Political Sociology

Ever science the Aristotle, thinkers have been making systematic study of concrete political phenomena. They have been observing how political phenomena influence and get influences by the rest of the social structure and culture. In this regard, Aristotle's 'Politics" may be taken as a work of political sociology. Ferguson, Montesquieu and Tocqueville were all engaged in what today would be called political sociology. The classical sociologists like Weber (in his essay "Politics as Vocation) and Pareto (his work "The Mind and Society') were pioneers in including a political sociology in their work. Further, Karl Marx in Germany, Mosca in Italy and Graham Wallas in England advanced so essentially sociology theories of political elites and of the processes of consensus and dissent. Also Andre Siegfried of pre-1914 France made a details study of this social group and interests in voting behavior. The phrase 'Political Sociology' to describe this tradition only came into general use after 1945.

Ever since the birth of sociology, the analysis of political processes and institutions has been one of its most important concerns. Sociologists argue and many political scientists agree that it is difficult to study political processes expect as special cases of more general psychological and sociological relationships. The term "Political Sociology" has come to be accepted both within sociology and political science as encompassing the overlap between two sciences. However, the political scientist is primarily concerned with the dimension of power and factors affecting its distribution. The sociologist, on other hand, is more concerned with social control, with the way in which the values and norms of a society regulate relations. His emphasis is on social ties, rather than on formal structures and legal definitions.

As Smelser N. J. says, "Political Sociology can be defined as the study of the interrelationship between society and polity, between social structures and political institutions". Political sociology is not solely the study of the social factors condition the political order.

Political sociology employs the methods of sociological research, including those of attitude research to investigate the content of political behavior. It treats political institutions, both formal or constitutional and informal, as parts of the social system. It has concentrated attention on 'elites and their membership, on the expression and regulation of conflict, on formal pressure groups, on the formation of political opinion. Political sociologists have been concerned with political parties as social institutions and with the phenomena of despotic and totalitarian regimes. It is an integral part of sociology which has progressively transformed political science in the direction of a wider attention to empirical reality.

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