Also Andre Siegfried of pre-1914 France made a detailed study of this social group and interests in voting behaviour. 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 except 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 the two sciences. However, the political scientist is primarily concerned with the dimension, of power and the factors affecting its distribution. The sociologist, on the 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 that condition the political order. Political sociology employs the methods of sociological research, including those of attitude research to investigate the content of political behaviour. 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.