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The Nine Social Science Disciplines

The Nine Social Science Disciplines
By Jensen DG. Mañebog (© 2013)

1. Anthropology refers to the study of humans. As a social science disipilne, it examines all aspects of human life and culture. It seeks to understand human origins and adaptation, and the diversity of cultures and worldviews.

2. Economics studies the production, distribution, exchange, and consumption of goods and services. The term may also refer to the financial aspects of something, as in “the economics of managing a business.

It deals with the optimum allocation of scarce resources among its alternatives to satisfy the unlimited human wants and needs of the people. Economists study the ways individuals and groups (such as governments, firms and nations)allocate resources (including money, buildings, land, time, tools and know-how) to satisfy needs and wants.

3. Geography is the science of place. It is the social science that studies the distribution and arrangement of all elements of the earth’s surface.

Geography studies not only the surface of the earth but also the location and distribution of its physical as well as cultural features, the patterns that they form, and the interrelation of these things as they affect people. It deals especially with the relationship between the environment of the earth’s surface and humans, which involves both physical and cultural geographic features.

4. History is a study of the past, principally how it relates to humans. It describes or narrates and analyzes human activities in the past and the changes that these had undergone. In its broadest sense, history is the totality of all past events. However, a more realistic limitation of its area of inquiry would be ‘the known past.’ History deals with events which “have happened among mankind, including an account of the rise and fall of nations, as well as of other great changes which have affected the political and social condition of the human race.”

5. Linguistics is the scientific study of language and its structure. It involves the description of languages, the investigation of their origin, the inquiry of how children acquire language, and how individuals learn languages other than their own. Linguistics also deals with the relationships between or among languages and with the manner languages change over time.

Linguistics seeks to explain how is a particular language’s knowledge system structured, how it is acquired, how it is used in the assembly and understanding of messages, and how it changes over time. The subject is also concerned with some questions about the nature of language: “What properties do all human languages have in common? How do languages differ, and to what extent are the differences systematic, i.e. can we find patterns in the differences? …What is the nature of the cognitive processes that come into play when we produce and understand language.”

6. Political scienceis a social science discipline that studies systems of government, and the analysis of political activity and behavior. It is the systematic study of politics.

By the application of empirical and generally scientific methods of analysis, political sciencesystematically studies governance. It is the systematic study of and reflection upon politics. By ‘politics,’ we mean that which typically defines the processes by which people and institutions exercise and resist power. Political processes are employed to form policies, influence individuals and institutions, and organize societies.

7. Psychology is the scientific study of behavior and mental processes. It is “the scientific study of behavior and the mind.” There are three elements in this definition. First, it emphasizes that psychology “is a scientific enterprise that obtains knowledge through systematic and objective methods of observation and experimentation.” Second, it studies ‘behavior,’ which denotes “any action or reaction that can be measured or observed—such as the blink of an eye, an increase in heart rate, or the unruly violence that often erupts in a mob.” Third, psychologists study the ‘mind,’ which stands for “both conscious and unconscious mental states. These states cannot actually be seen, only inferred from observable behavior.”

The science of the mind and behavior, it involves the study of all aspects of conscious and unconscious experience as well as thought. The term psychology comes from two Greek words: ‘psyche,’ which means “breath, spirit, or soul,” and ‘logos,’ 'the study of.'

8. Sociology is the scientific study of human social relations or group life. It primarily deals with social interaction or the responses of persons to each other. Social interaction is arguably the basic sociological concept as it is the rudimentary component of all relationships and groups that compose human society. Subjects of inquiry in sociology include the ways in which social structures and institutions (such as class, family, community, and power) and social problems (such as crime and abuse) affect society.

9. Demography is the interdisciplinary study of the size, growth, and distribution of human populations. It examines statistics such as births, deaths, income, or the incidence of disease, which illustrate the changing structure of human populations. Main areas of inquiry include human population dynamics and human population change. It also involves the study of the structure of populations and how populations change over time due to births, deaths, migration, and aging.

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