Swansea University Home - 2009 - 2010

Whatever happened to the Social Sciences?

Warwick University's controversial sociologist, Professor Steve Fuller is set to give a public lecture at Swansea University on 15 February as part of the Research Institute for the Arts and Humanities (RIAH) public lecture series.

Professor Fuller claims the future of the Social Sciences, as a body of knowledge, is very much in doubt.  A sign of the times is the website www.edge.org, promoted by the literary agent John Brockman, in which mainly natural scientists address fundamental questions about 'human nature'. Few social scientists are to be found on this site.
Drawing on Professor Fuller's recent book, The New Sociological Imagination (Sage, 2006), the lecture will explore the reasons behind this apparent decline in the social sciences and, importantly, what the future holds.
Back in 2005, Steve Fuller found himself giving evidence in court over his controversial championing of intelligent design (ID) claiming that it should be taught as part of the science curriculum. He lost, but it didn't stop him publishing  two books on the science-religion relationship. His latest book, due out this summer with Acumen, is on science as an 'art of living', and develops similar themes.
His campaign late last year to find a seat for the comedian David Mitchell (Mitchell and Webb) on a Research Council also brought him his fair share of notoriety.  Professor Fuller felt the comedian made some very sensible points in his newspaper column about the Research Excellence Framework (REF) and he immediately launched a campaign, through his blog and website, to encourage David Mitchell to apply for a place on a Research Council board.
Professor Fuller said, "David Mitchell isn't the typical Research Council board member, but his ability to grasp the key issues and make statements, that academics have failed to make, is enough to qualify him for a place on such a board."
His talk at Swansea University will deal with another hot topic that is shrouded in public opinion and debate - the future of the Social Sciences.
The Research Institute Arts and Humanities public lecture will be held on 15 February 2010. Refreshments will be served from 5.15pm, and the lecture will start at 6pm.The lecture will be held in the Wallace Lecture Theatre, Wallace Building, Swansea University - all welcome.

For further information email: riah@swansea.ac.uk or telephone 01792 295190
Steve Fuller is Professor of Sociology at the University of Warwick. Originally trained in History and Philosophy of Science, he is best known for his work in the field of 'social epistemology', which addresses normative philosophical questions about organized knowledge by historical and social scientific means. He has published sixteen books, most recently The Sociology of Intellectual Life: The Career of the Mind in and around the Academy (Sage, 2009). His next book on science as an 'art of living' will be appearing with Acumen later this year.

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