07 June 2016

A Little Social Science Cheerleading

In case anyone anywhere is looking for reasons why social scientists are needed in a societal sense or are arguing for the value of their degree, check out these quick links:

1. From Universities Canada/Universit├ęs Canada (March 2016):
"Canada needs graduates with liberal arts education, and these data reinforce that value,” says Paul Davidson, president of Universities Canada. “A new report out last week from the Business Council of Canada also confirms high demand for the skills and abilities that are core to a liberal arts education. Employers want to hire young people with a strong complement of soft skills, such as adaptability, collaboration, teamwork, communication and critical thinking abilities.

From this website is a link to their Quick Facts on the Value of the Liberal Arts

2. In case you haven't seen it, there is a Campaign for Social Science out of the UK and they've published the 10 reasons for Social Science. I like their mention of how social scientists can: help others make informed choices; allow others to feel empowered to act; tailor advice and findings to people's everyday lives and contexts; identify patterns; and, bring out the human (context, question or impact) in decision making practices and projects.

3. Finally, out of the UK, Professor Karl Spracklen, author of Making the Moral Case for Social Sciences's describes what he thinks are the challenges against and cases for social science today.

Challenges include:

  1.  Focus on STEM by government policies and planning
  2. Interest among the public for popular science explanations of complex issues that reduce social and cultural factors down to biological
  3. Sustained low-level attack on social scientists by populism and their pundits
  4. The integration of right-wing critiques into discourses of impact and value with regard to university workings and funding trends
Three Moral Cases for Social Science (I've flipped their order according to his rating of importance). To study the social sciences...:

  1. Allows 'us' to resist the instrumentality, injustice and inequality that under-gird the norms and values of our late modern society by revealing the truth about abuses of power that continue the majority's hold on power
  2. Allows 'us' to flourish as humans and develop as happier and equal individuals based on Aristotelian idea that sciences are good for helping humans to flourish (in general)
  3. Allows us to discover and explore humanity and is in the vein of learning for learning's sake
I switched the order of these cases around as I thought the now final (his original first case) was reminiscent of the slow professor movement/debate is going around so much at the moment.