Relationship of political science with other disciplines

Sidgwick says that it is always useful for the proper understanding of any subject of inquiry to establish its relationship with other sciences and clearly see what elements of its reasoning it has to take from them and what in its turn it may claim to give them.

Political Science is deeply related to all other social sciences because the knowledge gained about any phase of human behavior and attitudes, about the institutions that men build, or the ideas to which they respond in the mass, cannot fail to be of use in similar fields of inquiry.

Each social science, sociology, anthropology, history, economics, ethics, psychology, jurisprudence, geography, and political science supplements and fortifies the rest. If we divide them into different sciences, they are distinctions within a unity as they aim to study man in society.


All are inter-dependent and inter-related. Each contributes importantly to the advancement of the other.

Gunnar Heckscher succinctly says,

“We cannot think of economics, sociology, political science, cultural anthropology, any more than of chemistry, mechanics, biology, etc, as a group of self contained units, each clearly defined and independent of the others. We must rather think of science as a field of study which for practical purposes we have to divide between us, but which  in principle is a whole, not a group of separate parts.”

During recent times there has been an appreciable extension of the dimensions of Political Science, due to an increase in an interdisciplinary approach, to complete knowledge of an astonishingly complex phenomenon in man’s organized political life.

Relationship of political science with Sociology:

The terms “Sociology” and Political Science are closely related. They both lack clearly defined meaning. The origin of the term “Political Science” is rather old as it is associated with the Greek word polis. In contrast, the term “Sociology” was coined by Auguste Comte in 1839 to designate the science of society. Comte had earlier used the term “Social Physics” in the same sense but later replaced it with sociology. Since then, the use of the term has changed little.

Sociology is the parent science of all the social sciences. It is the science of society viewed as an aggregate of individuals or men’s science in their associated process. It deals with social development in general and analysis and describes social life in all its phases and complexities through all ages and climes.

Sociology may thus be defined as the science of the origin and development, Structure and functions of social groups, their forms, laws, customs, institutions, modes of life, thought and action, and their contribution to human culture and civilization. It seeks to discover the general principles underlying all social phenomena and social relationships and establish the laws Of change and society’s growth.

Political Science and Sociology are so intimately connected that the Political embedded in the social and if Political Science remains distinct from sociology will be because the breadth of the held calls for the specialist, not because any well-defined boundaries are marking it from Sociology.

They are mutually contributory. Political Science gives to Sociology facts about the organization and functions of the State and obtains from its knowledge of the origin of political authority and laws which controlled society. The State in its early stages was more of a social than a political institution, and Giddings is of the Opinion that “to teach the theory of the State to men, who have not learned the first principles of sociology, is like teaching astronomy or thermodynamics to men who have not learned the Newtonian law of motion.”

A political scientist must be a sociologist, and a sociologist ought to be a political scientist. For example, marriage is an element in a man’s social life and is a sociological concern. But if a code of marriage, like the Hindu Marriage Act, is enacted to regulate it in a particular way, it at once falls within the domain of Political Science as it comes within the scope of organized control and obedience.

The Hindu, the Sikh, the Muslim, and the Christian communities themselves are sociology subjects, being parts of the Indian society. Still, when they quarrel among themselves and their quarrel flares up into communal riots, it represents not only the pathological side of Indian social life but also a problem of deep political concern to prevent their recurrence and to remove the causes of conflict to weld them into a patriotic nation Likewise, if we study revolutions, we must take into account their social as well as their political causes as appearing in different environments.

The analysis of political parties cannot be divorced from their relationship to social classes. The sociology of man’s electorate-behavior in the associated process-solves the difficulties emerging from the basic democratic mechanism.

Despite this close affinity between Sociology and Political Science, the study of both the sciences is distinct, and their problems are by no means the same. Giddings has said that the province of Political Science is not co-extensive with “the investigations of society but that the lines of demarcation can be drawn” Sociology deals with man in all his varied social relations and all forms of human associations. Its study is not confined to one aspect of man alone. On the other hand, political science is a study of man’s political governance, and it is a Specialized branch of Sociology.

It has a narrower and more restricted field to cover than Sociology. Secondly, the political life of man begins much later than his social life. Sociology is before Political Science. Thirdly, Sociology embraces the study of organized and unorganized communities and the conscious and unconscious man’s activities. The province of Political Science is the politically organized society and conscious political activities of man.

Finally, Political Science aims at the past, present, and future determination of humanity’s political organization. In contrast, Sociology is the study of various social institutions that exist or have hitherto existed. It does not and cannot predict the future of society and social relationships. Its study is empirical and has no philosophical trend to follow. The distinction between Political Science and Sociology has been apt, described by Ernest Barker.

He says, “Political theory only deals with political associations, united by a constitution and living under a government sociology deals with all associations Political theory assumes as a datum that man is a political being, it does not explain, as sociology seeks to do, how he came to be a political being.”

Relationship of political science with Political Sociology:

During the past two decades or so, a collaboration between Political Science and Sociology has been increasingly emphasized, and the sociological foundation of politics stressed. As pointed out earlier, the revolution in the study of American politics is the consequence of the penetration of sociological, anthropological, and psychological methods and theories.

