Systemic approach to the study of Social Sciences 7

Proceedings of the Two day  UGC sponsored National  Seminar on Teaching Social Sciences. Challenges and  Opportunities in the New Millennium held at St.Joseph’s College (Autonomous) Bangalore 29th and 30th November 2012

Addressing the Fault lines

Chair:  Fr. Ambrose Pinto SJ (Director, St. Joseph’s Evening College)
Prof. Abdul Aziz (NLSIU)
Dr. K.G. Gayathri Devi (ISEC)
Prof. Chitra Pannikar (Bangalore University)

Dr. M. Manisha (Jain University)

All social sciences need to be in relation to the immediate context to respond to the social realities.

  • We seem to  marketise and corporatize our social sciences.
  • Political interference in social sciences – in terms of funding, state ideologies.
  • Teaching seems to involve prescribing ‘bazaar’ notes.
  • Teaching should inculcate two types of skills from students: analytical and interpretative skills.There is a need for an interdisciplinary approach to economics – sciences and other social sciences are necessary for interpretation and formulation of economic policy.
  • There is a growing need to make students more employable – consistency with the changing market demand.
  • Examinations seek information and put a premium on the memory of the student.
  • The social sciences seem to have become hierarchized – choice for ‘useful’ and ‘non-philosophical’ subjects. But the need is for an integrated whole.
  • Colonial understanding of sociology to a global understanding of it – a bottom-up understanding of Indian society.
  • Stratification of who delivers and who receives social science teaching.Texts and teaching should be based on keen observation.
  • Research methodology should have triangulation.
  • Teachers are the ones responsible for ideas that get attached to areas of study.
  • There seems to be a move towards territorial invincibility, but there is a need to break the artificial compartmentalization of knowledge.
  • Questioning of the relation of art to this society – connecting the verbal artefact of literature to the world that gave rise to it.
  • There is a need for subjective involvement of the teacher as an active agent.Distinction between curriculum designing and teaching – the former is an end and the latter, the means.
  • Curriculum doesn’t correspond to the lived-in experience of the teacher or the taught.
  • The goal of undergraduate education should be to encourage critical thinking, through infusing it into the design and training the teacher.
  • There is a need to address the problems of first generation learners.
  • Existing system of social science education fails to emphasize originality, interpretative skills and independent research.

 

 

 

 

One thought on “Systemic approach to the study of Social Sciences 7

  1. To improve the standing of social sciences in the society it is imperative that there is concerted effort to make these disciplines rigourous, both in terms of its research and teaching . More often that not, the general perception is that social sciences are “easy” and a degree in any of the social sciences (barring economics) can be attained without much effort. At the root of such perception is the uni-dimensional manner in which social sciences are taught. There is a need to bring home the fact that seemingly uncomplicated issues such as hierarchy, class or even political institutions assume complex proportion when looked from the prism of one more dimension, say for example, caste.If the same issue is looked from an ideological standpoint, the complexity of the issues multiplies several fold. In the real world, there are multiple dimensions to a so called ‘simple issue’. The multiplicity of issues involved and myriad dimensions from which the same issue can be understood, is what makes social sciences fascinating. Social sciences as an area of study and research is therefore far more problematic than what it is presumed to be.

    Social science study and research are imperative for a nuanced understanding of our day to lives, in the absence of which our understanding of problems and the solution that we attempt to alleviate then, in form of policies, may not be sound. Social sciences are in that sense bedrocks for everything that we know and do not know.

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