Sociology and Social policy

Mind Map by , created over 5 years ago

AS Level Sociology (Sociology and social policy) Mind Map on Sociology and Social policy, created by nasreen_946_ on 04/15/2014.

Created by nasreen_946_ over 5 years ago
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Sociology and Social policy
1 Refers to the actions that are taken by the gov. to maintain and improve the welfare of its citizens. Including social security, state pensions, housing etc.
1.1 It aims to deal with Social problems
1.1.1 A Social problem is some aspect of social behaviour that gives rise to conflict in society/ misery for others


  • It is wrongly assumed that sociology is a study of social problems
  • It is only a part of what sociologists study There is a difference between social problems and sociological problems. Any pattern of behaviour that needs an explanation is a sociological problem. Social problem is relative. what constitutes a social problem in one society may not be regarded in another. Even within a society social problems can be viewed differently.
1.1.2 Social problems can have an objective element (emphasized by structuralists) and a subjective element (emphasized by interactionists)
1.1.3 It can be voluntary eg: divorce and Vandalism or involuntary eg: being elderly or a member of a minority group. But its society's voluntary attitudes and responses that make these phenomena a big thing
2.1 It is important to discover where the power lies in the process of identifying and dealing with social problems. The role of the media in developing our awareness of certain social prob. to the exclusion of others should not be underestimated. The poorest have a great difficulty in getting their definition of the situation accepted by the wider society and agenda setters.
3 Existence of social policies suggest that not all members of society are equal beneficiaries of its wealth and institutions.
3.1 In the formulation of social policy there are many many possible means to achieve a given end.
3.1.1 It depends largely on the ideology of those with power to determine social policy. social policy may have unintended effects
4 Should there be a relationship between sociology and social policy?
4.1 One group argues that sociology should be applied, it should directly influence gov. to bring about reforms ( change)
4.1.1 Anthony Giddens - He identified ways in which sociology relates to social policy - 1. it can inform policy makers .2. Sociological research can assess the results of policy initiatives. 3. Increase self understanding - leading to formation of pressure groups and protest groups. Example : Sociological research has resulted in the Disability Discrimination Act. 2. The sex discrimination and Equal pay Acts of 1975 grew out of feminist research into sexual discrimination at work/ He argues that social research has has a positive influence upon gov. social policy Others argue that gov. do not simply respond to sociological research in the way he describes - Gov. only act on research when it fits with their political / ideological agenda. 2. They act when pressured by powerful groups For example: Black report, carried out in 1980 on class inequalities in health made 37 far - reaching policy recommendations for reducing inequality - the gov. rejected it on the grounds of cost and even tried to prevent its publication Marxists - Capitalism are responsible for inequalities, policies propsed by black report cannot solve it ,so capitalism has to be abolished Social problems can only be solved through radical economic change - not reform through legislation Marxists do recognise that social policies provide benefit to working class, but such gains are always under threat by capitalism
4.2 Sociological insights should be used to radically change (inspire) the political and economics system - not be used for reform
4.3 The point of sociology is that it is an academic subject, it has no use other than increase self knowledge
4.3.1 Post modernists
4.3.2 Phenomenologists
4.3.3 Both of them motivated by the desire to expand human knowledge to challenge widespread beliefs rather than to influence the org. of social life
4.4 C.wright Mills argued that sociology should not be simply accumulation of facts. Sociology should explain social problems and suggest social problems
5 Weber
5.1 He distinguishes between sociology and social policy whihc he saw as 2 different worlds, noth of which are valuable but whose distinctions and ways of working should be made clear.
5.1.1 James Coleman - draws the analogy of the 2 worlds of discipline and action, sociology being the world of discipline and social policy as world of action. world of discipline is pure and value free, world of action is impure, value laden secretive and has conflicting interest groups.
5.2 weber's conception of the relationship between sociology and social policy is that sociology provides the technical information from which policy makers decide social policy.
5.2.1 Marx did not share the same concern of being value free and wished to join the world of action
6 Other sociologists see a place for values in sociology and a place for sociologists in the making of social policy.
6.1 Robert S.Lynd
6.1.1 He argues that values are relevant in the choosing of an important social problem and in the guiding of policy makers on the likely outcome of their decisions
6.2 C.Wright Mills
6.2.1 Took an anti- technician stance and argued for the place of values in sociological research.
6.3 Howard Becker
6.3.1 argues not only for the place of values in sociology but for a particular set of values which promote a favourable outcome in social policy for disadvantages members of society

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