Social science as a whole has many branches. These social sciences include, but are not limited to: anthropology, archaeology, communication studies, economics, history, musicology, human geography, jurisprudence, linguistics, political science, psychology, public health, and sociology. For a more detailed list of sub-disciplines within the social sciences see: Outline of social science. Positivist social scientists use methods resembling those of the natural sciences as tools for understanding society, and so define science in its stricter modern sense. The social sciences developed from the sciences (experimental and applied), or the systematic knowledge-bases or prescriptive practices, relating to the social improvement of a group of interacting entities. The growth of the social sciences is also reflected in other specialized encyclopedias. The modern period saw "social science" first used as a distinct conceptual field. The development of social science subfields became very quantitative in methodology. The interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary nature of scientific inquiry into human behaviour, social and environmental factors affecting it, made many of the natural sciences interested in some aspects of social science methodology. Examples of boundary blurring include emerging disciplines like social research of medicine, sociobiology, neuropsychology, bioeconomics and the history and sociology of science. In the contemporary period, Karl Popper and Talcott Parsons influenced the furtherance of the social sciences. Social science areas
The following are problem areas and discipline branches within the social sciences. Anthropology Area studies Business studies Communication studies Development studies Environmental studies Gender studies Industrial relations Information science Law Library science Media studies Paleontology Political science Social work The social science disciplines are branches of knowledge taught and researched at the college or university level. Social science disciplines are defined and recognized by the academic journals in which research is published, and the learned social science societies and academic departments or faculties to which their practitioners belong. Anthropology is the holistic "science of man", a science of the totality of human existence. The discipline deals with the integration of different aspects of the social sciences, humanities, and human biology. The social sciences have generally attempted to develop scientific methods to understand social phenomena in a generalizable way, though usually with methods distinct from those of the natural sciences. Communication studies integrates aspects of both social sciences and the humanities. As a social science, the discipline often overlaps with sociology, psychology, anthropology, biology, political science, economics, and public policy, among others. The expanding domain of economics in the social sciences has been described as economic imperialism.
In this sense, geography bridges some gaps between the natural sciences and social sciences. History has a base in both the social sciences and the humanities. However, the National Research Council classifies history as a social science. The study of law crosses the boundaries between the social sciences and humanities, depending on one's view of research into its objectives and effects. Legal policy incorporates the practical manifestation of thinking from almost every social science and the humanities. Political science also studies power in international relations and the theory of great powers and superpowers. Although some subfields encompass a natural science base and a social science application, others can be clearly distinguished as having little to do with the social sciences or having a lot to do with the social sciences. For example, biological psychology is considered a natural science with a social scientific application (as is clinical medicine), social and occupational psychology are, generally speaking, purely social sciences, whereas neuropsychology is a natural science that lacks application out of the scientific tradition entirely. Computational social science is an umbrella field encompassing computational approaches within the social sciences. Development studies a multidisciplinary branch of social science that addresses issues of concern to developing countries. Environmental social science is the broad, transdisciplinary study of interrelations between humans and the natural environment. Environmental studies integrate social, humanistic, and natural science perspectives on the relation between humans and the natural environment. Gender studies integrates several social and natural sciences to study gender identity, masculinity, femininity, transgender issues, and sexuality. Legal management is a social sciences discipline that is designed for students interested in the study of state and legal elements. Religious studies and Western esoteric studies incorporate and inform social-scientific research on phenomena broadly deemed religious. Religious studies, Western esoteric studies, and the social sciences developed in dialogue with one another.
Social research began most intentionally, however, with the positivist philosophy of science in the 19th century. Social sciences are criticized for neglecting the moral element of human behavior. Other social scientists emphasize the subjective nature of research. Phronetic social science is a theory and methodology for doing social science focusing on ethics and political power, based on a contemporary interpretation of Aristotelian phronesis. Social constructionism considers how social phenomena develop in social contexts. Other fringe social scientists delve in alternative nature of research. Most universities offer degrees in social science fields. The Bachelor of Social Science is a degree targeted at the social sciences in particular. It is often more flexible and in-depth than other degrees that include social science subjects.
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