SA 533 power and politics: Governing Human Collectives
Suggested Study Questions for the Course
Contributors: Dr. Tulsi Ram Pandey
Note: The list of study questions is meant to guide the classroom discussion and/or lectures in general. These questions may also help the students in orienting themselves to the course and preparing for their exams. Having said this it should also be noted that this list is not exhaustive-that is, not all issues pertinent to the theories or perspectives in question have been addressed by the ‘Required Readings’, slightly different types (or with different or focus in some cases) of questions should be expected in the exams.
Unit 1: Conceptualizing Human Collectives
1. What is political institution? Discuss its role in society.
2. Differentiate between power and authority and discuss the ways through which power is transformed into legitimate authority.
3. What are the attributes through which human hoard is transformed in the form of a group or collectivity? Discuss.
4. Differentiate between formal and informal organizations and discuss why bureaucracies are known as the ideal form of formal organizations of society.
5. Provide a critique on weber’s ideas on the features of formal organization.
6. Discuss that authority and influence represent two different modes of exercise of power in society.
7. Drawing information from korovkin in your reading discuss how Marxise interpret the rise of power, property, and state.
8. Differentiate between political communities represented by the nation state and tribal form of human societies as discussed by l schapera in your readings.
9. Write short notes on the followings:
(a) Power and authority
(b) Hoards and human groups
(c) Norms and legitimate authority
(d) Human groups as the political community
(e) Traditional, charismatic and rational authority
(f) Basis of state power: acquisition vs institution
Unit 11: Foundational Classics
- According to J.S. Mill, what are the criteria of goodness of a government, and how he justifies that representative government is the best one to meet those criteria?
- In J.S. Mill’s views what are the social conditions under which representative government is unacceptable.
- What is despotic regime? Drawing ideas from the writings of J.S. Mill and Thomas Hobbes how can you suggest that representative government is believe to be a correction of the limitations of despotic regime.
- Discuss Marxist argument of the state as an instrument of the owners of productive resources.
- For Hobbes desire for security among men is the major cause of the origin of political power and state. Discuss.
- state formation is an evolutionary process which has undergone a progressive change in the relationship of power among people formed form that rooted on kinship bonds to that of residence in a territorial unit and claiming a right to resources available in that unit. Elaborate this statement with examples.
- Write short notes on the followings:
(a) Mill’s Criteria of a good form of government
(b) Mill’s conception of government as a matter of choice
(c) Functions of Representative bodies
(d) Dangers of representative government
(e) Differences between representation of all and representation of the majority
(f) Paternal and despotic domination
(g) Right of sovereign by institution
Unit 111: Political Traditions and Practices
1. Highlight on the type of political leadership discussed by Fredric Barth among the swat pathans.
2. The Bases of power of the khans and saint Leaders represent two distinct categories of leadership existing among the swat pathans. Elaborate this statement with suitable examples.
3. How village values affect operation of social and political practices? Proceed on your argument by taking note on the discussion presented by Bengt-Erik Borgstorm in the book “The patron and the panca”.
4. Discus how the evolutionary, functional, procedural and Marxist approaches in Anthropolpgy have studied the human’s political behavior. You may take reference from discussions made by McGlynn and Tuden in your readings.
5. Discuss the conditions under which the basis of formation of power is regarded either to kin-based affinity among people or to their habitation in a common territory.
Unit 1V: Comparative Readings in Asian Political Systems
1. The Confucian belief on the virtue of rulers as a moral force that gives order in society is different from western/utilitarian concept of power as a means to achieve political gains through competitive processes. Elaborate this statements taking reference from the arguments of Lucian W. Pye as mentioned in your readings
2. Differentiate between authoritarianism as a system of rule that stifles criticism and participation and paternalistic authoritarianism that requires participation of people in political processes characterized by Lucian W. pye in writings.
3. Discuss the political values and practices emerged from the Asian concept of primitive power “as an ever lurking danger” ready to surface with any faltering of established authority and the western concept of political history of the humanity as a steady retreat from such a “primitive power” to allow spontaneous forces towards ever more refined and delineated forms of authority.
