Normative political theory primarily involves theorisation at the level of ‘what ought to be’ as against ‘what is’ in political life, answering questions of moral philosophy and foundational questions affecting social institutions.

Normative theory had a glorious tradition leading up to the early years of the previous century, when its theoretical and cognitive apparatus increasingly came to be challenged from various sources.

While scholars clamoured for empirical testability of theories and systematization of political life through law-like generalisations derived out of layers of facts, a gradual tendency was evident in seeking to incorporate the analytical framework of politics within a hard-science orientation. In such an environment, normative theory lost a great deal of relevance; the shift towards empirical theory seemingly relegated it to the academic backwaters.