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HIGHLIGHTS FOR THE UNIVERSE OF THE SOCIAL SCIENCES

BY

PETER-JAZZY EZEH Ph.D

&

CHUKWUEMEKA QUENTIN CHUKWU

Course Objectives

Students will become acquainted with the following concepts at the end of the course:

 Definitions of the Social Sciences
 Why the Social Science is regarded as a Scientific endeavour
 The Subjects which make up the discipline of Social Sciences
 The major branches of these subjects
 Some mind arousing questions

Definition

 Halloram (2010) attempted an all inclusive definition thus:
 Social science, which is generally regarded as
including psychology, sociology, anthropology,
economics and political science, consists of the
disciplined and systematic study of society and its
institutions, and of how and why people behave as
they do, both as individuals and in groups within
society. At a minimum it would appear that to be
“scientific” entails a systematic and disciplined
method of acquiring knowledge, and that
knowledge must be verifiable knowledge.

 Social Science has as its central focus – Man and the Environment where there is the
interactions between both.
 Social Science has its scientific nature because of its reliance on an organized set of
techniques to investigate phenomena
 Science is derived from the Latin word ‘scientia’- knowledge
 The characteristics of science include:
 Observation
 Data Selection’
 Classification of Materials
 Application of generally gathered materials
 Use of theory to explain/predict phenomena

 The social science has the following subjects as the fields within the domain:
 Political Science
 Philosophy
 Economics
 Geography
 Sociology
 Anthropology
 Psychology
 Religion

 Revision Questions
 Social Science is a Science. True or False? Buttress your answers
 What is the Social Science?
 Mention and Explain the Characteristics of Science
 What are the major fields of the social science

PHILOSOPHY

 Regarded as the cradle of all other subjects
 Philosophy means quest for wisdom
 Miller (1996) argues that philosophy could be defined in four (4) distinct ways:
 Etymologically
 Through the various branches of the subject of philosophy
 As a critical and rational enterprise
 Through the various Approaches – Speculative, Analytical, Existential &
Phenomenological Approaches

 The branches of philosophy include the following:
 Logic – studies the nature of reasoning
 Metaphysics – inquires into the nature & essence of reality. It is divided into
Cosmology & Cosmogony
 Epistemology – studies the theory of knowledge
 Ethics – inquires the nature of the good life and morality
 Aesthetics – studies the value in art & our experience of beauty
 Philosophy has the following schools – Dialectics, Materialists, Sceptics, Realists,
Liberalists, Modernists etc

POLITICAL SCIENCE

 Anifowose & Enemuo (1999) defined political science as the field of study which
systematically studies & analyzes politics
 Political science focuses on the essence of power & how power is captured, used,
allocated; political behaviour, groups & society, organization of society and how rules
which government societies are made and implemented.
 It is an off-shoot of Philosophy and still draws some of her concepts, like other social
sciences from philosophy.
 Political Science has the following major branches:
 Public Administration’
 Government/Comparative Politics
 Political Theory
 International Relations
 Political Economy
 Human Security & Conflict Management

GEOGRAPHY

 Comes from two Greek Words ‘Geo’ and ‘Graphy’- Earth Writing
 Ofomata (2001) defines it as the science which studies the interactions between man
& his environment
 The focus area of Geography includes – Climate, Population, Natural Resources etc
 It is divided into Human Geography which studies man’s interactions with his
immediate environment, Regional Geography –investigates the linkages between
areas with the use of special tools; Transportation Geography – studies landscapes etc
& Physical Geography – investigates the resources found in the environment

PSYCHOLOGY

 Strives to understand, predict, control & change human behaviours when necessary
 Hilgard (1962) defines it as the science that studies the behaviour of man and other
animals
 It is concerned with the mental processes & behaviours, dreams, thoughts etc
 It is regarded as both a biological and social science discipline
 It relies on the following perspectives to explain behaviour:
 Functionalism
 Structuralism
 Associationism
 Behaviourism
 Psychoanalysis
 The branches of psychology are as follows:
 Experimental Psychology
 Behaviour Genetics
 Physiological Psychology’
 Cross-cultural Psychology, etc
 Research methods in psychology include; Case Study, Observational Method,
Correlational Method, Experimental and quasi-experimental methods.
SOCIOLOGY

 It is the branch of the social science which investigates how society is governed, by
whom, when and how, via the study of groups
 Comes from Latin word ‘Socius’ and Greek word ‘Logo’ both interpreted as “study of
Society”
 Deals with study of the
 society as a group,
 people as the constituents,
 the interactions,
 consensus maintenance and stability process in society
 the social groups arising therein
 The focus of sociology is the nature, stability, dynamics of society and interactions
between the individuals as organizations.
 The primary focus of the subject is social groups, institutions and organizations
 There are fourteen branches of sociology which include the following:
 Sociology of Medicine
 Sociology of Religion
 Sociology of Law
 Military Sociology
 Urban Sociology
 Industrial Sociology
 Sociology of Education
 Gerontology, etc

ECONOMICS

 This is defined as the practical wisdom in household management
 It is concerned with scarce resources at all levels
 Economics rests on the fact that resources are scarce and as a result, needs must be
prioritized
 Studies human behaviour at the micro and macro level
 Both micro and macro economics try to foster solutions to problems of societies,
through inductive or deductive channels
 Branches of economics include:
 Public Finance
 Labour Economics
 International Economics
 Petroleum Economics
 Health Economics etc
 Some notable thinkers of economics are: Adam Smith, J.S Mill, Alfred Marshall, J.
Schumpeter
ANTHROPOLOGY

 This branch of the social science seeks to establish the nexus and differences between
cultures and ethnic groups.
 They employ standardized behaviour in establishing facts
 The subject focuses on the kinship patterns, culture and other distinct features of
society in its study.
 Branches of Anthropology include:’
 Linguistic Anthropology
 Physical Anthropology’
 Archaeological Anthropology
 Cultural Anthropology
 Notable scholars here are Immanuel Kant, Francis Bray, James Frazer etc

RELIGION

 Religion comes from latin – ‘religio’, meaning a relationship between human beings
and some spiritual beings.
 Many elements constitute the subject matter such as the existence of gods and spirits
 There are many religious experiences, which make the meditations, mysticisms,
meditations, dreams, visions etc.
 The following are the perspectives of religion:
 Anthropological Perspectives focus on religion as the bedrock of the
relationship of the human beings to their cultural environments
 Sociological Perspectives examine the impact of religion and social
institutions.
 Psychological Perspectives centre on the role of emotions and feeling in the
practice of religion.
 Historical Perspectives deal with the development of religions in time and
space.
 Theological Perspectives focus on the different levels of relationship of God to
human beings
 Ethical Perspectives emphasise human being’s interpersonal relationships.
 Philosophical Perspectives focus on rational explanation of religious
behaviours and ideas.
 Phenomenology Perspectives describe religious ideas as one observes them,
and as they appear to the practitioners.

Revision Questions

A. Define Sociology and outline the perspectives in Sociology?
B. Who are the notable Scholars of Psychology who were taught?
C. Outline the Research methods adopted by psychology in the inquiry of phenomena?
D. Discuss the perspectives and definitions of religion?
E. Is dreams a perspective or experience?

THANK YOU FOR YOUR ATTENTION