Why Social Science Matters

I’d like to start from the very background of this post: the gap between natural sciences and social ones.

Conservative–I should add ‘Indonesian’–people failed to see that social science is a science. Most of them believe that social science is just a compilation of facts that everybody can learn from newspapers. They tend to believe that:

a) It is obviously easy, everyone can conquer it.
b) Natural scientists can do whatever social scientists can, but not otherwise.
c) Social science doesn’t require you to have a certain level of analytical aptitude, it only needs people who can memorize.

As a result, the government provides youngsters with many mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology competitions–but not social sciences. Tell you what, they’re complete nonsense.

Social science is not, I assure you, ‘a compilation of facts that everybody can learn from newspapers’, it rather explains beyond what is written. When the press announces publicly that more people are using Twitter, social scientists can tell you what it means in the future. We can explain why China vetoed a number of resolutions in the Security Council, and we analyze why some policies can’t be implied.

Social science is very challenging for its dynamics. Things that mattered for the international community during the World War II, for instance, are not important anymore in the 21st century. Trends have changed, concerns have swayed, and televisions now show different news.

Its vastly wide range of issues makes it impossible for us to solve it once and for all. Therefore, social science is broken down to a number of specific studies: anthropology, sociology, economics, psychology, political science, international relations study, communication science, criminology, administration study, social welfare study, and a lot of others to follow. This provides strategic options for future students with varying passions. Yet the silver line is clear: the interaction between agents in a certain structure of a system in the society.

Social scientists can convey a single idea or concept in more than a million ways. Unlike natural scientists who ‘prove’ one static truth, our truth moves from place to place and it takes thorough efforts to extract an abstracted truth from empirical evidences.

Those assumptions are all wrong, and these are true ones:
a) Social scientists try to answer different questions–most of them directly affect your life.
b) It doesn’t need natural scientists’ logic, but it does involve common sense and imagination to ‘construct truth’.
c) I sucked in my first year of studying social science, so it’s ‘obviously’ not easy.

With a single hope that parents, teachers, and–above all–students will comprehend the case I, along with BEM FISIP UI 2011, am making, we hereby suggest you to spread the good news of first Southeast Asian-wide Social Science Olympiads:


Find a lot more on: http://ois2011.com
Follow our Twitter: @ois_2011


One Comment

  1. Fu, I was reading your “The Sign of Four” when this post link appeared on the bottom part of that post. I was so much enjoying this post from the very beginning, although the last paragraph made me laugh a little. A creative way in bringing up the background of a project, many others failed to do the same.


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