to Research Methods
Research is an important aspect of political science. This course would not only give students an overview of how to critically analyze existing social science research on the basis of research methods but would also train them in specifying research questions, research design, quantitative and qualitative data analysis and basic use of statistical methods.
Social and Political Movements
The focus of this course would be to analyze the birth and trajectory of social and political movements: the transformations in patterns of conflict, the processes of citizenship, mobilisation and participation, the role of civil society and cultural representations in social conflict. By exploring case studies, political theory and research, the course would introduce the students to ideas of collective action.
What is society? In what way is it more than the sum of its parts, individuals or persons? Does society shape individuals in order to achieve stability for the whole? Or is social conduct and thought revealing of underlying structures in our unconscious? Or is such conduct and thought instead led by lived experience, the practice and habit of everyday life? This course will take us through the foundational theory of anthropology: functionalism and its roots in evolutionism (Boas, Durkheim, Malinowski), to structural-functionalism (Radcliffe-Brown, Mauss, Fortes), to structuralism (Levi-Strauss, de Saussure), to post-structuralism in its myriad forms (Bourdieu, Ortner, Sahlins, Jacobsen). Each topic will be taught in the context of ethnographic examples and of contemporary theorists working with these foundations.
Kinship, Caste & Community
This course explores the ways in which people in different societies conceptualise and live out relatedness, in their families, wider kin and non-kin groups. Drawing on ethnography from South Asia and elsewhere, we explore the different forms of relatedness as expressed through kinship, caste and community, highlighting their link to ideas of personhood, to gender, and to relations of ownership and inheritance. We explore the way in which kinship and caste both connect and divide: while on the one hand, shared identity and solidarity is created, on the other, inequality and exploitation is instituted.
Politics, Law and the State: Perspectives from Anthropology & Sociology
This course is concerned with the nature of power, the relation between state and society and the challenges and limits to political authority. Drawing on recent and contemporary work of sociologists (Thomson, Lukes, Foucault, Chatterjee, Gai, Kaviraj, Hall, Giddens) and anthropologists (Hansen, Fuller, Benei, Gupta, Brass, Tambiah), the course will explore topics such as:- the origin of law in custom; the corporation and other legal fictions; conflict and static versus dynamic political systems; institutions and their relation with ideology; political symbols and techniques of legitimation; the critique of political order in favour of individual agency; corruption, and everyday experiences of the state in India and elsewhere.
Social Change and Development
This course introduces students to the ideas of development which have informed government policy and civil society in India and the developing world since Independence. It locates development discourse in an Indian context, exploring the assumptions and world views which underlie the support to economic growth and ‘trickle down’, dependency theory and notions of sustainability, empowerment, participation and radical alternatives to market liberalism. Using case studies of policies and programmes, the course will explore the gap between plan and actual implementation. It asks how and why the gap is repeatedly reproduced and an understanding of ‘real change’ continues to elude us.
Agrarian studies is the interdisciplinary exploration of the modern transformation of the countryside across the world. It tries to understand the intrusive thrusts of nation-state formation, urban industrial production, and the rationalization of belief into the most distant agrarian regions. It insists that people everywhere have confronted those forces with their particular histories and distinctive, local configurations of environment, society and culture. The course approach is global, while emphasis is given to the Indian context of agrarian systems, land tenure and reform, social change in the village and peasant movements.
The course approach is global, while emphasis is given to the Indian context of agrarian systems, land tenure and reform, social change in the village and peasant movements.
Sociology of Post-Industrial Societies
How do we observe, analyze, apprehend society when it is spatially dispersed and virtual, residing in networks and new forms of affinity? To what extent does technology shape society, or is it rather than technology is driven by social needs which shape and reshape it? Demonstrating how and why contemporary social theory has converged on common questions, across the disciplines (including philosophy, sociology, anthropology, economics, geography, ecology, history), the course will explore topics such as:- the city and urbanity, globalization, science and technology, environmentalism and the case for analysis of the world as a ‘system’ in which different parts are positioned in relation to a dominant ‘core’.