sociology and social policy

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  • Created by: Tiffany
  • Created on: 08-12-11 23:12

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 negative.

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.


Should the purpose of sociology be to solve social problems?

Are sociologists and policy makers likely to agree on what constitute a social problem? When might they not?

Some sociologists show little interests in studying or solving practical social problems and are mostly interested in discovering knowledge for its own sake.


Many sociologists however are interested in social problems through their research e.g. if they feel strongly about poverty or inequalities.


Many sociologists are employed directly by government departments such as Home Office or Department for Children, Schools 7 families etc. They then have


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