In complex contemporary societies social science has become increasingly interwoven into the whole fabric of governance. At the same time there is an increasing recognition that attempts to understand the social world which seek to mimic the linear approaches of the conventional ‘hard sciences’ are mostly useless given the complex systems character of society in all its aspects. This book draws on a synthesis of critical realism and complexity theory to examine how social science is applied now and how it might be applied in the future in relation to social transformation in a time of crisis. A central argument is that there is no such thing as a ‘pure’ science of the social and that a recognition of the inevitability of application imposes obligations on social scientists wherever they work which challenge the passivity of most in the face of inequality and injustice.
This original edited collection explores the value of public engagement in a wider social science context. Its main themes range from the dialogic character of social science to the pragmatic responses to the managerial policies underpinning the restructuring of Higher Education. The book is organised in three parts: the first encourages the reader to reflect upon the different social and political inflections of public engagement and offers one university example of a social science café in Bristol. The following sections are based upon talks given in the café and are linked by a concern with public engagement and the contribution of social science to a reflexive understanding of the dilemmas and practices of daily life. This highly topical book will be of interest to academics, practitioners and students interested in critical social issues as they impact on their everyday lives.
109 TWELVE Imagining social science Ann Oakley Ann Oakley’s first degree was PPE at Somerville College, Oxford, in 1965, and her second a PhD in sociology at Bedford College, University of London in 1974. She has worked in university research for almost 50 years, and has published widely on gender, health, methodology and public policy. She is professor of sociology and social policy at the Institute of Education in London, and works in the Social Science Research Unit there, which she founded in 1990. 110 Sociologists’ Tales The stories we tell ourselves
15 ONE Evidence-based policy making and social science Gerry Stoker and Mark Evans There are good reasons why social science and evidence-based policy making are not always in tune with each other. The aim of this chapter is to help improve and advance the relationship between the two, but, equally, we do not want to fall into the trap of being naive about the inherently challenging character of the relationship. There are features of the way that policy processes operate and social science works that create tensions in the relationship. It is these
Part Three Applying Social Science in the City™ and beyond
183 Part 4: Doing social science Sociology has been changed by women’s studies, but the two have not achieved integration, largely because sociology’s resistance to central pre- cepts of women’s studies work has been, and remains, too great to allow this to happen. It is rather like what has happened in the domain of the family ... small changes at the last minute.… (‘Women’s studies: theory or practice’, 1989, p 283)
A growing number of people are claiming or reclaiming a religious or spiritual identity for themselves. Yet, in contemporary Western societies, the frameworks of understanding that have developed within the social science disciplines, and which are used to analyse data, are secular in nature, and so may be inappropriate for investigating some aspects of religion, spirituality and faith and how these intersect with individuals’ lives.
This edited collection addresses important theoretical and methodological issues to explore ways of engaging with religion and spirituality when carrying out social science research. Divided into three sections, the book examines the notion of secularism in relation to contemporary western society, including a focus upon secularisation; explores how the values underpinning social scientific enquiry might serve to marginalise religion and spirituality; and reflects on social science research methodologies when researching religion and spirituality.
With international contributions from key academics in the fields of religious studies, cultural studies, political science, criminology, sociology, health and social policy, this engaging book will provide social science students, educators, researchers and practitioners with an essential overview of key debates around secularism, faith, spirituality and social science research.
Impact has become a central part of the assessment criteria for academic worth. It has been adopted by many research funding bodies, and it is firmly embedded in the British Research Excellence Framework. However, a clear definition of impact remains elusive and guidance on how exactly to achieve it is often superficial.
This concise, informative book analyses impact across the social sciences. It draws on the analysis of the most highly ranked British impact case studies from the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, as well as fifteen interviews with senior academics, providing a longitudinal and critical framing of impact. The author concludes with valuable recommendations of how and when scholars can achieve impact.
With foreword by Kenneth J. Gergen and Mary M. Gergen.
Creative research methods can help to answer complex contemporary questions, which are hard to answer using traditional methods alone. Creative methods can also be more ethical, helping researchers to address social injustice.
This accessible book is the first to identify and examine the four areas of creative research methods: arts-based research, research using technology, mixed-method research and transformative research frameworks. Written in a practical and jargon-free style, with over 100 boxed examples, it offers numerous examples of creative methods in practice, from the social sciences, arts, and humanities around the world. Spanning the gulf between academia and practice, this useful book will inform and inspire researchers by showing readers why, when, and how to use creative methods in their research.
195 Conclusion: Poverty and social science Over the course of the 20th century, the concept of poverty adhered to by social scientists became progressively more distant from the experience of poor people. When Charles Booth compiled his reports on poverty in the 1880s, the political discussions of the time homed in on his ‘poverty line’1 (not, in point of fact, a ‘line’ at all2). Rowntree’s subsequent work on poverty refined that concept, centring our attention on subsistence and household incomes.3 Most of the work done between the 1960s and 1990s