Rationale and Scope

The M.Phil in Comparative Politics and Political Theory would encourage research scholars to interrogate mainstream disciplinary practices and contribute towards making the corpus of political thought and practice truly global.

The rationale of the programme is to put theories of the 'political' in comparison within hitherto unfamiliar frames of reference, both from the global South, as well as from 'Western' philosophy and theory. We expect 'theory' to be grounded, and to be produced from within the location being studied, and hence, much work might involve the use of research methods across disciplines – ethnography, archival research, visual culture. Critique for us would imply also development of alternative arguments.

The study of political systems has for long relied on three broad types of analytical tools - structural functionalism of systems theory; political-economic interpretations of state and society; and the theory of the third world system and its dependency on first world developmental model. But as the Western hegemony in intellectual tools gets questioned, the presumed universality of its theories too has been facing the challenge of 'diversality' – Walter Mignolo's term expressing the universality of diversity. The critique of the foundational significance of western theory has drawn its sustenance from the ontological engagement with the diversity of knowledge worlds and the distinctive political thinking evident in its divergent manifestations, especially in the global South.  Our scope of 'comparison' therefore would be wide enough to include theories emerging from disparate experiences across the globe and not from Euro-American traditions alone.

The programme will aim at engaging with the world of political concepts and practices in comparative perspectives. Courses would focus on thought from the Global South as well as Indian thinking in particular, comparative understanding of nationalism as theory and practice; and thinking beyond the rational in politics. The Research Methods course would strive to offer students tools of critical comparison, and practical training in doing research. The Seminar Course would train students in writing skills, and help them to finalize their research topic by the end of the second semester.

Structure of M.Phil programme

Total number of credits – 24

Dissertation – 9 credits + Course work 15 credits

Course Work – 15 Credits for 5 courses - 3 credits per course.

2 compulsory courses + 3 optional courses

Compulsory courses

CP 601 Research Methods

CP 602 Seminar Course

Optional Courses

CP 651 Comparing the Political: Concepts and Practices – Dr Mollica Dastider

CP 652 Counter-hegemonic Thought in the Global South – Prof Nivedita Menon/Prof PK Datta

CP 653 Theorizing Politics beyond the Rational – Dr Mohinder Singh