POLITICAL PROCESSES AND INSTITUTIONS IN COMPARATIVE PERSEPCTIVE
BPSC 109 Solved Free Assignment 2023
BPSC 109 Solved Free Assignment January 2023
Assignment – I
Q 1. Briefly describe the modernization, dependency and statist theories that shaped studies on political development.
Ans. Political development refers to the process by which a country moves towards a more democratic and stable political system.
Several theories have emerged over time that have shaped studies on political development.
These theories include modernization, dependency, and statist theories.
The modernization theory argues that development and progress are the result of the spread of Western democratic values and institutions.
It views underdeveloped countries as being “stuck” in traditional and backward ways of life, and asserts that the spread of Western modernity is necessary for these countries to develop economically and politically.
This theory also argues that the spread of modernization will lead to the growth of a middle class that will demand greater political participation and accountability, thereby leading to a more democratic political system.
Dependency theory, on the other hand, argues that underdeveloped countries are dependent on developed countries for their economic growth and political stability.
This theory asserts that the international economic system is inherently unequal, with developed countries exploiting the resources and labor of underdeveloped countries to fuel their own growth.
Dependency theorists argue that underdeveloped countries must break free from their dependence on developed countries and develop their own economies in order to achieve political development.BPSC 109 Solved Free Assignment 2023
The statist theory, also known as the state-centric theory, views the state as the primary agent of political development.
This theory asserts that political development is most likely to occur when the state has the power and authority to direct economic development and promote social welfare.
Statist theorists argue that economic and political development are closely linked, and that the state must have control over economic resources in order to promote development.
Each of these theories has influenced the study of political development in its own way.
Modernization theory was influential in the post-World War II era, as countries around the world were trying to rebuild and modernize their economies and political systems.
Dependency theory emerged in the 1960s and 1970s, as many underdeveloped countries were struggling to achieve economic and political stability.
Statist theory, meanwhile, has been influential in the development of many Asian economies, which have achieved rapid economic growth and political stability through state-led development.BPSC 109 Solved Free Assignment 2023
Despite their differences, each of these theories recognizes the importance of political development in achieving stability and prosperity.
They also acknowledge the role of external factors, such as international economic systems, in shaping political development.
The modernization theory, for example, argues that the spread of Western values and institutions is necessary for political development, while the dependency theory emphasizes the unequal nature of the international economic system and its impact on political development.
The statist theory, meanwhile, emphasizes the role of the state in directing economic development and promoting social welfare.
Modernization theory, dependency theory, and statist theory were influential frameworks that shaped the study of political development.
Each theory presented a distinct perspective on the factors that contribute to a country’s development, and they were often used to explain the underdevelopment of developing countries.
Modernization theory emerged in the 1950s and 1960s as a response to the post-World War II push for development in the Third World. It posits that economic growth and modernization are essential for a country to achieve political stability and democratization. BPSC 109 Solved Free Assignment 2023
The theory assumes that development is a linear process that involves the adoption of Western-style values and institutions, such as capitalism, democracy, and technology.
Modernization theorists argue that economic growth and development require a shift from traditional to modern values and institutions.
However, modernization theory has been criticized for its Eurocentric bias and for assuming that Western-style development is the only valid path to progress.
Critics argue that the theory ignores the historical, cultural, and political contexts in which development occurs and overlooks the negative consequences of development, such as environmental degradation and social inequality.
Dependency theory emerged as a critique of modernization theory in the 1960s and 1970s. It argues that the underdevelopment of developing countries is a result of their economic and political dependence on developed countries.
Dependency theorists posit that the global economic system is structured in a way that perpetuates the underdevelopment of developing countries by channeling resources and wealth to developed countries.
The theory emphasizes the role of imperialism, neocolonialism, and unequal trade relations in perpetuating underdevelopment.
Critics of dependency theory argue that it oversimplifies the complex processes that contribute to underdevelopment and ignores the agency of developing countries.
They also contend that the theory neglects the positive aspects of globalization, such as increased access to information and technology.
