IGNOU MPS 001 Important Questions

 The IGNOU MPS (Master of Arts in Political Science) program is a prestigious distance education course offered by Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU). Among its various courses, MPS 001: Political Theory, is fundamental for understanding the basic principles and concepts of political science. This article aims to provide an extensive list of important questions that students should focus on for MPS 001, ensuring thorough preparation for exams.

Course Overview

What is MPS 001?

MPS 001: Political Theory is one of the core courses in the IGNOU MPS program. It covers essential topics in political theory, including the nature of political theory, approaches to political analysis, the state, democracy, political obligation, and much more.

Importance of MPS 001

Understanding political theory is crucial for students as it forms the foundation for more advanced topics in political science. The course helps students develop critical thinking skills and a deeper understanding of political concepts and their applications.

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Detailed Outline of Important Questions

Nature and Significance of Political Theory

  • What is Political Theory?
  • Discuss the significance of Political Theory in contemporary politics.
  • Explain the main characteristics of traditional and modern political theories.

Approaches to Political Analysis

  • What are the different approaches to political analysis?
  • Compare and contrast normative and empirical approaches in political science.
  • Discuss the behavioural approach to political analysis.
  • Explain the systems theory and its application in political science.

The State

  • Define the concept of the state.
  • Discuss the evolution of the state from ancient to modern times.
  • Explain the different theories of the state (e.g., Marxist, Pluralist, and Feminist theories).
  • What is the social contract theory? Compare the views of Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau.


  • What is sovereignty? Discuss its key features.
  • Differentiate between internal and external sovereignty.
  • Explain the concept of popular sovereignty.
  • Discuss the relevance of sovereignty in the era of globalization.


  • Define democracy and discuss its essential characteristics.
  • Compare and contrast direct and representative democracy.
  • What are the challenges to democracy in the modern world?
  • Discuss the role of civil society in a democratic state.

Political Obligation and Authority

  • What is political obligation? Discuss its sources.
  • Explain the theories of political obligation (e.g., consent theory, fair play theory, and the principle of utility).
  • Discuss the concept of authority and its types.
  • How does legitimacy relate to political authority?

Liberty and Equality

  • Define liberty and discuss its different dimensions.
  • Explain the distinction between positive and negative liberty.
  • What is the concept of equality in political theory?
  • Discuss the relationship between liberty and equality.


  • What is justice? Discuss its different interpretations.
  • Explain John Rawls' theory of justice.
  • Discuss the concept of distributive justice.
  • How do contemporary political theorists view justice?


  • Define the concept of rights and their importance in political theory.
  • Differentiate between natural rights and legal rights.
  • Explain the theories of rights (e.g., utilitarian, Marxist, and liberal theories).
  • Discuss the concept of human rights and its global significance.

Political Ideologies

  • What are political ideologies? Discuss their role in political theory.
  • Explain the main tenets of liberalism.
  • Discuss the principles of socialism and its various forms.
  • What is conservatism? Compare it with liberalism and socialism.
  • Explain the ideology of feminism and its impact on political theory.
  • Discuss the significance of environmentalism as a political ideology.


  • Summarize the key points discussed in the article.
  • Highlight the importance of understanding political theory for students pursuing the IGNOU MPS program.
  • Provide a call to action for further study and exploration of political science concepts.

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Content Writing


Political theory is the bedrock of political science, providing the fundamental concepts and analytical tools necessary for understanding the political world. IGNOU's MPS 001 course on Political Theory is designed to equip students with a deep and nuanced understanding of these concepts. This article will guide you through the important questions and topics you should focus on for thorough preparation, ensuring success in your exams and a strong foundation for advanced studies.

Nature and Significance of Political Theory

What is Political Theory?

Political theory is the study of ideas and principles that underpin political systems and practices. It involves the analysis of concepts such as justice, power, authority, and democracy, and seeks to understand how these concepts are applied in the governance of societies.

Significance of Political Theory in Contemporary Politics

Political theory is crucial for several reasons. Firstly, it helps in understanding the foundational principles of political systems. Secondly, it provides the tools for critical analysis of political practices and institutions. Lastly, political theory is essential for normative evaluations, offering frameworks for assessing the justice and efficacy of political arrangements.

