With an entire discipline devoted to political science, what is distinctive about political sociology? This concise book explains what a sociological perspective brings to our understanding of the emergence, reproduction, and transformation of different forms of political order. Crucially, political sociology expands the field of view to the politics that happen in other social settings – in the family, at work, in civic associations – as well as the ways in which social attributes such as class, religion, age, race, and gender shape patterns of political participation and the distribution of political power.
Political sociology grapples with these issues across an enormous range of historical and geographic settings, from the intimate relations that constitute family politics to the geo-political scales of war and trade. It requires an analytic toolkit that includes concepts of power, social closure, civil society, and modes of political action. Using these central concepts, What is Political Sociology? discusses the major forms of political order (states, empires, and nation-states), processes of regime formation and revolution, the social bases for political participation, policy formation as well as feedbacks, and the possibilities for new forms of transnational politics. In sum, the book offers an insightful introduction to this core perspective on social life.