Political Theory – An Introduction


Human beings are unique in two respects:

  1. they possess reason and the ability to reflect on their actions.
  2. they have the capacity to use language and communicate with each other.

Unlike other species, they can express their innermost thoughts and desires; they can share their ideas and discuss what they consider to be good and desirable.

Political theory has its roots in these twin aspects of the human self. It analyzes certain basic questions such as :

  • How should society be organized?
  • Why do we need government?
  • What is the best form of government?
  • Does law limit our freedom?
  • What does the state owe its citizens?
  • What do we owe each other as citizens?

Political theory

  • examines questions of this kind and systematically thinks about the values that inform political life – values such as freedom, equality and justice.
  • explains the meanings and significance of these and other related concepts.
  • clarifies the existing definitions of these concepts by focusing on some major political thinkers of the past and present.
  • examines the extent to which freedom or equality are actually present in the institutions that we participate in everyday such as schools, shops, buses or trains or government offices.
  • (at an advanced level) looks at whether existing definitions are adequate and how existing institutions (government, bureaucracy) and policy practices must be modified to become more democratic.

The main objective of political theory is to train citizens to think rationally about political questions and assess correctly the political events of our time.

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Bibliography : NCERT – Political Theory

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