Important Reasons Behind the Emergence of “Political Sociology”

Politics is the science of political relations, interactions and processes. All relations involved in the exercise of power in society are political relations. In this way Politics involves the study of human political behaviour and power relations in society.

Sociology is the study of society i.e. social groups, social relations, social processes, social institutions and social structures. Maclver defines Society as ‘the web of social relations “. In this way Sociology involves the study of society.

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Since all human relations and interactions take place in society, Sociology studies all social interactions and relations. Social, economic, political, religious, cultural and in fact all types of relations and interactions which take place in every society fall within the scope of Sociology.

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That is why Sociology is popularly regarded as the mother of all social disciplines. It involves a general study of all social relations and interactions. However, in particular this social discipline studies all social groups, social structures and functions.

Sociology is very closely related with all other social disciplines, in particular with Politics. Society and State are very intimately related and this fact makes Politics and Sociology two highly related disciplines.

Political Sociology seeks to study politics in the social context. It studies power and domination in social relations as well as the interactions between the society and polity. In its broadest sense, power is an element of all social relationships.


Family, religion, associations, educational institutions, trade unions and in fact all groups and institutions are characterized by relations involving the use of power. This also makes it essential for Political Sociology to study power in the social context.

After the coming of behavioural revolution in politics and the huge popularity gained by the inter-disciplinary approach, the study of social infrastructure of Politics and political system of each society came to be accepted as the imperative need of sociologists and political scientists.

This led to the emergence of Political Sociology as an interdisciplinary academic field focusing upon the study of sociological dimensions of Politics.

For every nation state, Political Sociology offers an insight into the problems being faced by the society, particularly the problems involving conflict and violence. It also brings out the sociological implications of such problems on the common man.


It also tries to find out ways and means for preventing their outburst by enabling political and social structures to work together for securing the common objective of securing peace harmony and common good in the society.

Just as the knowledge of Physics enables us to generate electricity from water or thermal or nuclear or wind resources likewise Political Sociology enables us to secure a prosperous society from human resources.

Political sociologists are of the view that political actions, like all other forms of human behaviour, are the result of interplay between the individual and the society as a whole which is politically motivated. As such, the discipline can enable us to initiate and secure desired social change and development.

Crick has observed that politics depends on some settled social order. Small groups are part of that order. These are also the actors which are involved in the emergence and evolution of politics.

However, their internal behaviour is not political simply because their individual functions are different from that of the state itself. Politics is a natural and essential condition of social order.

It is of the nature of a conciliation process through which authoritative and binding values are made and enforced for the whole society for securing a tolerable harmony among all the people and their groups. Naturally, Political Sociology seeks to analyse of structures and functions of the political system of each society.

Bendix is of the view that when we may define the political without regard to socially defined institutions our attempt can be neither realistic nor even productive of valid conclusions.

However, when we may try to analyse the ‘Political’ aspect of the family and every other social group, the scope of our study can become so large that nothing can be legitimately excluded from our consideration and we are left without analytical guidelines.

After bringing into focus the problem, Bendix also tries to give a solution. He advocates that ‘political’ should be taken to mean that which is related to the state as the single legitimate centre of authority in the society. The focus of analysis should confine to the relations and interactions between the social institutions and the state.

No doubt all social groups, in one way or the other are involved in the process of policy-making and rule-making by the government of the state. However, their activities do not have the all embracing quality of governmental policy-making and rule-making.

Political Sociology must remain confined to the study of the political dimension of the role of social groups as well as the influence of social factors on governmental rule-making. It should undertake the study of the impact of the exercise of political power on the social groups and institutions. Political sociologists must also examine all structures within which the rules are made and implemented in the society.

Political Sociologists can help us to more realistically and effectively analyse the past historical events and development by studying these in their social contexts. Karl Marx’s analysis of history of evolution of society was a socio-economic analysis. He projected a sociological study of politics.

Max Weber was also a political sociologist and so was the case of Pareto and Mosca. In the recent past Seymour Lipset and Stein Rokkan have been two eminent political sociologists. Their major contributions have been the comparative and historical study of political systems and nation-building.

By analyzing the role of political institutions in social development (and revolution) political sociology has contributed to the comparative analysis of welfare systems.

Some modern political sociologists have made immensely useful contributions to the study of the role of state in the creation of national identity and nation-building.

In contemporary times Political Sociology involves the study of political behaviour within a sociological perspective. Political Sociologists mostly take their conceptual apparatuses from sociologists and use these for the study of human political behaviour in society.

In fact Political Sociology uses the concepts of both Politics and Sociology for studying the power relations i.e. political relations in their social context. It uses sociological approach to the study of Politics.

It has been developing as a very useful and important subject of study. To sum up we can say, Political Sociology is concerned with the study of power and domination in social relationships.

Before studying anything about the origin evolution, meaning, nature and scope of Political Sociology let us refresh our understanding about the close relationship between Politics and Sociology as well as among all social sciences.


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