As a part of the sociology G&T program, we were lucky to have Prof. John Hudson and PhD candidate Ms. Jiayu from the University of York to provide us with an online lecture about social policy on 7th December. This was a great opportunity to deepen our understanding of social policy beyond the school’s curriculum.
Prof. Hudson has introduced us to the development of the welfare system in the UK and the current major issues faced by the UK government. As a sociology and economics student, it was to my delight that these two disciplines intersect under the social policy.Social policy is closely related to the economy and is often driven by the economic crisis. In the past, social policy worked as compensation for the inequalities created by the economy; at present, the relationship between the two has adapted, as the government is using social policy to make the economy more equal in the first place.
From the lecture, we saw how researchers and policy-makers use different economic indicators, such as GDP, inflation, and the unemployment rate, to address social issues and implement government measures to alleviate and resolve the problems. These real-life implications have enhanced our understanding of theoretical knowledge acquired in class. Under the current volatile global and domestic situations, the UK is still confronting with a variety of problems: fast changes of PM, different visions of politicians, the underrepresentation of the new working class, the Ukraine-Russia conflicts, etc., challenging the government to propose more effective and efficient social policy.
During the Q&A session, we proposed questions on the privatization of healthcare, changing social attitudes, the energy crisis in Europe and so on, hearing a lot of insightful ideas from Prof. Hudson and Ms. Jiayu. The session ended with Prof. Hudson and Ms Jiayu sharing their study and living experiences in UK universities. While being similar to our study environment in SCIE, the universities provide more chances to concentrate on our academic interests.
Through the enthusiastic and engaging sharing from Prof. Hudson and Ms Jiayu, we are inspired to continue exploring social policy as an interdisciplinary subject. In the future, when seeing a social policy on the news, it will no longer be simply a few lines of words to me. Instead, I will apply sociological and economic theories to understand and analyze the policy, which will equip me with better learning and thinking skills.