Comparative Politics: political economy and political sociology perspectives
The phrase Political Science is closely associated with word "Politics", which is derived from the Greek word-"Polis". It means a city-state, the general form of political organisation in ancient Greece. The study of political science in the western tradition is first noticeable in ancient Greece. The discipline had many aspects such as moral philosophy, political philosophy, political economy, history and other fields concerned with normative determinations and with inferring the characteristics and functions of the perfect state.
Political Science is normative because it deals with the theory of the state. It is theoretical in orientation. The beginning of political Science as a university discipline is apparent in 1860s by the naming of university departments and heads with the title of Political Science. Integrating political studies of the past into a combined discipline is constant and the history of Political Science has provided a rich field for the development of both normative and positive Political Science with each part of the discipline sharing some historical precursors. The American Political Science Association was initiated in 1903 as an effort to distinguish the study of politics from economics and other social sciences. In the decade of 1950's and the 1960's, a behavioural uprising stressing the systematic and meticulously scientific study of individual and group behaviour swept the discipline.
At the same time, the political Science moved toward greater depth of analysis and more sophistication, it also moved toward a closer working relationship with other relationship, especially sociology, economics, history, anthropology, psychology, and statistics. Gradually, behavioralism have used the scientific method to create an intellectual discipline based on the postulating of hypotheses followed by empirical verification and the inference of political drifts and of generalisations that explain individual and group political actions. Since in the beginning of 1970's, with the advent of post behaviouralism, the discipline has placed an increasing emphasis on relevance, or the use of new approaches and methodologies to solve political and social problems.
Political economy is basically involved in studying production and trade, and their relations with law, custom, and government, as well as with the distribution of national income and affluence. Political economy instigated in moral philosophy. Political economy, the intersection of economics and politics is the groundwork of the modern social sciences and the focus of founding sociological theorists, most notably Max Weber, Karl Marx, and Friedrich Engels. Debatably, with his extended concern for the division of labour, even Emile Durkheim was deeply concerned with political economy. Although, this is not the case for economics and political science, the meaning of political economy has been impartially consistent in sociology. That is, the sociological inspection of political economy has retained a focus on the intersection between the political and the economic. Theoretical prominences have moved in the course of lively and extended debates over the state, markets, social class, culture, citizens, and globalization. Nonetheless, the major focus of political economy has persisted, as has its significance to sociological theory.
Political economy was advanced in the 18th century as the study of the economies of states, or polities, therefore, the term political economy. In the end of 19th century, the phrase economics came to replace political economy, concurring with the publication of an influential textbook by Alfred Marshall in 1890. Earlier, William Stanley Jevons, an advocate of mathematical methods applied to the subject, supported economics for briefness and with the hope of the term becoming "the recognised name of a science."
In simple way, political Economy refers to interdisciplinary studies drawing upon economics, political science, law, history, sociology and other disciplines in explaining the crucial role of political factors in determining economic outcomes. Formerly, political economy meant the study of the conditions under which production or consumption within limited parameters was organized in nation-states. In that way, political economy extended the emphasis of economics, which comes from the Greek oikos (meaning "home") and nomos (meaning "law" or "order"). Thus, political economy was meant to express the laws of production of wealth at the state level, just as economics was the ordering of the home. The phrase economie politique first originated in France in 1615 with the famous book by Antoine de Montchretien, Traite de l'economie politique. The French physiocrats, along with Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill, David Ricardo, Henry George, and Karl Marx were some of the advocates of political economy. The world's first professorship in political economy was established in 1754 at the University of Naples Federico II in southern Italy. The Neapolitan philosopher Antonio Genovesi was the first tenured professor. In 1763, Joseph von Sonnenfels was appointed a Political Economy chair at the University of Vienna, Austria. Thomas Malthus, in 1805, became England's first professor of political economy, at the East India Company College, Haileybury, Hertfordshire. Glasgow University, where Adam Smith had been Professor of Logic and of Moral Philosophy, changed the name of its Department of Political Economy to the Department of Economics (ostensibly to avoid confusing prospective undergraduates), in the academic year 1997-98.
In its modern perspective, political economy denotes to different, but related, approaches to studying economic and related behaviours that, range from the combination of economics with other fields to the use of different, fundamental assumptions that challenge earlier economic assumptions.
Political economy is generally elucidated as interdisciplinary studies drawing upon economics, sociology, and political science in explaining how political institutions, the political environment, and the economic system, capitalist, socialist, or mixed that influence each other. The Journal of Economic Literature classification codes associate political economy with three subareas:
The role of government and/or power relationships in resource allocation for each type of economic system.
International political economy, which studies the economic impacts of international relations, and economic models of political processes.