Statist theory, also known as the developmental state theory, emerged in the 1980s as a response to the failures of both modernization and dependency theories.
It posits that the state plays a crucial role in promoting economic growth and development through strategic intervention in the economy.
Statist theorists argue that the state should have a strong role in regulating the market, promoting domestic industries, and investing in human capital.
Critics of statist theory argue that it assumes that the state is a neutral actor that can make objective decisions in the interest of development.
They also contend that the theory overlooks the negative consequences of state intervention, such as corruption and inefficiency.
Q 2. What is a political party?
Ans. A political party is a group of individuals who come together to contest elections and hold power in the government.
They are a key part of the political system in many countries around the world, representing different interests and ideologies.
Political parties play a vital role in shaping public opinion and government policies, and are an important mechanism for the expression of democratic participation.
Political parties can be broadly classified into two categories: major and minor parties. BPSC 109 Solved Free Assignment 2023
Major parties are those that have a significant presence and influence in the political system, and are usually represented in the national or state-level legislatures.
In contrast, minor parties have less support and representation, and often focus on specific issues or interests.
The origins of political parties can be traced back to the 18th century, when the first modern democracies emerged in Europe and North America.
In these countries, political parties were formed to represent different groups and interests, and to contest elections for public office.
Over time, the role and function of political parties have evolved, and they have become an essential component of democratic societies around the world.
One of the primary functions of political parties is to mobilize public support and contest elections. Political parties develop their own policies and platforms, which are designed to appeal to specific groups of voters.
They also engage in political campaigning, using a range of tactics such as rallies, advertisements, and social media to reach out to voters and promote their message.
Political parties also play an important role in the legislative process. Parties with a significant presence in the legislature can influence policy decisions and shape the political agenda.
They may also form coalitions with other parties to gain a majority and pass legislation.BPSC 109 Solved Free Assignment 2023
Another key function of political parties is to provide a mechanism for the expression of democratic participation.
Parties allow individuals to come together and organize around common interests and beliefs, and to participate in the political process through elections and other forms of civic engagement.
There are many different types of political parties, each with their own ideologies and priorities.
Some parties are based on specific issues or interests, such as environmentalism or socialism, while others are focused on broader political goals, such as promoting democracy or economic growth.
In some countries, political parties are closely linked to particular religious or ethnic groups. In these cases, parties may play an important role in promoting the interests of these groups and maintaining social cohesion.
Political parties are not only important in shaping democracy and governance but are also essential to promoting democratic participation and representation.
One of the key functions of political parties is to provide voters with an organized and unified platform for making their voices heard in the political arena.
Through political parties, individuals can pool their resources, skills, and ideas to push for their preferred policies and goals.
Furthermore, political parties serve as a mechanism for recruiting and promoting political leaders, who can play an important role in shaping policy decisions and representing the interests of their constituents.
Political parties also serve as an important linkage between the people and the government. BPSC 109 Solved Free Assignment 2023
They provide a channel through which individuals and groups can express their demands and grievances, and push for change in policy and practice.
Parties can also help to bridge social and cultural divides, and can act as an agent for promoting social cohesion and national unity.
By providing a platform for diverse voices and perspectives, political parties can help to build a more inclusive and representative democracy.
At the same time, political parties can also have negative effects on democracy and governance.
In particular, when parties become too powerful or when they act in self-serving ways, they can undermine the democratic process and promote corruption and cronyism.
Parties can also foster a sense of polarization and division, rather than unity and cooperation.
In some cases, parties may promote intolerance and discrimination against minority groups, and may seek to undermine the rights and freedoms of individuals and communities.
One challenge in studying political parties is that they can take many different forms and operate in different ways, depending on the political and cultural context.
For example, in some countries, parties are highly centralized and tightly controlled by a small group of elites, while in others, they may be more decentralized and open to grassroots participation.
Similarly, the goals and platforms of political parties can vary widely, from promoting specific policies or ideologies to advancing the interests of certain social groups or classes.BPSC 109 Solved Free Assignment 2023
One way to categorize political parties is based on their ideological orientation. For example, parties can be classified as left-wing, right-wing, centrist, or populist, depending on their stance on economic and social issues.
