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Evaluate the view that sociological arguments and research findings generally have little influence on the social problems of governments

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Introduction

Evaluate the view that sociological arguments and research findings generally have little influence on the social problems of governments (40 marks) There are two opposing sides to this debate, those who suggest that sociology and government policy are not connected, and those who believe that both are closely linked. For many sociologists, sociological research is carried out to inform and influence governmental social policy. This is particularly true if the government or pressure group provides the funding for the research. The significance of sociology on policy has led to growth of the academic subject known as social policy, which studies and tries to influence how governments responds to social problems. Many of the founding fathers believed that sociology had a central part to play on society such as reforming social institutions, solving problems and improving the human condition which will help move society forward. Auguste Comte saw sociology as a practical subject. He believed it shouldn't remain in the universities and it should be applied to wider society. ...read more.

Middle

For example, where the government restricted the publication of the Black Report over the Bank Holiday Weekend of 1980 by the Thatcher Government signalled the end of the hopes of improvement in public health for twenty years. It was clear that the Government would have preferred to suppress the whole thing, and it is greatly to the authors' credit that this did not happen. However you do not need to read very much to see why the Government wanted to. This suggests that sociological arguments and research findings have little influence on social problems of governments. According to Giddens, there are four practical benefits of studying sociology. Firstly, he believed it allows us to understand the world around us, giving us knowledge and insights. This understanding can be factual and provide us with 'facts' which allow us to develop a theory. It can also be theoretical as it provides people with an explanation as to why something is happening. ...read more.

Conclusion

Gidden's and 'The Third Way' and 'The Renewal of Social Democracy' in 1998 stressed the importance of social solidarity and social cohesion. It included that strong society needs active citizens concerned about society; Government should encourage people to have a sense of civic duty. Giddens believed social exclusion is the main threat to social order and society will fracture if groups become excluded from mainstream. He believed Government can help exclusion, for example, with the poor they can raise benefits or improve healthcare and education. This suggests that sociological arguments and research findings do have influence on social problems of governments. The fact that Giddens has been described as Blair's favourite 'Guru' backs this argument up. In conclusion, there are many arguments for and against the view that sociological arguments and research findings generally have little influence on the social problems of governments, but it is evident that since Blair's New Labour Government, there has been more interaction with sociologists to improve human conditions and to resolve old policies that aren't as effective in modern society. It could be asked that maybe sociology has been revitalised in terms of their influence over the government. ...read more.

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