Sociological Perspectives on Social Policy – ReviseSociologyReviseSociology
Assess the relationship between sociology and social policy (33 marks) Sociology has been related to the making of social policy, sociologist's role of. Assess the relationship between sociology and social policy (33) A social policy is a plan or action of awareness of cultural differences, increasing self knowledge and assessing government policies. Sign up to view the complete essay. There are different views of the nature of the state and social policy and the role of sociology in relation to social policy. The positivists saw.
The positivists saw sociology as a science that would both discover the cause of social problems and provide their solutions. Science and reason could be used to improve society. Functionalists see society as based on value consensus, so that the state serves the interests of society as a whole, implementing social policies for the good of all. The social demographic perspective on social policy favours a major redistribution of wealth and income from the rich to the poor.
Sociologists should be involved in researching social problems and making policy recommendations to eradicate them. According to Marxism, social policies serve the interests of capitalism and not of society as a whole.
The main role of sociology should be to criticise the capitalist state and not to work for it, they should be revealing the exploitation of the working class and hep them to retaliate against the government. However there is some criticism about the Marxist approach because the idea of sociologists only purpose being to expose oppression in the working class is unrealistic. The postmodernist approach says that it is impossible to discover the objective truth.
All knowledge proceeded by research is uncertain, so sociological findings cannot provide a satisfactory basis for policy making.
Giddens found 9 ways in which sociology could improve our lives. This included; providing awareness of cultural differences, identifying social problems, identifying the unintended consequences of policies and addressing the results.
Giddens therefore argues that social research has had a positive influence upon government social policy both at an empirical level and also theoretically. The New Right believe that the state should only have limited involvement in society. Murray argues that policies such as welfare benefits and council housing for lone parents act as encouragement for this dependency culture.
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The New Right see the role of sociologists as being to propose policies that promote individual responsibility and choice. Feminists argue that because of patriarchy, policies make assumptions about people in society. However, research by liberal feminists has had a number of policy impacts e. Electoral popularity can have an impact on whether a sociologists research findings and recommendations point to a specific policy that maybe popular or unpopular with voters.
Therefore, having the same ideology and policy preferences of the Government would put the researcher at an advantage. Interest groups and pressure groups seek to influence Government policies in favour of their own interests which creates competition for the sociologist putting forward their policy.
Globalisation may influence social policy through international organisations influencing individual Governments. Also, sociologists that are critical of the state and powerful groups e. Policy makers may not have the funding to put forward an appropriate policy based on them, or, they may have other spending priorities and commitments. Sociologists may tone down their policy recommendations and their findings to fit their pay-masters wishes. Positivists take the view that sociology is a science and would find the cause of social problems then conclude the scientific solutions to them.
Functionalist take a similar view and see society as based on value consensus and free from fundamental conflicts.
Assess the relation between sociology and social policy
They see the state as serving the interests of society as a whole, producing and implementing social policies for the good of all. These policies help society to run smoothly and efficiently. Marxists criticise this approach and argue that social problems such as under achievement are aspects of a wider structure of class inequality and therefore we need to change the basic structure of society in order to solve the problems. By the sociologist investigating social problems and discovering the cause, the state can then implement a base to the policies.
The social democrats favour a major distribution of wealth and income from the rich to the poor.
Sociology Social Policy Notes Essay
Peter Townsend, argues that they should be involved in researching social problems and making policy recommendations to end the social problems. For example, Townsend conducted extensive research on poverty. From his findings he made recommendations for policies such as fairer, higher benefit levels and more public spending on health, education and welfare services. Marxists criticise this view. They argue the same social problems, however, in their view; capitalism is ultimately responsible for the inequalities therefore the problem cannot be solved unless capitalism is abolished.
They also argue that in any even involving the capitalist state; they are unlikely to introduce costly public spending policies to benefit the working class. Marxists see society as divided through conflict of interest in which the ruling capitalist class exploit the labour of the working class.
The see the state as representing the ruling class and its social policies serve the interests of capitalism, not those of society as a whole. They argue that the state provides ideological legitimation to mask the capitalist exploitation, maintain the labour force for further exploitation and they are a means of preventing revolution when class conflict intensifies and threatens the stability of capitalism.