Left-wing parties tend to support greater state intervention in the economy and social welfare programs, while right-wing parties advocate for a more market-based approach and limited government intervention.
Centrist parties may adopt a more moderate stance on these issues, while populist parties often seek to appeal to popular sentiments and may prioritize the interests of the masses over those of traditional elites.
Another way to categorize political parties is based on their organizational structure and strategies. For example, parties can be classified as catch-all, cadre, or mass parties, depending on their membership and outreach strategies.
Catch-all parties seek to appeal to a broad range of voters and may have a loosely defined ideology or platform.
Cadre parties, on the other hand, tend to be more exclusive and tightly controlled by a small group of party elites. Mass parties seek to mobilize a large number of voters and may have a more populist orientation.
Assignment – II
Q 1. Briefly describe Almond and Verba’s classification of political culture.
Ans. Almond and Verba’s classification of political culture is one of the most widely used typologies in political science. It identifies three types of political culture: parochial, subject, and participatory.
This typology was developed based on research conducted in the 1950s in five countries, including the United States, Mexico, Italy, Germany, and the United Kingdom.BPSC 109 Solved Free Assignment 2023
Parochial political culture is characterized by low levels of political participation and a lack of awareness of political issues among citizens. This type of political culture is most commonly found in rural and less developed areas, where people may have limited access to political information and resources.
Citizens with a parochial political culture tend to have a strong attachment to local traditions and values and are unlikely to engage in political activities beyond their immediate community.
Subject political culture, on the other hand, is characterized by a higher level of political awareness and participation than parochial culture but a limited sense of political efficacy.
In this type of political culture, citizens tend to view the government as distant and unresponsive to their needs and concerns.
They may be willing to participate in political activities, such as voting and attending rallies, but do not believe that their actions can have a significant impact on government policies.
Participatory political culture is characterized by a high level of political participation and a strong belief in the efficacy of political action.
Citizens with a participatory political culture are engaged in political activities at all levels, from local to national, and believe that their actions can make a meaningful difference in the political process.
This type of political culture is often found in societies with a long history of democratic participation and a strong tradition of civic engagement.
It is important to note that Almond and Verba’s typology is not a strict classification and that political cultures can overlap and change over time.
Additionally, this classification system has been criticized for oversimplifying complex political dynamics and for failing to account for the role of power and inequality in shaping political culture.
In summary, Almond and Verba’s classification of political culture is a useful framework for understanding the different ways in which citizens relate to politics and engage with the political process.
Parochial, subject, and participatory political cultures each represent distinct patterns of political behavior and attitudes and can have a significant impact on the functioning of political systems. BPSC 109 Solved Free Assignment 2023
However, it is important to recognize that political culture is shaped by a wide range of factors, including historical, cultural, and economic contexts, and can change over time in response to shifting social and political realities.
Q 2. What are the reasons behind chequered democratic process in post-colonial countries?
Ans. The democratic process in post-colonial countries has been chequered and the reasons behind it are multifaceted. Some of the reasons are discussed below:
Weak Institutions: In many post-colonial countries, the institutions that are necessary for a functioning democracy, such as an independent judiciary, a free press, and a robust civil society, are often weak or nonexistent.
This lack of institutional support makes it difficult for democratic systems to take root and survive.BPSC 109 Solved Free Assignment 2023
Colonial Legacy: Many post-colonial countries were left with weak and inadequate political structures as a result of the colonial legacy.
This has resulted in weak governance structures, a lack of institutional development, and the absence of a democratic culture.
Elite Capture: In many post-colonial countries, the political elite has captured the democratic process, often leading to a lack of political competition, a lack of political accountability, and a lack of political transparency.
This has resulted in an erosion of trust in the political system, as people begin to see that their voices are not being heard.
Economic Instability: Many post-colonial countries face significant economic challenges, including high levels of poverty, unemployment, and inequality. These challenges can lead to social unrest, which can in turn undermine the democratic process.
