Introduction to Political Theory

By Prof. Mithilesh Kumar Jha   |   IIT Guwahati
Learners enrolled: 1263
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. 

INTENDED AUDIENCE  : UG and PG students of Humanities and Social Sciences, Sciences and Engineering
Course Status : Completed
Course Type : Core
Duration : 12 weeks
Start Date : 24 Jan 2022
End Date : 15 Apr 2022
Exam Date : 23 Apr 2022 IST
Enrollment Ends : 07 Feb 2022
Category :
  • Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit Points : 3
Level : Undergraduate

Page Visits

Course layout

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

Books and references

  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

Instructor bio

Prof. Mithilesh Kumar Jha

IIT Guwahati
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).

Course certificate

The course is free to enroll and learn from. But if you want a certificate, you have to register and write the proctored exam conducted by us in person at any of the designated exam centres.
The exam is optional for a fee of Rs 1000/- (Rupees one thousand only).
Date and Time of Exams: 23 April 2022 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. If there are any changes, it will be mentioned then.
Please check the form for more details on the cities where the exams will be held, the conditions you agree to when you fill the form etc.


Average assignment score = 25% of average of best 8 assignments out of the total 12 assignments given in the course.
Exam score = 75% of the proctored certification exam score out of 100

Final score = Average assignment score + Exam score

YOU WILL BE ELIGIBLE FOR A CERTIFICATE ONLY IF AVERAGE ASSIGNMENT SCORE >=10/25 AND EXAM SCORE >= 30/75. If one of the 2 criteria is not met, you will not get the certificate even if the Final score >= 40/100.

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.

Only the e-certificate will be made available. Hard copies will not be dispatched.

Once again, thanks for your interest in our online courses and certification. Happy learning.

- NPTEL team

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