social policy

Topics: Sociology, Feminism, Social class Pages: 4 (1254 words) Published: June 14, 2014
A social policy is a plan or action of government agencies which aim to improve or reform society. • Sociologists are divided as to whether there should be a relationship between sociology and government social policy• 1.One group argues that sociology should be ‘applied’; it should be used to directly influence government to bring about reforms. 2.Another group argues that sociological insights should be used to radically change the political and economic system – they should not be used for reform. 3.And,• Finally, there are those who argue that the point of sociology is that it is an academic subject and has no use-value other than to increase self knowledge.

• Anthony Giddens According to him, there are 4 practical benefits of studying sociology:1. Understanding society2. Awareness of cultural difference3. Increase in self knowledge4. Assessment of government policies • Understanding Society Sociological understanding can take two forms:• Factual – providing us with the ‘facts’ which allow us to form a theory• Theoretical – providing us with an explanation as to why something is happening • An example of the way in which factual andtheoretical understandings of society can positivelyinfluence social policy is the sociologicalstudy of poverty. • Poverty in The UK (1979)• Peter Townsend’s study showed that poverty remained a huge, though hidden, problem in the UK.• This was despite the creation of the welfare state.• Through his fact gathering he made poverty socially and politically visible again • ContinuedHe provided atheoretical analysisof this problem bydevising sophisticatedways of measuring it:he devised the‘relative deprivationmodel’. • Definition• He argued that poverty can only properly be understood in terms of what people normally expect to have in a society – even if this was well above the level of destitution.• This new way of defining poverty allowed for a whole new insight into the nature of poverty in affluent societies....
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