There is the social and cultural matrix of politics. Explaining it, Pennock and Smith say, “Some politically relevant patterns of behavior  are imposed on man by the conditions of social life itself, and certain psychological traits are brought out by society which in turn determine the social milieu.”

The result is a new branch of study. Political Sociology explains the sociological interpretations of political phenomena, and quite a sizable literature on the subject has been made available Lipset, whose contribution is well-recognized, explains, “No Sociologist can conceive of a study of society that does not recognize the political system as a major part of the analysis.

And many political scientists, particularly in recent years, have argued, sometimes  with others in their own field, that it is impossible to study political processes except-as  special cases of more general sociological and psychological relationships.”

Political sociology takes the concept of the political system, first developed by David Easton. It seeks to examine it in sociological terms, on the basic assumption that the political system is “integrally related to its social system.”  A system, therefore, implies interdependence of parts By. Interdependence means that when the properties of one component in a system change, all the other components, and the system are affected. For example, when the rings of an automobile wear away, the motor car burns oil, the functioning of the other parts of the machine or system deteriorates, and the vehicle’s power declines.

In the political system, the emergence of mass political parties, or media of mass communications, like the press, the radio, and the television, have changed the performance of structures of the system and the general capabilities (that is, the way it performs as a unit in its environment)  the system in its domestic and foreign environments. To quote Almond and Powell, “when one variable in a system changes in magnitude or quality, others are subjected to strains and are transformed the system changes the regulatory mechanism disciplines its pattern of performance or the unruly component.”

Sartori has precisely summed up the sociological approach to politics. He says Political sociology is only born when the sociological and political approaches are combined at the point of intersection. If the sociology of politics deals with non-political reasons, while the people act the way they do in political life, then political sociology should also include the political reasons why people act the way they do. Real political sociology is then a cross-disciplinary breakthrough, seeking enlarged models reintroduced as variables given each component source.

Talking in concrete terms, Political Sociology is a connecting bridge between Sociology and Political Science. It believes in a two-way relationship between Sociology and Political Science, gives equal emphasis to social and political variables. Take, for example, the party system. Here, political sociology does not explain the party systems working only in terms of their response to and reflects the socioeconomic scene and investigates how the party system influences society. India offers an apt and familiar illustration to explain the point.

While Sociology of politics analyses Indian politics in terms of its caste-ridden society, Political Sociology adds to that inquiry how politics in India has affected the Indian caste system, giving rise to the politicization of caste. The distinction between the sociology of politics and Political Sociology would help us understand the meaning of Political Sociology on which the specialists have so far disagreed.

Relationship of political science with Anthropology:

Anthropology deals with man’s racial divisions, physical characteristics, geographic division, environmental and social relations, and cultural development. It is a science that studies humanity about physical, social, and cultural development. The contribution of Anthropology to Political Science is considerable, and modem researches in the racial division, habits, customs, and organizations of primitive man help us to know the real origin of the State and the development of various political institutions.

Man’s political behavior is greatly influenced by his racial origin and the environments in which he lives. Two common sayings illustrate that there is something run in man’s blood, and man is the shuttlecock of his environments. The theory of nationalism as preached by Hitler and his dogma of superiority of the Aryan race solve many a knotty problem of recent political thought. Finally, race unity is one of the strongest bonds of nationality, and geographic unity is another important factor that fosters the sentiment of nationality.

We seek Anthropology’s help to prove that early society was communal in character; that is, its basis was the group rather than the individual, whom we now accept as our society’s unit. Anthropology also tells us that temporary marriage was the rule rather than the exception in the early stages of society’s development. But such a condition of society could not last for long, and regulating management was felt.

With the regulation of marriage, civilization advanced, and people permanently settled down as territorial units paving the way for the State’s emergence. Thus, Anthropology greatly helps the study of Political Science. Without a good knowledge of early societies, their laws, customs, manners, and government modes, we cannot understand accurately. The modem institutions and the political behavior of the people.

Hitherto Anthropology was regarded as applying wholly or mainly to primitive society, But its scope is now widening and includes all society types. Knowledge of social anthropology, says Robson, “is essential for the study or practice of colonial administration and it is a necessity also for several other special topics of political science such as area studies, color and racial conflicts, international organizations for assisting underdeveloped countries, immigration, and emigration.”

Harold D. Lasswell approvingly cites C.D. Lerner and says that the links between students of folk society-the distinctive subject-matter of social anthropology-and Political Science have been closed in recent  years as “whirlwind modernization added to the turbulence of politics in Asia, Africa, South America, and many heretofore-isolated island communities.” He thinks that in future years, “the data of anthropology will be highly pertinent to the consideration of various problems that are likely to grow into large dimensions.”

Anthropology has an inexhaustible source of data on every sphere of man and his culture, and Political Science, as Robson says, “will draw on various parts of this repository as problems gain in their urgency.” During the last two decades, a voluminous literature has been published on the modernization of traditional societies of Asia and Africa’s intricate tribal communities.

Almost all those countries that became sovereign States after World War II started their careers with democratic institutions, generally of the parliamentary type, but barring a few, all of them succumbed to some or other authoritarian Regine dictatorial form rule military or totalitarian. Political Anthropology, which is now recognized as a fairly independent discipline, helps solve the Western model of democratic institutions’ failure in these countries.