The last area, derived from public choice theory and dating from the 1960s, models voters, politicians, and bureaucrats as behaving in mainly self-interested ways, in contrast to a view, ascribed to earlier economists, of government officials trying to maximize individual utilities from some kind of social welfare function. An early and continuing focus of that research program is called constitutional political economy (Mueller, Dennis C., 2008).
Economists and political researchers often associate political economy with approaches using rational-choice assumptions, especially in game theory, and in investigating phenomena beyond economics' standard remit, such as government failure and complex decision making in which context the term "positive political economy" is common (Alt, James E.; Shepsle, Kenneth, 1990). Other "traditional" themes include analysis of such public policy issues as economic regulation, monopoly, rent-seeking, market protection, institutional corruption, and distributional politics. Empirical analysis includes the influence of elections on the choice of economic policy, determinants and forecasting models of electoral outcomes, the political business cycles, central-bank independence, and the politics of excessive deficits (Buchanan, James M., 2008).
The concept of political economy is used since ancient times of intellectual inquiry but comparatively young academic discipline. The analysis of political economy, both in practical terms and as moral philosophy, has been traced to Greek philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle as well as to the Scholastics and those who promulgated a philosophy based on natural law. A critical development in the intellectual inquiry of political economy was the prominence in the 16th to the18th century of the mercantilist school, which called for a strong role for the state in economic regulation. The writings of the Scottish economist Sir James Steuart, 4th Baronet Denham, whose Inquiry into the Principles of Political Economy (1767) is considered the first systematic work in English on economics, and the policies of Jean-Baptiste Colbert (1619-83), controller general to Louis XIV of France, typify mercantilism in theory and in practice, respectively.
Political economy appeared as a separate field of study in the mid-18th century, mostly as a reaction to mercantilism, when the Scottish philosophers Adam Smith and David Hume and the French economist Francois Quesnay began to approach this study in systematic rather than fragmentary terms. They took a secular approach, rejecting to explain the distribution of wealth and power in terms of God's will and instead appealing to political, economic, technological, natural, and social factors and the complex interactions between them. Indeed, Smith's landmark work, an Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776), which provided the first comprehensive system of political economy expresses in its title the broad scope of early political economic analysis. Although the field itself was new, some of the ideas and approaches it drew upon were centuries old. It was influenced by the individualist orientation of the English political philosophers Thomas Hobbes and John Locke, the Realpolitik of the Italian political theorist Niccolo Machiavelli and the inductive method of scientific reasoning invented by the English philosopher Francis Bacon.
Theoretical studies of political economists in the 18th century highlighted the role of individuals over that of the state and generally attacked mercantilism. This is perhaps best exemplified by Smith's famous concept of the "invisible hand," in which he argued that state policies often were less effective in advancing social welfare than were the self-interested acts of individuals. Individuals intend to advance only their own welfare, Smith proclaimed, but in so doing, they also advance the interests of society as if they were guided by an invisible hand. Arguments such as these gave credence to individual-centred analysis and policies to counter the state-centred theories of the mercantilists.
In the 19th century, English political economist David Ricardo further advanced Smith's philosophies. His work with reference to comparative advantage, which postulated that states should produce and export only those goods that they can generate at a lower cost than other nations and import those goods that other countries can produce more efficiently eulogised the benefits of free trade and was essential in undermining British mercantilism. During this period, the utilitarianism of Jeremy Bentham James Mill and Mill's son John Stuart Mil united together economic analysis for the expansion of democracy.
Smith's concept of individual-centred analysis of political economy did not go unchallenged. The German American economist Friedrich List developed a more-systematic analysis of mercantilism that contrasted his national system of political economy with Smith's "cosmopolitical" system, which treated issues as if national borders and interests did not exist. In the mid-19th century, communist historian and economist Karl Marx proposed a class-based analysis of political economy that concluded in his huge treatise Das Kapital, the first volume of which was published in 1867.
The universal study of political economy that typifies the works of Smith, List, Marx, and others of their time was slowly darkened in the late 19th century by a group of more narrowly focused and methodologically conventional disciplines, each of which sought to throw light on particular elements of society, inevitably at the expense of a broader view of social interactions. By 1890, when English neoclassical economist Alfred Marshall published his textbook on the Principles of Economics, political economy as a distinct academic field had been essentially substituted in universities by the separate disciplines of economics, sociology, political science, and international relations. Marshall clearly separated his subject, economics or economic science from political economy, implicitly privileging the former over the latter, an act that revealed the general academic trend toward specialization along methodological lines.
In the second half of the 20th century, as the social sciences became increasingly abstract, formal, and specialized in both focus and methodology, political economy was revitalized to provide a comprehensive framework to understand complex national and international problems and events. Presently, the field of political economy embraces several areas of study, including the politics of economic relations, domestic political and economic issues, the comparative study of political and economic systems, and international political economy. The advent of international political economy, first within international relations and later as a distinct field of inquiry, marked the return of political economy to its ancestries as a holistic study of individuals, states, markets, and civilisation.
