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A2 Sociological theory - Social policy lesson 1

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Amanda Lane

on 14 November 2013

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Transcript of A2 Sociological theory - Social policy lesson 1

Sociology & social policy
What is social policy?
Social policies are created by the government as a way of tackling 'social problems'. These policies are implemented to ensure the welfare and control of citizens.
But how would you define a 'social problem'?
A social problem is a collection of behaviours that causes friction or unrest for the other members of society. It can also be a social phenomenon that causes personal distress for those affected.
How does this differ from a 'sociological problem'?
Any pattern of behaviour or occurance that needs to be explained in order to make sense of it.
Therefore, sociologists identify sociological problems which in turn may be social problems. Their investigation and research findings may then influence social policy.... or will it???
Why might sociological research into social problems be rejected by government in terms of influencing social policy?
Popularity
Ideology
Pressure groups
Globalisation
Critics
Expense
Funding
However...
You need to think about who defines a problem in the first place and why does it need to be tackled....
The role of sociological perspectives on social policy
Functionalism & Positivism
Identifies scientific causes to social problems.
Sees the state as serving the interests of society as a whole.
Social policies help society to run smoothly and efficiently.
Policies promote equal opportunity and social integration.
'Piecemeal social engineering' - tackling one issue at a time.
Marxism
However...
The state represents the interests of the ruling class and capitalism.
Social policy masks capitalist exploitation.
Social policy maintains the working class for further exploitation.
Social policy prevents revolution.
The role of Marxist sociologists is to criticise capitalism and the policies implemented to serve them.
Other perspectives on social policy include:
Social democratic perspective
Feminism
The New Right
Focuses on the redistribution of wealth to eradicate social problems.
Focuses on the conflict between gender not class
Focuses on the state causing social problems by 'interfering' and creating incentives for people to become dependent on state policies.
Summary questions:
What is the difference between social problems and sociological problems?
Give 3 examples of social policy.
Identify 4 factors that would prevent sociological research influencing social policy.
Outline the differences in how Functionalism and Marxism view social policy.
How does the social democratic perspective view social policy?
How does the new right view social policy?
Examples of social policy:
The welfare system
State pensions
NHS
Social housing
How can these social policies be explained from a Marxist and Functionalist perspective?
Full transcript