ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Dismal State of Social Sciences in Pakistan

This paper attempts to explain and understand the dismal condition of the social sciences and social science research in Pakistan. It establishes some encompassing parameters which help explain why things are the way they are. These include attempts to place the role of Pakistan's state and its bureaucracy in a certain context, and also delineates on the collapse of institutions in Pakistan leading the way for individuals, rather than institutions, to undertake and produce research. The dominance and presence of international donors and their roles with regard to social science research are also discussed at length. There is no 'community of scholars' in Pakistan, nor any social science professional association to speak of. The paper argues that with current trends in the academic community, the future for social science and social science research in Pakistan looks even more bleak.

Rethinking Social Sciences

The study of the social sciences in India began with British attempts to understand their colonial experience, but soon evolved its own distinct discourse, one that would in turn spearhead social reform in India. But with the new challenges currently facing social science discipline, its survival now depends on the new issues that it will be able to generate and answer.

Social Science Research in India

Your editorial and A Vaidyanathan’s essay on social sciences in India (January 13) are informative and should form the basis of an extended discussion on this important issue. The editorial suggests that in pre-independence India much of the “trail-blazing” research was conducted within the domain of universities that were ill-funded. I am not sure this is not the case even now. Despite the lack of basic resources, which are taken for granted in most western universities (e g, research assistance, computers and professional development funds for each faculty member), the most significant research in sociology, anthropology, political science and economics, to name a few, is still conducted by scholars who work in universities in India. Their contributions are the bases on which new generations social scientists are trained and foreign researchers working on India depend. For example, without the research by G S Ghurye, M N Srinivas, V K R V Rao, K M Kapadia, Andre Beteille, T N Madan, Deepak Nayyar, Prabhat Patnaik, and T K Ommen, to name a few, there will be little of social science that is to be applauded in India and respected abroad....

ICSSR and Social Science Research

Some of the problems bedevilling the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) in the context of the ongoing debate on the state of social science research in the country.

Code of Ethics for Health Research

Social science research involves certain vital ethical issues - respect for all those involved in research, their rights and protection. Ensuring ethics in research, as the ethical guidelines seek to do, would help complement research, rather than hinder it. A debate on the draft code of ethics held in May 2000 sought to evolve a consensus among researchers across the country. These initial steps would help fill long-perceived lacunae as well as seek to resolve ethical dilemmas plaguing researchers.

Social Science Research in India

The availability of public funds for socio-economic research has undoubtedly encouraged and facilitated research outside the government. It has made a significant contribution by opening important areas (such as gender studies, environment, dalits and other disadvantaged segments) of research, bringing new issues on the public agenda and livening the debate on social and development policy. But important as these developments are, all is not well.

Is Social Science Research Dying?

Harsh Sethi (EPW, September 30- October 6, 2000) raises several valid issues related to the ICSSR system, which, most social scientists would agree, should have been raised long back. Though belated, Sethi’s observations, especially as from a scholar having substantial firsthand information on the working of the ICSSR, need to be taken seriously and discussed. While Sethi raises the whole issue in the context of the recent policy shifts of the council, and of the ministry of human resource development, this could have been foreseen by anybody having some sense of history. Yes, a new type of social science culture has emerged during the 1980s and 1990s, and it has been devaluing the painstaking efforts of pioneers and visionaries like J P Nayak, V K R V Rao and D T Lakdawala


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