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Social Policy in Sociology

In: Social Issues

Submitted By leahrichards
Words 1224
Pages 5
Although sociologists agree that social policy can have an important influence on family life, they hold different views about what kinds of effects it has and whether these are desirable. In this essay I will examine a range of different sociological views or perspectives on the impact of social policy on families. The actions and policies of governments can sometimes have profound effects on families and their members. Cross-cultural examples from different societies and historical periods can show us some of the more extreme ways in which the state’s policies can affect family life, this can help us to see the relationship between families and social policies in a new light. One particularly striking attempt by the state to shape family life was the policy set by China on controlling the population, and birth rate within the country. Chinas population control policy has discouraged couples from having more than one child. According to Adrian Wilson (1985) the policy is supervised by the workplace family planning committees; women must seek their permission to try and become pregnant, and there is often a waiting list and a quota for each factory. Couples who comply with the policy get extra benefits, such as free child healthcare and higher tax allowances.
Functionalists see society as built on harmony and consensus, and free from major conflicts. They see the state as acting in the interests of society as a whole and its social policies as being for good for all. Functionalist’s see policies as helping families to perform their functions more effectively and make life better for their members. For example, Ronald Fletcher (1996) argues that the introduction of health, education and housing policies in the years since the industrial revolution has gradually led to the development of a welfare state that supports the family in performing its functions more…...

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