AQA A2 Sociology- Theory and Social Policy

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  • Theory- Social Policy
    • Giddens: 4 benefits of sociology:
      • Understanding social situations- Gives facts for theories to develop and theoretical info to provide explanations
      • Awareness of cultural differences- helps us see different people's points of view.
      • Effects of policies- sociological knowledge would make policies more effective
      • Increase self knowledge- allows people to reflect on their ideas and challenge themselves.
    • Factors that effect policy making
      • Electoral popularity
      • Government ideology- does the research match their ideas?
      • Cost- is it costly to conduct and implement findings?
      • Globalisation- UK policies are influenced by EU.
    • Marxism
      • Social policy just represents the R/C and serves Capitalism.
        • Ideological Legitimisation- any policies brought in just masks exploitation e.g. welfare state gave a face to capitalism.
        • Maintains the workforce- NHS makes sure everyone is fit to work and continue serving Capitalism/ economy
        • Means of preventing rebellion- if conflict arises it would threaten stability- Welfare state 'buys off' the W/C.
      • Main role of Sociology is to criticise Capitalism but state policies can't solve the  problem because capitalism is the problem.
    • Feminism
      • Society is based on patriarchy and policies continue women's subordination
      • Some feminist's research has impacted policies-  research into gender stereotyping in educational books and teaching has impacted teacher training.
      • Supports liberal feminist's idea that change can come from legislation
      • Radical are critical but have had an impact- domestic violence research has opened women's shelters.
    • Functionalists
      • Comte and Durkheim believe sociology must be scientific and discover social problems and provide solutions.
      • Social policies maintain solidarity that society is based on- educational polices have provided equal opportunities.
      • The advocate a cautious approach by tackling one problem at a time. Marxists criticise this as many problems are linked to wider structural problems.
    • NR
      • State should have a minimal role in people's lives- should only intervene in family, ed, health and crime.
      • Murray- welfare state is too generous and has created a dependency culture and the rise of the underclass
      • They are criticalof polcies but dont oppose them- they support strong law and order policy- Wilson and Kelling's broken windows.
    • Postmodernists
      • Bauman- Sociology has no impact in policies as doesn't present a dominant truth that can be used by governments to make polices
    • Social Democratic
      • Townsend- policies should re-distribute we wealth.
      • Black Report- 1980- 37 recommendations to reduce deep-rooted equality: Free school meals, better disability benefits and improved working conditions. Conservative Government refused to implement as they were too costly


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