The traditional elements, attitudes, values, patterns of behavior and leadership weigh very heavily in the developing countries as compared with the more rationalized developed nations of the West and, consequently, the operational aspects of the democratic institutions can scarcely be understood in terms and manner familiar to the Western States. Bryce has aptly said that there are institutions which, like plants, flourish only on their hillside and under their own sunshine.

Relationship of political science with History.

The relationship between Political Science and History is very close and intimate. John Seeley expressed this relationship in the following  couplet–

History without Political Science has no fruit, Political Science without History has no root

Seeley’s emphasis seems exaggerated, yet no one can discount the two disciplines’ dependence on one another. The State and its political institutions grow instead of being made. They are the product of history, and m order to understand them fully, and one must necessarily know the process of their evolution, how they have become what they are, and to what extent they have responded to their original purposes.

All our political institutions have a historical basis as they depict the wisdom of generations.  History furnishes sufficient material for comparison and induction, enabling us to build an ideal political structure of our aspirations. In the absence of historical data, the study of Political Science is sure to become entirely speculative or a priori. And a priori Political Science, as Laski observes, ‘is bound to break down simply because we never start with the clean slate.

The writings of historians, in brief, form a vast reservoir of material that a student of Political Science can analyze into meaningful patterns and guide him in understanding the present and outlining the future. Moreover, with its chronological treatment, history offers a sense of growth and development, thereby providing a base or an insight into the social changes.

Robson thinks that some knowledge of History is clearly indispensable for Political Science and cites the explanation offered by Professor R. Solatu at the  Cambridge Conference (from 6 to 10. April-1952).

Professor Soltau said,

“that he had been baffled all through his teaching Career, especially during the 20 years he had spent in the Middle East, about how to teach the history of political philosophy to students whose historical background is usually inadequate, and often limited to purely political theory since the French Revolution.”

Where Political Science is not approached through History, he remarked, the student may easily get a confused outline, in Which most historical allusions are lost on him, supplemented by a slight acquaintance with a few classical texts of political philosophy, the background of which he scarcely understands. Moreover, a knowledge of History is particularly necessary for the sphere of Comparative Government.

History, in its turn, has much to borrow from Political Science. Our knowledge of history is meaningless if the political bearings of events and movements are not adequately evaluated. The history of nineteenth-century Europe, for example, is an in the complete narration of facts unless the full significance of the movements, like nationalism, imperialism, individualism, socialism, etc., are brought out. Similarly, the history of India’s independence is devoid of all logic if we do not sufficiently explain the political result of the rise of the Indian National Congress, the Muslim demand for separate electorates, the benevolent despotism of the Government of India Act, 1909 Montagu’s August 1917 Declaration, the Reforms of 1919 and the experiment with, Dyarchy, the recommendations of the Simon Commission, the deliberations of the Round Table Conferences, the Communal Award, the Government of India Act, 1935, the implications of the Atlantic Charter, 1942 Quit India Movement, Cripps Proposal, Simla Conference, declarations of Lord  Wavell and Pethick-Lawrence, the Cabinet Mission Plan, the June 3, 1947, Announcement and the Independence Act, 1947. Political Science, Says. Bryce “stands midway between history and politics, between the past and the present. It has drawn its materials from the one; it has to apply them to the other. ”

Both Political Science and History are contributory and complementary. So intimate is the affinity between the two that Seeley maintained “Politics is vulgar when not liberalized by History, and History fades into mere literature when it loses sight of its relation to Politics.” Separate them, says Burgess, and the one becomes a cripple, if not a corpse, the other a will-o -the-Wisp.

However, it does not mean that Political Science is a beggar at the door of History, Nor does it mean, as Freeman says, that history is past polities or that politics is present history.  Political Science is, undoubtedly, dependent on History for its material, but it supplies only a part of the material.

History is a chronological narration of events, including wars, revolutions, military campaigns, economic upheavals, religious and social movements, and the rest. Political Science does not require a good part of this material.

A political scientist’s main concern is to study the evolution of the political institutions and the facts that bear, directly or indirectly, on the State and government, and its socioeconomic problems. Political Science selects facts out of History. We are not so concerned with the causes of the Revolution of 1688 m Britain. We are concerned with the advent of limited monarchy m that country and the beginning of the government’s response form.

Likewise, we are not interested in the causes of World War II and the strategy of the fighting powers. Our interest is to study and evaluate whether World War -II was, in reality, a war of Democracy vs. Dictatorship and whether it fulfilled the purpose for which it was fought. We are also interested in the shape of things that came over in the world’s post-war political structure due to this war.

History deals with concrete and matter of fact things. It presents to us not only facts but the causal connection between the facts. Political Science is speculative as well since it deals with what the State ought to be. This speculative character of the subject necessitates the consideration of abstract types of political institutions and laws. History has hardly anything to do with this aspect of Political Science. Finally, the historian’s task is not to pass moral judgments, but the political scientist is bound to do so. It is here that Political Science joins hands with Ethics and parts company with Sociology, History, and Economics.

