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Topic VIII
Sociology And Social Policy…read more

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Social Problems And Sociological Problems
Worsley: a `social problem' is some form of social behaviour that causes public
friction and/or private misery and calls for collective actions to solve it e.g.
Poverty. A sociological problem is `any pattern of relationship that calls for
The Influence Of Sociology On policy: many factors affect whether or not
sociological research succeeds in influencing policy;
Electoral popularity
Ideological and policy preferences of governments
Interest groups
Globalisation & global organisations e.g. EU
Critical sociology
Funding sources…read more

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Perspectives On Social Policy: Functionalism
They view as serving the interests of society as a whole
Any policy that is introduced help society run more smoothly and efficiently e.g.
Education policies promote social integration and equal opportunities
The sociologists role is to provide the state with objective, scientific information
By investigating social problems and discovering their causes, sociologists provide
the necessary information on which the state can bases its policies
Functionalists favour policies that are referred to as `piecemeal social
engineering', tackling one issue at a time…read more

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Evaluation of Functionalism
Marxist: education polices for encouraging equal opportunities are often
undermined by the influence of poverty
Social problems are aspects of a wider structure of class inequality…read more

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Perspectives On Social Policy: Social
Favours a major redistribution of wealth and income from the rich to the poor
Townsend: sociologists should be involved in researching social problems and
making policies to eradicate them. On the basic of his findings, he made
recommendations for policies such as fairer, higher benefit levels and more
public spending on health, education and welfare services
The Black Report:
Based upon class inequalities in health and made no fewer than 37 far-reaching
policy recommendations for reaching these deep-rooted inequalities. These
included free-school meals, improve working conditions etc. The labour
government had originally commissioned the report in 1977 but it was completed
in 1980, during Thatcher's conservative government who refused to implement
the policies on the grounds of costs and attempted to restrict its publication.…read more

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Evaluation of Social Democratic
Marxists: capitalism is ultimately responsible for inequalities, the problem cannot
be solved without abolishing capitalism
Postmodernists: it is impossible to discover objective truth, all knowledge
produced is uncertain so research cannot provide a satisfactory basis for policy-
making…read more

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