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Sociology Assignment: A Commentry on Alan Walker


Task: You are supposed to prepare a sociology assignment presenting a brief commentary on Alan Walker.


Alan Walker, selected herein sociology assignment, is one of the renowned and eminent social scientist whose contribution to the academics and social progressions throughpracticalimplementation of the theoretical findings have been magnanimous and of integral importance. Alan Walker is currently a professional social scientist, precisely the Professor of Social Policy and Social Gerontology Department of Sociological Studies at the University of Sheffield. Walker’s former professional background includes being the Director the New Dynamics of Ageing Programme (EPSRC, BBSRC, AHRC, ESRC, and MRC) and the Director of the European Research Area in Ageing (ERA-AGE) along with being the former director of ESRC Growing Older Programme, European Forum on Population Ageing Research, and UK National Collaboration on Ageing Research.The area of expertise of Alan Walkerwidely spans social policy, social analysis, and social planning and predominantly possesses specialisation in social gerontology.He has been hugely influenced by Townsendthat propelled him in taking up the aspects of social policy in-depth and opened up new vistas of learning and perception for the academicians and the policymakerto witness and acknowledge (Sheffield, 2007).

The most celebrated contributions of Alan Walker is that he brought changes in the notions of the dominant paradigm in social gerontology which was only termed or hailed as the deterministic field of economic or critical gerontology. He endeavoured to bring out the nuanced layers of social gerontology and opined about the importance of the social policy and social structure to establish a welfare state (britishgerontology, 2021).Alan Walker contributions have been apparent and he addressed a major niche in the scholarly studies rampant in the research studies that concern social policy dated before the 1990s and during the period of 1990s. He tried to break free from the then patterns of the contemporary social studies that were characterised by the introspective, parochial mindset, and sometimes instrumental in tone and greatly strived to reemphasise on the concepts of social justice and commitments of building a welfare state that has been so unapologetically dismissed and overlooked systematically in the academics over the years. These efforts on the behalf of Alan Walker mainly fostered with the underlying motive of inculcating the sense of the necessity of a welfare state on the masses in the face of the global, regional and local inequalities. Furthermore, he enunciated the crucial and significant role that the dominant and quintessential facets of contemporary social science play in public policy making. This is because Alan Walker perceives social science “as a vehicle for the promotion of social justice and the duty of the academics to speak the truth to power” (ukri, 2021).

On the other hand, taking reference from an interview of Alan Walker himself, his major and dynamic contributions to the sociology research field could be enlisted. From voicing about the social constructions of the ageing theories, exploring the political economy of ageing, pioneering research on the older people having learning disabilities and employer’s attitudes towards older employees, along with putting forththe approach for actively addressing ageing concerns and developed the theoretical constructs of the social quality (ukri, 2021).

By propagating about the reinforcement of the essentially collective institution in the global communities like the welfare state, Alan Walker widely dealt with the ageing concerns and its interrelationship with the social community policy. This is to re-establish the fundamental sociological reality that human being sustains themselves through derivation of the personal identities from the recognition and interaction withfrom others. Therefore,this mutual welfare ought to be vehemently true for the older people who have themselves become incompetent to seek individual welfare. Herein, Alan Walker promotes and states the necessity of developing and implementing a social policy that fosters and caters to shape and assist the older people’s liveseffectively and positively (Walker,2009).

In this context, Alan Walker forthrightly explored and examined the policy dimensions regarding the lives of the elderly generations like investigating how policies could influence gender roles, caring relationships with the older people, social policy regarding community care and pensions. Furthermore, Alan Walker also demonstrated through his research study “Research for an ageing society”, published in 2001 regarding the ways in which the state could respond and shape the ageing population through implementation and initiation of effective policies to help them live sustainability from all fronts along with the role that the older people could play in the evolving dimension between the agency and social structure (Walker, 2001).