Comparative political economy examines the interactions between the state, markets, and society, both national and international. Both empirical and normative, it employs modern analytic tools and methodologies in its studies. Rational-choice theorists analyse individual behaviour and even the policies of states in terms of maximizing benefits and minimizing costs, and public-choice theorists focus on how policy choices are formed or controlled by incentives built into the routines of public and private organizations. Modelling techniques modified from econometrics are often applied to many different political economic questions.
Political economists try to understand domestic macroeconomic policy often study the influence of political institutions such as legislatures, executives, and judiciaries and the implementation of public policy by administrative agencies. The influence of political and societal actors such as interest groups, political parties, churches, elections, and the media and ideologies like democracy, fascism, or communism is also evaluated. Comparative analysis also considers the extent to which international political and economic conditions increasingly distorted in the line between domestic and foreign policies in different countries. For example, in many countries trade policy no longer reproduces strictly domestic objectives but also takes into account the trade policies of other governments and the directives of international financial institutions.
Theoretical studies have shown that many sociologists focus on the impact that policies have on the public and the extent of public support that particular policies enjoy. Similarly, sociologists and some political researchers also are interested in the extent to which policies are generated mainly from above by elites or from below by the public. One such study is so-called "critical political economy," which is imbedded in interpretations of the writing of Marx. For many Marxists (and contemporary adherents of varying strands of Marxist thought), government efforts to manage different parts of the economy are supposed to favour the moral order of bourgeois values. For example, as in the case of tax policy, government policies are assumed to support the interests of the rich or elites over those of the masses.
Ultimately, comparative analysts may ask why countries in certain areas of the world play a particularly vital role in the international economy. They also scrutinise the inquiry: why "corporatist" partnerships between the state, industry, and labour formed in some states and not in others, why there are major differences in labour and management relations in the more-industrialized countries, what kinds of political and economic structures in different countries employ to help their societies adjust to the effects of integration and globalization, and what kinds of institutions in developing countries advance or retard the development process. Comparative political economists also have examined why some developing countries in Southeast Asia were comparatively successful to escalate economic growth whereas most African countries were not successful.
In present time, there is a focus on modelling economic policy and political institutions as to interactions between agents and economic and political institutions, including the seeming inconsistency of economic policy and economist's recommendations from the perspective of transaction costs. From the mid-1990s, the field has extended, in part aided by new cross-national data sets that allow tests of hypotheses on comparative economic systems and institutions. Themes have included the breakup of nations, the origins and rate of change of political institutions in relation to economic growth, development, backwardness, reform, and transition economies, the role of culture, ethnicity, and gender in explaining economic outcomes, macroeconomic policy, the environment, fairness, and the relation of constitutions to economic policy, theoretical and empirical.
New political economy may study economic philosophies as the phenomenon to explain, as per the traditions of Marxian political economy. Charles S. Maier recommends that a political economy approach "interrogates economic doctrines to disclose their sociological and political premises in sum, it regards economic ideas and behaviour not as frameworks for analysis, but as beliefs and actions that must themselves be explained" (Mayer, Charles S. (1987). This approach notifies Andrew Gamble's The Free Economy and the Strong State (Palgrave Macmillan, 1988), and Colin Hay's The Political Economy of New Labour (Manchester University Press, 1999). It also enlightens work published in New Political Economy, an international journal founded by Sheffield University scholars in 1996 (Baker, David, 2006).
International political economy is an interdisciplinary field encompassing approaches to the actions of various players. In the United States, these approaches are related with the journal International Organization, which in the 1970s became the leading journal of International political economy under the editorship of Robert Keohane, Peter J. Katzenstein, and Stephen Krasner. They are also allied with the journal The Review of International Political Economy. There also is a more critical school of International political economy, encouraged by philosophers such as Antonio Gramsci and Karl Polanyi and two major figures are Matthew Watson and Robert W. Cox (Cohen, Benjamin, 2007).
A group of experts such as Anthropologists, sociologists, and geographers use political economy to the regimes of politics or economic values that arise primarily at the level of states or regional governance, but also within smaller social groups and social networks. Because these regimes influence and are influenced by the organization of both social and economic capital, the analysis of dimensions deficient a standard economic value (e.g., the political economy of language, of gender, or of religion) often draws on concepts used in Marxian critiques of capital. Such approaches expand on neo-Marxian scholarship interrelated to development and underdevelopment proposed by Andre Gunder Frank and Immanuel Wallerstein.
