You are on page 1of 89

UNDERSTANDING

CULTURE, SOCIETY,
AND POLITICS
PRESENTED BY: DANDREV J. AUSA
UNIT I
THE ORIGIN AND NATURE OF
THE SOCIAL SCIENCES:
ANTHROPOLOGY,
SOCIOLOGY, AND POLITICAL
SCIENCE
Bird’s Eye View of the Unit
• You have always been fascinated by the lives of great
scientists who contributed to the knowledge of the
natural world. These giants include
• GALILEO GALILEI (1564 – 1642), who invented the
telescope;
• NICOLAUS COPERNICUS (1473 – 1543), who popularized
the view that the sun is the center of the solar system;
• ISAAC NEWTON (1643 – 1727), who discovered gravity;
• CHARLES DARWIN (1809 – 1882), who proposed the
controversial theory of evolution; and
• ALBERT EINSTEIN (1879 – 1955), who developed the
theory of “big bang” to account for the beginning of our
universe.
• But you have not yet encountered the eminent
“social scientists” who immensely contributed to our
knowledge of how society, culture, and politics
work.
• They were the first to ask fascinating questions such
as: “What makes social sciences similar to natural
sciences?”, “Does society exist or only the
individuals who compose it?", “Do societies share
the same culture and pattern of cultural
development?”, “What is the best form of
government?”. “How do you distinguish common
sense from scientific way of studying society,
culture, and politics?”
The Historical
background of the
Growth of Social Science
• In the development and progress of human
knowledge, the SOCIAL SCIENCE were the
last to develop after the natural sciences.
And while the origin of the social science
can be traced back to the ancient Greek
philosophers Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle,
their development as separate fields of
knowledge only begun in the modern
period (Collins 1994, p. 7).
• Before the birth of modern social sciences in the
West, the study of society, culture and politics were
based on social and political philosophy (Scott
2006, p. 9).
• In return, social and political philosophies were
informed by theological reasoning grounded in
Revelation based on the Bible.
• This was largely due to the dominance of religious
worldview and authority during this time.
• While pre-modern social thinkers
employed experiences and personal
observation, just like modern scientists,
they fit them within the overall
framework of their philosophy and the
overall religious scheme of the Church.
Philosophy is distinct from Science.
SCIENCE PHILOSOPHY
would have not developed if it remained is based on analytic understanding
under the wings of philosophy and of the nature of truth asserted
theology. about specific topics of issues.
are based on empirical data, tested It asks the questions: “What is the
theories, and carefully contrived nature of truth?”, “How do we
observations. know what we know?”
It does not ask about the question about
the nature of nature of truth.
Seeks to discover the truth about specific
causes of events and happenings in the
natural world.
It is inductive
It proceeds from observing particular
cases and moves toward generalizing the
properties of common to these cases to
other similar cases under the same
specified condition.
• This definition of Science is very modern
description.
• Before the modern period, the growth of the
sciences was slowed down because of the
dominance of religious authority and
tradition.
• However, with the breakdown of the Church
and its religious power after the French
revolution, the science grew steadily and
rapidly to become the most widely
accepted way of explaining the world,
nature, and human beings (Harrington 2006)
• The development of the social sciences during the
modern period was made possible by several large
scale social upheavals and pivotal events. They can
be summarized below.