The conclusion is obvious. Political Science and History are two distinct disciplines with separate problems. Yet, they have a common subject in the State’s phenomena,  and, as such, their spheres touch at many points and overlap at others. Leacock succinctly remarks that some of History “is part of Political Science, the circle of their contents overlapping an area enclosed by each”

Relationship of political science with Economics:

Till recently, Economics was regarded as a branch of Political Science. The Greeks called Economics the name of Political Economy Aristotle, in classifying the States declared that the key fact-is whether the State is ruled by the rich or the poor. He also observed that the way the bulk of the people earn their living, whether they are farmers, herdsmen, mechanics, shopkeepers, or day-laborers, will have much to do determining the State’s nature its government. His discussion on revolution is also based on the proposition that the struggle between the rich and the poor is the underlying cause of most revolutions.

Locke’s Second Treatise of Civil Government discusses topics that nowadays would be considered the province of Economics. Adam Smith, the English classical economist, in his famous book, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, refers to two important Objects of Political Economy to provide sufficient revenue for the people, and to supply the State, or what he calls commonwealth, with a revenue sufficient for the public administration. Without clinching the matter, he summed up that political economy  “proposes to enrich the people and the sovereign.”

Modern economists disagree with the older point of view. They regard Economics as a separate discipline, which seeks to inquire how a man gets his income and uses it. Alfred Marshall, the celebrated economist, considers it “on the one side the study of ‘ the wealth and on the other and more important side a part of the study of man.” Its scope is the study of human welfare and includes a discussion on Consumption, Production, Exchange, and Distribution, the four pillars on which the edifice of Economics is built.

Despite its treatment as a separate discipline, there IS now no difference in opinion that Political Science and Economics are auxiliary. Man in society is a common factor in the study of both these sciences, and it is the welfare of man and society for which each Strives.

The study of both Political Science and Economics is directed to the same common end. The welfare of man can only be obtained under an orderly society because both are inseparable. It is the State’s function to secure these conditions so that every individual gets an opportunity for pursuing his activities, economic activities, of course, preceding the rest.

But no State can remain cement merely to provide conditions of peace and order. The purpose of the State is to create an atmosphere conducive to man’s good life and give all an equal opportunity for growth and development. The State performs Certain functions to achieve its purpose.

It is one of the important functions of the State to see what its citizens consume. Every State is vitally concerned with its people’s health, as the people are the State’s health. The weak, the infirm, and the destitute cannot be good citizens, and a State inhabited by such people is socially, economically, and politically a disabled person.

It is the duty of the State to see that its nationals get sufficient and wholesome feed to eat. It must also see that the people are adequately provided for, especially during times of crisis and emergency, With the requisite necessaries of life and that, too, at a reasonable level of prices. Simultaneously, the State may either prohibit or restrict the use of certain commodities like liquor and other intoxicants for reasons of health of the people.

It also becomes necessary for the State to see how commodities are produced and their product’s nature and conditions. For example, India’s Government is now making ceaseless efforts to grow and produce more, as the existing scale of production does not keep pace with the country’s total demand with its explosive growth of population and agriculture; the mainstay of the people is a gamble in rains. It is the duty of the government to maintain sufficient reserves of food to Cope with the vagaries of nature and other natural calamities.

When demand exceeds supply, conditions of scarcity ails created, and prices rise. Rising prices cause distress for the masses and throw out of gear the orderly conditions of society. It is the government’s primary duty to remove distress conditions and alleviate the suffering of the people.

But no country produces only for its internal needs. Some goods cannot produce and imports from other countries. Others it produces advantageously and m abundance. It is for the State to determine its import and export policy, and such a policy influences the scale of production.

The producer of one commodity is the consumer of another commodity. No man produces everything for himself. He must rely upon others and exchange with them his surplus goods. But goods are not exchanged for goods. A barter system is highly inconvenient, and the money economy has taken its place Money is now the medium of change and the measure of value.

It is the function of the State to coin money and regulate it. The total amount of money in the hands of the people affects prices Stable are the need of every State. The government carefully watches fluctuations in prices and determines whether more or less money should circulate. Similarly, banks, too, play an important role in controlling the price level by regulating credit.

It’s Central, or Reserve Bank issues the paper currency of a modern State. The Central Bank may either be a State-owned bank or the result of private enterprise. But whatever it is, a Central Bank must necessarily be creating a special Act of the legislature.

Moreover, the economic prosperity of every country depends upon the soundness of its banking organization. It is within the jurisdiction of the State to regulate the functions of banks by necessary laws or even to nationalist them, if necessary.

The most baffling problem Which confronts every country is that of distribution. In Economies, under the heading distribution, we study how the landlord, the worker, the capitalist, and the organizer are paid for each production’s work. With its production and distribution system, the capitalist society has brought about an uneven distribution of wealth.

The theory of Socialism aims to bring about that political structure of society where the national wealth is most evenly distributed. One section of society does not thrive at the rest’s cost. The theories of Individualism and Socialism, with its different varieties, illustrate better than any other the interaction of Political Science and Economics.

Political and economic conditions act and react on one another. As a matter of fact, the solution to many of the economic problems must come through political agencies, and the major problems of every State are economic in character. World War II was characterized as a war of democracy against dictatorship. But the causes of the War were really economical.

