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Social and Political Sciences Tripos, Part IIA, 2001: Notice

The Faculty Board of Social and Political Sciences give notice that, in accordance with Regulation 15(b) of the New Regulations for the Social and Political Sciences Tripos (Statutes and Ordinances, p. 388) they have prescribed the following subjects for essays for the paper Pol. 5 (Conceptual issues in modern politics).

Group I

(a) Are human beings political animals?

(b) Does politics have its own morality?

(c) Is political obligation irrational?

(d) Is political philosophy an inherently sexist enterprise?

(e) To what extent is the individual subject a product of modern political practice?

Group II

(a) What, if any, are the attractions of 'republicanism' in the modern world?

(b) Did the French Revolution begin modern politics?

(c) How far is the political world we now inhabit a creation of the First World War?

(d) Was Lenin's innovation intellectual or organizational?

Group III

(a) Is sovereignty absolute?

(b) Why are we all democrats now?

(c) 'Constitutionalists are moral realists, democrats moral relativists'.

(d) Is there a modern legacy of natural law?

(e) To what questions is federalism an answer?

(f) Is the study of politics necessarily comparative?

Group IV

(a) Who or what constitutes 'the people' in a modern state?

(b) What is it politically to represent?

(c) Does proportional representation lead to party fragmentation?

(d) Is there public opinion?

(e) Are there 'identity politics'?

(f) To what degree has modern society been 'governmentalized'?

Group V

(a) Does free trade require the exercise of political power?

(b) How can states now most reliably finance themselves?

(c) Will successful monetary union require a European state?

(d) Is regionalism a precondition, a complement, or a consequence of globalization?

(e)Do the political judgements made within and between states about the present international economy threaten the future of the modern nation-state?

(f) What can states now gain by war?

(g) When do states cooperate?

(h) What powers do poor states have?

Group VI

(a) Is politics rational?

(b) Is decentralization democratic?

(c) Are we moving towards a Europe of the Regions?

(d) Are national welfare states in Europe converging?

(e) What is the role of case studies in an analytical approach to politics?

Group VII

(a) Is the European parliament a real parliament?

(b) Either Does no demos mean no democracy in the European Union?

or Can the European Union be democratic?

(c) To what extent does European Union strengthen national executives at the expense of national parliaments?

(d) Has European Union served to strengthen or weaken the nation state?

(e) To what extent is the European Union already a federation?

(f) Is the European Union a security community?

Group VIII

(a) Is the claim that political rights can be protected by legal means supported by the experience of the United States?

(b) Does the electoral history of the United States provide good evidence that democratic decision-making is necessarily arbitrary and meaningless?

(c) How useful it is to regard the United States as 'exceptional'?

Group IX

(a) Does China suggest that universal conceptions of human rights are untenable?

(b) Either Is China socialist?

or Was Mao Zedong a Marxist or just another Chinese emperor?

(c) In what sense is Japan not a 'normal state'?

(d) Does the notion of an 'Asian model' make sense?

(e) Will admission to the World Trade Organisation inevitably lead China to democratize?

(f) Can collective security work in east Asia?

Candidates are required to submit two essays of 5,000 words each on subjects chosen from the list above to the Secretary of the Faculty Board not later than 27 April 2001.

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Cambridge University Reporter, 11 October 2000