Courses » Introduction to Political Theory

Introduction to Political Theory


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


UG/PG: UG and PG



1671 students have enrolled already!!


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).


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


  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
  • The exam is optional for a fee.
  • Date and Time of Exams: April 27 2019(Saturday).  Morning session 9am to 12 noon; Afternoon Session 2pm to 5pm.
  • Registration url: Announcements will be made when the registration form is open for registrations.
  • The online registration form has to be filled and the certification exam fee needs to be paid. More details will be made available when the exam registration form is published.


  • Final score will be calculated as : 25% assignment score + 75% final exam score
  • 25% assignment score is calculated as 25% of average of  Best 8 out of 12 assignments
  • E-Certificate will be given to those who register and write the exam and score greater than or equal to 40% final score. Certificate will have your name, photograph and the score in the final exam with the breakup.It will have the logos of NPTEL and IIT Guwahati.It will be e-verifiable at nptel.ac.in/noc.