4. What is the political output of the conception of authority as an end in itself and authority as a means to achieve new political goals? Elaborate this argument by taking into account the Confucian and western concept of power.
5. Discuss how the attitude and sentiment towards the existence of primitive power has shaped and colored the Confucian and western concept of legitimacy and proper use of power.
6. The dominant view of Confucian notion of power is that idealized authority existed at the dawn of history and the main danger of primitive power lies ahead, when there is a breakdown of structures found in Asian societies.
7. Elaborate that the contrast between Asian acknowledgement of the need and desirability of authority and western enthusiasm for limiting authority is a result of their different notions of the existence and effect of primitive power.
8. Discuss the type of a Hindu state envisaged in the Mulki Ain as discussed by Prayag Raj Sharma.
9. The image of the state envisaged in the provisions of laws of Mulki Ain embrace in letter and spirit the values and ideologies taught by Hindu Dharmasastric text. Discuss this statement in views of arguments presented by prayag Raj Sharma.
10. The Mulki Ain of janga Bahadur Rana envisaged the state as the supreme guardian of Dharma defined by Hindu religious tradition. Discuss.
11. Discuss the similarities and variations in the Hindu and Muslim concept of power, authority and role of the rulers.
12. Power of the king under Hindu religious tradition is not constrained by the rituals of the divine order, as in the Asian and southeast Asian world, put power is critical in helping all other classes of people to find their divinely ordained salvation. Discuss.
13. Write short notes on the following:
(a) Differentiate between Confucian and Hindu models of role of the ruler.
(b) Contribution of Confucian philosophy on East Asian development.
(c) Variation in adoption of Confucian notion of power and authority in East Asian nations.
(d) Similarity and differences in the contribution of protestant ethics as discussed by Weber and Confician philosophy as mentioned in your readings in the economic development.
Unit V: Politics and Power under Different Forms of Regime
1. Differentiate between despotism and democracy and discuss that the growth of civil society is one of the important features of the democratic regime.
2. The theory of liberal type of democratic regime rests on the assumption that power in societies ruled under such state is diffused, competitive and fragmented among different types of active and legitimate groups in the population formulated and implemented by that state. Discuss
3. Given the economic inequalities permitted by the liberal type of political regimes, the critiques of liberal democratic state have the argument that the competitive practices permitted between plural types of political organization by these regimes appear under imperfect conditions. Consequently, the ruling class in these systems happens to come from the economically dominant segment so as to make the state ultimately work in the interest of this segment of the population. Elaborate.
4. The competition among different fractions of owners of productive resources have made many neo-Marxist scholars like Ralph Miliband and Nicos Poulantzas to question on the Marx’s proposition of the state as an “instrument” of the owners of represented by economic elite of society to make the state ultimately work on behalf of this class.
5. Critically evaluate the Marxist conception of the state as an instrument of the owners of means of production.
6. Write short notes on the following:
(c) Civil society
(d) Democracy and representation
(e) Economic elite and the dominant class
(f) Power block and ruling class
(g) Relative autonomy of the state and interest of ruling class
Unit VI: Political Violence and the Human Condition
1. What do you understand by social violence? Discuss the effects of the four forms of social violence identified by Arthur Kleinman on human experience.
2. Discuss how Emma Tarlo in her discussion of peoples experience of effect of state policies on sterilization and resettlement during emergency regime in Delhi the shown that with each major disturbance, whether local, national or international, the conditions of existence seem to change for the people at the bottom of socio-economic ladder.
3. Discuss how Emma Tarlo in her discussion of peoples’ experience of effect of state policies on sterilization and resettlement during emergency regime in Delhi has revealed that people with each major disturbance, whether local, national or international, develop strategies for coping with such changes and in some cases, turn them to their advantage.
4. Highlight on that ethnic conflict is a major reality of our time. This is conformed not simply by its ubiquity but also by the cumulative increase in the frequency and intensity of its occurrence.
