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Programme: MPhil in Social Sciences

Institution: Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta


Course: Rethinking Political Theory
Semester: 2 (January to May 2018)
Course Coordinator: Maidul Islam (MI); Course Instructors: Karthick Ram Manoharan
(KRM), Manabi Majumdar (MM) and Maidul Islam (MI)

This course will aim to examine the linkages between political theory and political
philosophy, political theory and history, and between political theory and political
economy. More specifically, we shall try to examine why political theory is important, the
lessons of political theory from the classical texts, how political theory responds to
demands of justice, demands of power, demands of capitalist development, demands of
democracy, the normative concepts of liberty and equality, the case for political resistance,
the major methodological approaches and conceptual issues to the study of political
ideologies.

Assessment:

Assignment 1: Written essay of about 2000-3000 words. Question will be given in third
week of February 2018, and hard copies of assignment are due on the first week of
March, 2018.

Assignment 2: Written essay of about 2000-3000 words. Assignment will be given on the
second week of April, 2018 and hard copies of assignment are due on the first week of
May, 2018.

Submission of Term paper (End-Semester II Examination) of about 3000-4000 words; hard


copies of term paper are due on the last week of May, 2018. Oral defense of term papers
will be scheduled in the first week of June.

Session 1: Why Political Theory? (KRM)

Homi K Bhabha (1988) “The Commitment to Theory”, new formations, NUMBER 5, pp.
5-23

Bhikku Parekh (1992), “The Poverty of Indian Political Theory”, HISTORY OF


POLITICAL THOUGHT. Vol. XIII. No. 3., pp. 535-560

Session 2: Back to the Basics: The Ideal Ruler (KRM)

Plato (2007) “The Philosopher Ruler” in The Republic, Trans. Desmond Lee, London:
Penguin, pp. 189-248

Kautilya (1992) “The King” in The Arthashastra, Trans. LN Rangarajan, New Delhi:
Penguin, pp. 141-176

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Session 3: Back to the Basics: The Prince (KRM)

Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince, (any edition) Chapters 15-19.

Gopal Balakrishnan (2005) “Future Unknown: Machiavelli for the Twenty-First Century”
in New Left Review, 32, Mar-April, pp. 5-21

Session 4: Back to the Basics: The Leviathan (KRM)

Thomas Hobbes (2000) Leviathan, Ed. Richard Tuck, Cambridge: CUP, pp. 117-154

Quentin Skinner (1966) “The Ideological Context of Hobbes's Political Thought” in The
Historical Journal, Vol. 9, No. 3 (1966), pp. 286-317

Session 5: The Case for Liberty, Positive and Negative (KRM)

Isaiah Berlin (1969) “Two Concepts of Liberty,” Four Essays On Liberty, Oxford: OUP,
pp. 118-172

Quentin Skinner (1984) “The idea of negative liberty: philosophical and historical
perspectives,” in ed. R. Rorty et al. Philosophy in History: Essays on the Historiography
of Philosophy, Cambridge: CUP, pp. 193-224

RECOMMENDED READING

JJ Rousseau, “Book One” in The Social Contract (any edition)

JS Mill, “Of the Liberty of Thought and Discussion” in On Liberty (any edition)

Session 6: The Case for Revolution (KRM)

Maximilien Robespierre, “On the Principles of Revolutionary Government” (available


online)

Maximilien Robespierre, “On the Principles of Political Morality” (available online)

Slavoj Zizek (2007) “Robespierre, or, the Divine Violence of Terror,” Introduction to
Maximilien Robespierre Virtue and Terror, trans. John Howe, London: Verso, pp. vii-
xxxix

Session 7: The Case for the Political (KRM)

Bernard Crick (2007) In Defence of Politics, New York: Continuum, pp. 18-37, 54-69

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Carl Schmitt (2007) The Concept of the Political: Expanded Edition, Chicago: University
of Chicago Press, pp. 19-53

