Themes

Theme 1: Social Science Agendas

  • Horizons of interest: agenda setting in the social sciences.
  • Social sciences in the service of social policy: risks and rewards.
  • Social transformations: structure and agency in social dynamics.
  • Accounting for the dynamics of citizenship, participation and inclusion.
  • Trust, social capital, social cohesion and social welfare.
  • Politics in, and of, the social sciences.
  • Research and knowledge in action: the applied social sciences.
  • Social sciences for the professions.
  • Social sciences for social welfare.
  • Accounting for inequalities: poverty and exclusion.
  • Social breakdown: dysfunction, crime, conflict, violence.
  • Social sciences addressing social crisis points.
  • Identities in social science: generation, gender, sexuality, ethnic, diasporic.
  • Perspectives on, and voices of, difference: multiculturalism and feminism.
  • Global flows and global security.
  • The dynamics of globalisation and diversity.
  • Technologies in and for the social.
  • Religion and the human sciences.
  • Teaching and learning the social sciences.

Theme 2: Interdisciplinary Social Science Practices

  • Social structure and human culture: the sociological and the anthropological.
  • Sociology and history: the dynamics of synchrony and diachrony.
  • Interdisciplinary perspectives on politics, public policy, governance, citizenship and nationality.
  • Security and insecurity, conflict and cohesion, war and peace, terror and anti-terror.
  • The neo-liberal state and its critics.
  • Economics, politics and their social effects: investment, ownership, risk, productivity, competition, regulation and deregulation, public accountability, stakeholders, trust, worklife, resource distribution, consumption, wellbeing, living standards.
  • Globalised economics: inequalities, development, ‘free’ and ‘fair’ trade.
  • The social dynamics of organisations: culture, human resource management, workers’ rights, corporate governance, sustainability, social responsibility.
  • Media, communications, information technologies and the internet.
  • The cognitive sciences: brain and mind in society.
  • Behavioural sciences: psychology in a social context.
  • Place and time in geography: metropolis and region; proximity and remoteness.
  • People, place and time: human demography.
  • Social meanings: language, linguistics, discourse, text.
  • Language Education in a ‘knowledge society'.
  • The social context of law, criminology.
  • Philosophy’s place in the social sciences.
  • Of human origins: palaeontology, primate evolution, physical anthropology.
  • Of human lifeways: anthropology in its contexts.
  • Of human lifecourses: family, childhood, youth, parenting and ageing in education and social work.
  • Education as a social science.

Theme 3: The Social, the Natural and the Applied Sciences

  • Commonalities, differences and relationships between the social and the natural sciences: research methodologies, professional practices and ethical positions.
  • The place of the social in the natural, applied and health sciences.
  • Research methodologies involving ‘human subjects’.
  • Human interests in the natural sciences: the politics of the environment.
  • Environmental governance: consumption, waste, economic ‘externalities’, sustainability, environmental equity.
  • Risk assessment in the applied and natural sciences.
  • Social dynamics in the natural and built environments.
  • The social sciences in the applied sciences and professions: engineering, architecture, planning, computing, tourism, law, health.
  • Social work, social welfare and social science.

Theme 4: Social Science Methods

  • What’s scientific about the social sciences?
  • Experimental design and observation in the social sciences.
  • Quantitative social science methods: surveys, quantification, statistical modelling, quantitative analysis.
  • Qualitative social science methods: ethnography, discourse analysis, participant observation, evidence from experience, qualitative content analysis.
  • Policy measures: assessing social need and social effectiveness.
  • Logic, analysis and explanation in the social sciences.
  • Social science stances: modernism and postmodernism; structuralism and poststructuralism.
  • The ethics of social research.
  • Chasing the fact: the pleasures and perils of empiricism.
  • The roles and relations of theory with evidence and practice in the social sciences.
  • Social science as a commercial service: is the customer always right?
  • Social understandings in a ‘knowledge society’.
  • Analysing agendas and interests: the problematic of ‘objectivity’.
  • Knowledge ecologies: embedded knowledge in the organisational or community setting.
  • The stuff of the social world: ontological realism or ontological relativism, or no such duality?
  • Truth and perspective: epistemological objectivism, epistemological subjectivism, or no such duality?
  • Tacit and explicit knowledge.
  • Private and public knowledge.
  • Action research: the logistics and ethics of interventionary social science.
  • Laypeople’s participation in research.
  • Scenario building and futures forecasting.