The rise of Nazi-ism was also due to Germany’s economic crippling by the victorious powers after World War I. The failure of the League of Nations may be ascribed to the policy of economic aloofness and economic self-Sufficiency to which every member-State steadfastly clung after World War I. Britain’s political policy in India and her reluctance to grant Indians independence were more economic expediency than political advantage.

The burning questions of present-day politics, Viz government control of industries, the relations of the State to industries, its attitude towards labor and capital, and a multitude of other similar problems are all economic questions intertwined in the political issues. The cry that economic democracy should precede political democracy has revolutionized the political structure of every State.

One may even say that government administration’s theory is largely economic in its approach when seeking to interpret matters Concerning the Welfare State, public financial policies, and relationships between government and private enterprise. When the government itself undertakes the production, it performs an economic function purely.

A good government, in brief, judiciously plans for the plenty. It is judged in terms of specific economic achievements, that is, by the harsh realities of administrative performance by the production of food and arrangements for its distribution at a reasonable price, by the growing production and equitable distribution of essential commodities, by the growth of employment opportunities, by the timely and efficient completion of development projects and by the judgment of their priorities.

Till recently, contemporary political theory heavily relied upon sociology in explaining the process and impact of politics But of late, it has more tilted towards Economics and noted economists, such as Downs, Buchanan, Tullock, Rothenburg, Olson, and quite a few more, now define the basic issues of new political analysis in terms of economics and are constructing new concepts, findings and theories.

“The New Political Economy,” the name given by William C Mitchell, to this analysis, has not taken any tangible shape so far. Still, a convincing beginning has been made in “Welfare Economics” and in  the development Of such tools as “Cost-benefit analysis,” “System Theory,” “Program budgeting” and “Economic Theory” more generally The tools it adopts are descriptive and statistical, but “mathematics and deductive model-building.”

Relationship of political science with Ethics:

Ethics deals with morality and formulates rules which should influence the behavior of man while living in society. It investigates the rightness or wrongness of man’s conduct and prescribes ideals to which he would direct his efforts. The line of demarcation between Political Science and Ethics is quite distinct.

Though both Political, Science, and Ethics aim at the noble and righteous life of man. Yet, the former is primarily conceded with the political governance of man. In contrast, the latter refers to man’s conduct and morality; that is, Whereas Political Science deals with political order, Ethics deals with moral order.

Ethics also judges man’s conduct and morality. The last resort touches on what the conduct ought to be. Political Science has nothing to do with it. The State’s laws prescribe only the way of life and are concerned with man’s external actions.

Moral laws prescribe absolute standards of right and wrong, justice and injustice but the laws of the State-follow standard of expediency. What the law prohibits may not be an immoral act. Finally, Political Science is concerned with man-as a citizen. Ethics is conceded with a man as a man and, as such, it is before Political Science.

But a political idea cannot be divorced from an ethical idea. Man can only pursue his moral ends while living in the State Aristotle rightly said that a good citizen is possible in a good state and that a bad State makes bad citizens. He thither maintained that while the State comes into existence for the sake of life, it continues to exist for the sake of good life. The good life is the end of the State, and all political problems revolve around it. What is morally wrong cannot be politically right because there cannot be a good State where wrong ethical ideals prevail.

So close is the relation between Political Science and Ethics that Plato and Aristotle hardly distinguished between the two. The Greek philosophers, in fact, laid more stress on the moral side of the State. Plato’s Republic is as much a study in. Ethics as it is in Political Science. Machiavelli was the first to distinguish between the two, and he made Political Science independent of Ethics.

He also differentiated between public morality and private morality. Hobbes, an English philosopher, followed Machiavelli in his arguments and reasoning. Kant, on the other hand, said True politics could not take a single step forward unless it has first done homage to morals.

The modem view is rather conflicting. The concept of Scientific Relativism, which has a Germanic origin and has now taken from roots in the United States, has created a complete dichotomy between Political Science and Ethics. It is asserted that the introduction of value judgments in political analysis impedes scientific objectivity and makes the discipline and any inquiry into its processes speculative. Stuart Rice, in his Quantitative, Methods in Politics, blamed social scientists for having set their task as the creation of a science of moral ends, which involved a contradiction in terms.

He called for a clear distinction between science and philosophy. Karl Llewellyn made an explicit statement. When he emphasized the separation of the realms of Is and Ought and the inability of science to teach us where to go of values, he said, “As we move into these value judgments we desert the solid sphere of objective observation, of possible agreement among all normal trained observers entirely and enter into the airy sphere of individual ideals and subjectivity.” He added that to prove a value one must refer to another, more general value and that in the last analysis, “the end which is sought must be posited or assumed. It cannot be arrived at by scientific procedure.”

R M. Maclver supports Stuart Rice and says, “Science itself tells us nothing, just nothing about the way we should act, and the ends we should seek. ” At the round-table “Beyond Relativism in Political Theory” held at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, December 1946, “general agreement on the logical separation of Is and Ought was expressed at the outset. “In 1936, Harold D Lasswell brought out his Politics. Who Gets, What, When, and How I was a thesis on Scientific Method and Value Relativism.

