Key Characteristics of Social Science

Social science is classified into applied social sciences, sciences focusing on the cognitive system, and sciences focusing on social interaction.

Social science is a set of disciplines with human beings as the object of the study together with all the systems operating around their development in the society. Simply put, social science is the science that studies society and the way people develop and interact within it.

The Early Beginnings of Social Science

Social sciences analyze the society without any bias or prejudice. These sciences started to emerge after the age of Illustration because of the philosophy during that era and based on the concept of “the scientific” that started to be understood differently.

Observing the society as well as its description started to be carried out in a more conscientious and systematic way. Auguste Comte was among the first ones who used the phrase social science for describing these knowledge areas that came to existence under the influence of positivist philosophy.

These are reflected as social sciences in the encyclopedia of d’Alembert and Diderot published in 1752, serving as the collection of that era’s human knowledge.

While a lot of sciences are regarded social, delimiting their field exactly is not easy since the trend of inter-disciplinarity has been proven to be the best choice to reach a more comprehensive study of different phenomena.

Classifications of Social Sciences

One way to characterize and classify social sciences is according to their particular object of study. The following are some of the classifications of social sciences:

  • Social sciences focusing on social interaction

This category includes all disciplines that find their object of study in the exchange between people. It doesn’t matter if they focus on the consequences, development, or cause of this exchange, the focus is completely social. The ones worthy to mention include:

1.      Anthropology

2.      Economy

3.      Ethnography

4.      Law

5.      Sociology

  • Social sciences focusing on human cognitive system 

This category includes the social sciences studying the processes where the human brain, the intellect, or the psyche is involved. Among the sciences focusing on the cognitive system include:

1.      Linguistics

2.      Psychology

  • Social sciences related to evolution of societies

 The sciences in this category study humanity from an evolutionary and historical perspective. Among them are the following:

1.      Archeology

2.      Demography

3.      History

  • Applied social sciences

Finally, this classification includes social sciences that have been oriented to vey specific scopes of human tasks. Some of the applied social sciences which remain known and used to this day include:

1.      Accounting

2.      Administration

3.      Bibliotecology

4.      Pedagogy

As you can see, there are no definite characteristics associated with social science because of the different classifications that it has. However, there is one thing that remains true and that is the fact that all categories of social sciences have their uses and purposes.

Being familiar with the specific branches under each classification will help you learn more about the true purpose of social science and the role it plays in the modern society.