It is a branch of science that studies the customs of human society and the way in which that society functions. Of particular interest is the study of the relationships between the people hat make up that society as well as the behavior of these individuals within that society.
Social Science involves any discipline or branch of science that explores the social and cultural aspects of human behavior.
The disciplines of social sciences draw from a variety of fields of study and although these different areas of social sciences vary far and wide, they all aim to understand and explain human society and behavior. This study of how groups of people behave is usually done with the aim of being able to predict how they will behave in the future.
The Social Science disciplines are branches of knowledge which are taught and researched at the college or university level. Social Science disciplines are defined and recognized by the academic journals in which research is published, and the learned Social Science societies and academic departments or faculties to which their practitioners belong. Social Science fields of study usually have several sub-disciplines or branches, and the distinguishing lines between these are often both arbitrary and ambiguous.
This branch of social science covers the study of the origin of human beings. Of particular interest is the study of the nature of the social relationships between people and how they have developed. Anthropology aims to give a whole and complete explanation of human nature. Anthropology is the holistic “science of man,” — a science of the totality of human existence. The discipline deals with the integration of different aspects of the Social Sciences, Humanities, and Human Biology. In the twentieth century, academic disciplines have often been institutionally divided into three broad domains. The natural sciences seek to derive general laws through reproducible and verifiable experiments. The humanities generally study local traditions, through their history, literature, music, and arts, with an emphasis on understanding particular individuals, events, or eras.
The social sciences have generally attempted to develop scientific methods to understand social phenomena in a generalizable way, though usually with methods distinct from those of the natural sciences. The goal of anthropology is to provide a holistic account of humans and human nature. This means that, though anthropologists generally specialize in only one sub-field, they always keep in mind the biological, linguistic, historic and cultural aspects of any problem. Since anthropology arose as a science in Western societies that were complex and industrial, a major trend within anthropology has been a methodological drive to study peoples in societies with more simple social organization, sometimes called “primitive” in anthropological literature, but without any connotation of “inferior.”
Today, anthropologists use terms such as “less complex” societies or refer to specific modes of subsistence or production, such as “pastoralist” or “forager” or “horticulturalist” to refer to humans living in non-industrial, non-Western cultures, such people or folk (ethnos) remaining of great interest within anthropology. The quest for holism leads most anthropologists to study a people in detail, using biogenetic, archaeological, and linguistic data alongside direct observation of contemporary customs.
In the 1990s and 2000s, calls for clarification of what constitutes a culture, of how an observer knows where his or her own culture ends and another begins, and other crucial topics in writing anthropology were heard. It is possible to view all human cultures as part of one large, evolving global culture. These dynamic relationships, between what can be observed on the ground, as opposed to what can be observed by compiling many local observations remain fundamental in any kind of anthropology, whether cultural, biological, linguistic or archaeological.
In this branch of social science, the study of the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services are covered. The main focus of economics lies in understanding and explaining how economies work and how factors contributing to economies interact with each other. Economics is a social science that seeks to analyze and describe the production, distribution, and consumption of wealth. The word “economics” is from the Greek οἶκος [oikos], “family, household, estate,” and νόμος [nomos], “custom, law,” and hence means “household management” or “management of the state.” An economist is a person using economic concepts and data in the course of employment, or someone who has earned a university degree in the subject. The classic brief definition of economics, set out by Lionel Robbins in 1932, is “the science which studies human behavior as a relation between scarce means having alternative uses.”
Without scarcity and alternative uses, there is no economic problem. Briefer yet is “the study of how people seek to satisfy needs and wants” and “the study of the financial aspects of human behavior.” Economics has two broad branches: microeconomics, where the unit of analysis is the individual agent, such as a household or firm, and macroeconomics, where the unit of analysis is an economy as a whole. Another division of the subject distinguishes positive economics, which seeks to predict and explain economic phenomena, from normative economics, which orders choices and actions by some criterion; such orderings necessarily involve subjective value judgments. Since the early part of the 20th century, economics has focused largely on measurable quantities, employing both theoretical models and empirical analysis.
Quantitative models, however, can be traced as far back as the physiocratic school. Economic reasoning has been increasingly applied in recent decades to other social situations such as politics, law, psychology, history, religion, marriage and family life, and other social interactions. This paradigm crucially assumes (1) that resources are scarce because they are not sufficient to satisfy all wants, and (2) that “economic value” is willingness to pay as revealed for instance by market (arms’ length) transactions. Rival heterodox schools of thought, such as institutional economics, green economics, Marxist economics, and economic sociology, make other grounding assumptions. For example, Marxist economics assumes that economics primarily deals with the exchange of value, and that labor (human effort) is the source of all value. The expanding domain of economics in the social sciences has been described as economic imperialism.