Historians have utilized political economy to discover the ways in the past that persons and groups with common economic interests have used politics to effect changes useful to their interests.
Political Economy and Law is effort within legal scholarship to engage explicitly with political economy literature. In the 1920s and 30s, legal realists such as Robert Hale and intellectuals such as John Commons engaged subjects related to political economy. In the second half of the 20th century, lawyers related with the Chicago School incorporated certain intellectual traditions from economics. Since the crisis in 2007, however, legal researchers especially related to international law, have turned to more explicitly engage with the debates, methodology and various subjects within political economy texts (Kennedy, David, 2013).
Currently, political economy is elucidated as very different philosophy, including Marxian analysis, applied public-choice approaches emanating from the Chicago school and the Virginia school, or simply the advice given by economists to the government or public on general economic policy or on specific proposals. A speedily growing mainstream literature from the 1970s has stretched beyond the model of economic policy in which planners maximize utility of a representative individual toward examining how political forces affect the choice of economic policies, especially as to distributional conflicts and political institutions.
The nature, emergence and dimensions of political sociology have been subjected to differing treatment and the results are not only naivete but tentative statements and near confusion about them. Political sociology as a discipline aims to examine the interaction between politics and society. In basic term, political sociology explores to understand the process of interaction between government and society, decision making authorities and conflicting social forces and interests. It is the study of interactions and relationships between politics and civilisation; between a political system and its social, economic and cultural environment. It is related with glitches regarding the management of conflict, the articulation of interests and issues, and political integration and organisation. Political sociology is a linking bridge between sociology and political science. It believes in a two-way relationship between sociology and political science, giving equal importance on social and political variables. For example, in the party system, political sociology does not describe the working of party system only in terms of its response to and reflection of the socio-economic scene, but also investigates how the society is as much conditioned by the party system. In Indian scenario, while sociology of politics analyses Indian politics in terms of its caste-ridden society, political sociology adds to that enquiry how politics in India has affected the Indian caste system, giving rise to politicisation of caste. This discrepancy between the sociology of politics and political sociology would help in understanding the meaning of political sociology.
Since the Second World War, western scholars, especially the American scholars were more interested to undertake empirical research of various political phenomena related with sociology. These research activity expanded in the area of sociology. It was comprehended that these novel research findings were neither pure politics nor pure sociology and, therefore, they were ultimately placed under the new title termed as Political sociology.
Political sociology is at the juncture of sociology and political science. It addresses issues related to politics, similar to political science. However, it differs from political science in numerous ways. Political sociologists tend to underline the relationships between political institutions and other social institutions and society in general, rather than focusing on political institutions in their own right. Political sociology tends to have a broader and also historical space. There is a lot of interdisciplinary reading involved in this area. The main focus of the discipline has been on the political processes which take place within human societies. Political sociology deals with the relationship between state and society on the basis of mutual interaction and with power as the ultimate aim of all political processes.
Political sociology deals with the study of the social source of political competition (including social cleavages and identities), of social and political approaches (including political culture), of processes of political engagement and competition (including elections and protest politics), of the social basis for the formation, change, and maintenance of political institutions (including democracy and welfare states).
Political Sociology, however, was not emerged by chance. There were major grounds for its emergence. The most important among which was a growing displeasure with the nature of traditional Political science. There are two reasons for their disappointment, firstly, was about the long tradition of political science being immersed in highly normative prescriptions. After the second world war, when remarkable scientific progress and technological advancement had greatly made scientific the general intellectual atmosphere, political scientists in the west finally decided to appeal a priori political speculations and began looking into political realities from the angle of hard scientific empiricism. Secondly, traditional political science had always observed the state as its star attractions. The traditional political science had rejected to accept two-way relations between state and society. Since the fifties, western social scientists started heading towards the unifications of social sciences with the help of an inter-disciplinary approach. This was also contributing towards the development of political sociology.
Both Lipset and Runchimen have fixed the timing of the emergence of political sociology at about the middle of 19th century when under the impact of industrialised revolution the traditional European social order gave in to modern society. Their proposition is that the emergence of modern society in Europe amply exhibited the difference between state and society when political sociology originated. Keith Faulks (2000) described political sociology as:
"At its broadest level, political sociology is concerned with the relationship between politics and society. Its distinctiveness within the social sciences lies in its acknowledgement that political actors, including parties, pressure groups and social movements, operate within a wider social context. Political actors therefore inevitably shape, and in turn are shaped by, social structures such as gender, class and nationality. Such social structures ensure that political influence within society is unequal. It follows from this that a key concept in political sociology is that power, where power is defined as the capacity to achieve one's objectives even when those objectives are in conflict with the interests of another actor. Political sociologists therefore invariably return to the following question: which individuals and groups in society possess the capacity to pursue their interests, and how is this power exercised and institutionalized."
