Social Policy and Sociology


What is Social Policy?

' a social policy is actions, plans, programmes of government bodies that aim to deal with a problem or achieve a goal'

Social Problem - some piece of behaviour that causes public friction and or private misery and calls for collective acion to solve it, e.g. poverty or deliquency

Sociological Problem - any pattern or behaviour that calls for explanation e.g. why do some people commit

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The Influence of Sociology on Policy

electoral popularity - research findings suggest policy that votes wouldnt like, e.g. Michael Gove being removed from government due to maingly conservative supporters 

ideology of the government - if the values of the researcher are similar to those of the government, they stand more change of influencing people

interest groups - seek to influence the government and promote their interests and some will have more influence than a sociologist

globalisation - international organisations also influence government policers and they may impose restrictions on what governments

critical sociology - sociologists who are criticial of the state are considered too extreme so their work is easily dismissed

cost - finanicial constraints of governments

funding services  - views are weakened in order to fit in with popular or mainstream thinking

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Different Approaches

Positivism and Functionalism - the sociologists role is to provide the state with objective and scientific research on which to base their policies, piecemeal approach taking one issue at a time, marxists are critical of this as they feel some problems are only solved through changing society

Social Democratic Perspective - some problems need durastic change, Townsend - the only way to eradicate poverty is the major redistribution of wealth, marxists criticise them for not going as far as to blame capitalism

Postmodernists - criticise all attempts by sociologists to influence policy, it is impossible to discover meanings, research is uncertain

Marxism - the captialist state cannot solve problems, the only solution is to overthrow capitalism, sociologists must reveal exploitation and prevent revolt

Feminism - society is patriarchal

New Right - the state should have minimal involvement in peoples lives, used by conservative government

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