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The indispensability of social science

Academic work can be impenetrable but good social science still brings vital knowledge into the public realm

By Christopher Grey  

Photo: Pixabay

Every day, in universities across the world, social scientists research and debate matters of significant public concern. Every day, too, those matters are discussed by politicians, journalists and the public.

Yet there is a disturbing disconnect between the specialist and non-specialist camps. The faults lie on both sides. Social scientists are often too preoccupied with theory and methodology, tend to write gracelessly, and can be pathologically averse to taking a stance. Non-academics can be impatient readers, reluctant to engage with complexity, and unrealistic about what social science…

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