Innovating the Social Sciences
A book about overcoming the problems of scientism in the social sciences through the use of participative research designs, the sharing of theories across disciplines and a focus upon world views and this being dependent equally on social scientists and societal pressures/demands. This is a book about the necessities and possibilities of innovations in the social sciences in order to realise societal changes. The natural sciences became the dominant model for the social sciences, resulting in positivism as ideology and in the organizational structuring of the social sciences into disciplines. In order to overcome the problems of scientism, a shift to a radical new ontological framework is necessary. In parallel, it is necessary to introduce participative research designs, move concepts and theories from one discipline to another and focus upon developing world views. Innovations in the social sciences are possible and necessary. But for these to happen, new societal pressures and demands will have to be present. Changing the social sciences is not a voluntary process that can be undertaken by social scientists alone. One of the issues discussed in this book is that the social sciences need to free themselves from the state-canvas. As an alternative the concept of ´regionhood´ is advanced as a starting point for a regional approach to global social theory.
"This remarkable book is a comprehensive and imaginative road map for re-thinking the social sciences and the role they are to play in facing the societal challenges of the XXIst Century. A must for scholars, students and policy-makers"
Ali Kazancigil, Former Secretary-General of the International Social Science Council
"An innovative contribution to innovating and opening the social sciences. An important contribution to the worldwide debate" -
Immanuel Wallerstein, Yale University
"Luk Van Langenhove is especially well placed to reflect on the forms that the social sciences might take in the future. Not only has he been at the cutting edge of alternative approaches to the positivistic, natural science model but his experience as a science administrator has given him an unrivalled perspective on these ´once and future´ disciplines. His work, here and elsewhere, is noted for the clarity of its insights and its forward looking posture. This book will surely serve as a catalyst to life of new ways of understanding the social world"
Rom Harré, Oxford University
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