In addition to this, Alan Walker also probed deeply into the fact about how the corporate policies could help out the employees in their later life after their retirement. Even this research portfolio of Alan Walker that dealt with the employment policies and the state has been an essential antecedent in affecting the policy change when he chaired the EuropeanObservatory on Ageing and Older People during the 90s. On the other hand, policy-making has been hugely influenced by Walker’s revolutionaryresearch on the connection between ageing and politics at the micro, meso, and macro levels. Through the research article entitled “Researching Quality of life in old age” authored by Alan Walker and co-authored by KristiinaMartimo entails that quality life could be offered and retained for the older people through extending efficient policies underpinned with the determinant of the quality of old age life that not only upholds economic and societal needs but also mental and physical needs to induce all-encompassingwelfare to the older generations (Walker and Martimo, 2000).

In the article entitled “Social policy, social administration and the social construction of welfare” published in 1981, Alan Welfare delineated the then loopholes prevalent in the social policies that not only failed to ensure welfare and well-being to the concerned individuals but also remained incompetent to ensure an adequate framework to study the exploitation of inequality and social production (Walker, 1981). Furthermore, Alan Walker’s through his researched study not only revealed the inherent shortcomings in social studies but also probably enunciated the reasons for the same.

For instance, he stated that the affiliationsin the Britishsociety to equate institutionalised welfare with the social policies reinvigorated the insular tendencies in the social administration of British communities coupled with the overemphasis on the governmental significance in the distribution of the resources. This heavily bolstered a deceitful image of a benevolent state in the form of an embodiment of welfare principles. In addition to this, Walker also stated that the effective implementation of the social policy requires contingent distribution of the resources and must be explicitly and implicitly supported by the various social institutions and groups along with the state.

In addition to this, the article entitled “Social quality and quality of life” published in 2004, authored by Alan Walker and co-authored by Laurent Van der Maesenstate that even the dominant crises in the effective European policies is the lack of parity between the economic policy and social policy and the emergingdominance of the former over the latter and substantially hindered the social quality of the European denizens. Therefore, through the research findings, the researcherswanted to opine the fact that the positive implications in the social quality of a country’s citizens depend upon right and contingent policies centred on enhancing the quality of the life of the people (Walker and Van der Maesen, 2004).

The research methods that are generally used by the research studies centered on sociology encompasses bothqualitativeandquantitative methods. However, the research methods used by Alan walker are mainly theoretical with extensivesecondary data collection and interpreting and recognising new patterns of themes and meaning through in-depth analysis. This is mainly because Alan Walker wanted to navigate across the nuanced and hidden layers of meanings in the theoretical data existing and bring out a new understanding with reinforced meaning to challenged and break through the dominant discourse and paradigm. Even aset of thematic indicators and research variablescontingent on the research study have been used by Alan Walker to test and measure the relevance, authenticity and significance of the existing ideas and perceptions like in the research study of “Social quality and quality of life” published in 2004, authored by Alan Walker and co-authored by Laurent Van der Maesen.

Henceforth, from the aforementioned discussions, it could be stated that the ways Alan Walker redefined the political economy of ageing or identified the integral significanceof the social quality of ageing mainly to foster welfare for the older people and the value of the effectivesocial policy to sustain the well-being and welfare of the older people enunciate new vistas on social policy and its variegated facets.Furthermore, the research studies of social gerontology and ageing studies exhibited what impacts social policies sway over the people lives mostly over the older people.

References 2021. Alan Walker:: British Society of Gerontology [Online] Available at: [Accessed 1 June 2021]. 2007 [Online] Available at: [Accessed 1 June 2021]. 2021. Alan Walker - Economic and Social Research Council, [Online] Available at: [Accessed 1 June 2021].

Walker, A. 2009. A golden era of government ageing policy is no utopian dream [Online] Available at: [Accessed 1 June 2021]. Walker, A. and Martimo, K., 2000. Researching quality of life in old age. Quality in Ageing and Older Adults.

Walker, A. and Van der Maesen, L., 2004. sociology assignmentsociology assignmentSocial quality and quality of life. In Challenges for quality of life in the contemporary world (pp. 13-31). Springer, Dordrecht.

Walker, A., 1981. Social policy, social administration and the social construction of welfare. Sociology, 15(2), pp.225-250.

Walker, A., 2001. Research for an ageing society. Clinical Medicine, 1(4), p.305.


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