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IAS POLITICAL SCIENCE AND INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS Optional Paper 2 Solutions- Section A Question 1,2







1. (a) Discuss the main limitations of the comparative method to the study of Political Science.

Answer: The comparative method is a widely used approach in political science research, which involves comparing cases across countries or regions to identify patterns, similarities, and differences in political phenomena. While this approach has many advantages, it also has several limitations that researchers need to be aware of. Some of the main limitations of the comparative method in political science include:


Limited generalizability: Comparative studies are often limited by the number of cases that can be included in the analysis. This can make it difficult to draw general conclusions that apply to a broader population beyond the cases studied. For example, a comparative study of democratic transitions in Latin America may not be applicable to other regions.


Contextual differences: Contextual differences between cases can make it challenging to identify causal relationships or draw meaningful comparisons. This can include differences in historical, cultural, economic, and social contexts. For example, comparing the political systems of the United States and China may be difficult due to the vast differences in their political, social, and economic systems.


Measurement issues: Comparative studies may encounter issues with measurement, including differences in how variables are defined and measured across cases. This can make it challenging to compare data across cases and draw meaningful conclusions. For example, measuring corruption in different countries can be difficult, as definitions of corruption can vary widely.


Bias and subjectivity: Comparative studies may be affected by the bias and subjectivity of the researcher. Researchers may have preconceived ideas or biases that can affect their selection of cases, variables, or analytical methods. This can lead to the misinterpretation of data and inaccurate conclusions.


Causality and complexity: Comparative studies may struggle to establish causal relationships between variables due to the complex nature of political phenomena. Political processes are often influenced by multiple factors, making it difficult to identify which variables are driving the outcome. This can lead to incomplete or inaccurate conclusions about the causes of political phenomena.



Overall, the comparative method is a useful tool for studying political science, but it has limitations that researchers need to be aware of. By understanding these limitations and addressing them in their research design and analysis, researchers can improve the reliability and validity of their comparative studies.


1. (b) What are the main challenges faced by developing countries in the era of globalization?


Answer: There are several challenges faced by developing countries in the era of globalization, including:


Unequal distribution of benefits: Globalization has led to an uneven distribution of benefits, where developed countries often enjoy greater economic growth and benefits from trade liberalization. Developing countries may struggle to compete in the global market due to weak infrastructure, inadequate institutional frameworks, and limited resources.


Vulnerability to external shocks: Developing countries are often more vulnerable to external economic shocks, such as commodity price fluctuations, currency devaluation, and financial crises. This is because they are often heavily dependent on the export of primary commodities and may lack diversification in their economies.


Environmental degradation: The rapid pace of globalization has led to environmental degradation, including deforestation, pollution, and climate change. Developing countries may be particularly vulnerable to the effects of environmental degradation, as they often lack the resources and technology to mitigate its impact.


Social inequality: Globalization has led to increased inequality, with the benefits of economic growth often concentrated among a small elite. This can exacerbate existing social and economic inequalities within developing countries, leading to increased poverty, social unrest, and political instability.


Dependency on foreign aid: Developing countries may become overly reliant on foreign aid and loans to finance their development, which can lead to debt dependency and undermine their economic sovereignty.


Brain drain: Globalization has led to an increase in the movement of skilled labor from developing countries to developed countries, leading to a brain drain and a loss of valuable human capital.



Overall, these challenges highlight the need for policies that promote sustainable economic growth, environmental protection, and social equity in developing countries, while also addressing the structural inequalities of the global economic system.


1. (c) Discuss the commonalities between the Marxist and Realist approaches to the study of International Politics.


Answer: Both Marxism and Realism are dominant theoretical approaches in the study of international politics. Despite their differences, they share some commonalities:


State Centrism: Both Marxism and Realism view the state as the key actor in international politics. They believe that the state is the primary unit of analysis and that its interests and actions are the primary determinants of international relations.


Competition and Conflict: Both Marxism and Realism view international relations as characterized by competition and conflict. They argue that the pursuit of power, wealth, and security by states is the main driving force behind international relations, leading to conflict and competition.


