THE PHRASE 'SOCIOLOGY OF POLITICS' UNMISTAKABLY INDICATES A sub-field, a subdivision of the overall field of sociology – like sociology of religion, sociology of leisure and the like. By saying sociology of politics we make clear that the framework, the approach or the focus of the inquiry is sociological.The phrase 'political sociology' is, on the other hand, unclear. It may be used as a synonym for 'sociology of politics', but it may not. When saying political sociology the focus or the approach of the inquiry generally remains unspecified. Since political phenomena are a concern for many disciplines, this ambiguity turns out to be a serious drawback. This is particularly apparent in Europe, where many scholars share Maurice Duverger's view that 'in a general way the two labels (political sociology and political science) are synonymous'. This view is very convenient, is particularly successful among European sociologists eager to expand to the detriment of political scientists, and for this very reason goes a long way towards explaining the persistent lag of political science in Europe.
How can we draw the dividing line between sociol & pol'al sci? Which is the pertinent confrontation between them? Where are we to search for the distinguishing traits? It would seem that: (i) pol'al sociol is often a misnomer, for what goes under its name is often a 'sociol'al reduction' of pot; (ii) a real pol'al sociol is a cross-disciplinary breakthrough seeking for enlarged models which reintroduce as variables the 'givens' of each component source; (iii) the technical sophistication of the res methods of the sociol'st is magnified & the poverty of his conceptual framework is obscured-compare the performance of the sociol'st in the field of pot with that of pol'al sci; (iv) the growth of a real pol'al sociol is hindered by objectivist superstitons & poor causal reasoning; (v) a complete picture requires a joint assessment of the extent to which instit's are dependent variables reflecting soc stratification & cleavages, &, vice versa, of the extent to which these cleavages reflect the channelling of a structured party system. It is an extra-ordinary paradox that the soc sci's should try to explain pot by going beyond pol-looking for the 'invisible hand.' Rather, the sociol'st should catch up with the hazardous uncertainties of pot. IPSA.