Evaluate different views of the relationship between sociology and social policy. (40 marks.)
Social policy refers to the activities of governments and their agents to meet social needs and solve social problems. For example, the government have set up city academies in order to raise the educational performance of poor performing inner city schools. As sociology is the study of society and of people and their behaviour it can be seen to successfully relate to/help the government in creating future social policies or reviewing those that have been created. The founding fathers of sociology all believed that by studying the social world they could understand and therefore make changes or be able to control what happened. They all believed that rational progress was possible.
There are two views to the relationship between social policy and sociology; some argue that it should be closely related to social policy and others argue that it should not be closely related.
Sociology contributes to social policies in many ways. It identifies causal explanations of social problems which help deepen our understanding of social processes and they also question the validity and adequacy of non-sociological explanations of social problems. Sociology also uncovers and publicises latent social problems as well as drawing attention to socially constructed problems and they help to produce alternative definitions where required. Therefore many sociologists do believe that sociology should have a relationship with social policy.
Social democratic researchers are a key example of the type of sociologists that believe that the two should be closely related. They believe that sociologists should be and are actively involved in making social policy recommendations, as well as believing that their recommendations can help to eradicate the social problems they identify. Social democratic researchers tend to side with the 'underdog' ,such as Liberal Feminists and...
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