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Lecture 1

SSCI 1200U Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Corporate Social Responsibility, Civil Society

Course Code
SSCI 1200U
Timothy Macneill

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Social Policy Lecture 1 01.21.16
What is Social Policy?
Mainstream Definition
1. “Social policy is a broad term encompassing not only social welfare but other activities of
government affecting social life. Marriage and divorce legislation and support to culture
and the arts are examples of social policy that lie beyond the field of social welfare. The
term is also linked with ‘economic policy’. In this sense, it usually contrasts a concern for
people with a concern for economic issues and growth.” (Armitage, 1988, p. 266).
a. This textbook thinks government is the only party involved, which is wrong.
2. “Social Policy is focused on those aspects of the economy, society and polity that are
necessary to human existence and the means by which they can be provided. These basic
human needs include: food and shelter, a sustainable and safe environment, the promotion of
health and treatment of the sick, the care and support of those unable to live a fully
independent life; and the education and training of individuals to a level that enables them
fully to participate in their society” (LSE Website)
a. This is the better definition because it leads us to believe that social policy effects
Four key assumptions in mainstream social policy
1. The government has responsibility to meet the needs of the less fortunate members of
a. Yes, the government should have the responsibility to take care of the less
fortunate, but this lets all of us off the hook. “I’m an individual so therefore I
don’t have to take care of society because that’s the job of the government”
2. The state has a right to intervene in areas of individual freedom and economic liberty.
3. Governmental and/or public intervention is necessary when existing social institutions
fail to fulfill their obligations.
a. If a wife is being abused, we think the government has the right to send someone
in and rescue her from her abuser
4. Public policies create social impacts, the consequences of which become the moral
obligation of government to act upon
In this (mainstream) view…
There are multiple debates about when, how, and if, government should intervene
in these areas:
Social Welfare
Environmental Protection/clean-up
Poverty Alleviation
Child Welfare
Human Rights
(Syrian Military Oppression)
Cultural Preservation
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