Social science refers to the academic disciplines concerned with society and human behavior. "Social science" is commonly used as an umbrella term to refer to anthropology, archaeology, criminology, economics, education, history, linguistics, communication studies, political science, international relations, sociology, human geography, and psychology, and includes elements of other fields as well, such as law, cultural studies, environmental studies, and social work.
The term may however be used in the specific context of referring to the original science of society established in 19th century sociology (Latin: socius, "companion"; -ology, "the study of", and Greek λόγος, lógos, "word", "knowledge"). Émile Durkheim, Karl Marx and Max Weber are typically cited as the principal architects of modern social science by this definition. Positivist social scientists use methods resembling those of the natural sciences as tools for understanding society, and so define science in its stricter modern sense. Interpretivist social scientists, by contrast, may use social critique or symbolic interpretation rather than constructing empirically falsifiable theories, and thus treat science in its broader sense. In modern academic practice, researchers are often eclectic, using multiple methodologies (for instance, by combining the quantitative and qualitative techniques). The term social research has also acquired a degree of autonomy as practitioners from various disciplines share in its aims and methods.
Famous quotes containing the words social and/or science:
“In social halls a favored guest
In years that follow victory won,
How sweet to feel your festal fame
In womans glance instinctive thrown:
Repose is yoursyour deed is known,”
—Herman Melville (18191891)
“The universe is the externisation of the soul. Wherever the life is, that bursts into appearance around it. Our science is sensual, and therefore superficial. The earth, and the heavenly bodies, physics, and chemistry, we sensually treat, as if they were self-existent; but these are the retinue of that Being we have.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (18031882)