We all have a profound comprehension that since the emergence of the sciences, natural science has occupied a higher eminence in the hierarchy among all sciences. It is due to its accuracy in results and ‘universal meaning’ or ‘universality in methods’. Its accuracy and exactness is predominately due to the objectifying of and quantifying the natural laws of real world. Thus, the prerequisite for the existence of natural sciences is ‘matter’ and ‘matter’ has no consciousness. Hence, the task of the natural scientist is to scrutinise this ‘matter’ objectively and in a controlled environment, such as of a laboratory.
Unlike in natural sciences, the word ‘consciousness’ is a prerequisite for the existence of social science, particularly in sociology. All the social sciences like sociology, political science, economic, history, education, philosophy, etc, directly and indirectly have profound relation with ‘individual’ and individual has ‘consciousness’. Certainly, it is an acknowledged fact that the natural science methods gave a scientific ‘fashion’ to social science, particularly to sociology during the eighteen century. The contrast between the ‘consciousness vs matter’ created a different paradigm/ world (natural & social world) for both sciences in the contemporary era.
During the enlightenment phase, when the ghost of science was riding on the mind of everyone, many disciplines of social science, like sociology, were in infancy stage and no one was ready to accept sociology as a science. Thus, various social scientists like August Comet, Emile Durkheim and Saint Simon tried to borrow scientific concepts like ‘static’, ‘organic’, and ‘mechanical’, etc, to justify ‘social science’ or sociology as science.
Ingrained value of Humanism and Social Justice
The prime objective of the social sciences is to scrutinise the social fabric of society, directly or indirectly. Moreover, it is a widely recognised fact that society is made up of social interaction, social relationship and social consciousness of individuals. All these social materials (interaction & consciousness) which design society are abstract in nature. Thus, it is proved that society is abstract in nature. Hence, to examine the abstraction of society (no physical shape, size and diameters) is not an easy task but a challenging one. Accordingly, all social scientists, particularly the sociologist, deals with these abstractions like social behaviour and interaction which are not static but dynamic in nature.
History has witnessed various revolutions, social movements and transformations that have been brought about by the social sciences. Social sciences analyse the behavior of the individual and try to examine how this behaviour creates order or disorder in society. Further, they also try to internalise societal values and norms among individuals.
The social sciences, especially sociology, directly deal with the social world and primarily explore the dynamism of society. Moreover, it is the social sciences, which design and structure the consciousness and create awareness about the exploitation, subjugation and social justice among the members of society.
The teaching of social sciences promotes the spirit of integrity and oneness in society. Furthermore, it creates the atmosphere of humanism by internalising the values and morals of the society. Thus, social sciences facilitate an assessment as well as a future projection of socio-economic development that are pivotal to the national progress and transformation.
The social sciences and humanities address the cultural domain that shapes social consciousness, which in turn significantly impacts on social processes. These disciplines offer the intellectuals skills to critically evaluate contending models of development in virtually all spheres, and recommend the alternatives appropriate for any particular society.
Therefore, sociology in particular and social sciences as a whole provide the “historical memory” of a nation and society. This historical memory is indispensable not only for the appreciation for the past, but also for the insights it gives into the present, and the possibilities for the future.
Undoubtedly, social sciences have the capabilities and potential to promote the spirit of humanism and enhance the likelihood of social justice. As they are primarily concerned with social behavior, they can predict the cause of order and disorder in society. Thus, there should be a proper consideration given to the social sciences steams in every educational institution, for they are the backbone of societal order and equilibrium.
The writer has a PhD in Sociology from AMU, Aligarh. He is working as Assistant Professor (Contractual) at Govt Degree Collage Doda, University of Jammu. [email protected]