Further, a historian is not satisfied, however, with mere description. He seeks to learn the causes of these events to understand the past-not only how it has been but also how it came to be.
Nevertheless, he is, in a sense, interested in events for their own sake. “He wants to know everything there is to know about them and to describe them in all their unique individuality”. The historian concentrates only on the past.
He is not interested in the present and is unwilling to look to the future. Still history provides the connecting link for the present and the future. It is said that history is the microscope of the past, the horoscope of the present and the telescope of the future.
Sociology: Sociology as a science of society, on the other hand is interested in the present. It tries to analyse human interactions and interrelations with all their complexity and diversity.
It also studies the historical development of societies. It studies various stages of human life, modes of living, customs, manners and their expression in the form of social institutions and associations. Sociology has thus to depend upon history for its material. History with its record of various social events of the past offers data and facts to sociologists.
History Supplies Information to Sociology:
History is a storehouse of records, a treasury of knowledge. It supplies materials various social sciences including sociology. History contains records even with regard to social matters. It contains information about the different stages of human life, modes of living, customs and manners, social institutions, etc.
This information about the past is of great help to a sociologist. A sociologist has to make use of the historical records. For example, if he wants to study marriage and family as social institutions, he must study their historical development also.
Similarly, if he wants to know the impact of Islamic culture on the Hindu culture, he has to refer to the Muslim conquests of India, for which he has to depend on history.
A sociologist is, no doubt, concerned with the present-day society. But the present-day society can be better understood from the knowledge of its past because what people are today is because of what they had been in the past.
Further, sociologists often make use of comparative method, in their studies for which they depend on history for data. Historical sociology, one of the fields of sociological inquiry, depends very much on historical data. It is true that the sociologist must sometimes be his own historian, amassing information from all the available sources.
Sociology Helps History Too:
Historian also uses sociology. Until recently it was perhaps from philosophy that the historian took his clues to important problems and historical concepts and ideas. But now these are drawn increasingly from sociology. Indeed, we can see that modern historiography and modern sociology have both been influenced in similar ways by the philosophy of history.
Further sociology provides the social background for the study of history. History is now being studied and read from the sociological point of view. It is said that history would be meaningless without the appreciation of socially significant events.
Further, it is often remarked that history would be boring, monotonous, prosaic and uninteresting unless the social events are narrated. Historical facts without reference to socially important matters would be like a body with flesh, blood and bone, but without life.
Some Opinions on the Relation between the Two Sciences:
The mutual dependence of history and sociology has made G.E. Howard to remark that ‘History is past Sociology, and Sociology is present History’. Peter Worsley says that ‘the best history is in fact sociology: the sociology of the past’.
T.B. Bottomore has pointed out that “it is of the greatest importance for the development of the social sciences that the two subjects should be closely related and that each should borrow extensively from the other, as they are increasingly inclined to do.
“Robert Bierstedit Comments. If the past is of as a continuous cloth unrolling through the centuries, history is interested in the individual threads and strands that make it up; sociology in the patterns it exhibits”.