Assess the view that sociology can and should inform social policy – 33 marks
Sociology has been linked to the creation of social policy for many years but even more so in recent years. An example of this is the influence of contemporary society led to the creation of the concept of ‘marketisation’ within the school system in the early 1990s, which was implemented by New Labour/New Right. There is an ever-increasing link between these 2 concepts, which greatly influences policies and how individuals live. Many sociologists, such as Marxists and feminists, believe that a major purpose of their work is to bring about social change through arousing awareness of inequalities. Anthony Giddens, a government advisor on social policy, suggests sociology can help to solve social problems in a variety of ways. Sociologists collect facts and drive theories about social situations such as poverty. They help us to understand and empathise with the problems of marginalised groups by describing their cultures and revealing stereotypes, which can also be done by labeling theory. Published work by sociologists may encourage people such as women, gays and ethnic minorities to consider their experience, role and self image so that they can take action to improve their lives. Finally some sociologists are directly employed by government agencies to find out data to help decide on new policies and to monitor their effects. Townsend, another sociologist, identified the extent and causes of poverty in the UK. He did this based on surveys of over 2000 households in order to come up with a social policy, as he thought sociology can and should inform social policy. He used his findings to put forward solutions such as more progressive taxation to fund more welfare for the poor. The overall findings of this study were that poverty remained a huge, though hidden, problem in the UK. Lea and Jock Young, two sociologists, believe that sociology is closely linked to social policy. They...
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