RECOMMENDED READING

Chantal Mouffe (1997) “Carl Schmitt and the Paradox of Liberal Democracy”, Canadian
Journal of Law and Jurisprudence, Vol X. No 1. pp. 21-33

Session 8: The State and the Individual (KRM)

GWF Hegel (2008) Outlines of the Philosophy of Right, trans. TM Knox, Oxford: OUP,
pp. 228-256

Frederick Beiser (2005) “Hegel’s Theory of the State” in Hegel, New York: Routledge,
pp. 224-257

Session 9: The State and Capitalism (KRM)

Ralph Miliband (1973) The State and Capitalist Society, London: Quartet Books, pp. 46-
62

Goran Therbon (2008) What does the Ruling Class do when it Rules? London: Verso, pp.
180-218

Session 10: The State and the Revolution (KRM)

VI Lenin The State and Revolution (Available Online)

Abdullah Ocalan (2007) Prison Writings: The Roots of Civilisation, London: Pluto Press,
pp. 209-240

Abdullah Ocalan (2011) Prison Writings: The PKK and the Kurdish Question in the 21st
Century, London: Transmedia, pp. 45-69

Session 11: The State and the Nation – A View from the South (Quite Literally!)
(KRM)

MSS Pandian (1993) “'Denationalising' the Past: 'Nation' in E V Ramasamy's Political


Discourse”, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 28, No. 42, pp. 2282-2287

Ravi Vaitheespara (2012) “The Limits of Derivative Nationalism: Marxism, Postcolonial


Theory, and the Question of Tamil Nationalism”, Rethinking Marxism: A Journal of
Economics, Culture & Society, 24:1, 87-105

Mark P Whitaker (2007) Learning Politics from Sivaram, London: Pluto Press, pp. 157-
179

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Session 12: The State of Radical Theory Now: Laclau vs Zizek (KRM)

Slavoj Zizek (2006) “Against the Populist Temptation”, Critical Inquiry 32, pp. 551-574

Ernesto Laclau (2006) “Why Constructing a People Is the Main Task of Radical Politics”,
Critical Inquiry 32, pp. 646-680

Slavoj Zizek (2014) Agitating the Frame, Navayana: New Delhi, pp. 107-129

Demands of Justice

Session 13: Justice, Impartiality, and Historical Injustice (MM)

Amartya Sen ‘Closed and Open Impartiality’, The Idea of Justice, Allen Lane, London,
2009.
Arundhati Roy, ‘The Doctor and the Saint: An Introduction’, in Annihilation of Caste, The
Annotated Critical Edition, B.R. Ambedkar, Navayana, 2013.

Rajmohan Gandhi, ‘Independence and Social Justice: The Ambedkar-Gandhi Debate’,


Economic and Political Weekly, vol. L no.15, April 11, 2015.

Arundhati Roy, ‘All the World’s a Half-Built Dam’, Economic and Political Weekly, vol.
L, no.25, June, 2015.

Session 14: Politics of Justice and Politics of Recognition (MM)

Akeel Bilgrami, ‘Secularism, Multiculturalism and the Very Concept of Law’, in


Secularism, Identity and Enchantment, Permanent Black, New Delhi, 2014.

Akeel Bilgrami, ‘Occidentalism, the Very Idea: An Essay on the Enlightenment,


Enchantment, and the Mentality of Democracy’, in Secularism, Identity and Enchantment,
Permanent Black, New Delhi, 2014.

Joya Chatterji. ‘Of Graveyards and Ghettos: Muslims in Partitioned West Bengal 1947-
67’, in Living Together Separately: Cultural India in History and Politics, edited by
Mushirul Hasan and Asim Roy, Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2005.

Demands of Power

Session 15: Power, Incentives, and Ethics (MM)

Wendy Brown, ‘Power after Foucault’, in The Oxford Handbook of Political Theory edited
by John S. Dryzek, Bonnie Honig and Anne Phillips, Oxford University Press, Oxford,
2006.

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Nancy Fraser, ‘Foucault on Modern Power: Empirical Insights and Normative
Confusions’,

Michael Sandel, “Incentives”, in What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets,
Allen Lane, Penguin Books, New York, 2012.

