Social sciences

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The elite university École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS) in Paris is the most important and prestigious university for social sciences in the French-speaking world and tries to combine the different disciplines of the social sciences

The social sciences (also social sciences) examine phenomena of the social coexistence of people.


In the social sciences, structures and functions of social interdependencies between institutions and systems and their interaction with the action and behavioral processes of the individual individuals ( actors ) are theoretically guided or empirically analyzed.

Occasionally, in German-speaking countries, courses of study are also offered under the collective name of social science or social sciences , such as at the Free University of Berlin , the Humboldt University of Berlin , the University of Bielefeld , the University of Trier , the Ruhr University Bochum , the University of Stuttgart , the University Augsburg , the Justus Liebig University Gießen , the University of Mannheim , the University of Düsseldorf and the University of the Federal Armed Forces in Munich . These courses are mostly similar to sociological, political science and / or economics courses, but the name emphasizes their interdisciplinary orientation. They are often characterized by in-depth empirical and statistical method training. Since the early 1980s, the Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg has had a diploma course in social sciences, consisting of the individual disciplines political science, sociology, economics, public law, statistics and empirical social research. At the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen there has been a Bachelor's degree in social sciences since the 2011/12 winter semester, which differs from the above. There, all subjects of the faculty (education, ethnology, gender studies, Indian studies, political science, sociology, sports science) as well as economics and / or law can be freely chosen in a broad education. At the University of Rostock there is a bachelor's degree in social sciences with a focus on sociology, demography and economics, two of which you have to take. Some modules in political science can be taken in the compulsory elective area.

In France and the French-speaking countries, the elite university École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS) in Paris is the most important academic institution in the social sciences; it is associated with Pierre Bourdieu and Jacques Le Goff , among others . In 1984 the university was named a Grand établissement by the French state , together with the Collège de France or the Institut d'études politiques de Paris (Sciences Po) and has enjoyed a particularly high academic reputation ever since.


In a broader sense, the social sciences include the following disciplines :


In the social sciences, scientific methods are used that are partly related to those of the natural sciences and partly to those of the humanities. That is why the demarcation is difficult. There are no uniform rules beyond the traditions of the institutions that use the terms.

To the natural sciences

The term arose on the one hand to distinguish it from the natural sciences , which the social sciences, however, approach in the post-positivist direction.

An essential difference is seen here in the fact that the objects of the natural sciences cannot take note of the forecasts of the natural scientists and are therefore not influenced by them. In the social sciences, however, the objects of research are also acting subjects ; they can take note of social science prognoses (e.g. election prognoses) and, with this knowledge, do exactly - also do that ( self-fulfilling prophecy ) or precisely - don't do that ( self-destructive prophecy ) . This enables the empirical testing of social science statements - e.g. B. through experiments - difficult in a different way than the scientific examination. Logically, this difference is z. B. treated in the Günther logic .

To the humanities

Here, following Wilhelm Dilthey, a distinction is made between the humanities, which are more oriented towards understanding , and the social sciences, which are oriented towards explanation . However, the sociologist Max Weber has also made it clear that understanding is the basis of all social science work, insofar as the first basic concept of sociology , the concept of action , can only be defined by the concept of the - to be understood - subjective meaning . Therefore, explanation in the social sciences is first and foremost explanatory understanding.

In view of the tendency towards interdisciplinary work, this distinction has been put into perspective. A more modern conceptual formation with the designation human sciences summarizes all sciences that have any aspect of human beings as the object of investigation. This includes the humanities and social sciences as well as a few natural sciences such as human biology or medicine .

See also

Portal: Society  - Overview of Wikipedia content on society


Web links

Commons : Social sciences  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Social Science  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Political and Social Sciences. October 3, 2005, accessed July 3, 2018 .
  2. ^ Degree courses - Institute for Social Sciences at the Humboldt University in Berlin
  3. Archived copy ( Memento of the original from December 28, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  4. See website of the Ruhr University Bochum .
  5. See website of the Institute for Social Sciences at the University of Stuttgart
  6. See website of the University of Augsburg
  7. See website of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Mannheim
  8. ^ Cf. Institute for Social Sciences at Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf
  9. See website of the Bachelor's degree in Social Sciences at the University of Göttingen
  10. ^ Website of the University of Rostock
  11. Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales: EHESS at a Glance. August 31, 2016, accessed March 26, 2020 .
  12. See, however, the section Understanding and Explanation in Wilhelm Dilthey , who definitely counts the social sciences as the humanities and distinguishes them from the natural sciences as the explanatory sciences.
  13. Cf. Max Weber's Economy and Society , there p. 1, see also Sociology .
  14. See Economy and Society , p. 4 there.