Other political scientists such as A.K.Mukhopadhyaya proclaimed that "political sociology is the child from the marriage between sociology and political science and as in human issues, cannot be solely characterized by its parental qualities alone". Political science is fundamentally a study of the state, the development and organization of state power, the way it operates through a network of political institutions, the manner of its affecting the individual's life by means of various functions are the things political science enquires and explains. Sociology stresses on the area disregarded by political science. Society being its central concern, Sociology examines the pattern and operation of interactive social relations, looks into the progress and working of social institutions and attempts at an evaluative description of social power and social progress. It can be said that the distinction between political science and sociology evidently relates to the distinction between state and society.
Political science begins with the state and inspects how it affects society, while political Sociology starts with society and investigates how it affects the state. Political sociologists debate that the state is just one of many clusters of social institutions and clusters of institutions are the subject of sociology in general, and that the relationship between political institutions and other institutions is the special sphere of political sociology. Eminent political sociologist such as Lipset and Bendix discussed two features of political sociology, first, that political sociology studies the relation between the social and the political, and second that the political sociology cannot be understood unless it is related to the social. The main argument revolve to this definition of political sociology- political sociology is a discipline that tries to understand political phenomena by necessarily relating them to their social determinants.
In theoretical studies, it has been shown that political sociology believes in a two way relations between sociology and political science, giving equal emphasis on both the social and political variables.
Vital features of political sociology are as under:
- Political sociology` is not political science since, unlike the latter, it is not a state discipline or a study of the state craft.
- Political sociology is associated with not only with social but with the political as well.
- Political sociology spins round the conviction that there exists identify of form between the social process and the political process. Political sociology tries to resolve the traditional dichotomy between state and society.
Political sociology may be demarcated as the product of cross-fertilization between sociology and political science that studies the impact of society on politics and also the reverse, through inspecting the substance of politics in a social form. Political sociology guarantee the stability of the democratic political system, stretches this analysis to the political sphere and claims that the process is as much valid since it also works in terms of the natural social process in as far it as well devoted to the goal of bringing in agreement out of conflicts.
Political Sociology is principally concerned with the evolution of the political community, to which political science assumes as existent, and with the development and functioning of all the organs of social control, of which the state is only the most prominent among many. It is also instantly interested in the modifications effected by the organs of social control, among them the state, in the structure of society. It is also concerned with the skirmish of contending social interests and the adjustment which they seek and secure through the political institutions of society.
Political sociology offers a new panorama in comparative political analysis. The standpoint of political sociology is distinguished from that of institutionalism and behaviouralism. The institutionalists have been concerned chiefly with institutional types of political organisation, and their study has been characterized by legality and formality. The behaviouralists have focused on the individual actor in the political ground. Their primary concern are motives, attitudes, perceptions and the role of individuals. The task of political sociologist is to study the political process as a continuum of interactions between society and its decision makers, and between the decision making institutions and social forces.
Since the evolution of sociology, the analysis of political processes and institutions has been one of its most important concerns. Sociologists debated and many political researchers 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 been recognized both within sociology and political science as encircling the overlap between two sciences. However, the political scientist is principally 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. Their emphasis is on social ties, rather than on formal structures and legal definitions. Robert.E.Dowse and John.A.Hughes explicated political sociology as "political sociology is the study of political behaviour within a sociological perspective of framework". Michal Rush and Philip Althoff in their mutual work attempted to define political sociology when they wrote that political sociology is the interactions and linkages between society and polity, between social structure and political structure and between social behaviour and political behaviour. In the view of As Smelser N. J., "Political Sociology is study of the interrelationship between society and polity, between social structures and political institutions". Political sociology is not exclusively the study of the social factors condition the political order.
Scope of political sociology:
Political sociology is related with the way in which political arrangements depend on social organisations and cultural values. This subject is in fact less concerned with the formal aspects of government and law than with the underlying support of these institutions. In comparative politics, political sociologists are also interested in studying the participation of individuals in politics. The discipline is concerned with why and how an individual's vote has public opinion, from and belongs to political associations and groups that support political movements. The scope of the discipline also includes different types of organised groups in politics and the interactions among them, and the influence of parties and movements in changing or bringing about stability in the political system. An important factor of political sociology is the decision-making process through public means. In this process, it takes into account not only the social forces but also includes the economic factors that are controlled by forces such as money, market and other resources scarcities. Political sociology also analyses whether the person inhabiting the decision- making process has enough grip over the people on whom they are exercising authority.