Ruth W. Grant, ‘Ethics and Incentives’, The American Political Science Review, vol. 100,
no.1, 2006.

Responding to these demands: Public Emotions

Session 16: Theorizing Political Emotions (MM)

Martha Nussbaum ‘Compassion’s enemies: Fear, envy, shame’, in Political Emotions:


Why Love Matters for Justice, The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge,
M.A., 2013.

Martha Nussbaum ‘How Love Matters for Justice’, in Political Emotions: Why Love
Matters for Justice, The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge, M.A.,
2013.

Session 17: Democracy and Citizenship (MI)

Michael Saward, ‘Democracy and Citizenship’, in The Oxford Handbook of Political


Theory edited by John S. Dryzek, Bonnie Honig and Anne Phillips, Oxford University
Press, Oxford, 2006.

Chantal Mouffe, ‘Democratic Citizenship and the Political Community’, Chapter 4 in The
Return of the Political (London: Verso, 1993), pp. 60-73.

Chantal Mouffe, ‘Preface: Democratic Politics Today’, in Chantal Mouffe (ed.),


Dimensions of Radical Democracy: Pluralism, Citizenship, Community (London: Verso,
1992), pp. 1-14.

Session 18: Democracy and Equality (MI)

G.A. Cohen, ‘Equality: From Fact to Norm’, Chapter 6 in If You’re an Egalitarian, How
Come You’re So Rich? (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2000), pp. 101-115.

Friedrich A. Hayek, ‘Equality, Value, and Merit’, Chapter 4 in Michael Sandel (ed.),
Liberalism and its Critics (New York: New York University Press, 1984), pp. 80-99.

Amartya Sen, ‘Equality of What?’, The Tanner Lecture on Human Values, Delivered at
Stanford University, May 22, 1979.

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Session 19: Political Theory and Political Economy (MI)

Karl Marx, Capital Vol. 1. (Chapters 1-4 and 8-9); Marxists.org/Marxists CD 2002.

John Rawls, ‘Lectures on Marx’ in Lectures on the History of Political Philosophy, ed.
Samuel Freeman (Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University
Press, 2007), pp. 319-372.

Kojin Karatani, ‘Toward Transcritical Counteractions: The State, Capital, and Nation and
A Possible Communism’, Chapter 7 in Transcrtique: On Kant and Marx (London: The
MIT Press, 2003), pp. 265-306.

Session 20: Democracy, Disagreement, Dissent (MI)

Jacques Ranciére, ‘The Uses of Democracy’, Chapter 2 in On the Shores of Politics, trans.
Liz Heron (London: Verso, 1995), pp. 39-61.

Jacques Ranciére, ‘Does Democracy Mean Something?’ Chapter 2 in Dissensus: On


Politics and Aesthetics, ed. and trans. Steven Corcoran (London: Continuum, 2010), pp.
45-61.

Session 21: Democracy and Populism (MI)

Ernesto Laclau, ‘Towards a Theory of Populism’, Chapter 4 in Politics and Ideology in


Marxist Theory (London: NLB, 1977; Verso: 1979).

Ernesto Laclau, ‘Preface’, in On Populist Reason (London: Verso, 2005), pp. ix-xii.

Ernesto Laclau, “The ‘People’ and the Discursive Production of Emptiness’, Chapter 4 in
On Populist Reason (London: Verso, 2005), pp. 67-128.

Ernesto Laclau, ‘Populism, Representation and Democracy’, Chapter 6 in On Populist


Reason (London: Verso, 2005), pp. 157-171.

Session 22: Post-colonial Democracy in India (MI)

Sudipta Kaviraj, ‘A State of Contradictions: The Post-colonial State in India’, Chapter 6 in


The Imaginary Institution of India (Ranikhet: Permanent Black, 2010), pp. 210-233.

Partha Chatterjee, ‘The Politics of the Governed’, Chapter 3 in The Politics of the
Governed: Reflections on Popular Politics in Most of the World (Ranikhet: Permanent
Black, 2004), pp. 53-78.