Structural Constraints: Both Marxism and Realism acknowledge that the structure of the international system imposes constraints on state behavior. Marxism emphasizes the role of the global capitalist system in shaping state behavior, while Realism emphasizes the anarchical nature of the international system.


Relative Gains: Both Marxism and Realism recognize the importance of relative gains in international relations. They argue that states are primarily concerned with maintaining or improving their position relative to other states, rather than absolute gains.


Skepticism of cooperation: Both Marxism and Realism are skeptical of the possibility of cooperation between states, particularly when it comes to issues of fundamental national interest. They argue that the pursuit of national interest often leads to conflict and that cooperation is limited by the constraints of the international system.


Importance of Power: Both Marxism and Realism emphasize the importance of power in international relations. They argue that power is the ultimate determinant of state behavior and that states seek to maximize their power in order to achieve their goals and protect their interests.


Overall, while there are differences between the Marxist and Realist approaches to international politics, they share a common view of the international system as characterized by competition and conflict, and emphasize the role of the state and power in shaping international relations.


1. (d) Bipolar structure of the world is more stable than the multipolar one. Comment.


Answer: The question of whether a bipolar or multipolar world structure is more stable is a complex one and subject to debate among scholars of international relations. However, I will attempt to provide some perspectives on the issue.


On the one hand, proponents of bipolarity argue that a bipolar world, characterized by two dominant superpowers, is more stable because it creates a clear balance of power. In such a world, the two superpowers are likely to be cautious and avoid direct conflict, as they are aware that a major war would be catastrophic for both sides. Additionally, the bipolar world provides a stable framework for countries to align themselves and make strategic calculations. This can lead to more predictable behavior by nations, as they are forced to choose sides and establish clear alliances.




On the other hand, advocates of multipolarity argue that a world with multiple centers of power is more stable. In such a world, there is less likelihood of one power dominating and imposing its will on others, and therefore, there is a greater chance for cooperation and compromise. Additionally, a multipolar world allows for a greater diversity of opinion and interests, which can lead to more innovative solutions to global problems. Finally, the complexity of the world means that there is less likelihood of a single event or crisis leading to a catastrophic war, as there are multiple actors and competing interests to be considered.


In reality, the stability of world order is dependent on many factors, including the distribution of power, the level of cooperation among nations, and the global institutions that govern international relations. Both bipolarity and multipolarity have their strengths and weaknesses, and the stability of each model depends on the specific circumstances of the time. Ultimately, it is impossible to definitively say which model is more stable, as both have been shown to work in different contexts throughout history.


1. (e) National Interest is an essentially contested concept. Comment.


Answer: The concept of national interest is indeed an essentially contested concept, which means that it is a concept that is open to different interpretations and meanings, and is subject to ongoing debate and controversy.


The idea of national interest refers to the set of objectives, values, and policies that a state seeks to achieve and promote in order to enhance its security, prosperity, and well-being. However, the precise meaning of national interest can vary depending on the context, the actors involved, and the values and interests they represent.


For example, some may view national interest as synonymous with military power and dominance, while others may prioritize economic growth and development. Some may argue that promoting human rights and democracy is in the national interest, while others may prioritize stability and order, even if it means supporting authoritarian regimes.


Moreover, different actors within a state, such as political parties, interest groups, and individuals, may have different interpretations of national interest, based on their own values, beliefs, and interests.


As a result, the concept of national interest is inherently contested, and there is no single, objective definition or understanding of it. Rather, it is a complex and dynamic concept that is shaped by multiple factors and perspectives and is subject to ongoing debate and negotiation.


2. (a) How has electoral democracy augmented the participation of people in the democratic process?


Answer: Electoral democracy has played a significant role in augmenting the participation of people in the democratic process. Here are some ways in which it has done so:


Universal Suffrage: The introduction of universal suffrage, which allows all citizens of a country to vote regardless of their gender, ethnicity, or social status, has greatly increased the participation of people in the democratic process. When everyone has the right to vote, more people are likely to feel included in the process and to have a say in the decisions that affect their lives.


Political Parties: Political parties provide a platform for citizens to participate in the democratic process by allowing them to join a party, voice their opinions and campaign for the party's candidates. This creates a sense of ownership and participation in the democratic process.


