Social Science and Social Policy: From National Dilemmas to Global Opportunities

5-9 September 2005, Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Montevideo, Uruguay

Published in 2005 by the United Nations Educational,Scientifi c and Cultural Organisation1, rue Miollis75732 Paris Cedex 15FranceSHS-2005/WS/24 - cld // 21463

Social science has had an ambiguous relationship with social policy through-out its history. When the term and concept of social science first began to be used in the middle of the nineteenth century, the initial organizations that emerged to promote social science were not located in the universities but in the public sphere. They brought together not only scholars but persons active in the political arena, clergymen, and business people, and the primary objective of these associations was to promote reform, that is, what they considered to be more adequate social policies to ameliorate what they designated as social problems. The social problems of which they spoke were for the most part those associated with the expanding urban centers and the newly-emerging manufacturing sector of the economy. These associations felt that accumulating various kinds of data on these issues, usually statistical data, would illuminate the directions in which the State might proceed, by means of various new policies/reforms, to alleviate the ills that these associations perceived.

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