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In Defence of Social Science

U.K. 2015 – A Review of the 2015 CfSS Report 'The Business of People: The Significance of Social Science over the Next Decade'

Natali Valdez

In 1954, C. Dollard wrote an article in the American Journal of Economics and Sociology titled ‘In the Defense of Social Science’. In 1967, W. Grundy wrote another article in the journal of Social Studies with the same title. A report from the New York Times used the same title in 1985 to highlight how neglected the social sciences are in the American education system (Maeroff 1985). Most recently, in 2012 B. Maguth also draws on the same title to write an article examining the need to incorporate social sciences in STEM education. The list goes on and on; defending the social sciences across the spectrum of education has a long history in both the United States and the United Kingdom. Making a case for why the social sciences are vital and deserve recognition through funding is, unfortunately, not a novel campaign.

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Christine McCourt, Samantha Page and Natali Valdez

In this issue, we introduce a new strand of contributions that are focused on careers and opportunities for anthropologists in applied fields, and on issues around the impact of anthropology in public discourse and policy matters. We start with a reflective and analytical account from Pat Caplan, based on her experience of undertaking consultancy work with an NGO. Her article presents something of a cautionary tale, illustrating the complexity of undertaking such work, and the unforeseen challenges and ethical dilemmas that can be presented to researchers.