Free and Fair Elections: The conduct of free and fair elections is a key feature of electoral democracy. When elections are conducted in a transparent and unbiased manner, people have more faith in the democratic process and are more likely to participate. This also ensures that everyone's voice is heard, regardless of their social or economic status.


Increased Civic Awareness: The democratic process encourages civic awareness and engagement. When citizens are encouraged to participate in the democratic process, they become more aware of the issues affecting their community and country. This, in turn, leads to increased engagement and participation in the democratic process.


Democratic Institutions: Electoral democracy also requires the establishment of democratic institutions that promote accountability, transparency, and the rule of law. This creates an environment where people feel that their voices are being heard and their concerns are being addressed.


Overall, electoral democracy has significantly augmented the participation of people in the democratic process. It has allowed citizens to exercise their right to vote, participate in political parties, and engage in civic awareness. It has also created an environment of accountability and transparency, which has increased people's trust in the democratic process.


2. (b) Discuss the role of social movements in strengthening the democratic processes in developing societies.


Answer: Social movements can play a critical role in strengthening democratic processes in developing societies by providing a means for citizens to voice their opinions, challenge the status quo, and push for political and social change. These movements often arise as a response to perceived injustices, inequalities, or violations of human rights and can range from grassroots movements to large-scale protests and demonstrations.


One of the primary ways in which social movements contribute to democratic processes is by increasing civic engagement and participation. By mobilizing citizens and creating a sense of community around a shared cause, social movements can galvanize people who may have previously been disengaged from the political process. This, in turn, can lead to increased voter turnout, greater accountability from elected officials, and a more robust civil society.


Additionally, social movements can help to hold those in power accountable for their actions. By shining a light on issues that may have been previously ignored or swept under the rug, social movements can help to create a more transparent and responsive government. This can lead to greater accountability and more participatory democracy.


Furthermore, social movements can serve as a means of representation for marginalized communities who may otherwise be excluded from the political process. By giving a voice to those who have been historically disenfranchised, social movements can help to ensure that all members of society have a say in the decisions that affect their lives.


However, it is important to note that social movements alone are not enough to create a strong and vibrant democracy. They must be supported by robust institutions, a free press, and an independent judiciary to ensure that democratic processes are upheld and that the voices of all citizens are heard.


In conclusion, social movements play a vital role in strengthening democratic processes in developing societies by increasing civic engagement, holding those in power accountable, and giving a voice to marginalized communities. While social movements are a critical part of a healthy democracy, they must be accompanied by strong democratic institutions to ensure that the will of the people is heard and respected.


2. (c) Describe the composition of the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Discuss its voluntary jurisdiction.


Answer: The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations (UN). Its composition consists of 15 judges elected by the UN General Assembly and the Security Council for a term of nine years. The judges are elected based on their qualifications, impartiality, and suitability to perform the duties of a judge of the ICJ.


The composition of the ICJ ensures that the principal legal systems of the world are represented, and the judges are chosen from different regions of the world. They are expected to act independently and impartially, and they are not allowed to take instructions from any government or organization.


The ICJ has two types of jurisdiction: compulsory and voluntary. Compulsory jurisdiction applies when both parties involved in a dispute have recognized the jurisdiction of the ICJ either through a treaty, declaration, or special agreement. In cases where there is no such agreement, the ICJ can still hear the case if both parties agree to submit to its jurisdiction voluntarily.


The voluntary jurisdiction of the ICJ is essential because it allows states to bring disputes before the court without being bound by any treaty or other legal instrument. This voluntary jurisdiction is critical to the development of international law, as it provides a mechanism for resolving disputes that might otherwise go unresolved.


However, it is important to note that the voluntary jurisdiction of the ICJ is subject to certain limitations. States are free to accept or reject the jurisdiction of the ICJ on a case-by-case basis, and even when they accept it, they may impose certain conditions on the court's jurisdiction.


In summary, the ICJ is composed of 15 judges elected by the UN General Assembly and Security Council. Its jurisdiction is either compulsory or voluntary, with the latter allowing states to submit disputes to the court even without being bound by any legal instrument. However, voluntary jurisdiction is subject to certain limitations imposed by the states.



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