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Political sociology is the study of the social bases of politics. There are four main areas of research focus in contemporary political sociology: (1) the social formation of the modern state, (2) "who rules"?--that is, how social inequality between groups (classes, races, genders, etc.) affects politics, (3) how social movements and trends outside of the formal institutions of political power affect politics, and (4) power in small groups (e.g. families, workplaces). The field also looks at how major social trends can affect the political process, as well as exploring how various social forces work together to change political policies. Several theoretical models have been given for political sociology, including the power-elite model, the pluralist model and the Marxist political-economic model.
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