Sociology and History are closely and intimately related to each other. Sociology cannot be separated from History and History cannot be isolated from sociology. That is why Professor G.E. Howard remarked “History is the past Sociology and Sociology is the present History”, John Seely says that” History without Sociology has no fruit, Sociology without History has no root”.
History is mainly concerned with past events. It is systematic record of the story of mankind. History presents a chronological account of past events of the human society. It is the social science, which deals with past events and studies the past social, political and economic aspects of the country, According to Gettle “History is the record of the past events and movements, their causes and inter-relations”. It includes a survey of conditions, or developments in economic, religious and social affairs as well as the study of states, their growth and organization and their relation with one another.
Both Sociology and History depend upon each other and can influence one another. Sociology depends upon History in order to study past events and situations. History of cultures and institutions is helpful in the understanding of sociology and on the collections of materials. In order to understand the past society and activities, we have to take the help of History. Sociology concerned with the study of the historical development of human society. It studies ancient customs, modes of living, various stages of life and past social institutions through the historical analysis. This information about the past is of great importance to sociologists. For instance, if a sociologist has to study family and marriage as social institutions he has to study their historical developments also. Owing to this reason, Arnold Toynbee’s book “A Study of History” and Spengler’s book “Decline of the West” are very valuable of the study of sociology.
In the same way, Sociology provides social background of the study of History. History is now being studied from the sociological viewpoint. History supplies facts, which are interpreted and coordinated by the sociologists. The historians need social background for writing and analyzing history and this is provided by the sociologists. The study of History would be meaningless without the appreciation of sociological significance. History becomes meaningful in the social content.
Difference between Sociology and History:
The two social sciences History and Sociology are different. The points of difference between the two may be noted.
1. Sociology is interested in the study of the present social phenomena with all their complexities. But History deals with the past events of man. It is silent regarding the present.
2. Sociology is relatively a young social science. It has very short history of its own. It is not even two centuries old. But history is an age-old social science. It has a long story of 2000 years or even more.
3. Sociology is an analytical science. But history is a descriptive science.
4. Sociology is abstract in nature. It studies mostly regular, the recurrent and the universal. For example, the sociologist does not study all the wars or battles Waged by the mankind. But History is concrete. The historian is interested in the unique, the particular and the individual. For example, the historian studies all the wars waged by mankind in the past-the wars, the world wars, the Indo-Pak war, etc. For him each war is unique and significant.
5. Sociology is a generalizing science. Sociology seeks to establish generalizations after a careful study of the social phenomena. But History is an individualizing science. History rarely makes generalizations. It seeks to establish the sequence in which events occurred.
6. Sociology follows the sociological approach. It studies human events from the sociological .point of view, i.e., from the viewpoint of social relationship involved. But History studies human events in accordance with the time and order. Its approach is historical.