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The history of the social sciences begins in the Age of science. The last path was the correlation of knowledge and social values; the. One purpose of the History and Social Science Program at IMSA is to assist Exploration of the relationship between individual freedom and community. Read this article to learn about the relationship of history with other sciences: other social sciences which make a specific study of different facts of human life.
On the other hand, social studies involve various fields and an entity called society. It deals with society, how it works, and other people-related issues like social behavior or compliance, traditions, and cultures.
Social science integrates the social studies and humanities fields under this umbrella term dealing with human behavior, interactions, as well as the human societies of both the past and the present. History can be classified in many different ways: History can also be recorded usually written or non-recorded oral history and tradition. The primary aim of social studies is to equip a citizen to make important decisions as a member of society.
An individual citizen can make a huge contribution to either the growth or reduction of society where that individual belongs. Social studies comprise academic disciplines and stand-alone fields of study. This includes history, economics, political science, psychology, anthropology, geography, social science, sociology, archeology, communication, linguistics, law, philosophy, and religion.
History and social studies are familiar studies in schools. Both studies are incorporated in the school curriculum on many levels of education elementary, secondary, and tertiary. A major component of both subjects is the focus on people or the human element, from the individual to society social studiesand the contributions of people and the human element in the course of history history.
Social studies are a broad category that encompasses many related disciplines, including history. This category usually includes disciplines from social sciences and the humanities. History, on the other hand, can be classified as belonging both to social science and humanities. Social studies focus on society as an entity and the activities that its members engage in human interaction, relationships, culture and tradition, and other human aspects.
On the other hand, history is also involved with people with a specific reference to what happened in the past. Heritage of the Enlightenment There is also the fact that, especially in the 18th century, reform and even revolution were often in the air. The purpose of a great many social philosophers was by no means restricted to philosophical, much less scientific, understanding of humanity and society.
The dead hand of the Middle Ages seemed to many vigorous minds in western Europe the principal force to be combatted, through critical reason, enlightenment, and, where necessary, major reform or revolution. One may properly account a great deal of this new spirit to the rise of humanitarianism in modern Europe and in other parts of the world and to the spread of literacythe rise in the standard of livingand the recognition that poverty and oppression need not be the fate of the masses.
The fact remains, however, that social reform and social science have different organizing principles, and the very fact that for a long time, indeed through a good part of the 19th century, social reform and social science were regarded as basically the same thing could not have helped but retard the development of the latter. Nevertheless, it would be wrong to discount the significant contributions to the social sciences that were made during the 17th and 18th centuries.
The first and greatest of these was the spreading ideal of a science of society, an ideal fully as widespread by the 18th century as the ideal of a physical science. Second was the rising awareness of the multiplicity and variety of human experience in the world.
Ethnocentrism and parochialism, as states of mind, were more and more difficult for educated people to maintain given the immense amount of information about—or, more important, interest in—non-Western peoples, the results of trade and exploration. Third was the spreading sense of the social or cultural character of human behaviour in society—that is, its purely historical or conventional, rather than biological, basis.
A science of society, in short, was no mere appendage of biology but was instead a distinct discipline, or set of disciplines, with its own distinctive subject matter. To these may be added two other very important contributions of the 17th and 18th centuries, each of great theoretical significance. The first was the idea of structure.
Having emerged in the writings of such philosophers as Thomas HobbesJohn Lockeand Jean-Jacques Rousseau with reference to the political structure of the state, it had spread by the midth century to highlight the economic writings of the physiocrats and Adam Smith. The idea of structure can also be seen in certain works relating to human psychology and, at opposite reach, to the whole of civil society.
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The ideas of structure that were borrowed from both the physical and biological sciences were fundamental to the conceptions of political, economic, and social structure that took shape in the 17th and 18th centuries. And these conceptions of structure have in many instances, subject only to minor changes, endured in the contemporary study of social science.
Courtesy of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh The second major theoretical idea was that of developmental change. Its ultimate roots in Western thought, like those indeed of the whole idea of structure, go back to the Greeks, if not earlier. But it is in the 18th century, above all others, that the philosophy of developmentalism took shape, forming a preview, so to speak, of the social evolutionism of the next century. What was said by such writers as CondorcetRousseau, and Smith was that the present is an outgrowth of the past, the result of a long line of development in time, and, furthermore, a line of development that has been caused not by God or fortuitous factors but by conditions and causes immanent in human society.
Despite a fairly widespread belief that the idea of social development is a product of prior discovery of biological evolutionthe facts are the reverse. Well before any clear idea of genetic speciation existed in European biology, there was a very clear idea of what might be called social speciation—that is, the emergence of one institution from another in time and of the whole differentiation of function and structure that goes with this emergence.
As has been suggested, these and other seminal ideas were contained for the most part in writings whose primary function was to attack the existing order of government and society in western Europe. Another way of putting the matter is to say that these ideas were clear and acknowledged parts of political and social idealism—using that word in its largest sense.
HobbesLockeRousseauMontesquieuSmithand other major philosophers had as vivid and energizing a sense of the ideal—the ideal state, the ideal economy, the ideal civil society—as any earlier utopian writer. These thinkers were, without exception, committed to visions of the good or ideal society.
