Who is not associated with the Social Contract Theory? | Sociology for CUET by Vikash Ranjan | Sociology Guru

Social Contract Theory


Question: Who is not associated with the Social Contract Theory?

  1. Kautilya
  2. Locke
  3. Hobbes
  4. Rousseau

Answer: (1)

Social Contract Theory: A Historical Overview:

The roots of Social Contract Theory can be traced back to ancient philosophy, as demonstrated by Socrates’ discourse with Crito. However, its formalization and full exposition are often attributed to Thomas Hobbes in the 17th century. The theory gained prominence through subsequent elaborations by John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. This intellectual lineage has significantly shaped the landscape of moral and political philosophy in the Western tradition.

Thomas Hobbes:

Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679) was a pivotal figure in the development of Social Contract Theory. In his seminal work “Leviathan” (1651), Hobbes argued that individuals, in their natural state, exist in a condition of perpetual conflict, known as the “state of nature.” To escape this chaos, individuals enter into a social contract, surrendering certain freedoms to a sovereign authority in exchange for security and order. Hobbes’s conception laid the groundwork for subsequent discussions on the legitimacy of political authority and the nature of governance.

John Locke:

John Locke (1632–1704) expanded upon Hobbes’s ideas, particularly in his influential work “Two Treatises of Government” (1689). Locke’s Social Contract Theory emphasized natural rights, including life, liberty, and property. Unlike Hobbes, Locke maintained a more optimistic view of the state of nature, arguing that individuals come together to form a government to protect these inherent rights. Locke’s ideas significantly influenced the American and French revolutions and contributed to the development of liberal political thought.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau:

Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778) offered a distinctive perspective on Social Contract Theory in his work “The Social Contract” (1762). Rousseau’s theory posited that the legitimacy of political authority arises from the general will of the people. He contended that individuals voluntarily surrender their natural liberties to the community, and in return, they gain a form of collective sovereignty. Rousseau’s emphasis on the common good and participatory democracy has left an enduring impact on political philosophy.

Kautilya and Social Contract Theory:

Now turning to the options presented in the CUET question, Kautilya is associated with ancient Indian political thought, particularly as depicted in the “Arthashastra.” Kautilya, also known as Chanakya, predates the European thinkers commonly linked to Social Contract Theory. His ideas focus on the duties and responsibilities of the ruler (king) and provide a pragmatic guide to statecraft rather than a formalized social contract. The Arthashastra outlines principles of governance, diplomacy, and military strategy, reflecting a different philosophical tradition than the explicit social contract formulations found in Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau.

In ancient Indian political thought, the relationship between the ruler and the ruled is often seen in terms of dharma (duty) rather than a contractual agreement. The king is expected to govern justly and protect the welfare of the people based on moral and ethical principles. While Kautilya’s ideas are foundational to Indian political philosophy, they are not explicitly aligned with the contractual framework characteristic of Social Contract Theory.

The Evolution and Critique of Social Contract Theory:

The influence of Social Contract Theory persisted through the centuries, experiencing revitalization in the 20th century with John Rawls’s “A Theory of Justice” (1971). Rawls presented a Kantian version of social contract theory, emphasizing the principles of justice that individuals would agree upon behind a “veil of ignorance,” unaware of their own circumstances.

However, the theory has not been without its critics. Feminist and race-conscious philosophers have challenged Social Contract Theory, arguing that it inadequately addresses the experiences of marginalized groups and may perpetuate existing inequalities. These critiques highlight the need for a more nuanced understanding of social and political relationships beyond a contractual framework.


In conclusion, the answer to the MA CUET exam question is Kautilya, as he is not explicitly associated with Social Contract Theory in the manner that Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau are. Social Contract Theory, a foundational concept in modern moral and political philosophy, evolved through the contributions of thinkers such as Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau. While Kautilya’s contributions to political thought are significant in their own right, they are rooted in a different philosophical tradition that predates the explicit formulation of Social Contract Theory in the European context. Understanding the historical development and nuances of Social Contract Theory provides a comprehensive foundation for engaging with the broader discourse on political philosophy and the nature of governance.

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Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Question: Define the term “ethnic movement” and provide an example from India.

Answer: An ethnic movement refers to a collective effort by a group sharing common cultural, linguistic, or religious traits, seeking to assert their identity and rights; an example from India is the Khalistan Movement in Punjab.

2. Question: Identify the main objectives behind the Gorkhaland ethnic movement.

Answer: The Gorkhaland ethnic movement primarily seeks to establish a separate state for India’s Nepali-speaking population in the Darjeeling region, advocating for linguistic and cultural recognition and political autonomy.

3. Question: What was the Operation Blue Star, and which ethnic movement was it related to?
Answer: Operation Blue Star was a military action in 1984, aiming to remove Sikh militants hiding in the Golden Temple in Amritsar; it is related to the Khalistan movement, which sought a separate Sikh country.

4. Question: Mention a critical factor that triggered the emergence of ethnic movements in India, as discussed by Dipankar Gupta.
Answer: Dipankar Gupta emphasized that ethnicity is fundamentally a political process, wherein caste and religion, the key components of identity formation, are politicized by leaders for vested interests.

5. Question: What were the primary reasons for the Assam Ethnicity conflicts involving Bodo tribals and Bengali Muslim settlers?
Answer: The Assam Ethnicity conflicts primarily stemmed from issues related to immigration, land rights, and resource allocation, leading to clashes, riots, and evolving relationships among indigenous communities to address challenges.

6. Question: Briefly describe the role of the Dravidian Movement in terms of caste and societal structure.
Answer: The Dravidian Movement, led notably by E.V. Ramasamy, aimed to establish an egalitarian society, focusing on anti-Brahmanism and advocating for equal rights for backward castes, while also introducing reforms like self-respect marriages.

7. Question: Name the prominent ethnic movements in North-East India and specify one common objective.
Answer: Prominent ethnic movements in North-East India include the Nagas’ and Mizos’ struggles; a common objective was to gain autonomy and recognition for their distinct tribal identities and cultural uniqueness.

8. Question: What is the key argument of Gail Omveldt regarding traditional Indian society and multiculturalism?
Answer: Gail Omveldt opposed romanticizing traditional Indian society, arguing that hierarchy has always dominated it and dismissing the notion that multiculturalism is an intrinsic feature of Indian society as a myth.

9. Question: Briefly explain the social hierarchy factor as a contributing element to ethnic movements as suggested by Olzak.
Answer: Olzak suggests that the construction of hierarchies among ethnic communities, which often leads to the suppression of one group by another, is a key factor that can instigate social and ethnic movements.

10. Question: Identify one consequence of the unequal economic development factor within the context of ethnic movements in India.
Answer: One consequence of unequal economic development is the marginalization and underdevelopment of certain groups, leading to feelings of alienation and sometimes initiating ethnic movements as these groups strive for equality and recognition.

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