Social sciences need a new lease of life
Social sciences like religion deal with human nature. It requires appropriate interpretations and a good understanding in time and space. Human nature, however, seems to be a category in philosophy; its manifestations are socially and politically rooted. The idea of human nature and human possibilities are perpetually in transition. Since then, times have become a new normal, so disciplines must also be in tune with the new normal. COVID-19 has shaken the established contents of the social sciences.
The focal unity of the social sciences is based on human interaction. He must be face to face in a real realm. Sociology in particular is engaged in social interaction, which forms a network of social relations. Understand these relationships, which generate different forms of capital and its conversion from cultural form to symbolic form? It was the adventure of the social sciences to locate the dominant metaphors of age by localizing the historical notion of self and of society. Modernity has created a break with the past, in a sense, it has rejected supernatural notions of knowledge, its finality without empirical verification. René Descartes, known as the father of modern European philosophy, began to doubt everything and grasp the being of oneself, like the true, “I doubt therefore I exist”. With the presumed innate ideas, he established the rationalist current of philosophy. Contrary to this, Locke found the human mind to be clean and empty, “clean slate” on which the chalk of experience places its imprints of this world. This branch is known as empiricism. These founding philosophies, rationalism and empiricism, made the social sciences akin to the sciences, exploring knowledge and wisdom. This is the Modern project produced in the 17th and 18th centuries to let the world know that this world is by evolution and that its institutions could be perfected on Baconian knowledge and the Kantian axiom of “pure reason”. This has led us to believe that history is a total accumulation of knowledge and moves on the notion of progress, of linearity in its sense of change. This scholarly notion of history is known as positivism. Positivism is synonymous with modernity. All these philosophers, optimists and claiming to know the laws of history, except a few, would divide time into stages, one after the other. Marx including the wise step of the class struggle through work and exchange, Durkheim’s mechanical solidarity to organic solidarity and the Gemini tree from Tonneies to the Gesell tree are some illustrations to tell the story. Positivism gave us two main branches, functionalism which believed that the system is for balance and that the consequences of social action lead to balance in a society, while the conflict school emphasized the dialectic in the company and its resolution as the final agenda. One viewed the abnormality as a pathology of the system, while another viewed class conflict. But the common agenda was the notion of progress.
The collapse of European centrality and its promise of progress are rapidly exploding. In the aftermath of the Spanish Flu, the aftermath of the war, and the rise of the first wave of feminism, soon in the 1920s and beyond, atheistic existentialism is shaping literature and the social sciences to assert that no human nature exists and humans are in a vacuum. The decade of the 1960s saw the collapse of functionalism with the emergence of black movements, student movements and gender movements. The emergence of feminist and post-colonial literature finally brought about the bankruptcy of Marxism at the end of the previous century. It was a break from modernity and a collapse of the social science disciplines that had traveled since; from positivism to nihilism. The literature of absurdity, the emergence of existentialism in new forms, and the loss of meaning of religion and ideology have brought the world back to identity and genealogy with vendetta and pessimism. The social sciences through sociology have revoked Weber and the critical school to fill the void created by the collapse of positivism. Positivism has been countered by phenomenology which does not believe in universal theories. He emphasizes everyday events, which he believes have meaning to explore. Foucault understands the counter-position of the notion of innate humanity as presented by the structural analysis of Chomsky’s mind. This enrichment of linguistic structuralism was useful for symbolic interactionism, ethno methodology and theories of exchange, which brought a collaborative episteme and a bridge of philosophy, anthropology and hermeneutics to build the social science building. The deconstructionist methodology for bringing stories to life and unveiling the past has become a canon for understanding the present and its trajectories. The theories of social deconstruction before being legitimized are in unresolved debate with modern sociology on the unconscious movement of the structure and the rationality of human action. The new century has come with a question “if he is the other, who am I then” replacing the old binary “me and the other” of modernity. The deepening of the schism was brought about by the process of globalization and new social societies and which emerged with the electronic revolution and the technological networking of digital media of social and political consciousness. Slowly and slowly the social person was confined and at least given a private space to be a person, cared only about his chances of life and maximizing material comfort. Those who failed resorted to identity and religiosity, where the market through token capital helped find a global network to be a member of the group, known or unknown. The social sciences have turned to linguistics and digital cybernetics to understand the narrative of the oversight of power and domination. Lucan and Derrida brought new life to post-structuralism transgressing the doubt of Descartes and structuralism of Lévi-Strauss by posing the human intellect and consciousness to the play of language and its capacities to find “signifier and signified” fluid not fixed. It leads contemporary social sciences to understand the phenomenon as unreal and in motion.