Social Policy (Link between Sociology and Social Policy isn't very…
Link between Sociology and Social Policy isn't very strong
Governments seek to implement social policy popular with electorate. Argued policies aren't clear vote-winners don't get implemented.
Some groups marginalised because don't vote in large numbers. Sociology focuses on groups, may still find themselves neglected if don't have electoral power.
Governments consider financial implications any policies introduce. Policy is too expensive, no matter research, isn't going to happen. Also, expensive policies make voters worry taxes might have to increase pay for them.
Sociological problems- issues need explaining, even if have negative consequences, e.g. toys boys choose to play with.
Social problem- defined Worsely (1977) issue causing 'friction' or 'misery' need solving. e.g. boys don't achieve as well as girls in education.
Sociological problem also social problem research useful for policy-makers, not also a social problem, research won't be relevant to policy-makers.
Social policy is the area of Government which that tries to help people.
Social policies are government policies that deal with well-being of citizens. e.g. pensions, health, education, etc.
New ideas generated by governments, political parties and pressure groups. Varies with the party in power, e.g. Labour.
Research into social policy issues carried out by government agencies, e.g. department for education and health. Or some by charities, e.g. Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Uni departments.
Use quantitative statistical social research to discover basic social trends. More in depth qualitative social research give governments insight into causes of social problems, e.g. poverty and crime. Helping to search for policies to tackle them.
Weber believed Sociology shouldn't say how to fix society
Sociology shouldn't make value judgements, shouldn't say how to fix society.
Tell decision-makers whether a policy is likely to have the desired result and the social costs. Policy-maker should come up with policy first then find evidence to work out best way of doing it.
Important to have good methodology to give useful info to policy-makers.
Critics say policy should come after evidence gathering. Danger only evidence which backs up policy will be found. Evidence suggesting better policy may be ignored.
Feminists believe sociology can't affect gender inequality
Disagree about whether or not sociological research improve lives of women in a patriarchal society.
Liberal feminists- sociological research and analysis influenced governments had beneficial for women's lives. e.g. UK developed social policy designed to improve status of women and make them equal in social life including employment and benefits.
However, radical feminists argue liberal feminists don't have any effect on women's lives as society is inherently patriarchal. Shulamith Firestone (1971) patriarchal society dismantled before women's lives can be improved.
Socialist feminist- social policy oppresses women, undervalues women's labour assumes bear a dual burden of work and housework. Propose changes to social policy based own research and ideology.
Research gives policy-makers insight into poverty and inequality.
Creation of welfare state after WW2 in late 1960s made people think poverty eradicated from UK.
Empirical evidence Townsend and Mack & Lansley found poverty hidden problem. More research into why certain groups more vulnerable to poverty. Social democrats blamed inadequate welfare system. New Right blamed reliant on welfare state.
Marxists say sociology too close to capitalist system
Marxists believe sociology too closely intertwined with capitalist system to make difference in society. Capitalism inherently flawed and oppressive, sociological study a tool to justify unjust social policy.
Research controlled by ruling class interests, preventing it from being used to change system to socialism. Amount of funding for sociological research comes from state and industry- claim sociology been bought.