Social Policy - Discipline or Area of Study?

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  • Topic: Sociology, Social sciences, Economics
  • Pages : 3 (788 words )
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  • Published : May 24, 2009
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Social Policy is that part of public policy that focuses on improving human conditions i.e. well-being of the public. Social Policy, therefore, is about welfare. It concentrates on social problems such especially issues of education, health, housing, social security and income support. According to Beveridge’s report that was published in 1942 and included in the Labour Party’s 1945 manifesto, Five Giant Social Evils had undermined the British society before the war: ignorance, disease, squalor, idleness and want. These are the five main evils that Social Policy centers on.

In my view, Social Policy is interdisciplinary as it draws on many social science subjects but it is a distinct academic discipline in its own right, both in terms of its points of concentration and its methods of analysis.

The development of Social Policy as a ‘policy’ and its development as a discipline are closely linked. Formed in 1884, the Fabian Society, which was influenced by the work of labour MP Sidney Webb and that of Booth and Rowntree, challenged the conservative political assumption that economic markets could meet the welfare needs of all was challenged and argued that policy intervention by the state was needed to provide those forms of support and protection which the markets failed to provide. Social Policy was then recognized as an academic discipline of importance when The Webbs – Sidney Webb and his wife Beatrice Webb, both prominent Fabians – established the London School of Economics (LSE). Within it, they incorporated the Charity Organization Society’s School of Sociology to form a new Department of Social Sciences and Administration in 1912. Its first lecturer was Clement Attlee, who became Prime Minister of the UK after the Second World War, and in 1950, Richard Titmuss was appointed as the first Professor of Social Administration in the UK. Until 1987, Social Administration and Social Policy were used interchangeably, but later the name was changed to Social...
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