Old and New Challenges for the Autonomy of Social Sciences
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University of Warsaw
Publication date: 2006-12-29
Polish Sociological Review 2006;156(4):395–408
The comparison of the picture of social sciences at the beginning of the 20th century and their state at the start of the 21st leads to the discovery of unexpected changes, contradictions and paradoxes typical of post-modernism. A question is addressed: do all these changes, which bring about the discussion of the post-modern era, cover also sciences, and social sciences in particular. Paradoxically, the post-modern era of informationalism and a society of knowledge is not conducive to the autonomy of science and consequently disturbs the frail and delicate autonomy of social sciences. The post-modern phenomenon of departing from the modernist division of sciences and scientific disciplines manifests itself in theoretically and methodologically dubious cultural, social, political, and other studies. One can look at that phenomenon as a reaction to excessive fragmentation and autonomization in social sciences and an attempt of integrating reconstruction aiming also at eliminating the autonomy of theory in relation to practice.