In a later book, he made Political Science “a value-free  Science.” He defined it “as an empirical discipline, (as) the study of the I shaping and sharing of power ” and a political act (as) one performed in power perspectives.  Thus, power, rule, authority, or political influence became the central organizing idea of the subject of Political Science, and its scope was riveted upon it.

But not all the twentieth-century thinkers subscribe to this point of view. Some believe that the Scientific Method can deal with values as precisely as with facts. According to Alfred Weber, all scientific activity is “entirely tied to values.” The French philosopher, Jacques Maritan, calls for a re-inclusion of metaphysics in the realm of  Political Science. Metaphysics, he maintains, wrongly ousted from science by the Scientific Method is science in the ampler sense.

Likewise, in his book, The New Science of Politics, Eric Voegelin severely refutes the argument that “Science” can only apply to the Scientific Method. He calls for a “restoration” of Political Science, or its “retheorization” by reviving the attempts made by the Greek philosophers and the medieval Christian scholars to provide an ontological description of the order of values, “The theoretical orientation of man in his world, the great instrument for man understanding of his own position I in the Universe.”

In a paper submitted to the UNESCO project Methods in Political Science, Thomas Cook observed, “I urge, finally, that the most glaring need of the social sciences today is to relate ethical concepts, in their general outline long discovered and scientifically verified, at once to the methods and results of the modern sociological investigation to determine the proper sphere of the methods to winnow and relate in systems, the results.

I add here that in political science, this need is especially obvious ” This approach seemed to him the only one which promised an effectively unified system of Social Sciences, within which political science may receive a definable place, fulfill an intelligent role,  possess clear scope and function, and consequently develop appropriate methods and relevant special techniques. ” When the end of the State is to create that atmosphere in which man can reach the Full Stature of his personality, the proper sphere of the functions of the State cannot be determined without in oral considerations.

The doctrine of International legal values or International ethics cements the principles of International Law and their binding nature. Professor Ivor Brown says, “Politics is but ethics write large. Ethical theory is incomplete without political theory because man is an associated creature and cannot live fully in isolation. Political theory is idle without ethical theory because its study and its results depend fundamentally on our moral values scheme and our right and wrong conceptions. Moreover, Political Science is commenced with what the State ought to be. The great question in the words of Lord Acton is to discover, not what governments prescribe, but what they ought to prescribe.

A lasting contribution to Political Science is M. K Gandhi’s plea for spiritualistic politics. There are no politics,  said Gandhi, devoid of religion, and Gandhi’s religion consisted of truth and love. Wherever there were truth and love, there was non-violence, non-attachment, and, thus, even-mindedness,i.e., action without the desire for results. Gandhi, in brief, desired to moralist man and society. He then emphasized that moral means must be adopted to achieve desirable results. As the seed, so is the tree, Gandhi declared.

The justification of what the State does is to be sought in the moral values it helps us realize, and it ought to provide for attaining the ideal end the highest goal of man life. It means that Ethics conditions political Science. But the main body of material with. Which the two disciplines deal with is distinct.

Relationship of political science with Psychology:

Psychology deals with the behavior of man and elucidates what he actually does. It enquirers into man’s mind and behavior, both as an individual and m groups, and explains human action’s motives. It seeks to determine how far human conduct is rational or instinctive, or traditional. Political Science, which deals with human beings’ political relationship, cannot ignore the psychological effects.

The State and its political institutions are the human mind products and can best be understood in mind. Theories about political conduct that are not grounded in adequate psychology are apt to be defective. This has been well shown in some of the contributions that modern social psychology has made to Political Science. Barker says The application of the psychological clue to the riddles of human activity has indeed become the fashion of the day. If our forefathers thought biologically, we think Psychologically.

The affinity between Political Science and Psychology has been greatly emphasized during recent times. Gabriel Tarde, Le Bon MacDougall, Graham Wallas, and Baldwin are the prominent writers who have given psychological explanations of almost all the political problems. They ascribe the unity of the State to psychological factors, and the form of government and its laws conform to the people’s temperamental habits.

Political traditions and institutions, they assert, are what the human mind has made them. Bagehot, in his Physics and Polities, explains the successful working of the constitutional system of government in Great Britain in terms of the psychology and the genius of the people of that country. To be stable and really popular, the government must reflect and express the mental ideas and moral sentiments of those subject to its authority. In short, it must be m harmony with what Le Bon calls the mental constitution of the race.

In the democratic processes, the part played by social psychology is, thus, subtle Modern Psychologists study men in groups and individual behavior. The study of social psychology often has more direct relevance for the political scientist than does individual psychology.

There can be little doubt that the psychological approach to problems of Political Science is precious. Political Science has hitherto been much under the influence of philosophy and, consequently, oblivious to life’s realities. Thinkers assumed certain facts about human nature, and dogmatically accepted them as self-evident truths. The result was an inaccurate analysis of the political institutions and the political behaviorism of man.

Therefore, the advocates of the physiological approach say that we need, reinvigorate our minds from the wells of direct observation, and the study Of Political Science shall be futile unless we know how human beings behave as individuals and members of society under different influences.

