Perspectives on Social Policy

AQA A2 Soicological Theory

Perspectives on Social Policy


Feminism: Liberal and Radical


Social Democrats


Functionalists: Comte and Durkheim

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  • Created on: 04-02-16 11:13
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Perspectives on Social Policy + Sociology:
Positivism and Functionalism:
Positivists: Durkheim + Comte
Sociology is a science + will discover both the cause of Social problems + scientifically
based solutions to them.
Enlightenment project : Using science + reason to improve society
I.E. Durkheim (Functionalist) Analysismeritocratic education system so abolition of
inherited wealth, would create a fair society and promote social cohesion.
Functionalists: State serves the interests of society as a whole
State produces and implements rational social policies for the good of all help society
run more smoothly
E.G. Educational policies promote equal opportunity + Social integration, Health and
Housing policies assist the family in performing its functions more effectively
Functionalists and Positivists:
Sociologist role is investigate Social problems and discover their causes to provide
state with objective (unbiased), scientific information. Information provided by
sociologists can help the state base its policies on
Functionalists: Favour Social policies (Piecemeal Social engineering) favour a cautious
approach taking on a specific issue at a time.
Marxists : Argue Education aimed at equalising opportunity for children of different
classes often defeated by the influence of poverty in wider society.
Social Problems, such as underachievement are aspects of a wider structure of class
inequality change in the base structure of society would be needed in order to solve
these specific problems.

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Perspectives on Social Policy + Sociology:
Social Democratic Perspective:
Favour major redistribution of Wealth and income from rich to poor.
Peter Townsend (1979):
Sociologists should be involved in researching Social problems + making policy
recommendations to eradicate them.…read more

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Perspectives on Social Policy + Sociology:
Marxism Social Policy:
Social policies serve the interests of Capitalism not those of Society as a whole.
Sociologists main role: Criticise Capitalist Social policy not to serve the interest of the
Capitalist state
Must reveal exploitation that underpins capitalism and the way in which the ruling
class use social policy to mask the exploitation and buy of revolt
They provide ideological legitimation :
Mask Capitalist exploitation: I.E.…read more

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Perspectives on Social Policy + Sociology:
Feminism: Liberal Feminists
Society is patriarchal, benefitting men at the expense of women and the state perpetrates
women's subordination through its social policies.…read more

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Perspectives on Social Policy + Sociology:
Radical Feminists:
Influence on Social policy: Regard men as the direct oppressors of women especially through the
family.…read more

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Perspectives on Social Policy + Sociology:
New Right and Social Policy:
Minimal involvement in the state
State intervention in areas such as Family life, income support, education and health
Any more state intervention robs people of their freedom to make their own choices
and undermines sense of responsibility
Greater freedom and choices leads to greater Social problems, such as crime and
Murray (1984):
Generous welfare benefits and council housing for lone parents act as a preserve
incentives that weaken the families selfreliance.…read more

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Perspectives on Social Policy + Sociology:
Influence of New right thinking:
New Labour policies have had some influence from new right policies
New Labour: See married couple as the best place to bring up children
New Right: Want strong law and order policy and research by right realist's criminologists I.E.
Wilson and Kelling: Broken Window Theory (Zero tolerance policing).
Quality and objectivity has been questioned:
I.…read more


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