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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  • social science — social scientist. 1. the study of society and social behavior. 2. a science or field of study, as history, economics, etc., dealing with an aspect of society or forms of social activity. [1775 85] * * * Any discipline or branch of science that… …   Universalium

  • Social science — Social So cial, a. [L. socialis, from socius a companion; akin to sequi to follow: cf. F. social. See {Sue} to follow.] 1. Of or pertaining to society; relating to men living in society, or to the public as an aggregate body; as, social interest… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • social science — social sciences 1) N UNCOUNT Social science is the scientific study of society. 2) N COUNT: usu pl The social sciences are the various types of social science, for example sociology and politics …   English dictionary

  • social science — n 1) a branch of science that deals with the institutions and functioning of human society and with the interpersonal relationships of individuals as members of society 2) a science (as anthropology or social psychology) dealing with a particular …   Medical dictionary

  • social science — n 1.) [U] the study of people in society 2.) a particular subject relating to the study of people in society, such as history, politics, ↑sociology, or ↑anthropology >social scientist n →↑natural science …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • social science — n. 1. the study of people living together in groups, families, etc., and their customs, activities, etc. 2. any of several fields of study, as economics, political science, or anthropology, dealing with the structure of society and the activity… …   English World dictionary

  • social science — noun uncount the study of the way people live in society a. count one of the separate subjects that deal with the way societies are organized, for example history or SOCIOLOGY. These subjects are referred to as the social sciences. ╾ ,social… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • social science — ► NOUN 1) the scientific study of human society and social relationships. 2) a subject within this field, such as economics …   English terms dictionary

  • social science — UK / US noun Word forms social science : singular social science plural social sciences a) [uncountable] the study of the way that people live in society b) [countable] one of the separate subjects that deal with the way societies are organized,… …   English dictionary

  • social science — (Roget s IV) n. Syn. sociology, study of people and social phenomena, study of human society, a science dealing with a certain phase or aspect of human society, science, social studies; see also anthropology , economics , geography , history 2 ,… …   English dictionary for students

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