It does not, however, mean that all political problems have a psychological explanation to offer. The areas of study in Political Science differ significantly in the extent to which they have thus far been subjected to the behaviorist approach. Its penetration is uneven.

The area subjected to the greatest influence is probably public opinion, voting and elections, political parties and pressure groups, international relations, and public administration. It has also been applied to the general concepts, such as power and influence, and of definitions of Political Science, such as that which sees it as a study of Who Gets, What, When and How Foreign and comparative government probably stand in the middle while its effect is the least in public law, jurisprudence, and judicial affairs.

Moreover, Psychology does not concern itself with moral values. It does not say anything about What the State and its institutions ought to be. Furthermore, the psychologist seeks to explain life in terms of savage instinct, and social psychology leads us to explain the higher by, the lower.

This does not seem to be the correct evolutionary method. The right procedure is to explain the lower By, the higher. “Man explains the monkey, and not monkey the man.” It is not logical to explain civilized life by the conditions of primitive times. It is a bad argument that the thing is final because it is primitive.

MacDougall and other psychologists explain the origin of instincts that operate in society. They do not, however, explain how and why these instincts arise in society. Finally, according to Catlin, Psychology is concerned with mental acts that must be considered about the observable individual mind. But Political Science is concerned with the impulsive or willed relations of social beings.

Relationship of political science with Jurisprudence:

No less close and no less ancient is the connection between Political Science and Jurisprudence, the science of law. The former is the study of the State and government, whereas the latter is the study of law. If human beings are to live a life of togetherness and safeguard the community’s existence, they must accept certain conduct rules. The rules governing society may be few or many.

They can range from a few primitive traditions, handed down orally from one generation to another, to the complex set of constitutional and governmental regulations associated with the modern State. The State regulations are called laws, and these are formulated,  administered, and enforced by the government. Every State, no matter what its form of government, develops its own constitutional law.

Similarly, every political philosophy embraces or implies a jurisprudence. From a social point of view, laws must be influenced by their environments. As is the structure of society, so is the content of laws. In a  community of large land-owners, the laws will not be the same as in a country of peasant farmers.

Similarly, the laws governing private property and labor conditions will be different under society’s capitalistic pattern and a socialistic one. The constitutional law of a democratic government basically differs from that in a dictatorship.

Strictly speaking, Jurisprudence is a sub-division of Political Science, as it is the State that creates and maintains the law’s conditions. But it is now treated as a separate study because of the vastness of its scope and its specialized study of law.

Moreover, the law is concerned with classes of persons and classes of general and hypothetical situations. Similarly, the law may establish fictions convenient as working formulae, though they may have no bearing on actual life.

A lawyer’s approach is normative, whereas a student of Political Science is both normative and descriptive. This is how the political scientist relates the subject-matter of his study to life’s realities and thereby corrects legalism’s distortions.

Relationship of political science with Public Administration:

Public Administration deals with government administrative activities, and Pfiffner defines it “as the coordination of collective efforts to implement public policy.” It covers everything the civilgovernment agencies do or could do to help the body-politic attain its purpose. Public administration is really a part of Political Science, though it is now regarded and accepted as a separate subject of study.

This dichotomy arose because of the two senses, in which the term public administration was used in the nineteenth century. In a broader sense, public administration referred to the work involved in government affairs’ actual conduct regardless of the particular branch concerned. In a narrow sense, it referred to the administrative branch’s operations only, with defined functions of enforcing the policy as distinct from the policy determining function.

The policy determining function was deemed the government’s political branch, whereas its administrative branch’s policy enforced function. This distinction between the two government-led public administration branches is regarded as a separate subject of study. Goodnow asserted, “The fact is that there is a large part of administration which is unconnected with politics, which should be relieved very largely, if not altogether, from the control of political bodies. It is unconnected with politics because it embraces fields of semi-scientific quasi-judicial and quasi~business or commercial activities-work which has little if any influence on the expression of the true State will.”

But that is not exactly so. The administration is only a means to the attainment of the objectives of the State. While discussing the purpose and scope of Public Administration, Leonard D. White says, “The immediate objective of the art of public administration is the most efficient utilization of resources at the disposal of officials and employees.

In their broader context, the ends of administration are the ultimate objects of the State itself-the maintenance of peace and order, the progressive achievement of justice, the instruction Of the young, protection against disease and insecurity, the adjustment and compromise of conflicting groups and interests-in short, the attainment of the good life:”

This similarity in the ends of Public Administration and Political Science,  particularly in the context of a democratic government and a Welfare State, made possible, in the thirties of the present century, evaluating the relationship between the two. It is now generally agreed that the attempt to demarcate clear-cut functions of government is impossible. Government is a continuum process.

It is true that. the process contains phases. The legislation is one phase, administration another. But these are merged and at certain points become distinguishable. The distinction between policy determining functions and administrative inspections is too hazy, for, as Herbert Simon says, the whole process of government and administration is one of decision-making. Homer Durham goes to the extent of accepting the concept of Administrative Politics.

This is, again, an extreme view. Yet, it is incorrect to assert that Political Science and Public Administration are separate and autonomous structures or processes. To argue, as White says,” that they should be separate and independent is hardly defensible, given the nature Of democratic government. ” Even the traditional concept of civil service neutrality is undergoing a radical change.