Ethnic and Religious Divisions: In many post-colonial countries, there are deep-seated ethnic and religious divisions that can lead to political instability and conflict.
These divisions can make it difficult to build consensus and establish a functioning democratic system.
Lack of Political Will: In some cases, the political will to establish a functioning democracy may be lacking, either due to a lack of political commitment or due to external pressures, such as pressure from the international community or from powerful external actors.BPSC 109 Solved Free Assignment 2023
External Interference: In some cases, external interference can play a role in undermining the democratic process in post-colonial countries.
This can take the form of interference by powerful external actors, such as foreign governments or multinational corporations, or by international institutions, such as the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund.
the reasons behind the chequered democratic process in post-colonial countries are varied and complex.
Addressing these challenges will require a multifaceted approach that involves strengthening institutions, addressing economic and social challenges, building consensus across ethnic and religious divides, and ensuring that the political will to establish a functioning democracy is in place.
It is important to recognize that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to the challenges of democratic development, and that each country must find its own path to building a functioning democracy that reflects its unique history and culture.
Q 3. Explain the dominant approaches to nation and nationalism.
Ans. The concept of nation and nationalism has been a subject of debates among scholars for centuries. BPSC 109 Solved Free Assignment 2023
Scholars from different fields of study have developed varying approaches to explain the meaning, origin, and impact of nationalism.
The modernist approach is one of the dominant approaches to nation and nationalism.
This approach views nationalism as a modern phenomenon that emerged in the eighteenth century as a result of the decline of traditional institutions and the rise of modern nation-states.
According to modernists, nations are created through a process of social, cultural, and economic transformation.
They argue that the emergence of modern nation-states was facilitated by factors such as industrialization, urbanization, and the spread of literacy.
The primordialist approach is another dominant approach to nation and nationalism. This approach argues that nationalism is based on primordial ties such as ethnicity, language, and culture that are deeply ingrained in human beings.
Primordialists contend that nations are natural and organic entities that have existed since ancient times. BPSC 109 Solved Free Assignment 2023
They argue that people are naturally drawn to others who share their ethnic or cultural identity and that these ties are the basis for national identity.
The constructivist approach is a third dominant approach to nation and nationalism. This approach views nationalism as a socially constructed phenomenon that is created and sustained by political and cultural elites.
Constructivists argue that national identity is not natural or primordial but is instead created through a process of socialization and cultural production.
They contend that the media, education, and political institutions play a crucial role in constructing and reinforcing national identity.
The instrumentalist approach is a fourth dominant approach to nation and nationalism. This approach views nationalism as a tool used by political elites to achieve their political objectives.
Instrumentalists argue that political leaders manipulate national identity to gain support for their policies and to mobilize people around a common cause.
They contend that nationalism is not a natural or primordial phenomenon but is instead created and used for specific political purposes.
The postcolonial approach is a fifth dominant approach to nation and nationalism. This approach argues that the concept of nation and nationalism was imposed on colonized people by European colonial powers.
Postcolonial theorists contend that the colonial powers created artificial borders and imposed a sense of national identity on people who previously had not thought of themselves as belonging to a single nation.
They argue that postcolonial nations have struggled to establish a sense of national identity and to create political institutions that reflect the diverse cultures and identities of their populations.BPSC 109 Solved Free Assignment 2023
Assignment – III
Q 1. Relative autonomy thesis
Ans. The relative autonomy thesis is a concept in Marxist theory that highlights the relative independence of the state from the capitalist economic system.
This means that while the state and economy are interconnected, the state is not simply a tool of the capitalist class and can exercise some degree of independence and autonomy from the economic base.
The state is seen as a complex and contested arena in which different social forces struggle for power and influence.
According to the relative autonomy thesis, the state is not a neutral actor that simply enforces the interests of the ruling class.
Rather, the state is a site of class struggle, where different social forces seek to influence the state’s policies and decisions.
While the state may serve the interests of the capitalist class, it may also act in the interests of other social groups such as the working class or marginalized communities.