Characteristics of Traditional and Modern Political Theories

Traditional political theories often focus on the normative aspects of political life, emphasizing what ought to be. They are typically rooted in philosophical arguments and historical contexts. Modern political theories, on the other hand, incorporate empirical methods and focus on explaining and predicting political behavior and institutions using scientific approaches.

Approaches to Political Analysis

Different Approaches to Political Analysis

Political analysis can be approached through various lenses, including normative, empirical, and behavioral approaches. Each offers unique insights and methods for understanding political phenomena.

Normative vs. Empirical Approaches

Normative approaches focus on evaluating political systems and practices based on ethical principles and values. They address questions of what ought to be and are concerned with ideals such as justice and equality. Empirical approaches, conversely, rely on observation and data collection to describe and explain political behavior and institutions, focusing on what is rather than what ought to be.

Behavioural Approach to Political Analysis

The behavioral approach emphasizes the study of political behavior of individuals and groups. It uses methods from psychology and sociology to understand voting patterns, political participation, and the influence of social and economic factors on political attitudes.

Systems Theory

Systems theory views political entities as complex systems composed of interrelated parts. It focuses on how different components of a political system interact and the effects of these interactions on the overall functioning of the system. This approach is useful for understanding the dynamics of political stability and change.

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The State

Concept of the State

The state is a political entity characterized by a defined territory, a permanent population, a government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other states. It is the primary unit of political organization in the modern world.

Evolution of the State

The concept of the state has evolved from ancient city-states and empires to modern nation-states. This evolution reflects changes in political organization, economic structures, and social dynamics.

Theories of the State

Different theories offer various explanations for the nature and role of the state:

  • Marxist Theory: Views the state as an instrument of class domination, serving the interests of the ruling class.
  • Pluralist Theory: Sees the state as a neutral arena where different groups compete for power and influence.
  • Feminist Theory: Critiques the state as a patriarchal institution that perpetuates gender inequalities.

Social Contract Theory

The social contract theory posits that the state arises from an agreement among individuals to form a society and establish a government to enforce laws and protect rights. Key proponents include:

  • Thomas Hobbes: Advocated for a strong, central authority to prevent chaos and violence.
  • John Locke: Emphasized the protection of natural rights and limited government.
  • Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Argued for popular sovereignty and direct democracy.


Definition of Sovereignty

Sovereignty is the supreme authority of a state to govern itself without external interference. It involves both internal authority over domestic affairs and external independence in international relations.

Internal vs. External Sovereignty

Internal sovereignty refers to the state's authority within its own territory, while external sovereignty pertains to the recognition of the state's independence by other states and international bodies.

Popular Sovereignty

Popular sovereignty is the principle that the authority of the state is derived from the consent of the governed. It is a foundational concept in democratic theory and practice.

Relevance of Sovereignty in Globalization

In the era of globalization, the concept of sovereignty faces challenges from international organizations, transnational corporations, and global issues such as climate change. These dynamics necessitate a rethinking of traditional notions of state sovereignty.


Definition and Characteristics of Democracy

Democracy is a system of government where power is vested in the people, who rule either directly or through elected representatives. Key characteristics include free and fair elections, the rule of law, protection of human rights, and active citizen participation.

Direct vs. Representative Democracy

  • Direct Democracy: Citizens directly participate in decision-making processes.
  • Representative Democracy: Citizens elect representatives to make decisions on their behalf, balancing the practicalities of governance with the principles of popular control.

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Challenges to Democracy

Modern democracies face various challenges, including political polarization, corruption, erosion of civil liberties, and the influence of money in politics. Addressing these challenges is crucial for maintaining the health and stability of democratic systems.

Role of Civil Society

Civil society plays a vital role in democracy by promoting political participation, holding governments accountable, and advocating for social justice. It encompasses a wide range of organizations, including non-governmental organizations (NGOs), community groups, and advocacy networks.

Political Obligation and Authority

Political Obligation

Political obligation refers to the moral duty of citizens to obey the laws and support the institutions of their state. It is a fundamental concept in political theory, addressing the relationship between individuals and their political community.

Theories of Political Obligation

  • Consent Theory: Argues that political obligation arises from an implicit or explicit agreement to follow the laws of the state.
  • Fair Play Theory: Suggests that individuals have an obligation to obey laws as a matter of fairness, given the benefits they receive from the state.
  • Principle of Utility: Posits that political obligation is justified by the overall benefits of law and order for society.

