Political sociology studies the relation between state and society, authority and power, and the methods used to formulate social policy.
Diagram the three major traditional theoretical frameworks of political sociology, plus trends in contemporary sociology
The term "politics" is generally applied to behavior within civil governments, but politics has been observed in all human group interactions. It consists of social relations involving authority or power, the regulation of political units, and the methods used to formulate and apply social policy.
Pluralism sees politics primarily as a contest among competing interest groups. It holds the view that politics and decision making are located mostly in the framework of government, but many non-governmental groups use their resources to exert influence.
Elite or managerial theory is sometimes called a state-centered approach. It posits that a small minority—consisting of members of the economic elite and policy-planning networks—holds the most power and that this power is independent of a state's democratic elections process.
Social class theory analysis emphasizes the political power of capitalist elites.
the art or science of influencing people on a civic, or individual level, when there are more than 2 people involved
If you've ever joined a group or a club, you have probably witnessed politics in process. Even groups we don't think of as political still practice politics. For example, a school sports team has its own politics. The team's coach exercises authority over the team's players; in turn, the coach must answer to the authorities of the school or the state athletic association concerning when and where the team can practice and compete. Usually, decisions will be made by the coach, but some coaches may also appoint team captains who have a say in decision-making. On some especially democratic teams, all players may have some say in certain decisions. This is politics.
Politics is the process by which groups of people make decisions. The term is generally applied to behavior within civil governments, but politics has been observed in all human group interactions, including corporate, academic, and religious institutions. It consists of social relations involving authority or power, the regulation of political units, and the methods and tactics used to formulate and apply social policy.
Contemporary political sociology involves the study of relations between state and society.
In the past, a typical research question in political sociology might have been: "Why do so few American citizens choose to vote? " or "What difference does it make if women get elected? "
Modern political sociologists are now focused on questions such as: "How is the body a site of power? ", "How are emotions relevant to global poverty? ", or "What difference does knowledge make to democracy? "
Political sociology was traditionally concerned with how social trends, dynamics, and structures of domination affect formal political processes. It also explored how various social forces work together to change political policies. From this perspective there are three major theoretical frameworks: pluralism, elite or managerial theory, and class analysis (which overlaps with Marxist analysis).
Pluralism sees politics as a contest between competing interest groups. It holds the view that politics and decision making are located 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 continuous 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.
Elite or managerial theory is sometimes called a state-centered approach. It also seeks to describe and explain power relationships in contemporary society. The theory posits 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.
Social class analysis emphasizes 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 focuses 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.
Contemporary Political Sociology
Contemporary political sociology is concerned with the play of power and politics across societies, which includes, but is not restricted to relations between the state and society. In part, this is a product of the growing complexity of social relations, the impact of social movement organizing, and the relative weakening of the state via globalization. Political sociology is as much focused on micro questions (the formation of identity through social interaction; the politics of knowledge), as it is on macro questions (how to capture and use state power).