This branch of social science studies the institution of teaching in human society. Covered in this field of study are the processes by which knowledge is passed on and how specific skills are taught and learned. This process of education is examined throughout an individual’s lifetime, that is from childbirth and on to old age.
Education encompasses teaching and learning specific skills, and also something less tangible but more profound: the imparting of knowledge, positive judgement and well-developed wisdom. Education has as one of its fundamental aspects the imparting of culture from generation to generation (see socialization). To educate means ‘to draw out’, from the Latin educare, or to facilitate the realization of an individual’s potential and talents. It is an application of pedagogy, a body of theoretical and applied research relating to teaching and learning and draws on many disciplines such as psychology, philosophy, computer science, linguistics, neuroscience, sociology and anthropology.
The education of an individual human begins at birth and continues throughout life. (Some believe that education begins even before birth, as evidenced by some parents’ playing music or reading to the baby in the womb in the hope it will influence the child’s development.) For some, the struggles and triumphs of daily life provide far more instruction than does formal schooling (thus Mark Twain’s admonition to “never let school interfere with your education”). Family members may have a profound educational effect — often more profound than they realize — though family teaching may function very informally.
This branch of social science can be subdivided into two main sub-disciplines namely; human geography and physical geography. Human geography is mainly concerned with the built environment and the influence humans have on the spaces they occupy. Physical geography on the other hand looks into the natural environment. Of particular interest in this field is the study of how climate, vegetation & life, soil, water and landforms are produced and how they interact.
Geography as a discipline can be split broadly into two main sub fields: human geography and physical geography. The former focuses largely on the built environment and how space is created, viewed and managed by humans as well as the influence humans have on the space they occupy. The latter examines the natural environment and how the climate, vegetation & life, soil, water and landforms are produced and interact. As a result of the two subfields using different approaches a third field has emerged, which is environmental geography. Environmental geography combines physical and human geography and looks at the interactions between the environment and humans. Geographers attempt to understand the earth in terms of physical and spatial relationships.
The first geographers focused on the science of mapmaking and finding ways to precisely project the surface of the earth. In this sense, geography bridges some gaps between the natural sciences and social sciences. Historical geography is often taught in a college in a unified Department of Geography. Modern geography is an all-encompassing discipline, closely related to GISc, that seeks to understand humanity and its natural environment. The fields of Urban Planning, Regional Science, and Planetology are closely related to geography.
Practitioners of geography use many technologies and methods to collect data such as GIS, remote sensing, aerial photography, statistics, and global positioning systems (GPS). The field of geography is generally split into two distinct branches: physical and human. Physical geography examines phenomena related to climate, oceans, soils, and the measurement of earth. Human geography focuses on fields as diverse as Cultural geography, transportation, health, military operations, and cities. Other branches of geography include Social geography, regional geography, geomatics, and environmental geography.
This branch of social science covers the study of the human past. It is a field of study that uses past accounts to examine and analyze sequences of events. It also sometimes attempts to investigate in an objective manner, the patterns of cause and effect that have led to particular events taking place.
History is the continuous, systematic narrative and research into past human events as interpreted through historiographical paradigms or theories, such as the Turner Thesis about the American frontier. History has a base in both the social sciences and the humanities. In the United States the National Endowment for the Humanities includes history in its definition of a Humanities (as it does for applied Linguistics). However, the National Research Council classifies History as a Social science. The historical method comprises the techniques and guidelines by which historians use primary sources and other evidence to research and then to write history. The Social Science History Association, formed in 1976, brings together scholars from numerous disciplines interested in social history.
This branch of social science studies the institution of the rule of law in human society and it sometimes crosses over into the humanities depending on the aspect from which it is studied. Of particular interest are its origin and the way in which a supreme power in a state commands what is “right” and prohibits what is considered “wrong.”
Law in common parlance, means a rule which (unlike a rule of ethics) is capable of enforcement through institutions. However, many laws are based on norms accepted by a community and thus have an ethical foundation. The study of law crosses the boundaries between the social sciences and humanities, depending on one’s view of research into its objectives and effects. Law is not always enforceable, especially in the international relations context. It has been defined as a “system of rules”,as an “interpretive concept” achieve justice, as an “authority”to mediate people’s interests, and even as “the command of a sovereign, backed by the threat of a sanction”.
However one likes to think of law, it is a completely central social institution. Legal policy incorporates the practical manifestation of thinking from almost every social sciences and humanity. Laws are politics, because politicians create them. Law is philosophy, because moral and ethical persuasions shape their ideas. Law tells many of history’s stories, because statutes, case law and codifications build up over time. And law is economics, because any rule about contract, tort, property law, labour law, company law and many more can have long lasting effects on the distribution of wealth. The noun law derives from the late Old English lagu, meaning something laid down or fixed and the adjective legal comes from the Latin word lex.
