The Social Sciences are those subjects that examine and explain human beings. It is a branch of science that studies the societies and relationships among people within those societies. They enable us to understand how the mind works and how societies as a whole function.
There are several branches of social studies namely History, Sociology, Geography, Politics, Law, Archaeology, Anthropology, Linguistics, International Relations, Psychology.
History of Social Science
Sociological theory can be mainly divided into positivism and antipositivism (interpretivism).
The term sociology was coined by a French philosopher, Auguste Comte. He proposed sociological positivism to remedy social ills. Sociological positivism means how scientific principles and techniques could be applied in the social world. He contributed to the development of applied philosophy. He is generally considered The Father of Sociology.
Another French thinker Emile Durkheim led to the formal establishment of sociology as a discipline. In 1895, he set up the first sociology department in the European University of Bordeaux and published Rules of the Sociological Method, which led to the establishment of sociology as a positivist social subject.
Karl Marx contradicted the positivity theory of August Comte. He established the science of society based on a materialistic approach.
Around the 20th century, a German sociologist Max Weber developed sociological antipositivism i.e. scientific methods of investigations cannot help in the study of the social domain rather society is all about subjective views and interpretation.
Auguste Comte, Emile Durkheim, Karl Marx, and Max Weber have greatly contributed to the development of social science are therefore considered the father of social sciences.
Some of the popular and major sub-fields of social science are listed below.
Economics is one of the subheads of social sciences. It deals with how people and societies seek to satisfy their financial, behavioural, and societal needs. This subject is becoming increasingly specialized. It is a social science that describes the production, distribution, and consumption of wealth.
It is the study of past events. It is a field of research that examines the sequence of events. It even attempts to investigate the patterns of cause and effect that determines the past event.
It studies the theory and practice of politics. It is also concerned with the description and analysis of political systems such as democracy, republic, monarchy, dictatorship and their behaviour. We study topics like the Constitution, laws, forms of government, distribution of power, checks and balances among different parts of the governments.
Geography is the study of different phenomena in the context of space. This means that it involves the study of different features of our environment like climate, soil, wildlife, population, agriculture, etc with emphasis on their distribution over space.
The term sociology is sometimes synonymous with social science. It is the body of knowledge about human social activity. It involves social aspects of life like race, religion, caste, culture, etc. The goal of sociologists is to apply such knowledge for social welfare.
Purpose of Studying Social Science
Various aspects of social science are essential for society’s growth and development. It is the basis of human interactions and the functioning of society.
It is a combination of many subjects including History, Geography, Economics, Philosophy, and more. The knowledge of these subjects is useful in fulfilling the social, financial, and psychological needs of human beings. For example, knowledge of economics is important to understand the efficient utilization of resources and finances. History gives us insights into the former workings of society and its culture.
In this way, Social sciences enable you to develop a broader view of society. It empowers you to build a strong moral and social character and participate civilly in a society. It imparts moral values and instils strong codes of ethics.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the job options available after a degree in sociology?
Sociology is a behavioural subject and therefore jobs involving social interactions or research are most suitable for students with a sociologist degree. Some of the fields where they can get a job are Human Resources, Research, Public Relations, Community Services, Social worker, and so on.
The main sub-field of social science are History, Geography, Sociology. Geography, Law, Politics, Anthropology, Archaeology, Linguistics, and Economics.
What career options can you pursue after doing a specialization in one of the fields of Social Science?
Depending on which area of Social Sciences you choose to specialize in you can become a sociologist, Historian, Anthropologist, Archaeologist, Political Scientist, teacher, researcher, and so on.
What are some of the good colleges for Social Sciences in India?
Some of the good colleges to pursue higher studies in Social Sciences in India are listed below:
Various colleges of the University of Delhi such as Lardy Shri Ram College for Women, Hansraj College, Hindu College, Ramjas College
Loyola College, Chennai
St Xavier’s College, Mumbai
Madras Christian College, Chennai