Assess the relationship between sociology and social policy
Sociology is the study of the development, organisation, functioning and classification of society while social policy is a policy designed to tackle social issues. Overall, sociology and social policy have a mixed relationship because this relationship depends on which perspectives are involved but in many cases, this is a two way relationship. Conflict theories such as Marxism and Feminism argue that social policy benefits the oppressors. However, functionalists believe that it benefits the whole of society while the New Right argue that social policies often discourage self-help. Functionalists such as Durkheim argue that sociology is a science therefore; it should find the causes of social problems while social policies produce solutions to such problems based on scientific, objective research provided by sociologists. Therefore, functionalists believe that there is a close relationship between sociology and social policy. Durkheim proposed that a meritocratic education system should be established and that inherited wealth should be abolished in order to create a fair society based on a social consensus. Functionalists advocate a cautious, piecemeal reform to prevent a rapid change in society which would result in the breakdown of social order hence such reform is more beneficial for everyone. Marxists criticise this by arguing that meritocratic education reforms are defeated by the influence of wider social factors such as class which maintain social inequality therefore, it is a myth that social policy benefits everyone. Marxists believe that social policies exist to benefit the bourgeoisie who exploit the proletariat. Social policies provide ideological legitimisation of the Capitalist system by masking it’s failures through institutions such as the NHS which appear to care for the proletariat but in reality, they exist to maintain an exploitable workforce for the Capitalists and to show...
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