social science

social science
A general label applied to the study of society and human relationships. The development of social sciences, during the course of the nineteenth century, followed on the development of natural science. The designation of an area of study as a social science usually carries the implication that it is comparable in important ways to a natural science. Of the various disciplines that study human beings, psychology is often seen as a natural rather than a social science, and economics most frequently regarded as a comparatively unproblematic social science. Sociology , social psychology , politics, and geography have a more problematic status, while history is perhaps least often designated as a science.
Discipline boundaries are by no means always clear and the generic term social science usually covers most or all of the disciplines mentioned. All, to various degrees, are engaged in debates about the nature of science and scientific status. Are the social sciences directly comparable to the natural sciences, or does the fact that their object of study is human make them different? And, if they are different, in what sense (if any) are they scientific? Sociologists, in particular, have addressed these questions more or less continuously from the time of the classical theorists onwards. See also methodology.

Dictionary of sociology. 2013.

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