Science Humanities

Pure Science Visual Arts


Applied Science Performing Arts

Social Science Religion

Law

Linguistics

History
The Unprecedented
Growth of Science
• The Scientific Revolution, which begun with
Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543), refers to historical
changes in thought and belief, to changes in social
and institutional organization, that unfolded in
Europe roughly between 1550 and 1700.
• It culminated in the works of Sir Isaac Newton (1643-
1727), which proposed universal laws of motion
and a mechanical model of the Universe.
• The 17th century saw the rapid development in the
sciences. Along with Sir Francis Bacon, who
established the supremacy of reason over
imagination, René Descartes and Sir Isaac Newton
laid the foundation that allowed science and
technology to change the world.
• The discovery of gravity by Sir Isaac Newton, the
mathematization of physics and medicine paved
the way for the dominance of science and
mathematics in describing and explaining the world
and its nature.
• With the coming of the Scientific Revolution and the
Age of Reason, in the 16th and 17th centuries, nature
was to be controlled, “bound into service and
made a slave” (Capra 1982, p. 56).
• From the Medieval cosmology or model of the
universe that defines it as divinely ordained, people
shifted to the model of the universe as a big
machine.
• The triumph of this model of the universe was
facilitated by Newton’s Physics.
• Descartes’ separation of the physical from
the spiritual, the body from the mind, also
led to the triumph of valuing the physical
over the spiritual.
• Once the physical universe is considered as
a machine, it soon became apparent that
human beings can explore it according to
science in order to reveal its secrets
(Merchant 1986).
René Descartes (1596-1650) was a French
philosopher, mathematician, and writer who is
considered the father of modern philosophy.
Descartes advocated the use of rigorous
philosophical analysis to arrive at truths rather
than basing them on dogmas.
The Secularization of
Learning and Education
• The modern period marked the growing triumph of
scientific method over religious dogma and
theological thinking.
• The triumph of Reason (specifically Western Reason)
and science over dogma and religious authority
began with the Reformation.
• The Protestant movement led by Martin Luther
eroded the power of the Roman Catholic Church.
• It challenged the infallibility of the Pope and
democratized the interpretation of the Bible.
• Then, there was the Enlightenment.
• This was largely a cultural movement, emphasizing
rationalism as well as political and economic
theories, and was clearly built on the Scientific
Revolution (Streams 2003, p. 70).
• In the Age of Enlightenment, philosophers
led by Immanuel Kant challenged the use of
metaphysics or absolute truth derived
mainly from unjustified tradition and
authority such as the existence of God.
• Kant advocated the use of reason in order
to know the nature of the world and human
beings.
• In 1784, Immanuel Kant wrote his famous
essay, “What is Enlightenment?” Kant
heralded the beginning of the Modern
Period when he defined Enlightenment as
the courage to know.
Enlightenment is man’s release from his self-
incurred tutelage. Tutelage is man’s ability to make
use of his understanding without direction from
another. Self incurred is this tutelage when its case
lies not in lack of reason but in lack of resolution but
in lack of resolution and courage to use it without
direction from another. Sapereuade! “Have
courage to use your own reason!” – that is the
motto of enlightenment.
(http://www.allmenderberlin.de/What-is-Enlightenment.pdf, retrieved August 7, 2014)
• Whereas in the Medieval Period, universities
relied mainly on religious tradition and the
Bible to explain the nature of the universe
and the place of human being in the grand
scheme of things, the modern universities
started to rely on science and its method to
interpret the world.
• Max Weber, on of the leading figures in
modern sociology, described this process as
rationalization.
• Rationalization means that social life is more and
more subjected to calculation and prediction.
• Calculation and prediction can only be achieved if
human beings and society rely on regularities
established by modern science.
• Earlier people explained diseases through divine
intervention. With the discoveries of germ theory
and the development of vaccination by Louis
Pasteur, people relied more and more on medical
knowledge to deal with diseases.
• As French sociologist Francois Lyotard (1984) points
out, Science triumphed because it provided
reliable results.
• Another element of rationalization is the
separation between different social spheres
especially between the Church and the
universities.
• The collapse of religious authority and
gradual erosion of religious domination over
social life of the people led to the use of
classical humanistic resources such as
ancient philosophy and humanities to
advance human knowledge independent
of Revelation (Zeitlin 1968, pp. 3ff)
The Rise of Universities
• Education is the single most important factor in the rise
of social sciences.
• The growth of universities also contributed to the
triumph of science.
• Secular subjects or subjects dealing with natural world
proliferated in the universities.
• Merchants and capitalists supported universities and
institutions of secular leaning because them became
the hub of training future scientists, technocrats, and
technological innovators.
• Durkheim, one of the founding “fathers” of sociology,
for instance, lectured on the need of secularize
education and base the curriculum on the need of
nation-state – to develop citizens necessary for the
modern world (Collins 1994, p. 11)
The Dissolution of Feudal
Social Relations
