‘Man is a social animal’ is the very basis of politics. All social groups, institutions and organisations, in fact, the entire social system greatly influence the structure and operation of the political system.
Politics’ flows from the diverse interests and values of people and their subsequent actions in pursuit of these. The operation of Indian political system bears the big and deep influence of such social factors as family, kinship, caste, religion, culture, socialisation process, race, language, class and others. A student of Political Science has to depend upon Sociology for understanding the nature of these factors and their role in society and politics.
The nature of the social system is the most major determinant of politics. Social usages, customs and traditions, are vitally important inputs of law-making by the state.
Study of Politics in relation to the social system is essential for a real and comprehensive understanding of the actual functioning of a political system. State is a social organization.
The concept of Political System is used for studying the phenomena of politics in an integrated way i.e. as a system of political interactions that take place in every society and through which binding and authoritative values are made and implemented for the whole society.
This concept has been adopted by the political scientists under the influence of sociologists. Political Sociology Approach accepts and advocates the use of this concept for the study of politics.
2. Use of Sociological Concepts in the study of Politics:
Several political scientists have been now using concepts and approaches drawn from Sociology for studying various aspects of politics. Concepts of System, Culture, Socialisation, Structure and Functions, and several others have come from Sociology Political Science.
Structural-Functionalism in politics is primarily based upon Sociology. Easton’s Input-Output model and Almonds Structural Functional analysis of political system fully reflect the usefulness of sociological concepts in Politics.
The political cultural approach has now emerged as a very popular approach in Politics. In fact Political Sociology has emerged as an important part of the study of both Political Science and Sociology. It involves the study of power and domination in society.
To sum up, it can be observed that Political Sociology Approach places emphasis upon the study of political activities, political relations and political interactions in their social context. Politics can be studied comprehensively and realistically only with reference to its social roots.
Every political institution works in the social environment. As such, all political relations and interactions can be analysed only with reference to the socio-economic cultural environment.
Social factors always influence, even determine human political behaviour. “Politics can be studied only relation with the social system in which it is at work.”