In this field of study, the theory and practice of politics is examined. Also covered is the description and analysis of political systems including political behavior. Political science is the branch of social science that deals with the study of politics and analysis of its system as well as political behavior.
Political science is an academic and research discipline that deals with the theory and practice of politics and the description and analysis of political systems and political behavior. Fields and subfields of political science include political economy, political theory and philosophy, civics and comparative politics, theory of direct democracy, apolitical governance, participatory direct democracy, national systems, cross-national political analysis, political development, international relations, foreign policy, international law, politics, public administration, administrative behavior, public law, judicial behavior, and public policy.
Political science also studies power in international relations and the theory of Great powers and Superpowers. Political science is methodologically diverse, although recent years have witnessed an upsurge in the use of the scientific method . That is the proliferation of formal-deductive model building and quantitative hypothesis testing. Approaches to the discipline include rational choice, classical political philosophy, interpretivism, structuralism, and behavioralism, realism, pluralism, and institutionalism. This branch of social science involves the study of behavior and mental processes. Of particular interest is the application of this knowledge to the treatment of mental illness.
Psychology is an academic and applied field involving the study of behavior and mental processes. Psychology also refers to the application of such knowledge to various spheres of human activity, including problems of individuals’ daily lives and the treatment of mental illness. The word psychology comes from the ancient Greek ψυχή, psyche (“soul”, “mind”) and logy, study). Psychology differs from anthropology, economics, political science, and sociology in seeking to capture explanatory generalizations about the mental function and overt behavior of individuals, while the other disciplines focus on creating descriptive generalizations about the functioning of social groups or situation-specific human behavior. In practice, however, there is quite a lot of cross-fertilization that takes place among the various fields.
Psychology differs from biology and neuroscience in that it is primarily concerned with the interaction of mental processes and behavior, and of the overall processes of a system, and not simply the biological or neural processes themselves, though the subfield of neuropsychology combines the study of the actual neural processes with the study of the mental effects they have subjectively produced. Many people associate Psychology with Clinical Psychology which focuses on assessment and treatment of problems in living and psychopathology. In reality, Psychology has myriad specialties including: Social Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Industrial-Organizational Psychology, Mathematical psychology, Neuropsychology, and Quantitative Analysis of Behavior to name only a few. Psychology is a very broad science that is rarely tackled as a whole, major block. Although some subfields encompass a natural science base and a social science application, others can be clearly distinguished as having little to do with the social sciences or having a lot to do with the social sciences.
For example, biological psychology is considered a natural science with a social scientific application (as is clinical medicine), social and occupational psychology are, generally speaking, purely social sciences, whereas neuropsychology is a natural science that lacks application out of the scientific tradition entirely. In British universities, emphasis on what tenet of psychology a student has studied and/or concentrated is communicated through the degree conferred: B.Psy. indicates a balance between natural and social sciences, B.Sc. indicates a strong (or entire) scientific concentration, whereas a B.A. underlines a majority of social science credits.
This is not always necessarily the case however, and in many UK institutions students studying the B.Psy, B.Sc, and B.A. follow the same curriculum as outlined by The British Psychological Society and have the same options of specialism open to them regardless of whether they choose a balance, a heavy science basis, or heavy social science basis to their degree. If they applied to read the B.A. for example, but specialised in heavily science based modules, then they will still generally be awarded the B.A.
Covered in this branch of social science is the study of human society and social action.
Sociology is the systematic study of society and human social action. The meaning of the word comes from the suffix “-ology” which means “study of,” derived from Greek, and the stem “soci-” which is from the Latin word socius, meaning “companion”, or society in general. Sociology was originally established by Auguste Comte (1798–1857) in 1838. Comte endeavoured to unify history, psychology and economics through the descriptive understanding of the social realm. He proposed that social ills could be remedied through sociological positivism, an epistemological approach outlined in The Course in Positive Philosophy [1830–1842] and A General View of Positivism (1844). Though Comte is generally regarded as the “Father of Sociology”, the discipline was formally established by another French thinker, Émile Durkheim (1858–1917), who developed positivism as a foundation to practical social research. Durkheim set up the first European department of sociology at the University of Bordeaux in 1895, publishing his Rules of the Sociological Method. In 1896, he established the journal L’Année Sociologique.