“The concept,” writes S. Lall, is “being rapidly transformed, without a conscious realization from a negative doctrine of political sterilization and neutrality to positive, non-partisan participation in the management of I the country’s affairs ” Administration today is no longer just the execution of policy it reacts upon policy and actively participates in its making.

Relationship of political science with Geography:

Certain writers maintain that geographical and physical conditions greatly influence the character, people’s national lives, and political institutions. Aristotle thought that without geography, neither political, strategical wisdom could go far.

Bodin was the first modern writer who dwelt upon the relationship between Political Science and Geography. Rousseau tried to establish a relationship between climatic conditions and forms of government. He argued that warm climates are conducive to despotism, cold climates to Barbarism, and moderate climates to a good polity. Montesquieu, another French scholar, also emphasized the influence of physical environments on government and the people’s liberty. But Buckle excels all.

In his History of Civilization, he maintained that men’s actions, and therefore of societies, are determined by reciprocal interaction between the mind and external phenomena.  He asserted that the individual and societies’ actions are influenced by the physical environments, particularly climate, food, soil, and the general aspects of nature.  In short, Buckle repudiates the generally accepted idea that the free Win of man determines the action of the individual and society.

It is axiomatically true that geographical location is an important factor in molding the destiny of every State. It greatly influences its national and international policies and political institutions. To fathom the actual impact of geographical factors on a nation’s political life, particularly its foreign policy, Geopolitics’ new discipline has developed.

Thus, an island nation may readily become a moral power, Whereas a nation with rich natural resources may become more powerful in world politics. The nation controlling the Suez Canal or the Panama canal becomes, by that very fact, extremely important to other nations.

Germany’s geographical position, located as she is in the center of Europe and without natural boundaries, is a compelling reason for her to remain a great military power. Our historic-political destiny, wrote Professor Hintze, lies in our geographical position.

It is really no exaggeration to say that geographical conditions always influence. In a considerable measure, the determination of national policies and, to some extent, the character of the political institutions. Bryce has aptly said that physical conditions and inherited institutions in any country affect the political institutions to give its government a distinctive character.  The obvious reference is to Great Britain and Switzerland.

Relationship of political science with Biology:

Biology deals with animal life and its evolution. Some eminent writers sought to convert Political Science by treating the State as a phase of development from associations formed among animals of a species included in the subject matter of natural history. Herbert Spencer is the most prominent exponent of the biological conception of the State. Although the theory is as old as Plato’s, Spencer’s explanation, in brief, is that the State is like a biological organism in all its essentials.

It is the product of evolution and is subject to birth, growth, and decay laws. Just as in an organism’s case, there is the parts’ mutual dependence, so are the individuals who constitute the State. Spencer also tried to establish that like the three parts of an organism-the sustaining, the distributor, and the regulating systems-the State, too, has three systems.

There are two views on the relationship between Political Science and Biology. Some writers argue that the State is an organism. Others maintain that the State is like an organism. One may reject the assertion that the State is an organism, but it must be readmitted that the State in its unity is like an organism; it has a collective life. However, the analogy should not be extended beyond this, lest, in the words of Lord Acton, we may come to grief to which analogies, metaphors, and parallelisms generally lead too has three systems.

Relationship of political science with Statistics:

With the advance in the statistical theory and method and the recent tendency toward quantitative measurements in social situations, the relationship between Political Science and Statistics has become close and deep. Political scientists regard the quantitative evaluation of political and administrative phenomena as an indispensable instrument of knowledge.

The statistical approach is usually employed in conjunction with other methods. In her autobiography, Beatrice Webb records learned the relation between personal observation and statistics though I never acquit red the statistical instrument because I had no requisite arithmetic. I became aware that every conclusion derived from observation or experiment had to be qualified and verified by the relevant statistics.

There is now a school of opinion that describes statistics as a branch of Political Science. But this is not correct. Statistics is a separate field of investigation in itself, recurring experts to make applications of the method. Yet, it cannot be ignored that the operation of cause and effect is made convincingly concrete and definite in many instances by the use of statistics when the ordinary methods of observation and speculation fail to give the true reality involved therein.

As Wilson observes, While a statistical result -does not provide an ethic or a norm to be embodied in policy, once rational conclusions have supported the policy as to what men desire of political society, statistics is invaluable in attaining the result.

Modern governments essentially depend upon the statistical material and the data it provides in solving very many political riddles. With a Welfare State throwing its full weight on planning, statistics and its extensive use has become indispensable, and every department of government keeps its own statistical cell. The administration is centered around the statistical results.

Statistics must guide legislation aimed at public welfare and the various aspects of the people’s welfare, for example, taxation and expenditure policy, trade, natural resources, employment, Social conditions in general as vice, crime, illiteracy, population, etc., have a statistical interpretation. Whatever be the utility of statistics and its importance in most forms of political investigation, it must be remembered that statistics may show the failure of a given political or legislative project. Still, it does hot establish the futility of the policy.

3 thoughts on “Relationship of political science with other disciplines”

  1. It is an expository discourse and excellent explanation of relationship between political Science and other discipline. Thanks

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