朝向公共社會科學

地區:
分類:
標籤:
文字-A A +A

 

 

朝向公共社會科學

 

哥倫比亞大學社會學教授Herbert J. Gans指出,學術(academic)和公共社會科學(public social science)是不同的。學術主要在進行的是基礎研究,學者們關注的常是抽象的理論、概念、方法及模型,其研究成果則透過術語在本科專業人士之間流通。公共社會科學則更關注社會當前爭議的問題或更長期的社會問題,希望能透過研究來提出解決之道,並以容易理解的語言向大眾推廣。

過去美國社會科學中都曾出現追求公共社會科學的改革,在社會學、人類學、政治學及經濟學等領域都有類似的改革呼聲,但這些改革運動最後仍漸漸消失。學者們仍控制著大學科系、學生教材及專業期刊,並批評公共社會科學是缺乏學術水平的研究方向。

Herbert J. Gans建議目前必須在大學科系、大學行政組織、學科本身及政府獎助計畫這四個部份進行改革,提供充足預算以建立學術及公共社會科學這兩種分支,讓新興的公共社會科學不會一再被傳統勢力打壓、缺乏獎助及參與學科決策的權力,讓研究者不必被學術的專業期刊綁死,而也能去進行公共社會科學的研究,讓學生能在這兩分支上獲得同等訓練,學生們不只專研教科書,也能夠走出校園去研究爭議中的社會問題。 


 

Toward a Public Social Science

Herbert J. Gans, Columbia University

The social sciences deal with humanity's most pressing problems, but there are barriers between practitioners and the public. We must restructure these disciplines from the ground up. In times of economic and political distress, the social sciences must become more relevant and useful by devoting their attention to society's major problems. Such calls to reform are already surfacing, accompanied by mini–social movements inside the disciplines: Sociologists have called for public sociology, anthropologists for public ethnography, political scientists for "perestroika," and economists for a heterodox economics.

In the past, these movements have eventually disappeared or been marginalized by the academic social scientists who rule the disciplinary roosts. Since distressing times could continue for a while, however, publicly minded social scientists should come together and transcend their disciplinary differences to pursue the interests they have in common. Then they must begin to bring about the intellectual and infrastructural changes needed to establish public social science disciplines.
The differences between academic and public social science are significant. Academics undertake "basic" research, in which theories, concepts, and methods are often more important than research subjects, and the subjects are those long under investigation in the researcher's field. When they do study subjects concerning the public, they look for general, universal, and even timeless patterns. Basic research aims to contribute primarily to the discipline's "literature," and because academics write mainly for their colleagues, they can employ a technical language.
Public social scientists seek to analyze subjects of current public concern or controversy and to contribute ideas and research findings for the solution of present and long-term societal problems. They try to write in a nontechnical English that can reach at least the college-educated laity. But today as in the past, academics control their disciplines. They run the influential university departments and the professional organizations that speak for the discipline; they edit the flagship journals, write many of the major texts, and plan the training of graduate students.

Some academic researchers reject public social science as insufficiently scholarly or of low quality. Aiming to be objective, they avoid research that involves them in political and policy-based controversy. I oversimplify, but academic researchers aspire to be social scientists, while public researchers seek to be social scientists. Enabling public social science to establish a permanent foothold and then an equal status in every discipline will not be easy. Change is needed in at least four areas: in university departments; in university administrations; in the disciplines themselves; and in the government agencies and foundations that fund most social science research.
Every discipline should eventually include academic and public branches. Although all graduate students should initially receive the same basic training in the fundamental ideas of their discipline, as well as instruction in theorizing and empirical research methods, those choosing to work in the public branch of their discipline should also be trained to do empirical and theoretical research on currently important subjects, issues, and societal problems.

To truly engage with these problems, such students will need research practice in the world beyond the textbook and outside the campus. I would have them do field research in offices and on factory floors; in political-party headquarters and lobbyists' suites; among corporate executives and Wall Street bankers. Students in the public branch of the discipline ought to take at least one course together with investigative and analytic journalists. These can help the social science students to be topical and relevant as well as to communicate in nontechnical English. In exchange, the social scientists can help the journalists further their research methods and analytic skills.
The division between academic and public social scientists should not become too sharp, for some will want to do both kinds of research. Moreover, both must adhere to the same intellectual standards and acquire the same intellectual skills. Public social scientists cannot get along without abstract thought and detached analysis. Conversely, academic social scientists need to know enough about the subjects and problems studied by their public colleagues to be able to theorize about the "real world."

Universities must support faculty and student initiatives to establish public social science branches. Generous budgets will initially be necessary to protect these newcomer programs against likely attacks from more traditional academics. Most important, university administrators must use their clout to bring about the rule and procedural changes to enable public social science to flourish. PhD exam and dissertation requirements must enable aspiring public social scientists to graduate alongside their more traditional peers. Promotion and tenure rules have to be amended so that professors teaching in the public social sciences can publish research papers as policy reports or in general magazines (and their digital equivalents). These publications must count in measuring productivity just like academic journal articles. Researchers will not be penalized if they fail to publish in refereed academic journals, or if their book-length work is published by trade presses that can reach the lay public rather than as university press monographs.

Professional schools should be major players in establishing public branches in the social science disciplines, as their social science teaching and research are public almost by definition. Administrators will, however, have to finance these players with hard money so that they have time to write something other than a steady stream of grant proposals. They will also need to find ways to raise the status of the professional schools, particularly vis-à-vis the liberal arts faculties, which still too often look down on schools other than those of law and medicine.

In the end, university administrations should be eager to support the growth of public social science research. Not only will it be funded more often and more generously than most academic research, but the publicat

FB留言板

PeoPo 討論區

回應文章建議規則:

  • 文章屬於開放討論空間,回應文章的議題與內容不代表本站的立場
  • 於明知不實或過度謾罵之言論,本站及文章撰寫者保留刪除權
  • 請勿留下身份證字號、住址等個人隱私資料,以免遭人盜用,本站不負管理之責
  • 回應禁止使用HTML語法
0

加入時間: 2007.09.18

Rousseau

加入時間: 2007.09.18
187則報導
32則影音
2則OnTV

作者其他報導

蔡衍明:買蘋果 讓他們認識我

2012-11-29
瀏覽:
1,855
推:
0
回應:
0

2012 歐巴馬勝選演說

2012-11-08
瀏覽:
1,738
推:
0
回應:
0

總理家人隱秘的財富

2012-10-27
瀏覽:
4,982
推:
0
回應:
0

The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich

2012-10-27
瀏覽:
1,395
推:
0
回應:
0

啟蒙者 陳少廷

2012-10-19
瀏覽:
2,027
推:
0
回應:
0

黎智英出售台灣壹傳媒

2012-10-17
瀏覽:
1,598
推:
0
回應:
0

Inequality and the world economy

2012-10-16
瀏覽:
1,046
推:
0
回應:
0

中國民族主義的兩大危險傾向

2012-09-28
瀏覽:
2,939
推:
1
回應:
0

關於香港國民教育學科爭議的反思

2012-09-28
瀏覽:
1,085
推:
0
回應:
0

一個香港中產的懺悔

2012-09-09
瀏覽:
1,317
推:
0
回應:
0

朝向公共社會科學

搜尋表單

目前累積了131,697篇報導,共10,431位公民記者

目前累積了131,697篇報導

10,431位公民記者