Political sociology also embraces the concept of political system, which introduces enthusiasm in political analysis. It not only stress on the study of the major structures of the government such as legislature, courts and administrative agencies, but also embassies on all the structure in their political aspects such as caste groupings, relationship groups and formal organisations such as parties and interest groups. The political system deals with the political phenomena in any society without taking into account its size, culture and degree of modernisation. Political sociology deals with the analysis of the functions of various political structures in the political system from a structural functionalist standpoint.
Political sociology focuses on the phenomenon of power and its related aspects.
Power is a widespread and an important aspect of social interaction, which is necessary in determining the relationship between individuals and members of a group. Political sociology also deals with the study of elites and their leadership styles. These elites govern the masses as well as provide them leadership. The discipline also focuses on the patterns and styles of leadership displayed by the elites, which are necessary to maintain their positions of power.
The study of the political process is also the domain of political sociology. Political process refers to activities of those underlying tendencies in society that give meaning and order to the political system. Another major element of political sociology is to study the impact of the political culture on the political system. The concepts of political culture refer to those underlying propensities that quicken or retard the speed of performance of the political system.
Political participation and political mobilization also included in scope of political sociology.
Another important aspect that is enclosed by political sociology is social stratification. It studies different social stratification systems, such as class, caste, gender and status, and analysis their impact on organized politics. Political sociology also do analysis on the political dynamics, which consists of the study of political parties, pressure groups, interest groups, public opinion and propaganda that influences and manipulate the attitude and political behaviour of individuals. The process of change, which in the social dimension refers to 'modernisation', is also another principal point of political sociology. Political development is an important area of debate in political sociology. It refers to a process through which a political system acquires new roles and value in a civilization.
Theories of political sociology:
The major theories within political sociology include social class theory, elite theory, and pluralism.
1. Social class theory is often related with Marxist theory, in which power is scrutinized in terms of which societal class controls the predominant means of economic production. Social class analysis stresses the political power of capitalist elites. It can be split into two parts. One is the 'power structure' or 'instrumentalist' approach; the other is the 'structuralist' approach. The power structure approach concentrates on determining who rules, while the structuralist approach emphasizes the way a capitalist economy operates, allowing and encouraging the state to do some things but not others.
2. Elite theory is a theory in which power is observed as being concentrated in elite groups and societies. The origin of Elite theory lie most evidently in the writings of Gaetano Mosca (1858-1941), Vilfredo Pareto (1848-1923), and Robert Michels (1876-1936). Elite or managerial theory is also called a state-centred approach. It elucidates power relationships in modern society. The theory postulates that a small minority consisting of members of the economic elite and policy-planning networks holds the most power. This power is independent of a state's democratic elections process. Through positions in corporations, corporate boards, and policy-planning networks, members of the "elite" are able to exert significant power over the policy decisions of corporations and governments.
The classical elite theorists recognize the governing elite in terms of superior personal qualities of those who exercise power. However later versions of elite theory places less emphasis on the personal qualities of the powerful and more on the institutional framework of the society.
They debated that the hierarchical organization of social institutions allows a minority to monopolize power. Another disapproval of the elite theories against the Marxian view of distribution of power is that the ruling class too large and amorphous a group to be able to effectively wield power. In their view, power is always exercised by a small unified group of the elite. Elite theory disputed that all societies are divided into two main groups a ruling minority and the ruled. This situation is inevitable. If the proletarian revolution occurs it will merely result in the replacement of one ruling elite by another. Classical elite theory was advocated by Pareto and Mosca.
3. In pluralism, power is understood to be spread and shared throughout society and institutions. Major scientists to develop pluralism were Arnold Rose, Peter Bentley, Talcott Parsons, Neil Smelser. Many studies have shown that Pluralism understands politics as a contest between competing interest groups. It embraces the view that politics and decision making are found mostly in the framework of government, but many non-governmental groups use their resources to exert influence. Groups of individuals try to maximize their interests. There are multiple lines of power that shift as power is a constant bargaining process between competing groups. Any change under this view will be slow and incremental. Groups have different interests and may act as "veto groups" to destroy legislation that they do not agree with.
Contemporary Political Sociology:
Contemporary political sociology is closely associated with cultural politics as it called the "politics of politics." From this standpoint, what events mean to those who interpret and act on them is what matters. Contemporary political sociology is also concerned with cultural politics in a broader sense: what is made "political" is not simply confined to what takes place within government, political parties, and the state. The perspective of cultural politics also helps people make sense of how the meanings of social relations and identities are consistently challenged wherever they are framed as unfair, exclusionary, and destructive of the capacities of individuals and groups.
"Politicization" across the social arena has not characteristically been the subject matter of political sociology until fairly recently. Political sociology has never been easily different as a field of research from others in the discipline of sociology. Orum defined that political sociology directs attention toward "the social circumstances of politics that is, to how politics both is shaped by and shapes other events in societies. Instead of treating the political field and its actors as independent from other happenings in a society. Political sociology treats that arena as intimately related to all social institutions".
