Sociology and Social Policy

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  • Sociology and Social Policy
    • Influence of sociology on policy
      • Electoral Popularity
        • Research findings might point to a policy that would be unpopular with voters.
      • Ideological and policy preferences of governments
        • Researcher's value-stance/ perspective is similar to the political ideology of the government, researcher stands a chance of influencing its policy
      • Interest Groups
        • Pressure groups seek to influence government policies in their own interest. E.g. business can persuade to not raise the minimum, even if this doesn't reduce poverty.
      • Globalisation
        • International organisation such as the EU can influence social polices. With Brexit, this can change.
      • Critical sociology
        • Sociologist who are critical towards powerful groups, e.g. Marxist, are seen as too extreme, won't influence the government.
      • Cost
        • Researcher's findings not have sufficient funds to create a policy.
      • Funding sources
        • Policymakers recruit sociologist who share the same views to help them justify the policy.
    • Perspectives on social policy.
      • Positivism/ functionalim
        • Durkheim and Comte.
          • Early positivists, seeing sociology as a science, part of the Enlightenment project.
          • Durkheim's analysis led his propose a meritocratic education system.
        • Functionalist see that state serving interests of society as a whole, producing policies for the good of all.
        • Both see the sociologist's role is to provide the state with scientific information. They are seen more like the medical researcher.
        • Value social policies which tackle one specific issue at a time.
      • Social democratic perspective.
        • Favour redistribution of wealth and income from the rich to the poor, to make it fairer.
        • Townsend (1979) should research in social problems and make policies to eradicate them.
        • Marxist criticises them, as it is capitalisms fault for these problems, abolishing capitalism will stop this.
      • Marxists
        • See the state benefiting the ruling class, allowing what polices to go out, making the working class feel benefitted, when they are actually exploited.
      • Feminism
        • Radical feminist influenced Women's Aid Federation, funded by the government. This is because R.F favour separatism.
        • Influenced educational policies, e.g. learning materials that promote more positive images of females to avoid gender bias.
        • Policies benefit parchiarchy
      • The New Right
        • Not to be heavy on society, as it makes people independent.
        • Murray(1984) generous welfare benefit act as 'perverse incentives' that weaken the family's self-reliance.
    • Worlsey (1977): defines Social and Sociology.
      • Social: Social behaviour that causes public fiction and private calls for collective action to solve. E.g. underachievement
      • Sociology: Any patterns of relationship that calls for explanation. E.g. why people underachieve.


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