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The fact remains, however, that the ideas that were to prove decisive in the 19th century, so far as the social sciences were concerned, arose during the two centuries preceding. The breakup of the old order—an order that had rested on kinshiplandsocial classreligion, local communityand monarchy —set free, as it were, the complex elements of statusauthority, and wealth that had been for so long consolidated. In the same way that the history of 19th-century politics, industryand trade is basically about the practical efforts of human beings to reconsolidate these elements, so the history of 19th-century social thought is about theoretical efforts to reconsolidate them—that is, to give them new contexts of meaning.
In terms of the immediacy and sheer massiveness of impact on human thought and values, it would be difficult to find revolutions of comparable magnitude in human history.
The political, social, and cultural changes that began in France and England at the very end of the 18th century spread almost immediately through Europe and the Americas in the 19th century and then on to Asia, Africa, and Oceania in the 20th.
The effects of the two revolutions, the one overwhelmingly democratic in thrust, the other industrial-capitalist, have been to undermine, shake, or topple institutions that had endured for centuries, even millennia, and with them systems of authority, status, belief, and community. It is easy today to deprecate the suddenness, the cataclysmic nature, the overall revolutionary effect of these two changes and to seek to subordinate results to longer, deeper tendencies of more gradual change in western Europe.
But as many historians have pointed out, there was to be seen, and seen by a great many sensitive minds of that day, a dramatic and convulsive quality to the changes that cannot properly be subsumed to the slower processes of continuous evolutionary change. What is crucial, in any event, from the point of view of the history of the social thought of the period, is how the changes were actually envisaged at the time.
By a large number of social philosophers and social scientists, in all spheres, those changes were regarded as nothing less than earth-shattering. A large number of words taken for granted today came into being in the period marked by the final decade or two of the 18th century and the first quarter of the 19th. Some of these words were invented; others reflect new and very different meanings given to old ones.
All alike bear witness to the transformed character of the European social landscape as this landscape loomed up to the leading minds of the age. And all these words bear witness too to the emergence of new social philosophies and, most pertinent to the subject of this article, the social sciences as they are known today. Major themes resulting from democratic and industrial change It is illuminating to mention a few of the major themes in social thought in the 19th century that were almost the direct results of the democratic and industrial revolutions.
It should be borne in mind that these themes are to be seen in the philosophical and literary writing of the age as well as in social thought. First, there was the great increase in population. Between and the population of Europe went from million to million and of the world from million to well over 1 billion.
It was an English clergyman and economist, Thomas Malthuswho, in his famous Essay on the Principle of Populationfirst marked the enormous significance to human welfare of this increase. With the diminution of historic checks on population growth, chiefly those of high mortality rates —a diminution that was, as Malthus realized, one of the rewards of technological progress—there were no easily foreseeable limits to growth of population.
And such growth, he stressed, could only upset the traditional balance between population, which Malthus described as growing at a geometrical rate, and food supply, which he declared could grow only at an arithmetical rate. Not all social scientists in the century took the pessimistic view of the matter that Malthus did, but few if any were indifferent to the impact of explosive increase in population on economy, government, and society.
Thomas Robert Malthus, detail of an engraving after a portrait by J. Courtesy of the trustees of the British Museum; photograph, J. Second, there was the condition of labour.
It may be possible to see this condition in the early 19th century as in fact better than the condition of the rural masses at earlier times. But the important point is that to a large number of writers in the 19th century it seemed worse and was defined as worse.
The wrenching of large numbers of people from the older and protective contexts of village, guild, parish, and familyand their massing in the new centres of industry, forming slumsliving in common squalor and wretchedness, their wages generally behind cost of livingtheir families growing larger, their standard of living becoming lower, as it seemed—all of this is a frequent theme in the social thought of the century.
Third, there was the transformation of property. Not only was more and more property to be seen as industrial—manifest in the factories, business houses, and workshops of the period—but also the very nature of property was changing. This led, as was early realized, to the dominance of financial interests, to speculation, and to a general widening of the gulf between the propertied and the masses.
The change in the character of property made easier the concentration of property, the accumulation of immense wealth in the hands of a relative few, and, not least, the possibility of economic domination of politics and culture.
It should not be thought that only socialists saw property in this light. Fourth, there was urbanization —the sudden increase in the number of towns and cities in western Europe and the increase in number of persons living in the historic towns and cities. Whereas in earlier centuries, the city had been regarded almost uniformly as a setting of civilization, culture, and freedom of mind, now one found more and more writers aware of the other side of cities: Sociology particularly among the social sciences turned its attention to the problems of urbanization.
Cooley and Robert E. Fifth, there was technology. With the spread of mechanizationfirst in the factories and then in agriculture, social thinkers could see possibilities of a rupture of the historic relation between humans and nature, between humans and humans, and even between humans and God.Exploring Relationships Between Social Sciences and Natural Sciences
To thinkers as politically different as Thomas Carlyle and Marxtechnology seemed to lead to dehumanization of the worker and to a new kind of tyranny over human life. Marx, though, far from despising technology, thought the advent of socialism would counteract all this. Alexis de Tocqueville declared that technology, and especially technical specialization of workwas more degrading to the human mind and spirit than even political tyranny. It was thus in the 19th century that the opposition to technology on moral, psychological, and aesthetic grounds first made its appearance in Western thought.