Political sociologists would be concerned in power as at least a potentiality in all social relations, and to have expounded a conception of politics as an activity conducted across an array of social institutions. Dowse and Hughes discussed that political sociologists have concerned themselves primarily with the ways in which society has affected the state.
Since last two decades, political sociology has shifted away from this focus on how society affects the state. The contemporary political sociology had new model of philosophy like in Comparative Politics, Public administration. Political Sociology also contemplates issues like third world development approach. So the Political Sociology has diverted their attention on how society affects the state. Contemporary Political Sociology discussed economic, political, and cultural globalization means that what the state is and does is now itself in question.
With the occurrence of heart-breaking terrorists events such as 9/11, state violence has become more noticeable in some respects, state action must now almost invariably take into account institutions, processes, and actors in relation to which states were previously considered independent. Simultaneously, the class formations around which national political parties were organized have become split and the political concerns associated with class based political parties Problematized. The fragmentation and pluralization of values and lifestyles, with the growth of the mass media and consumerism and the weakening of stable occupations and communities, all mean that previously taken for granted social identities have become politicized.
Empirical changes would not be enough to create a new approach to political sociology if there were not also new theoretical tools with which to make sense of them. There has been a prototype shift in political sociology away from state centred, class based models of political participation, or non-participation, toward an understanding of politics as a potentiality of all social experience. In this sense, contemporary political sociology is concerned with cultural politics, understood in the broadest possible sense as the contestation and change of social identities and structures. Contemporary political sociology explains the reason of concept of cultural politics is useful to understand the "politics of politics" today. The substantive issues of contemporary political sociology has six major areas:
- State, citizenship and civil society
- Social cleavages and politics
- Protest movements and revolutions
- Surveillance and control
- State-economy relations
- The welfare state
1. State, Citizenship, and Civil Society: The modern nation state arisen from the departure of feudalism and was coincident with the rise of industrial capitalism. Political sociologists scrutinise this process to understand state structures and processes of state transformation. Post modernisation theories of change accentuate the significance of warfare and state consolidation of control over territory and people, especially in seventeenth to nineteenth century of Europe. In addition to the importance of geopolitical conflict, resource extraction, and power consolidation, these developments helped form a civil society with a public sphere. They also contributed to expand citizenship, including franchise development.
2. Social Cleavages and Politics: Since ancient period, political sociologists scrutinized how social cleavages get expressed politically, and class was the most striking cleavage with the "democratic class struggle thesis". They hold an interest in social class but also investigated other social cleavage. They debated that class remains important but has changed form and is not alone in affecting voting. Thus, increased female labour force participation generated a new gender effect on voting, new religious cleavages appeared, professionals and managers differ in voting, and racial differences are salient. Many political scientists deliberated that social class is no longer relevant, and it has been swapped by cultural divisions (e.g., religion, no materialist values such as environment or health) and status differences (e.g., gender, race, and ethnic group). The argument over class versus cultural cleavage effects on voting appears at an impasse. New investigation has moved in several directions. One considers non-voters; another reconceptualises class and other social cleavages; and other inspects the effect of class on no electoral forms of political mobilization.
3. Protest Movements and Revolutions: The study of collective behaviour transformed as studies on movements compounded with political sociology. By the 1970s, collective protest was understood to be a political phenomenon, and the resource mobilization approach enlightened movements in terms of their ability to obtain and use major resources. An outgrowth of resource mobilization theory, the "political process model", placed movements firmly within political sociology. It looked beyond internal movement organization to include micro mobilization processes, follower identity transformation, and the broader political environment. Others political scientists conceptualized environmental conditions as "political opportunity structures".
The political opportunity model was extended to account for waves of protest over time and to more closely tie the study of movements to historical processes. A symbolic cognitive dimension was added with cognitive liberation and movement frames. Advanced research produced movement frames, political opportunities, and organizational forms. Some studies explored "new social movements that is, movements focused more on cultural issues or identity affirmation than traditional political protest. The consequence of media attention, police responses to protests, and spill over from one movement to another emphasised movements' dynamic-interactive politics.
4. Surveillance and Control: Political sociologists investigated surveillance and social control to understand how state authority infiltrates into and regulates many domains of social life, including activities to count, monitor, and regulate its population. Conventionally, criminal justice was treated as a political, technical-administrative field, but political sociologists understand the significance of the legal system and the criminalization of behaviours as mechanisms of power and tactics deployed in power struggles. They consider targeting certain social sectors for criminalization, historical and international patterns of imprisonment, felon disenfranchisement, and political ideological agendas that shape crime policy. The tension between politicized legal criminal issues and technical-scientific processes is itself a concern.