This means that the state can play a role in mediating conflicts between different social groups and can sometimes act as a counterweight to the power of the capitalist class.BPSC 109 Solved Free Assignment 2023
The concept of relative autonomy was developed by Marxist theorists such as Nicos Poulantzas and Ralph Miliband in the 1970s.
They argued that the state was not simply an instrument of the ruling class, but had its own dynamics and interests that were shaped by the struggles and conflicts within society.
According to Poulantzas, the state is an “institutional condensation of the balance of class forces,” and is shaped by the struggles between different social classes.
The relative autonomy thesis has been influential in Marxist theory and has helped to shift the focus of analysis from the economic base to the political superstructure.
It has also helped to highlight the role of the state in shaping and mediating conflicts within society.
However, the relative autonomy thesis has also been criticized for downplaying the power of the capitalist class and overestimating the autonomy of the state.
Some critics argue that the state is ultimately controlled by the ruling class and serves their interests, regardless of the political struggles that take place within it.
Q 2. Decentralisation in Brazil
Ans. Decentralization is the process of transferring power and authority from a central government to local governments or non-governmental organizations.
In Brazil, decentralization started in the late 1980s and early 1990s with the return to democracy after a long period of military dictatorship.
The 1988 Constitution of Brazil established a federal system of government, which gave significant autonomy to states and municipalities. Decentralization in Brazil has been marked by both successes and challenges.
One of the main successes of decentralization in Brazil is the increased participation of citizens in decision-making processes at the local level.
The decentralization process has given more power to local governments, which has led to greater citizen involvement in local politics.
Decentralization has also enabled the development of policies and programs that are tailored to local needs, rather than relying on a one-size-fits-all approach.
However, there are also challenges associated with decentralization in Brazil. One of the main challenges is the lack of capacity and resources at the local level.
Many municipalities lack the resources and technical expertise needed to effectively manage their own affairs. BPSC 109 Solved Free Assignment 2023
This has led to uneven development across municipalities, with some being more successful in implementing decentralization policies than others.
Another challenge is the potential for corruption and clientelism at the local level. Decentralization has given more power to local governments, which has created opportunities for politicians to engage in corrupt practices, such as using public resources for personal gain or exchanging favors for political support.
This has been a particular concern in smaller municipalities, where there is less oversight and accountability.
Despite these challenges, decentralization has had a positive impact on democracy in Brazil. It has increased citizen participation in local politics and enabled the development of policies and programs that are tailored to local needs.
However, there is still work to be done to address the challenges associated with decentralization, such as building local capacity and improving oversight and accountability mechanisms.
Q 3. Federalism in Australia
Ans. Federalism is a system of government where power is shared between the central or federal government and the state or territorial governments.
In Australia, the federal government has specific powers outlined in the constitution, while the state governments have powers that are not specifically granted to the federal government.BPSC 109 Solved Free Assignment 2023
This sharing of power is meant to ensure that each level of government is able to focus on the needs of its citizens, while also working together to provide for the overall well-being of the country.
The Australian federal system has evolved over time, with the constitution being amended to clarify the powers of each level of government.
The Constitution divides powers between the Commonwealth (federal) government and the state governments.
For example, the federal government is responsible for areas such as foreign affairs, defense, and immigration, while the states are responsible for education, health, and other areas of social policy.
One of the key features of federalism in Australia is the way in which funding is shared between the different levels of government.
The federal government provides funding to the states through a process called horizontal fiscal equalization, which ensures that each state has the resources it needs to provide services to its citizens.
The federal government also provides funding for specific programs and projects, such as infrastructure development, which is typically coordinated between the two levels of government.
Another important aspect of federalism in Australia is the role of the High Court in interpreting the Constitution and resolving disputes between the federal and state governments. BPSC 109 Solved Free Assignment 2023
The High Court has the power to determine whether laws passed by the federal or state governments are constitutional, and has played an important role in shaping the way federalism is practiced in Australia.
Overall, federalism in Australia has been a successful model of governance, with the federal and state governments working together to provide for the needs of all citizens.
