POL202 | Political Science II

Course Information

  • 2020-21
  • POL202
  • 5-Year B.A., LL.B. (Hons.)
  • II
  • Jul 2020
  • Core Course

This course will pick up the threads from Political Science I and delve deeper into the question of political obligation. Simply put, the concern around political obligation is one that asks us why should we obey law? As simple as that question may sound, for political philosophy, the answer to this question is far from obvious because the question of political obligation is one of ‘obedience’ which is inconsistent with the broader edifice of liberal political philosophy that promotes moral autonomy of an individual. Therefore, the question of political obligation that is at the heart of legitimacy for any state is mired with different kinds of philosophical questions. Under what conditions do we decide to obey the state? Do we understand this obligation as permanent? If not, then under what conditions can citizens withdraw their obligation to obey the state? The theory of political obligation is ultimately rooted in defining the relationship between the state and the citizens. It defines whether the state is legitimate in the eyes of the citizens. It also defines what could constitute the precise nature of authority. This course is also geared towards understanding how obligation is understood within our lived political contexts? Is the state the only real source of authority? What happens when different notions of authority conflict with each other? If our citizenship is not uniform, there is enough reasons to assume that even notions of political obligations are not?

Course Objectives

  • To theoretically acquaint students with the idea that the relationship between states and citizens is highly contingent.
  • To acquaint students with both liberal political theory as well as its critiques from the lens of political obligation.
  • To delve into contemporary political debates which contextualise and raise questions to the abstracted theories of political obligation.


Sushmita Pati
Dr. Sushmita Pati

Assistant Professor, Political Science