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Session 23: Post-colonial Capitalism and Democracy in India (MI)

Kalyan Sanyal, ‘Ship of Fools’ (Chapter 2) and ‘Conclusion: Towards a New Political
Imaginary for the Post-Colonial World (Chapter 6) in Rethinking Capitalist Development:
Primitive Accumulation, Governmentality and Post-Colonial Capitalism (New Delhi:
Routledge, 2007), pp. 44-104, 254-262.

Partha Chatterjee, ‘Democracy and Economic Transformation in India’, Economic and


Political Weekly, Vol. 43, No. 16 (April 19-25, 2008), pp. 53-62.

Session 24: Post-capitalist Alternative (MI)

Kojin Karatani, ‘Preface to the English Edition’, History and Repetition (New York:
Columbia University Press, 2012), pp. vii-xiii.

Kojin Karatani and Joel Wainwright, “‘Critique is impossible without moves’: An


interview of Kojin Karatani by Joel Wainwright”, Dialogues in Human Geography, Vol.
2, No. 1 (2012), pp. 30–52.

Kojin Karatani, ‘Associationism’ and ‘Toward a World Republic’ Chapters 10 and 12 in


The Structure of World History (New York: Columbia University Press, 2014), pp. 228-
263; pp. 285-307.

Session 25: Study of Political Ideologies: Morphological Approach (MI)


Michael Freeden: Conceptual Analysis and Decontestation

Michael Freeden, Ideologies and Political Theory: A Conceptual Approach (Oxford:


Oxford University Press, 1996), ‘Introduction’: pp. 1-9; Part I: Theorizing About
Ideological Morphology, Chapters 1-3, pp. 13-136.

Session 26: Study of Political Ideologies: Marxist Approach-I (MI)


Karl Marx: False Consciousness

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels (1845/2002) The German Ideology; Marxists.org;
Marxists CD Archive [Electronic Source]

Étienne Balibar, ‘Ideology or Fetishism: Power and Subjection’, Chapter 3 in The


Philosophy of Marx, trans. Chris Turner (London: Verso, 1995), pp. 42-79.

Session 27: Study of Political Ideologies: Marxist Approach-II (MI)


Antonio Gramsci: Hegemony

Gramsci, Antonio (1971) Selections from the Prison Notebooks, ed. and trans. Quintin
Hoare and Geoffrey Nowell Smith, London: Lawrence & Wishart.

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Session 28: Study of Political Ideologies: Marxist Approach-III (MI)
Louis Althusser: Ideological State Apparatuses

Althusser, Louis (1971) ‘Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses (Notes towards an
Investigation)’, in On Ideology [2008], London: Verso, pp. 1-60.

Session 29: Study of Political Ideologies: Post-Marxist Approach (MI)


Ernesto Laclau: Post-Marxism

Laclau, Ernesto (1996) ‘The death and resurrection of the theory of ideology’, Journal of
Political Ideologies, Vol. 1, No. 3 (October), pp. 201-220.

Laclau, Ernesto (2006) ‘Ideology and post-Marxism’, Journal of Political Ideologies, Vol.
11, No. 2 (June), pp. 103-114.

Simon Critchley and Oliver Marchart (2004) ‘Introduction’, in Critchley and Marchart
(eds.), Laclau: A Critical Reader, London: Routledge, pp. 1-13.

Session 30: Ideology and Discourse Analysis (MI)

Van Dijk, Teun A. (2006) ‘Ideology and discourse analysis’, Journal of Political
Ideologies, Vol. 11, No. 2 (June), pp. 201-220.

Dyrberg, Torben Bech (2004) ‘The Political and Politics in Discourse Analysis’, in Simon
Critchley and Oliver Marchart (eds.), Laclau: A Critical Reader, London: Routledge, pp.
241-255.

Glynos, Jason and David Howarth (2007) Logics of Critical Explanation in Social and
Political Theory, London: Routledge, pp. 103-215.