Social science is an umbrella term, referring to a number of different branches of science that are concerned with human activity. The discipline has developed over the last century, following the Second World War and the fallout from the economic recession of the 1970s. Today it is considered one of the major fields in higher education.
Social science is an academic field of study that seeks to explain the social aspects of human behaviour. Humans are social beings, with all of our behaviours being influenced by cultural norms and interpersonal interactions. The discipline also seeks to describe these interactions in terms that are objective and rational. One of the most important areas in social sciences that studies human behaviour is anthropology, especially anthropology of the social sciences.
anthropology is an essential part of the social sciences, particularly sociology, because it studies human behaviour and group relations. It is used as an educational science, but also as a source of information on the places, people and events that shaped human history and development. For example, archeology provides a wealth of information about ancient places of importance and ancient social sciences can be traced back to the works of such individuals as archaeologist Richard Legg.
Economics is used in all areas of the social sciences, especially anthropology, because it studies how people make decisions within a complex social environment. This area of study is called the social and personal economics. It uses the concepts of psychology and sociology to give an explanation of why people behave in certain ways.
Geography is used extensively in the social sciences, especially anthropology, because human relationships within a community are often governed by natural forces. Natural sciences are generally interdisciplinary and deal with a wide range of topics. Geography, however, is an exception because it studies the physical features of an area. It also studies human relationships within it, especially in the context of travel, settlement and farming. Archaeology and Ethnography are examples of natural sciences that give valuable input to understanding human relationships and society.
Linguistics and psychology are using in conjunction with geography to study language patterns and societal organization. These disciplines have an important role in making economic, legal and political decisions based on where people live. Anthropology also contributes significantly to these areas with its records on migration, language diversity and socio-cultural organization. Archaeology and Ethnography provide invaluable information about ancient societies, giving details of how people lived in different geographical areas.
The study of culture is a crucial aspect of social science research. A number of the characteristics of culture are determined by humans themselves and through their interaction with other people. For example, some cultural traits are derived from genes passed on from parents and other relatives. Other aspects are determined by social interactions within a community such as gender roles or norms, spiritual beliefs and attitudes, and even notions of right and wrong. In most cases, these factors affect the development of social organizations, including marriage, family and groups within communities.
Archaeology and Ethnography both study human behaviour in the archaeological record. They use many of the same methods, including genetic studies, voice analysis, fossil evidence and field research. Cultural diversity has been an issue in research for several decades now and has become increasingly important to social science. This is particularly evident in issues related to education, work, language and identity. As well as this major industry, there are also the archaeology and anthropology of language, literature and ethnicity.
Geography is one of the more traditional areas of study in the social sciences, although technology and information technologies have made significant advances in this area as well. Geography incorporates the study of human societies and their interactions within a global context. Archaeology and anthropology both look closely at the role of geographical factors in human history and evolution, and the distribution of human populations and how that relates to society, culture and relationships. The relationship between psychology and sociology is closely linked to the study of geographical systems. This can be seen in forensic science and anthropology, as well as in studies of language and sociology. Some of the topics in the social sciences that deal extensively with geographical theory include social ecology, cultural evolution and the function of space in the organization of society.
The topics that overlap those of the natural sciences and social sciences include cognitive science, developmental psychology, sociology and anthropology. A further complication in the classification of these three areas is the fact that all three have a home in either the humanities or the sciences, depending on the perspective of the researcher. For example, cognitive science and social science have some things in common in the way that they study human behavior and decision making, but a lot of the research in these areas is conducted in both natural and social sciences fields.
One of the most influential areas of study in all three fields is psychology. It studies the explanations for human behaviour and is the basis of much of what we understand about the world and ourselves. A major part of psychology is that it relies on a scientific method called the psychological enterprise, which seeks to describe the workings of the mind through the presentation of a range of examples. Much of social science and anthropology also draws on psychology as a major source of data and as a major topic of research. In the broadest sense, all of these disciplines seek to describe and explain the human experience and the world as we understand it to find out patterns and predict future behaviour.