Durkheim’s seminal monograph, Suicide (1897), a case study of suicide rates amongst Catholic and Protestant populations, distinguished sociological analysis from psychology or philosophy. Karl Marx rejected Comtean positivism but nevertheless aimed to establish a science of society based on historical materialism, becoming recognised as a founding figure of sociology posthumously as the term gained broader meaning. Around the start of the 20th century, the first wave of German sociologists, including Max Weber and Georg Simmel, developed sociological antipositivism. The field may be broadly recognised as an amalgam of three modes of social thought in particular: Durkheimian positivism and structural functionalism; Marxist historical materialism and conflict theory; Weberian antipositivism and verstehen analysis. American sociology broadly arose on a separate trajectory, with little Marxist influence, an emphasis on rigorous experimental methodology, and a closer association with pragmatism and social psychology. In the 1920s, the Chicago school developed symbolic interactionism.
Meanwhile in the 1930s, the Frankfurt School pioneered the idea of critical theory, an interdisciplinary form of Marxist sociology drawing upon thinkers as diverse as Sigmund Freud and Friedrich Nietzsche. Critical theory would take on something of a life of its own after World War II, influencing literary criticism and the Birmingham School establishment of cultural studies. Sociology evolved as an academic response to the challenges of modernity, such as industrialization, urbanization, secularization, and a perceived process of enveloping rationalization. Because sociology is such a broad discipline, it can be difficult to define, even for professional sociologists. The field generally concerns the social rules and processes that bind and separate people not only as individuals, but as members of associations, groups, communities and institutions, and includes the examination of the organization and development of human social life.
The sociological field of interest ranges from the analysis of short contacts between anonymous individuals on the street to the study of global social processes. In the terms of sociologists Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckmann, social scientists seek an understanding of the Social Construction of Reality. Most sociologists work in one or more subfields. One useful way to describe the discipline is as a cluster of sub-fields that examine different dimensions of society. For example, social stratification studies inequality and class structure; demography studies changes in a population size or type; criminology examines criminal behavior and deviance; and political sociology studies the interaction between society and state.
Deals with processes of human communication, commonly defined as the sharing of symbols to create meaning. The discipline encompasses a range of topics, from face-to-face conversation to mass media outlets such as television broadcasting. Communication studies also examines how messages are interpreted through the political, cultural, economic, and social dimensions of their contexts. Communication is institutionalized under many different names at different universities, including “communication”, “communication studies”, “speech communication”, “rhetorical studies”, “communications science”, “media studies”, “communication arts”, “mass communication”, “media ecology,” and “communication and media science.”
Communication studies integrates aspects of both social sciences and the humanities. As a social science, the discipline often overlaps with sociology, psychology, anthropology, biology, political science, economics, and public policy, among others. From a humanities perspective, communication is concerned with rhetoric and persuasion (traditional graduate programs in communication studies trace their history to the rhetoricians of Ancient Greece). The field applies to outside disciplines as well, including engineering, architecture, mathematics, and information science.
Additional Social Science disciplines and fields of study include: •Archaeology is the science that studies human cultures through the recovery, documentation, analysis, and interpretation of material remains and environmental data, including architecture, artifacts, features, biofacts, and landscapes. •Area studies are interdisciplinary fields of research and scholarship pertaining to particular geographical, national/federal, or cultural regions. •Behavioral science is a term that encompasses all the disciplines that explore the activities of and interactions among organisms in the natural world. •Demography is the statistical study of all populations.
•Development studies a multidisciplinary branch of social science which addresses issues of concern to developing countries. •Environmental social science is the broad, transdisciplinary study of interrelations between humans and the natural environment. •Environmental studies integrate social, humanistic, and natural science perspectives on the relation between humans and the natural environment. •Information science is an interdisciplinary science primarily concerned with the collection, classification, manipulation, storage, retrieval and dissemination of information. •International studies covers both International relations (the study of foreign affairs and global issues among states within the international system) and International education (the comprehensive approach that intentionally prepares people to be active and engaged participants in an interconnected world).
•Journalism is the craft of conveying news, descriptive material and comment via a widening spectrum of media. •Legal management is a social sciences discipline that is designed for students interested in the study of State and Legal elements. •Library science is an interdisciplinary field that applies the practices, perspectives, and tools of management, information technology, education, and other areas to libraries; the collection, organization, preservation and dissemination of information resources; and the political economy of information.
•Management in all business and human organization activity is simply the act of getting people together to accomplish desired goals and objectives. •Marketing the identification of human needs and wants, defines and measures their magnitude for demand and understanding the process of consumer buying behavior to formulate products and services, pricing, promotion and distribution to satisfy these needs and wants through exchange processes and building long term relationships. •Political economy is the study of production, buying and selling, and their relations with law, custom, and government.
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