Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: March 15, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412939645 | Print ISBN: 9781412916080 | Online ISBN: 9781412939645| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this handbook
Chapter 30: Political Sociology
W. LAWRENCE NEUMAN
Political sociology Political sociology is the study of power and the intersection of society and politics. Power is a pervasive, fundamental dimension of social relations and institutions, while politics refers to institutionalized processes by which social groups (i.e., classes, genders, and races) acquire, extend, apply, maintain, and struggle over power. The field's relevance extends beyond explaining political behavior to generating broad understandings of power, and it is more a perspective that cuts across many diverse topics than a fixed content area. It is a dynamic field that has periodically reinvented itself. Orum (1996) remarked, “Political sociology in the past fifteen years or so has come to look vastly different from a generation ago” (p. 142), and others (Nash 2000) see a “new” political sociology emerging. Other areas of sociology borrow from political sociology forging links across diverse subfields (Dobratz, Buzzell, and Waldner 2003). Political sociology is interdisciplinary—where political science and ...