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Social policy

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Introduction

Q.1 (a) What is meant by social policy? (2) Ans. 1(a) Social policy refers to actions or objectives adopted by the government directed towards maintaining or improving a specified condition of living conducive to human welfare. They are also policies adopted to counter perceived social problems. For example, state pensions are arrangements to provide people with a certain amount of income once they have retired, become disabled or no longer earn income through employment (b). Describe 2 social problems in your society. (4) Ans. 1(b) Social problems, as mentioned above, are problems, which directly or indirectly affect many members of the society. Child labor is very prevalent in Pakistan. Due to financial constrains many children are forced to earn a living for themselves and their families particularly in the carpet industry. Child labor does not only limits horizons with an accompanying decline in literacy as children work at the expense of education. Another social problem faced by Pakistan is population growth. Many people consider large families as a blessing for social and cultural reasons. ...read more.

Middle

Conflict theorists take issue with the functionalist approach, arguing that medicine is not merely a supportive social institution, but also serves itself as a profession. Its role is thus to justify its expert status and to claim that its practitioners have the power to diagnose who is ill, why, and how the patient should be treated. Medicine operates within a capitalist system, and this enables doctors to assist in the social production of health and illness. Postmodernist theorists see disease as a social construct, a concept based on assumptions in society about what is normal or abnormal. They also question the practice of medicine by so-called medical experts, and argue that acupuncture, faith healing and homeopathy (among others) might be just as valid as treatments. (d) Assess the view that sociological research should be used as a basis for solutions to social problems. (11) The extent to which sociological research should be used as a basis for solving social problems depends in large part upon the perspective of the sociologist. A perspective is a way of focusing upon particular issues or types of question. ...read more.

Conclusion

These methods generate qualitative data that expresses how people make sense of their social situations, and specializes in participant observation and open-ended interviews and discussions. It follows that it is wrong to label people as 'deviants' or the cause of social 'problems', since this presupposes a value consensus - and 'deviant' behavior may be quite normal within certain groups, while the 'problem' may be simply a product of differing values in society, or labeling, or moral panics. The benefit of this approach to research is that it questions the assumption about the existence of objectivity in sociology. It has contributed a great deal of value to debates about the deprived, powerless, and poor in society, as well as about criminal behavior and the status of ethnic minorities. There is, however, the problem of unintended experimenter bias. Moreover, people act in terms of how they perceive others - age, gender, ethnicity, etc. So their responses will tend to differ accordingly - and they also tend to act in terms of how they think the researcher expects them to act. Ultimately, the key issue is who is defining the 'social problem', since it is this that largely determines the policy approach. ...read more.

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