• With the intensification of commerce and trade in
17th century, many medieval guilds or workers’
cooperatives were dissolved and absorbed into the
emerging factory system.
• The factory system and the unprecedented growth
in the urban centers due to trade and commerce,
attracted a lot of agricultural workers and mass of
rural population to migrate to urban centers.
• This created the modern cities.
• This development forced many social scientists
during this time to study the effects of the dissolution
to feudal relations on the social life of the people.
• Ferdinand Tönnies (1885-1936), a German
sociologist, and contemporary of Max Weber,
lamented the passing away of gemeinschaft or
community because of urbanization.
• Tönnies’ classic book Community and Society
(1957) showed how the modern way of life had
drastically changed the way people relate to one
another. Whereas in traditional communities people
had warm relationships with the members of the
community, in modern cities or, gessellschaft,
individualism gave way to cold and calculated
social relationship.
• As capitalism replace agricultural economy,
people began to see their relationships with
other people as mere economic
transactions rather than as a form of
personal relationships.
Trade and Commerce
• Livres des merveilles du monde recorded the travels
of Marco Polo, an Italian merchant from Venice.
This book introduced the Europeans to Asia and
China, and inspired Columbus’ five journeys to
America (1942-1506).
• From Marco Polo’s travels (1276-1291) to Magellan’s
circumnavigation of the world (1519-1522), the
travels of this period fed the imaginations of the
Europeans with vivid descriptions of places whose
very existence they had so far been unaware of.
• These travelogues had not only inspired European
merchants and governments to explore the non-
Western world but also provided the social scientists
the raw data to create a universal model of social
development.
• Later in the 18th century, trade and commerce
greatly accelerated.
• Charles Tilly, a historian, believed that this was one
of the major factors in the large-scale change in
European history that also determined largely the
direction of the social sciences.
• Both domestically and around the world, European
merchants played a growing role in trade and
commerce.
• Anthropologists also began to compare the
differences between rural life and city life, between
the civilized life and the supposed “savage” life of
non-Western people.
• As many travel accounts reached the Western
world, especially in the accounts of Harriet
Martineau, a British political economist and
sociologist, social scientists shifted their attention to
non-Western world as a model of the early stage of
Western civilization.
The Rise of Individualism
• The intensification of commerce and trade
gradually replaced barter with the introduction of
money and banking system.
• Soon banking system provided merchants and
capitalists the leverage to extend credit and
transactions.
• The introduction of money enabled people to deal
with people in an impersonal manner.
• Money made possible the reduction of the human
interaction to mere business-like transactions devoid
of any warmth and personal touch.
• This is led George Simmel (1858-1918), a German
sociologist in the early 20th century, to decry the
growing depersonalization of life due to the
introduction of money.
• Money economy transformed individuals to
autonomous consumers who were released from
attachment to local contexts and traditions.
• Hence, the dominance of money in social life
paved the way for individualization of lifestyle and
the birth of plural relationships.
• This condition became an important focus of social
scientists.
• It compelled them to explain how the “new
economy”, which as industrial capitalism, that
replaced the traditional feudal relations, had
drastically shaped human character and traits.
• The transition from feudal economy to industrial
capitalism heralded the creation of people who no
longer relied on traditional norms and prevailing
culture.
• Modern individuals asserted their freedom to
choose. Through education and the spread of
scientific worldview, people saw their lives as no
longer at the mercy of fate or destiny.
• Individualism is simply the recognition of the power
of the individual to assert ones freedom against the
given norms and structures of society.
• The vast intensive and extensive growth of our
technology which is much more than just material
technology entangles us in a web of means, and
means towards means, more and more
intermediate state, causing us to lost sight of our
real ultimate ends. This is the extreme inner danger
which threatens all highly developed cultures, that
is to say, all eras in which the whole of life is overlaid
with a maximum of multi-stratified means. To treat
some means as ends may make this situation
psychologically tolerable, but it actually makes life
increasingly futile.
• (source: Frisby, David and Mike Featherstone, eds, 1997. Simmel on Culture:
Selected Writings, p. 97. London: Sage.)
The Birth of Social
Sciences as a Response to
the Social Turmoil of the
Modern Period
• SOCIOLOGY is a branch of the social
sciences that deals with scientific study of
human interactions, social groups and
institution, whole socialites, and the human
world as such.
• Of course, sociology also addresses the
problem of the constitution of the self and
the individual, but it only does so in relation
to larger social structures and processes.
• SOCIOLOGY, therefore, is a science that
studies the relationship between the
individual and the society as they develop
and change in history.
• Sociology does not only study the existing
social forms of interactions but also pursues
the investigation of the emergence of stable
structures that sustain such interactions.
Auguste Comte
(1798 – 1857)

