Dr. R.S.Sandhya, Professor, School of Distance Education.
The IUCSSRE is conceived as an interdisciplinary centre of excellence for social science research and extension. The basic presumption is that the centre facilitates theoretical researches in the interfaces of established social science disciplines, with intellectual efforts to simultaneously evolve their praxis through extension. The Centre should therefore comprise the major interdisciplinary areas of emerging social importance in the context of globalisation.
The rationale of establishing an Inter-University Centre for Social Sciences Research should be explained at the outset by delineating the perspectives/philosophy and reviewing the state of art of social sciences research. The rationale of any new attempt should emanate from the limitations of the existing setup. The most striking limitation of the existing institutional and methodological setup of social sciences research is the distance from people and their problems. This aspect has to be considered in some detail here by way of drawing the perspectives and philosophy of the proposed Centre.
The higher knowledge enunciated in social sciences of both the positivist and hermeneutic types, has always been remaining inaccessible to the mass due to its positivist academic pretensions expressed in scientific equations as well as the hermeneutic highbrow humanism expressed in theoretical nomenclature. By and large social scientists have been studying social phenomena empirically under the methodological assumptions of the positivistic science, a contingent practice inspired by Newtonian Physics that used to be the aspired foundation taken for granted. Most of us as professionals and non-professionals continue the practice by surveying the empirical situation using scaling and sampling for understanding the social aspect that we seek to study. There is an upper hand of neo-positivists in the contemporary social science research, who use higher statistical techniques to quantify the data in the most sophisticated manner ensuring maximum accuracy. Hermeneutic method necessitating the faculty of higher theoretical cognition is to a great extent set aside.
The academic units and areas of IUCSSE should be decided upon two basis issues: the relevance to social development and epistemological justification. The relevance to social development includes long-term needs such as ecological sustainability as well as the career prospects of the socio-economically backward classes. It needs no mention that the existing pattern of discipline based academic programmes and courses in social sciences do not address the aforesaid issues. The programmes of IUCSSE, therefore, cannot at any rate be repetitive of the discipline based schemes and naturally the alternative is interdisciplinary diversification.