Social Policy

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What is a social problem?

Something that causes problems / difficultness for people in society e.g. homelessness.

Sociological problem?

Something a sociologist is trying to explain - an issue. For example, why are girls doing better than boys at school - patterns of behaviour. Sociologists may find normal behaviour as a concern for example, why don't people commit crime and why is there people that do?

Social Policy?

A governments / council's attempt to solve social problems through plans and actions e,g, homelessness - housing.



  • Provides understanding in a professional way of expertise in areas of sociological research.
  • Identifies the accuracy of social problems.
  • Provides awareness of social / cultural differences of others.
  • Changes assumptions. 


Sponsered by the government. "I can honestly say that my research hasn't made a blind bit of difference in any government policies."

He also talks about 24 hour pub openings saying this would eliminate Britains alcohol problems. "All the civil servants and MPs we spoke to agreed with us but they went ahead anyway" he says that it is there for economic benefit only. We are so reliant on clubs and pubs being in city centres that if we take them all away, what is going to be there?

YOUNG PEOPLE are the problem, NOT the ALCOHOL - media created a moral panic around this social issue.


Policy does not decrease druge use. E.G. the labelling theory of drugs policy - YOUNG.

Legal Highs issue - legal highs fulfilled a function due to other drugs being illegal - by decriminalising drugs = less deaths / less crime if governments control the consumption - the current situation with alcohol. It is legal and controlled. 

  • These are moral, political, legal issues and the government are not interested in expert advice.
  • Expertise is dismissed - it's not what people want to hear. 
  • We should elimate all drugs. People will turn to others and this…


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