Sociology and Social Policy

A summarised topic for sociology and social policy

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  • Created by: Tiffany
  • Created on: 13-12-11 17:59
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Sociology & Social Policy
Social policy is...
Social policy is how the actions, plans and programmes of government bodies and agencies that aim
to deal with a social problem or achieve a social goal. E.g. polices are often based on laws that
provide the framework within which these agencies operate.
Why create social policies?
Social problem
Social problems are a state of affairs that is defined as a cause for concern usually because
individuals are suffering in some way. Collective action, by an influential group is then called for to
solve the problem.
When such problems are seen as significant enough by the government, social policies (legislative
actions) are created to address them.
In educational achievement it might be boys are achieving
In the family it might be lone-parent families
Sociological problem
Any behaviour/relationship that requires explanation and understanding ­ it doesn't have to be
Sociologists might research the extent of a particular phenomenon in an empirical way, theorise
about its causes or explore how the phenomenon is socially constructed.
In educational achievement it could be why girls achieve better than boys
In the family institution the diversity of family types.
Some sociologists show little interests in All problems are socially constructed ­
studying or solving practical social problems especially by those in power which critical
and are mostly interested in discovering sociologists will pick up on. As sociologists tend
knowledge for its own sake. to side with the oppressed, they will voice their
opinions which might not be heard in society as
Many sociologists however are interested in a whole.
social problems through their research e.g. if
they feel strongly about poverty or inequalities. For critical sociologists e.g. Marxists, radical
feminists, they believe those in power are the
Many sociologists are employed directly by social problems.
government departments such as Home Office
or Department for Children, Schools 7 families
etc. They then have a direct input into making
policies and evaluating their effectiveness e.g.
reducing crime.
By Tiffany George - Fontaine
Tuesday, 13 December 2011

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The Purpose Sociology
Giddens believes that sociology has 4 practical benefits in the formation and reformation of social
Advisory function or to assist understanding of social situations
Awareness of cultural differences
Increase in self-knowledge
Evaluation of social policies
The influence of sociology on policy
Sociologists may often decide to conduct research into social problems but there is no guarantee
that policy makers will study their findings, or that any solutions they propose will find their way into
Which factors may affect whether or not…read more

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Is sociology really that transformative?
The relationship between sociology and social policy is a two way process i.e. existing social policy
and government priorities also influence sociological research & their topics.
Sociological ends up being colonised by governments reducing the very critical and radical nature of
the subject.
If you work within the system, you legitimise it rather than replace it.
E.g.…read more

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He conducted extensive research on poverty and made suggestions such as fairer, higher benefit
levels, more public spending on health, education and welfare services.
4. Similarly the Black Report on class inequalities produced by sociological research which called for
improved working conditions, free school means for all children, better benefits, improvement in
council housing. The conservative government refused to implement the reports demands on
grounds of cost, and restricted publication.
5.…read more

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In education feminist research has led to learning materials that promote more positive images
of females, and teacher training schemes that sensitise teachers to the need to avoid gender
5. Many of these policies reflect the liberal view that anti-discrimination reforms will bring gender
6. Radical feminists advocate separatism from men to end exploitation, social policy has supported
this through the introduction of women refuge centres such as Women's Aid Federation.
7. The feminist's movement has increased their influence.
8.…read more


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