applied sociology


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applied sociology

the application of sociological theories, concepts, methods and findings to problems identified in wider society. For example, sociological ideas have been applied to the practices of SOCIAL WORK, EDUCATION, INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS and planning. While sociological ideas and sociological research often lead to a redefinition of social problems (e.g. the identification of UNANTICIPATED CONSEQUENCES OF SOCIAL ACTION), the extent of the influence of sociological thinking and research is difficult to measure. There has been debate recently (e.g. Scott and Shore, 1979) as to why sociological research sometimes fails to gain applications, even though this is intended, and application seems appropriate. The explanation given by Scott and Shore is that applied research is often cast first in terms of ‘disciplinary concerns’ and only second in terms of the realities of the political context of much actual decision-making, where political interests often triumph over rational persuasion. See also INDUSTRIAL SOCIOLOGY, SOCIAL POLICY, SOCIAL ADMINISTRATION.
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