Sociology is the science of society. It deals with the origin, development and structure of society and attempts to study its aims and achievements. It describes social traditions, customs, and beliefs and deals with the origin and advancement of human culture and civilisation. According to Gettell, “Sociology is a general social science”; it deals with the social aggregate and attempts to discover the facts and laws of social life as a whole.
Ratzenhofer believes that “the State is a sociological as well as a political phenomena and during its early stages it is in fact really more of a social than a political institution. As has been well said, the political is embedded in the social and if Political Science remains distinct from sociology, it will be because the breadth of the field calls for the specialists and not because there are any well-defined boundaries marking it off from sociology.
Sociology deals with the principal, religious and economic progress of man, while Political Science is chiefly concerned with the political progress of man. Since political facts from only a part of social facts, the scope of Political Science is narrower than that of sociology. In other words, we can say that Sociology is the mother of all social sciences and Political Science is only a branch of Sociology. “Sociology is a general social science”, says Professor Gilchrist. “It deals with the fundamental facts of social life and as political life is only a part of the sum total of social life, Sociology is wider than Political Science”.
Now there remains no doubt about the fact that there is a close affinity between Political Science and Sociology. Both of them help each other in studying the activities of man, living in society. As has been stated earlier. Sociology deals with the origin, development, structure and functions of social groups. It deals with their forms, laws, traditions, customs, institutions, thoughts and actions and their contribution to the progress of human civilization and culture.
As it deals with all this and other usages in the pre-historical stage, it helps Political Science in the sense that it presents those facts which help in knowing the origin of social laws and political institutions. Similarly, Political Science also helps Sociology by furnishing the details about the state and government.
Political Science and Sociology are closely connected that the “political science is embedded in the social and It Political Science remains distinct from sociology, it will be because the breadth of the field calls for the specialists and not because there are any well-defined boundaries marking it off from Sociology”. Political Science thus remains indistinct from sociology.
As Ratzenhofer has pointed out that in the initial stages the state was more of a social than political institutions. “Thus, Sociology provides to the political investigator with the information regarding the origin of political authority and the laws of social control”: Professor Giddings opines that “to teach the theory of the state to men who have not learned the first principles of Sociology is like teaching astronomy or thermodynamics to men who have not learned the Newtonian laws of motion.”
Thus, it becomes quite clear that both Political Science and Sociology are mutually contributory. “Sociology derives from Political Science”, says Dr. Garner, “knowledge of the facts regarding the organisation and activities of the state, while Political Science derives in large measure from Sociology, its knowledge of the origin of Political Authority and the laws of social control.”” Burns believes that, “the most significant thing about Sociology and modern political theory is that most of the changes which have taken place in political theory in the last flirty years have been along the line of development suggested and marked out by Sociology.”
Dr. V. P. Verma observes, “In fact, we cannot but confess that there has been a very close relationship between political science and sociology. All thinkers of eminence, right from Plato and Aristotle to Laski and David Easton have made contributions both to social and political affairs. The refinement made in methods of study of sociology by eminent theorists such as Comte, Spencer, Pareto, Durkheim and Max Weber have contributed a lot to the study of political theory.
We can quote with approval the contributions made by the Bentley in “The Process of Government”, by Truman in ‘The Government Process by V. O. Key in Political parties and pressure Groups’, and by Easton in ‘Political System’. All of them clearly establish the facts and data collected from social and political reality are inter-related. So, generalisations can be drawn on that basis.
From study of R. M. Mac Iver’s ‘The Modern State and Web of Government’, we can assert that he may be considered an important figure in the evolution of political sociology as well as sociologically rooted political philosophy”.
It cannot be denied that the new concepts of renowned sociologists such as Robert K. Merton, Talcott Parsons, Merrium Levygr have greatly influenced the writings of famous political scientists such as David Easton, G. A. Almond, G. B. Powell and David Apter.
The main reason being that all challenges involving innovation, accident, breakdown, or change come from society and have to be studied from the sociological point of view.
No doubt there is a close affinity between Political Science and Sociology but in spite of this close affinity, both the sciences are quite distinct and both differ from each other in their approach and treatment.
Professor Giddings rightly observes that the province of Political Science is not co-existent with “the investigations of society but the lines of demarcation can be drawn.” The study of both the sciences is quite distinct and their scope and problems are by no means the same.
Dr. Garner has also very apty remarked, “The study of the life and institutions of man prior to the establishment of the State, political science is content to leave to history and sociology. Political Science is concerned with only one form of human association, the State. Sociology deals with all forms of association. Political Science assumes to start with that man is a political being, it does not attempt to explain as sociology does, how and why he became a political animal.”
Though Political Science and Sociology are distinct in their approach yet they are contributory in some respects. One is the complement of the other. It is true that their problems are different and their scope is in no way the same yet there is a close affinity between the two social sciences.
Sociology derives from Political Science the facts about the organization and functions of the state and Political Science derives from sociology the knowledge of the origin of political authority and laws which control society. In the words of Dr. Garner, “the political scientist, therefore, ought to be at the same time a sociologist and vive-versa.”