Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more ➡
Standard view
Full view
of .
Add note
Save to My Library
Sync to mobile
Look up keyword
Like this
7Activity
×
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
Discuss the influence of political ideology on social policy. Illustrate your answer with reference to the influence of one ideological perspective.

Discuss the influence of political ideology on social policy. Illustrate your answer with reference to the influence of one ideological perspective.

Ratings: (0)|Views: 655|Likes:

This essay examines the influence of political ideology on social policy, and analyses left-wing social policies in Venezuela, as instigated by Hugo Chavez. I demonstrate how deeply engrained ideology is in the politics of social policies.

This essay examines the influence of political ideology on social policy, and analyses left-wing social policies in Venezuela, as instigated by Hugo Chavez. I demonstrate how deeply engrained ideology is in the politics of social policies.

More info:

Published by: Undergraduate Awards on Sep 01, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
See More
See less

10/27/2013

 
Joanna McClatchie. Student No. 05812992
 Discuss the influence of political ideology on social policy. Illustrate your answer with reference to the influence of one ideological perspective.
Political ideology has a significant role to play in all aspects of society. Its influence can be seen in economic strategies, political debates and social policies. Because of its far-reaching and often deeply significant implications, political ideology can be examined inalmost all spheres of societal life. Its influence on the development and implementation of social policies in particular is rather remarkable, and I plan to demonstrate that social policies are not only sometimes influenced by, but often created completely out of  political ideology.It is essential to establish a clear working definition of the term ‘ideology’, in order tomeaningfully discuss it in unambiguous terms. There have been many differentdefinitions given for the term, by a wide range of academics from a similarly wide rangeof disciplines. On a very general level, an ideology can be said to be a personal or communal belief system (van Dijk, 1998). Expanding slightly on this, David Eastonsuggests that ideologies encompass a clear arrangement of ‘ideals, ends and purposes’(Easton, 1965 in Christenson, Engel et al, 1971:9). A more comprehensive explanation of the term is offered by Spicker, who states that an ideology is a series of ideas and principles that is relied upon to comprehend, evaluate and solve problems (Spicker, 1995).Combining these definitions, we can understand an ideology to be a collection of beliefs,values and ideals which are employed for the purposes of comprehending and dealing withsocietal problems.It is also necessary to set out a clear definition of ‘political ideology’ before pursuingfurther discourse. Christenson, Engel et al assert that political ideology is ‘a belief systemthat explains and justifies a preferred political order for society, either existing or  proposed, and offers a strategy for its attainment’ (1971:5). Spicker adds an importantfacet to this definition and says that political ideologies are formed in relation to a
 
 person’s specific circumstances and social milieu. He also notes that the overall influenceof ideology on society is frequently viewed strictly in a political context (Spicker, 1995).Political ideology can therefore be understood on a similar vein to the lone-standing‘ideology’, but with the understanding that political ideology also seeks to establish or  preserve a favoured political order or regime, as well as to understand societal issues.Political ideology is normally seen in two main categories: ‘right’ and ‘left’. These termswere coined with reference to the sitting of the French national assembly in the 19
th
century, where the socialist groups were seated on the left and the conservative parties onthe right (Spicker, 1995). The right-wing is known for its individualist, anti-welfarestance, and the left-wing is associated with being collectivist and in favour of welfare. Inthis regard, we can classify political parties and social groups as either ‘left’ or ‘right’ inaccordance with their ideological standpoints. On the right side of the spectrum arefascists, free-marketeers and conservatives, whereas Marxists and socialists lie on the leftside of the divide.For the purposes of this essay, I am going to focus on a left-wing political ideological perspective, namely socialism. The socialist ideology is first and foremost collectivist – that it to say that it focuses on society as a whole rather than on individuals. It seeks toreduce inequalities and exploitations in society, and encourages freedom andempowerment for all people (Alcock et al, 2003). In terms of social policies, socialism isfor social welfare and also for public provision (Spicker, 1995). As a political ideology, ithas as its base the belief that society should work together as a whole to solve problemsand that welfare should be an entitlement to all persons within that society (Chatterjee,1996). Further to this, socialism reaffirms the opinion that people are fundamentallysocial beings who are wholly dependent on each other for welfare and societal security(Franklin, 1998).How can a socialist ideology be seen to directly influence social policies? Firstly, it isnecessary to understand that social policies, such as welfare schemes, are never developedwithout influence from both their political and social settings (Spicker, 1995). Social policies that are formed through the influence of socialist ideology can clearly beidentified as such – for example, Alcock et al state that ‘socialists believe that there areuniversal human welfare needs and a universal societal responsibility for seeing that those
 
needs are met’ (2003). Therefore, an all-encompassing, comprehensive and publicly provided welfare scheme could be identified as being underpinned by socialist ideology.In this regard, an examination of differing social policies can reveal that not only does political ideology influence and shape social policies, but often policies have their veryroots in a particular political ideology.An excellent and rather topical illustration of the influence of socialist ideology on social policy can be seen today in the Latin American country of Venezuela, under the leadershipof the left-wing president, Hugo Chávez. He is a prominent socialist, and of hisideological perspective he says he wishes to implement ‘a new type of socialism, ahumanist one, which puts humans, and not machines or state, ahead of everything’ (Sojo,2005). He has termed his ideology ‘Bolivarianism’, after the revolutionary SimonBolivar, and also draws influence from socialist figures from throughout Latin Americanhistory, such as Che Guevara and Fidel Castro (Wikipedia online article (a)). Through thedesign and implementation of various social policies, Chávez is seeking to make hissocialist vision a reality by greatly reducing social inequalities, eliminating governmentalcorruption and creating new and vital opportunities for those living beneath the povertyline. Since his rise to power in 1998, he has poured millions of dollars into social welfareschemes to improve living conditions for the country’s poorest citizens (BBC news report,2005). These schemes fall under the umbrella heading of ‘Bolivarian Missions’ andinclude plans to eradicate illiteracy and combat disease on a nationwide scale (OfficialVenezuelan Government website).One such social policy put into practice under the direction of Chávez is MissionRobinson (
‘Misión Robinson’)
. This policy was executed in July of 2003, and has as itsgoal the elimination of illiteracy among the peoples of Venezuela (Official
 Misión Robinson
website). The policy aims to teach reading, writing and arithmetic to thehundreds of thousands of Venezuelan adults who never received a formal education andhave been left illiterate as a result (BBC news report, 2004). Clearly, this policy canimmediately be identified as one influenced by a left-wing ideology, as it is publicly providing a service to the country’s citizens to reduce inequalities caused by lack of opportunity.

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->