Sixth, there was the factory system. The importance of this to 19th-century thought has been intimated above. Suffice it to add that along with urbanization and spreading mechanization, the system of work whereby masses of workers left home and family to work long hours in the factories became a major theme of social thought as well as of social reform. Seventh, and finally, mention is to be made of the development of political masses —that is, the slow but inexorable widening of franchise and electorate through which ever larger numbers of persons became aware of themselves as voters and participants in the political process.
Tocqueville saw the rise of the political masses, more especially the immense power that could be wielded by the masses, as the single greatest threat to individual freedom and cultural diversity in the ages ahead. Roger-Viollet These, then, are the principal themes in the 19th-century writing that may be seen as direct results of the two great revolutions.
As themes, they are to be found not only in the social sciences but, as noted above, in a great deal of the philosophical and literary writing of the century. In their respective ways, the philosophers Georg Wilhelm Friedrich HegelSamuel Taylor Coleridgeand Ralph Waldo Emerson were as struck by the consequences of the revolutions as were any social scientists. New ideologies One other point must be emphasized about these themes. They became, almost immediately in the 19th century, the bases of new ideologies.
How people reacted to the currents of democracy and industrialism stamped them conservativeliberalor radical. On the whole, with rarest exceptions, liberals welcomed the two revolutions, seeing in their forces opportunity for freedom and welfare never before known to humankind.
The liberal view of society was overwhelmingly democratic, capitalist, industrial, and, of course, individualistic. The case is somewhat different with conservatism and radicalism in the century. Conservatives, beginning with Burke and continuing through Hegel and Matthew Arnold to such minds as John Ruskin later in the century, disliked both democracy and industrialism, preferring the kind of tradition, authority, and civility that had been, in their minds, displaced by the two revolutions.
Theirs was a retrospective view, but it was a nonetheless influential one, affecting a number of the central social scientists of the century, among them Comte and Tocqueville and later Weber and Durkheim. The radicals accepted democracy but only in terms of its extension to all areas of society and its eventual annihilation of any form of authority that did not spring directly from the people as a whole. And although the radicals, for the most part, accepted the phenomenon of industrialism, especially technology, they were uniformly antagonistic to capitalism.
Matthew Arnold, detail of an oil painting by G.
Watts; in the National Portrait Gallery, London Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, London These ideological consequences of the two revolutions proved extremely important to the social sciences, for it would be difficult to identify a social scientist in the century—as it would a philosopher or a humanist —who was not, in some degree at least, caught up in ideological currents.
Tylor and Lewis Henry Morganone has before one persons who were engaged not merely in the study of society but also in often strongly partisan ideology.
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Some were liberals, some conservatives, others radicals. All drew from the currents of ideology that had been generated by the two great revolutions. New intellectual and philosophical tendencies It is important also to identify three other powerful tendencies of thought that influenced all of the social sciences.
The first is a positivism that was not merely an appeal to science but almost reverence for science; the second, humanitarianism; the third, the philosophy of evolution. The positivist appeal of science was to be seen everywhere. The rise of the ideal of science in the 17th century was noted above.
The 19th century saw the virtual institutionalization of this ideal—possibly even canonization. The great aim was that of dealing with moral values, institutions, and all social phenomena through the same fundamental methods that could be seen so luminously in such areas as physics and biology. Prior to the 19th century, no very clear distinction had been made between philosophy and science, and the term philosophy was even preferred by those working directly with physical materials, seeking laws and principles in the fashion of Sir Isaac Newton or William Harvey —that is, by persons whom one would now call scientists.
In the 19th century, in contrast, the distinction between philosophy and science became an overwhelming one. Virtually every area of human thought and behaviour was considered by a rising number of persons to be amenable to scientific investigation in precisely the same degree that physical data were. More than anyone else, it was Comte who heralded the idea of the scientific treatment of social behaviour. His Cours de philosophie positive published in English as The Positive Philosophy of Auguste Comtepublished in six volumes between andsought to demonstrate irrefutably not merely the possibility but the inevitability of a science of humanity, one for which Comte coined the word sociology and that would do for humans as social beings exactly what biology had already done for humans as biological animals.
But Comte was far from alone. There were many in the century to join in his celebration of science for the study of society. Roger-Viollet Humanitarianismthough a very distinguishable current of thought in the century, was closely related to the idea of a science of society. For the ultimate purpose of social science was thought by almost everyone to be the welfare of society, the improvement of its moral and social condition.
Humanitarianism, strictly defined, is the institutionalization of compassion; it is the extension of welfare and succour from the limited areas in which these had historically been found, chiefly family and village, to society at large. One of the most notable and also distinctive aspects of the 19th century was the constantly rising number of persons, almost wholly from the middle class, who worked directly for the betterment of society.