Political sociology is an interdisciplinary field of study that concerns itself with the exploration of how governance and society interact with one another and influence each other at both the micro as well as macro levels of analysis. Interested in the consequences of how power is distributed and changes throughout and amongst societies, the focus of political sociology ranges from individual families to the State as sites of social and political conflict as well as power contestation.
Political sociology was created as an interdisciplinary field in the early 1930s throughout the political and social disruptions created by the rise of Communism, Fascism, and World War II. This new area drew concepts from Alexis de Tocqueville, Robert Michels, Max Weber, James Bryce, Émile Durkheim, and Karl Marx to understand a fundamental theme of political sociology – power.
The definition of the term power for the political sociologist varies according to the approaches and conceptual framework that is utilized within this interdisciplinary study. In its basic understanding, power is seen as the ability to influence or control other people or processes around someone. This helps in creating a variety of research that focuses on the use of different methodologies as the understanding of power differs among different scholars. Along with this, their academic disciplinary department or institution can also flavor their research as they develop from their baseline of inquiry (e.g. political or sociological studies) into this interdisciplinary field.
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