5. Elaborate how a major issue today has been the transition from the politics of the nation state to the politics of the ethnic pluralism.
6. The violence of the kind of genocide that occurred in Ruwanda can not be reduced solely and simply to competition for power, dominance and hegemony among antagonistic factions. Much of the violence followed a cultural patterning of the threat that the Ruwandians perceive from “internal” other personal integrity and the cosmic order of the state. Discuss this statement in the light of arguments presented by Christopher C. Taylor in your readings.
7. Write short notes on the followings:
(a) Violence of the images
(b) The structural violence of middle-class
(c) The nation-state in crisis and rise of ethno-nationalism
(d) What do you understand by routinization of violence
(e) Discuss the moral economic perspective of collective violence
Unit VII: Political Transition and Consolidation
1.Discuss the conditions required for the existence of the consolidated type of democratic regime.
2. Highlight on the relationship between, state-ness, nationalism and democratization as discussed by Juan J.Linz and A Stepan in your readings.
3. What is the argument produced by S. Shah on “soft state and regime change in Nepal”?
4. Define social movement, differentiate between different types of social movements and discuss how the structural, organizational and psychological perspectives interpret the conditions fostering the rise of movements in society
5. Define social movements and discuss the collective behavior, resource mobilization, political and new social movement approaches used for the understanding of movements in society.
6. Define social movements, differentiate them by type and referring the case of French, Russian, and Chinese revolutions as mentioned by Theda Skocpol in your readings discuss how intensity of social change is correlated with intensity of movements addressed to bring about such change.
7. What makes social movements different from other types of collective actions? Discuss.
8. Do you agree with the statement that social and political movements are omnipresent phenomens and are as natural a part of most social settings as are any other elements and institutions? Substantiate your arguments.
9. Write short notes on the following:
(a) Differentiate between state and state-building and nation and nation-building processes.
(b) Provide a note on the features of soft state and discuss its role on regime change in Nepal.
(c) Social movements at the transnational level
(d) New social movements
(e) Revolution as one category of social movement for change
(f) Revolution from above
(g) Hegemony as a form of social control mechanism used by the state of the elite segment of the popukation
Unit VIII: State Order, State Capacity and Authority
1. Discuss the features of the strong and the weak states.
2. State capacity refers to the ability of the state to achieve its stated goals. However, a number the internal and external sources of threat pose limits to the capacity of the Third World states to satisfy their stated goals. Discuss.
3. Discuss that one of the reasons of the Third world states to remain week fir the effective implementation of their policies is the “politics of survival” adopted by their leaders.
4. Discuss how tolerance to corruption can serve as one of the important strategy of political survival of the Third world leaders.
5. “State autonomy” under the context of a draconian state conceives it to be the most significant actor of society that retains independent power to formulate its goals and regulations. However, the empirical conditions of the operation of the states suggest the fact that the state and society interface for mutually shaping to each other through exerting various types of pressure and accommodating behavior. Discuss.
6. What is civil society? Discuss how civil society plays the role to shape the operation of the state.
7. Write short notes on the followings:
(a) Discuss how state leaders with limited capacity to mobilize their public have themselves crippled the arms of the state.
(b) Big shuffles in politics
(c) How civil society works in an uncivil place?
(d) What do you understand by state capacity, authority and autonomy
(e) State-society interface
(f) Strong and weak state
(g) Hegemony as one important mechanism of state control
(h) The culture of politics of corruption
(i) Week state and their inadequate development performance.
Unit IX: Discourses and critique of power, state, Development and Governmentality
1. The differences of the central bureaucracy of the state, foreign donor agencies and informal centers of power pf the local areas make it difficult for the development programs of the Third Worlds countries to produce results in a way as they are proposed in their plans. Elaborate this statement based on argument made by Judith Justice in the context of plans on health development in Nepal.