5. State-Economy Relations: The relationship between the state and the class of investors/capital owners and market operations has been a continuing political sociological concern. Studies evaluated how political-institutional arrangements (e.g., laws and taxes, property ownership, investment and regulatory policy) and business political activism formed corporate capitalism's expansion. This included noting how institutional arrangements, including their idea systems, shape economic outcomes. Several political scientists examined how defacto industrial policy and business regulation in specific areas, including military-industrial expansion, altered economic affairs and politics. Associated studies considered at corporate welfare as an alternative to industrial policy in the United States and, specifically, at the U.S. savings and loan bailout. After the termination of communist regimes' command economies, neoliberal ideology and state-economy arrangements diffused in a post- Cold War environment, and political sociologists shifted to discussing "varieties of capitalism." They investigated alternative structural state economy arrangements among the advanced capitalist nation-states that form integrated. Alternative arrangements and state policies developed historically and reinforced specific patterns of corporate capitalism with repercussions for economic expansion, interstate relations, and domestic labour relations and business practices.
6. The Welfare State: The welfare state measured as total social spending, the percentage of the population covered, or range of different programs, extended in all advanced capitalist democracies. This became a major area of comparative research and the focus of competing theoretical explanations.
As political sociology progresses into the twenty first century, four types of inquiry are posed for further development:
- Legitimacy and identity
- Politics beyond the nation-state
- A synthesis of new institutionalism, rational choice, and constructionism
Political sociologists appraised legality since the nineteenth century, but issues of social identity and culture are progressively a concern. Racial-ethnic, sexuality, life- style, religious, and other value-based cultural identity affirmations are possible sources of political division that can be prompted under certain conditions. The ways such identities evolve, get expressed, and overlap take place within political structures and involve power/dominance relations, nation-states and other political structures try to control and avert conflicts among the identities to sustain their legitimacy. This advises revitalising or adjusting Gramsci's concept of hegemony.
Political sociologists were more inclined toward repressive social control and state surveillance. Their attention has diverted to more subtle forms of supremacy and coercion, such as that captured by Bourdieu's concept of symbolic violence or Foucault's of governmentality. There is also a change from treating the state apparatus as the sole site of concentrated power and domination to investigating how power gets accumulated and exercised throughout several social institutions and relationships. In addition to evaluating the state's policing, taxing, and other powers, interest is diverted to how coercion and power are entrenched in the relations of a workplace, courtroom, classroom, shopping mall, hospital, television programming, and religious community. This moves attention to the symbolic-cultural-idea monarchy. It includes how collective memories, communication messages, and institutional arrangements impose social-ideational dominance and constrain free and autonomous public domain for open participation and discourse, an idea expounded by Habermas.
Few political sociologists presume the nation-state to vanish in the twenty-first century, but they expect changes and greater salience for non-state politics. New global political structures are ascending from accelerating cross-national border flows of information, investments, culture, and people in governments and nongovernment institutions (e.g., corporations, NGOs, social movements). New local multicultural or amalgam forms are emerging both in cities and small-scale units as well as in global institutions larger than the nation-state.
It is appraised that political sociology seeks to understand the interaction between government and society. The perspective of political sociology is distinguished from intuitionalism and behaviourism. Political sociology offers new vista in political analysis. The significant concern for political sociology is the analysis of socio political factors in economic development (Ali Ashraf, L N Sharma, 1983).
To summarize, Political sociology is the comprehensive examination of the social organization of power. Conventionally, political sociologists have stressed on such themes as the types of socio-political orders, theories of the state, or political culture. According to Keith Faulks (2000), political sociology is concerned with the relationship between politics and society. Its uniqueness within the social sciences lies in its acknowledgement that political actors, including parties, pressure groups and social movements, operate within a wider social framework. Political leaders certainly shape, and in turn are shaped by, social structures such as gender, class and nationality. Such social structures guarantee that political influence within society is unsatisfactory. It follows from this that major concept in political sociology is that power. Power is explained as the capacity to achieve one's objectives even when those objectives are in conflict with the interests of another actor.
Political sociologists invariably raised question: which individuals and groups in society possess the capacity to pursue their interests, and how is this power exercised and institutionalized." Recently, there is more attention being devoted to the socio-historical study of array of issues relating to state power, social stratification, war, violence, political legitimacy, authority, ideology, citizenship, social movements, nationalism, ethnicity and globalisation. Another theme in comparative politics that is political economics an interdisciplinary field that stresses on the nonmarket, collective, and political activity of individuals and organizations. Political economy, branch of social science that studies the interactions between individuals and society and between markets and the state, using numerous tools and methods drawn basically from economics, political science, and sociology. Political economy can be understood as the study of how a country the public's household is managed or governed, taking into account both political and economic issues.