Public, Polis and the Social Sciences
Professor Craig Calhoun, Direktor der London School of Economics (LSE)
Like other scientific researchers, social scientists are devoted to the advancement of knowledge. The work is driven by curiosity and the simple – but challenging - desire to understand social life and its patterns of continuity and change. Social scientists work in disciplines and subfields, and share the research with other specialists. This is vital to the correction of errors and the stimulation of new thought. At the same time, social science exists not simply for its own sake but for the stake of wider understanding. It depends on financing from states, benefactors, and student fees - and these are not just prizes given to social scientists because of their fine exam results or theses. The support reflects the view that social science can be of social value. Social scientists have a material interest in showing this to be true. At the same time, sharing knowledge and improving understanding are or ought to be intrinsic, not just instrumental motivations for social scientists.
Craig Calhoun examines the relationship between the academic character and pub-lic purposes of social science. He emphasises the differences between informing states and other kinds of social actors, between public engagement focused on immediate policy and that focused on broader public understanding, and between efforts to communicate social science “after the fact” of producing new knowledge and efforts to better integrate social science into a more public production of knowledge.
Craig Calhoun is the director of the London School of Economics and Political Science. He is a world-renowned social scientist whose work connects sociology to culture, communication, politics, philosophy and economics. He co-founded, with Richard Sennett, Professor of Sociology at LSE, the NYLON programme which brings together graduate students from New York and London for co-operative research programmes.
The presentation is part of the event series „Science and Society: will all remain different?“, organized by the International Centre for Higher Education Research (INCHER) of the University of Kassel and the WZB Research Group Science Policy Studies. The event series aims at discussing currently hot issues of the science system, which are of interest for both, science studies and science policy.
To register, please reply by May 23, to Nina Scheuble: nina.scheuble [at] wzb.eu.
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