Relationship Between Social Science and History

The relationship between social science and history involves how  history as a discipline is categorically identified with social science, and whether history and geography are part of social science. Following the need to understand the relationship between social science and history, you will have to first understand what social science means and why and how it is very much related to History and Geography. Why are there communication problems between the different disciplines of the social sciences? And why should there be so much misunderstanding? Most probably because the encounter of several disciplines is in fact the encounter of several different histories, and therefore of several different cultures, each interpreting the other according to the code dictated by its own culture. Inevitably geographers view other disciplines through their own cultural filter, and even a benevolent view remains ‘ethnocentric’. It was in order to avoid such ethnocentricity that Fernand Braudel called for more unity among the social sciences in 1958: I wish the social sciences…would stop discussing their respective differences so much…and instead look for common ground…on which to reach their first agreement.

What is Social Science? 

The word Social Science was first used in place of sociology with its original connotation being science of society. Established in the 19th century, social science is the branch of science devoted to the study of societies, lands, behaviors, and the relationships among individuals within those societies or communities. While studying societies and their relationships, you cannot pretend not to agree to the fact that social science also studies the ontology, that is, the beginning of human societies and the geographical connection or boundaries they share.

There are diverse disciplines now branches of knowledge and which are taught and researched at the college or university level. It now encompasses a wide array of academic disciplines, including anthropology, archaeology, economics, human geography, linguistics, management science, political science, psychology, and history.

Social science disciplines are defined and recognized by the academic journals in which research is published, and the learned social science societies and academic departments or faculties to which their practitioners belong. Social science fields of study usually have several sub-disciplines or branches, and the distinguishing lines between these are often both arbitrary and ambiguous.

Relationship Between Social Science and History

History is the continuous, systematic narrative and research into past human events as interpreted through historiographical paradigms or theories. When used as the name of a field of study, history refers to the study and interpretation of the record of humans, societies, institutions, and any topic that has changed over time.

The study of history has been considered a part of the humanities. In modern academia, whether or not history remains a humanities-based subject is contested. However, the National Research Council classifies history as a social science. The historical method comprises the techniques and guidelines by which historians use primary sources and other evidence to research and then to write history. The Social Science History Association, formed in 1976, brings together scholars from numerous disciplines interested in social history.

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