Thursday, July 18, 2024

Is the Social Sciences Dead?

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The craze with STEM fields among Indians has given rise to a critical question- is the social sciences dead?

“Mera beta engineer ya doctor banega”. This is the common remark that we Indians get to listen to in every middle class family.

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STEM or Science, Technology, Engineering and Management fields have been dominating the employment and economic discourse in India.

Needless to say, STEM fields constitute the backbone of any modern country’s economy and society.

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However, decades of glorification of STEM fields in India among all sections of society has led to neglecting the field of social sciences in India.

Social sciences are practically becoming irrelevant in India and many disciplines are tottering on the verge of outright extinction.

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But it needs to be reminded that social sciences are equally important to their STEM counterparts.

Relevance of Social Sciences

Social sciences encompasses the disciplines of history, sociology, psychology, economics, philosophy, political science etc.

It is a product of centuries of intellectual political, societal and institutional discourses. It is anchored in human nature and seeks to articulate what good life is across societies.

Social sciences is normative by nature. Their field of research is human beings, societies and its institutions.

It helps in understanding our roots, unravelling our past, our real identity which shapes any society.

Social sciences help stabilize society by propounding an informed discourse on issues affecting us.

The sciences of society, further, help in understanding the value that religion holds over human institutions.

It helps in improving dialogues among various stakeholders of religions and cultures and ensure that humanity is strengthened.

Shapes the Future

You may be wondering, that all this assertions hold no intellectual water, but let me make myself clear-Social sciences help in cementing any society.

It helps in drafting a better and more humane version of the future.

Society is like a blank slate, as Steven Pinker in the book The Blank Slate-The Modern Denial of Human Nature put.

But such a blank slate can be molded for a good purpose.

In fact social sciences help in such a molding. For example- Germany and Japan today are some of the most pacifist societies globally.

But this has happened due to the recognition of abhorrent evils of their militaristic past. In case of Germany it was Hitlerism and in Japan’s case imperial militarism.

The sanitation of social sciences by dedicated intellectuals who de-Nazified and de-Imperialised history and sociology of both countries have reaped rich dividends.

The dividend- people are now are more sensitive to issues of race, genocide, anti-semitism etc.


It can be, therefore, concluded that social sciences will continue to remain relevant. Studying STEM fields is important, but without knowledge of social science, we humans will remain blank slates-deracinated and demoralized individuals.

Hence, social sciences will not die, love live social sciences.

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