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Concept of Authority

Authority is the legitimate power that an entity or individual holds to make decisions, enforce laws, and command obedience. It is a key element of political order and governance.

Legitimacy and Political Authority

Legitimacy refers to the rightful exercise of power, where the governed accept and recognize the authority of their rulers. It is essential for the stability and effectiveness of political systems.

Liberty and Equality

Dimensions of Liberty

Liberty is the condition of being free from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one's way of life, behavior, or political views. It has two main dimensions:

  • Negative Liberty: The absence of external constraints on the individual.
  • Positive Liberty: The presence of conditions that enable individuals to pursue their own potential and goals.

Positive vs. Negative Liberty

Negative liberty focuses on the removal of barriers to individual action, while positive liberty emphasizes the creation of opportunities for self-realization and development.

Concept of Equality

Equality is the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, and opportunities. In political theory, it involves addressing issues of social justice, fairness, and the distribution of resources and opportunities.

Relationship between Liberty and Equality

Liberty and equality are often seen as complementary but sometimes conflicting values. Achieving a balance between them is a central concern of political theory and practice.

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Interpretations of Justice

Justice is a complex and multifaceted concept that involves fairness, equality, and the rule of law. Different philosophical traditions offer various interpretations of justice, including distributive, retributive, and procedural justice.

John Rawls' Theory of Justice

John Rawls' theory of justice, articulated in his seminal work "A Theory of Justice," proposes two principles of justice:

  • First Principle: Each person has an equal right to basic liberties.
  • Second Principle: Social and economic inequalities should be arranged to benefit the least advantaged and be attached to positions open to all.

Distributive Justice

Distributive justice concerns the fair allocation of resources and opportunities among individuals in a society. It addresses questions of how wealth, power, and opportunities should be distributed to ensure fairness and equity.

Contemporary Views on Justice

Contemporary political theorists continue to explore and debate issues of justice, considering new challenges such as global inequality, environmental justice, and the rights of marginalized groups.


Importance of Rights

Rights are fundamental entitlements that protect individuals' freedoms and ensure their ability to participate fully in society. They are essential for safeguarding human dignity and promoting social justice.

Natural vs. Legal Rights

  • Natural Rights: Rights that are inherent and not dependent on laws or government.
  • Legal Rights: Rights that are granted and protected by laws and legal institutions.

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Theories of Rights

Different theoretical perspectives on rights include:

  • Utilitarian Theory: Justifies rights based on their contribution to overall happiness and welfare.
  • Marxist Theory: Critiques the bourgeois conception of rights as masking social inequalities.
  • Liberal Theory: Emphasizes individual rights as essential for personal freedom and autonomy.

Human Rights

Human rights are universal and inalienable rights that belong to all individuals regardless of nationality, race, or religion. They are enshrined in international documents such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and are a cornerstone of modern political thought and practice.

Political Ideologies

Role of Political Ideologies

Political ideologies provide frameworks for understanding political beliefs and guiding political action. They shape how individuals and groups interpret political events and issues.

Main Tenets of Liberalism

Liberalism is characterized by a commitment to individual freedom, equality, and democratic governance. It advocates for the protection of civil liberties, free markets, and limited government intervention.

Principles of Socialism

Socialism emphasizes collective ownership and the equitable distribution of resources. It advocates for social and economic equality, often through state intervention and the redistribution of wealth.


Conservatism values tradition, social stability, and continuity. It often emphasizes the importance of maintaining established institutions and practices, resisting radical change.


Feminism advocates for gender equality and challenges the systemic oppression of women. It has significantly influenced political theory and practice, highlighting issues of gender justice and representation.


Environmentalism focuses on the protection and preservation of the natural environment. It addresses the political and ethical implications of environmental degradation and promotes sustainable practices.

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Understanding political theory is essential for comprehending the complexities of political systems and their impact on society. The IGNOU MPS 001 course provides a comprehensive foundation in political theory, equipping students with the knowledge and analytical skills necessary for advanced study and informed political engagement. By focusing on the important questions outlined in this article, students can ensure thorough preparation for their exams and a deeper understanding of political concepts.