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Flashcards in Theory - Social Policy Deck (17):

What is social policy?

Government ideas, actions, laws and legislations that tackle social problems.


What is the difference between social problems and sociological problems?

Social problem: behaviour that causes public friction or private misery and needs to be resolved.
Sociological problem: any interesting pattern or relationship that may be explained to make sense.


Who introduced social problems and sociological problems?

Worsley (1977)


What influence does sociology through government have on social policy?

If the government employs a sociologist to do research for them it becomes the government decision whether or not to publish findings or use them to make policy changes.


What 6 main factors will influence the governments decision to adapt policies?

Electoral popularity
Government bias/ideology
Interest groups
Critical sociology
Funding sources


What is electoral popularity?

Whether or not findings/recommendations suggest changes that appeal to those voting for change.


What is government bias and ideology?

When the sociologists values are similar to the government employers values it is more likely to persuade others into change.


What is an interest group?

Pressure groups who want to influence government policy with their own interests.


What is globalisation?

International organisations influencing social policies for individual governments in single countries.


What is critical sociology?

Sociologists who are critical of the state and other powers who are unlikely to influence policy for being too extreme.


What is cost?

If the government agrees with the sociologist, there might not be funding enough to make changes.


What is funding sources?

When sociologists dial down or sway their research to coincide with that their government employer wants.


What do positivists and functionalist think about social policy? + 1 evaluation point.

AO1 - sociology can discover the cause of problems and their solution, society is based on value consensus, rational policies are positive, sociologists provide objective advice.
AO3 - Marxists think educational policies aimed to equalise opportunities are defeated by poverty in wider society.


What does the social democratic perspective think of social policy? + 1 valuation point.

AO1 - need a redistribution of wealth, sociologists suggest how to remove social problems, help create policies to minimise wealth gap.
AO3 - Marxists think social problems are too deep rooted, Black Report not enough to abolish capitalism.


What does the Marxists perspective think about social policy? + 1 evaluation point.

AO1 - conflict of interest between classes, policies benefit ruling class, ideological state apparatus to mask exploitation, gov has no interest to improve poor life.
AO3 - social democratic criticise them for rejecting sociological research to create better policies.


What does the feminist perspective think of social policy? + 1 evaluation point.

AO1 - conflict between genders, policies benefit men and exploit women, some policies reduce patriarchal control.
AO3 - radical fem reject view that social problems are being eradicated, want wider reaching changes.


What do the new right think about social policy? + 1 evaluation point.

AO1 - the state should have minimal involvement in society, against welfare dealing with social problems, state removes personal responsibility, not against policy but sociologists should advise alternatives.
AO3 - research quality can be questioned, use “think tanks” rather sociologists.