2. The formal power of bureaucratic organization as in envisaged by Weber remains ineffective to counter the influence of informal power that emerges from kin-based loyalties and affiliation to political organization or any other forms of communities so as to make irrational the concept of bureaucratic rationality. Discuss this argument from the information available from your reading.
3. Within the context of a nation state development is a narrative produced by the state in the form of strategy followed to legitimize its authority. Elaborate this statement following A. Gupta’s discussion of modernization experience in Indian agriculture.
4. In Escobar’s view development is historically a singular experience created by a specific domain o thought, regulation by a specific system of power and fostering a specific type of subjectivity. Discuss.
5. Discuss how Escobar has argued that the discovery of mass poverty during post World War period in the Third world was the strategy of the West to transform the “poor” and “poor countries” into object of western knowledge and management even after the end of their formal domination through colonial rules.
6. The discourse of development emerged through the historical problematization of poverty has its own historicity. Discuss this argument in the light of successive promises of affluence provided by economic through in general and development economics in particular.
7. The bureaucratic logic of simplification of local problem and standardization of their measurement may not necessarily remain able to address the complication of local situations. Evaluate this statement in the light of discussions on scientific forestry and land tenure systems of some specific localities made by James stock in your readings.
8. In the light systems of arguments made my Max Weber and Greenfield Liah on “the sprit of capitalism” mentioned in your reading s, discuss that the ideas on development provided by scholars represent simply a specific field of discursive realitity rather than a general rule.
9. Discuss how Matthew C. Gutmann came to argue through his observation of opinion of people of a Maxican town that the periodic romance for electoral polities among working class population in many context often dies out as suddenly as it flares up.
10 Beneath the increase leniency of punishment, one may find a map of a displacement of its points of application, and through this displacement a whole field of recent objectives, a whole new system of truth and a mass of roles hitherto unknown in the exercise of criminal justice. Elaborate this statement following discussion made by M. Foucault in your reading.
11 A corpus of knowledge, technology and scientific discourses is formed and becomes entangled with the practice of power to punish. Discuss.
12 What is Governmentality? Discuss how Foucault has explored a wide series of issues involve in governmentality in his discussion of modality of punishment in the body of the condemned or of the arts of government discuss in comments on Machiavelli’s prince.
13 Write short notes on the following:
(a) Development as a space of representation
(b) The interests of the West to create the space of development
(c) Discovery of poverty in the Third World
(d) The innovation of the village: development at the local level
(e) Democracy and its malcontents
(f) Political technology of body
(g) Foucault’s views on power- knowledge relations
(h) Political investment of the body
(i) Soul as the prison of the body
Unit X: Globalization and Governance
1. Globalization is an evolutionary process involving different stages of growth and expansion of capitalism. Illustrate this argument based on ideas expressed by Harry Magdoff in his writing.
2. Globalization refers not only to economic and technological pattern of linkages between different societies of the world. It also involves the social and political processes designed to supports for the perpetuation of such a link. Discuss the issues with suitable example from the prescribed reading.
3. “Globalization has the potential to causes economic dislocation, destruction of important social safety-net, accelerate environment damage, loss of cultural identity, increase conflict and spread of disease and crime in the Development World”. Discuss the logic produced by Merilee S. Grindle in supports of this argument.
4. Define globalism. Discuss the dimensions of Globalism mention by R.O. Keohane and J.S. Nye in the prescribed readings.
5. Differentiate between govern and governance. Discuss the limits imposed by globalization process on the role of state to govern.
6. Globalization has no longer left the state as an exclusive institution charged with the role to govern. Discuss.
7. Taking references from the argument of Peter Even and J. Bhagawati in your readings, discuss how the opportunities and transnational expansion of capitalism has required changes in the structure and role of states in both the developed nd developing nations.
8. Write shorts notes:
(a)Globalization and levels of Governance
(b)Effect of Globalization on the role of domestic governance
(c)The role of club model of multilateral cooperation
(d) National and international sources of vulnerability of the poor country and
(e)Stages of imperial expansion
(f)The effect of globalization on the sovereignty of the nations
(g)Transnational linkage and the Third World States