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The Politics of the Social Sciences - Essay Example

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The recent recognition of the social sciences as a legitimate field of research has brought into question the degree with which they can, or should, remain free of political bias. Indeed, the subject easily lends itself to the contextual ideals of the culture or society that it is a part of…
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The Politics of the Social Sciences

Download file to see previous pages... The removal of all political bias dictates that the research and recommendations be based upon quantified data, and not just the more subjective qualified information. The acceptability of politics in science is often a matter of honestly defining the goals of the endeavour. Is it the goal of sociology to examine and report what society has been, what it is, or what we wish it to become It may not be possible to remove the politics from the lens of examination in sociology. In fact, it may not give us the desired outcome. The value of the social sciences is to explain our culture and society in fundamental ways that presents the opportunity for enhancing its design and improving its future. Remaining politically neutral is impossibility for the social scientist, and the political influences that drive the science to present more positive outcomes is a desirable and necessary component.
Political bias enters the social science discourse from the beginning during the process of selecting a topic. Topics that deal with diversity, poverty, democracy, and human rights gain increased focus because of their potential to make political change around the world. The proliferation of diversity education courses has been the result of the political appeal that they have for our sense of values regarding "justice, dignity, freedom, and equality" (Perry et al 2009, p.81). They go to the heart of narrowing the gap between the socio-economic classes and portend political neutrality, yet whose political neutrality is being considered in regards to the socio-economic classes According to Wills (2008, p.26), the social sciences have utilized the role of "popular discourse, media representations and state interventions", which are all politically biased sources. Social scientists, in addition to theorizing the workings of the social order, are also tasked with modelling a more positive social structure through the study of its current shortcomings. However, these shortcomings only become apparent with the application of political bias. This is not to say that the research is swayed or blind to its own bias, it merely indicates the importance of political bias as a variable.
The development of sound public policy is often a reflection of research that has come about from the work of social scientists that are driven by political ideology. For a social policy to be effective it must operate within a political framework. Consideration for the political environment must go beyond the social scientist, and theorising must not be restricted to the academicians, but must also engage the society, even at its margins (Stenning 2008, p.12). Henry Kissinger (2009) recently commented on the current economic crisis and noted that, "one fundamental reason for the crisis is that the political system of the world and the economic system of the world became totally out of phase with each other". Implementing capitalism with fairness and justice requires a social ideology. Social science, politics, and policy must go hand in hand to be effective, and must have some degree of synchronous goals. Politics in the social sciences is a significant factor that should impact our public policies and laws when its intangible nature "is not captured by dominant forms of rational scientific approaches based upon discovery of rules, laws and patterns" (Arnot & Reay 2007, p.315). In other words, politics fills ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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