While there have been some challenges and disagreements over the years, the system has proven to be flexible and adaptable, allowing for changes and adjustments to be made as needed to meet the changing needs of the country.
Q 4. Concept of popular sovereignty
Ans. Popular sovereignty is a concept that refers to the idea that the people of a nation or state are the ultimate source of political power.
It asserts that the authority and legitimacy of a government come from the consent of the people.
In other words, people have the right to govern themselves and make decisions that affect their lives. The idea of popular sovereignty has been a cornerstone of modern democratic societies.BPSC 109 Solved Free Assignment 2023
The concept of popular sovereignty emerged during the Enlightenment period in Europe, where philosophers such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, John Locke, and Thomas Hobbes developed ideas about the relationship between the people and the state.
They argued that people had inherent rights, such as the right to life, liberty, and property, which could not be taken away by the state.
These philosophers also believed that the power of the state should be limited, and that governments should be accountable to the people.
The concept of popular sovereignty is closely linked to the idea of democracy, which is a form of government in which power is held by the people or their representatives.
In a democratic society, the people elect their leaders and participate in decision-making processes. This allows citizens to express their will and shape the policies that affect their lives.
The idea of popular sovereignty has had a profound impact on the development of modern nation-states.
It has been used to justify revolutions, as people have demanded greater control over their governments. BPSC 109 Solved Free Assignment 2023
It has also been used to establish new forms of government, such as constitutional monarchies, where the power of the monarch is limited by a constitution that is based on the principles of popular sovereignty.
In the United States, the concept of popular sovereignty was a central theme of the country’s founding.
The Declaration of Independence declared that all men are created equal and endowed with certain unalienable rights, such as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
The U.S. Constitution also reflects the principles of popular sovereignty, as it establishes a system of government in which power is divided among different branches and levels, and where citizens have the right to vote and participate in the political process.
Q 5. Procedural and substantive democracy
Ans. Procedural democracy and substantive democracy are two different aspects of democracy that are essential for the effective functioning of a democratic system.
Procedural democracy refers to the set of procedures and mechanisms that are used to ensure that the democratic process is conducted fairly and transparently.
Substantive democracy, on the other hand, refers to the content of the democratic process, and whether it is able to deliver outcomes that are responsive to the needs and preferences of citizens.BPSC 109 Solved Free Assignment 2023
Procedural democracy is concerned with ensuring that democratic processes such as elections, referendums, and the rule of law are conducted fairly and transparently.
This includes ensuring that all citizens have equal access to participate in the democratic process, and that the process is free from corruption, fraud, and other forms of manipulation.
Procedural democracy is seen as a necessary condition for the functioning of a democratic system, but it is not sufficient on its own.
A procedural democracy can still be undermined by structural inequalities that limit the ability of certain groups to participate effectively in the democratic process.
Substantive democracy, on the other hand, is concerned with ensuring that the democratic process delivers outcomes that are responsive to the needs and preferences of citizens.
This includes ensuring that all citizens have access to basic rights such as education, healthcare, and housing, as well as ensuring that the democratic process is able to deliver policies that address the concerns of different groups within society.
Substantive democracy is often seen as more important than procedural democracy, as it is the ability of a democratic system to deliver outcomes that are responsive to the needs of citizens that ultimately determines its legitimacy.
There are several ways in which substantive democracy can be promoted. One approach is to ensure that citizens have access to the information they need to make informed decisions about the policies that affect their lives.
This includes ensuring that the media is free and independent, and that there is transparency around the decision-making processes of government.
Another approach is to promote social and economic equality, as this can help to ensure that all citizens have the same opportunities to participate in the democratic process and to have their voices heard.
Procedural democracy and substantive democracy are often in tension with each other. BPSC 109 Solved Free Assignment 2023
For example, some argue that certain democratic procedures, such as the use of referendums, can be used to undermine substantive democracy by allowing majority groups to impose their preferences on minority groups.
Others argue that substantive democracy can be used to justify the suspension of certain procedural democratic rights, such as the right to free speech, in the name of protecting vulnerable groups.