Social sciences

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The social sciences are the fields of academic scholarship that explore aspects of human society.[1] "Social science" is commonly used as an umbrella term to refer to a plurality of fields outside of the natural sciences. These include: anthropology, archaeology, business administration, economics, geography, history, law, linguistics, political science, sociology, international relations, communication, and, in some contexts, psychology[2][3].

The term may be used, however, in the specific context of referring to the original science of society established in 19th century sociology. Émile Durkheim, Karl Marx and Max Weber are typically cited as the principal architects of modern social science by this definition.[4] Positivist social scientists use methods resembling those of the natural sciences as tools for understanding society, and so define science in its stricter modern sense. Interpretivist social scientists, by contrast, may use social critique or symbolic interpretation rather than constructing empirically falsifiable theories, and thus treat science in its broader classical sense. In modern academic practice researchers are often eclectic, using multiple methodologies (for instance, by combining quantitative and qualitative techniques). The term "social research" has also acquired a degree of autonomy as practitioners from various disciplines share in its aims and methods.

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