What is Social Sciences?

The social sciences group all the scientific disciplines whose object of study is linked to the activities and behavior of human beings. The social sciences, therefore, analyze the manifestations of society, both material and symbolic.

Hence, for example, in a general way the term social sciences is frequently used as a synonym for human sciences.

It could be said that these sciences study what is not the concern of the natural sciences. The people have consciousness and the ability to develop abstract representations which influence their behavior. That is why social interaction is governed by various assumed rules and norms; the natural sciences, on the other hand, work with factual objects and use the scientific method with greater rigor. The social sciences, in general, cannot postulate universal laws.

Today we have to underline that the social sciences have become a fundamental part of education in any country. Thus, in Spain, for example, students in Primary Education and Secondary Education have subjects that deal with those.

Thus, although until now in the field of Primary the subject Knowledge of the Environment was established to encompass the Natural Sciences and Social Sciences, now there has been an educational reform by the current Minister of Education that has established that both are studied separately and become independent subjects.

In Secondary, for their part, students also have Social Sciences subjects where they address and study issues such as physical geography, demography, the first civilizations, the economy, the different economic sectors as well as the rest of historical stages.

In the same way we cannot forget the fact that in other countries these sciences are also very present in education in another way. Thus, a clear example of this is the University of Buenos Aires, which has its own Faculty of Social Sciences. In it, careers such as Social Work, Communication Sciences, Sociology, Political Science or Labor Relations are studied, among others.

But the latter is not the only case, in Salamanca there is also the Faculty of Social Sciences.

The social sciences can be divided into those dedicated to the study of the evolution of societies (archeology, history, demography), social interaction (economics, sociology, anthropology) or the cognitive system (psychology, linguistics). We can also speak of applied social sciences (law, pedagogy) and other social sciences grouped in the generic group of humanities (political sciences, philosophy, semiology, communication sciences).

It should be noted that the social sciences can study people’s declared and conscious intentions, but also observed behavior.

The anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss, the philosopher and political scientist Antonio Gramsci, the philosopher Michel Foucault, the economist and philosopher Adam Smith, the economist John Maynard Keynes, the psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, the sociologist Émile Durkheim, the political scientist and sociologist Max Weber and the Philosopher, sociologist and economist Karl Marx are some of the leading social scientists of the last centuries.

Social Sciences