a French philosopher and mathematician, is the founding father of


sociology. He coined the term “sociology” but he originally used
“social physics” as a term for sociology. Its aim was to discover
the social laws that govern the development of societies.
Comte suggested that there were three stages in the development
of societies, namely, the theological stage, the metaphysical stage,
and the positive stage.
Comte’s sociology has always been associated with positivism or
the school of thought that says that science and its method is the
only valid way of knowing things.
Harriet Martineau
(1802 – 1876)

The “founding mother” of sociology, an English


writer and reformist. With physical disabilities, Martineau
traveled a lot, especially in the United States, and wrote here
travelogues. In her accounts expressed in How to Observe Morals
and Manners (1838), the deep sociological insights that we now
call as ethnographic narratives are fully expressed. She also wrote
on political economy and was influenced by J.S. Mill, David
Ricardo, and Adam Smith.
Karl Marx
(1818 – 1883)

the German philosopher and revolutionary. Marx introduced the


materialist analysis of history which discounts religious and
metaphysical (spiritual) explanation for historical development.
Before Marx, scholars explained social change through divine
intervention and the theory of “great mean.”
Karl Marx
Considered as the “father” of scientific socialism
(1818 – 1883)

However, Marx advocated the use of scientific


methods to uncover the deep structural tendencies that
underlie great social transitions, for instance, from
agricultural to modern industrial capitalist society.
Marx belonged to the realist tradition of social sciences
that believed in the power of scientific reason to know
the nature of society and human beings. Unlike any
other sociologists, Marx stands out as the sociologist
who combined revolutionary activity with scholarly
passion.
Emile Durkheim
(1858 – 1917)

a French sociologist, made possible the professionalization of


sociology by teaching it in the University of Bordeaux.
Durkheim was responsible for defending sociology as an
independent discipline from psychology.
As a social realist, Durkheim argues that society possess a
reality sui generis (that is, its own kind, or a class by itself, unique)
independent of individuals and institutions that compose it.
Emile Durkheim
Was the pioneer of functionalism in sociology.
(1858 – 1917)

Durkheim famously argued that society pre-existed


the individuals and will continue to exist long after the
individual is dead.
His main contribution are in the field of sociology of
religion, education, and deviance
Max Weber
(1864 – 1920)

Another founding father of sociology.


Weber stressed the role of rationalization in the development of
society.
For Weber, rationalization refers essentially to the
disenchantment of the world. As science began to replace religion,
people also adopted a scientific or rational attitude to the world.
People refused to believe in myths and superstitious beliefs. In
this way, modern individuals became dependent on science to
order their lives.
Max Weber Was the pioneer of interpretive sociology.
(1864 – 1920)

And the greatest application of scientific way of life is in


bureaucracy, which Weber saw as mammoth machine that will
eventually curtail human freedom. Because in bureaucracy
efficiency is considered as the supreme value, other values such as
personal relationships and human intimacies are gradually
discarded.
Anthropology
• Anthropology as a scientific
discipline originated from social
philosophy and travelogues of
Western travelers.
• It grew out of the encounter of
social scientist with the non-
Western world.
• According to Allan Barnard (2004),
“anthropology emerged as a distinct
branch of scholarship around the middle of
the nineteenth century, when public interest
in human evolution took hold. Anthropology
as an academic discipline began a bit later,
with the first appointments of professional
anthropologists in universities, museums, and
government offices” (p. 15).
• Many pioneers in anthropology built a universal
model of cultural development patterned
according to Darwin’s evolutionary theory that
locates all societies in the linear evolutionary
process.
• Like sociology, anthropology developed during the
years of two World Wars (Barnard 2004, p. 37).
• Four great anthropologist helped to formalize and
advance anthropology as a discipline, namely
o Franz boas (1858 – 1942),
o Bronislaw Kasper Malinowski (1884 – 1942),
o Alfred Reginald Radcliffe-Brown (1881 – 1955), and
o Marcel Mauss (1872 – 1950)
Franz Boas
(1852 – 1942)

 is often considered as the father of modern American


anthropology.
He was the first anthropologist to have rejected the biological
basis of racism or racial discrimination.
He also rejected the popular Western idea of social evolution or
the development of societies from lower to higher forms.
This kind of theory influenced by Darwin was rejected by Boas
in favor of historical particularism.
Franz Boas
is considered the “father” of American anthropology
(1852 – 1942)

 In this doctrine, each society is considered as having a unique


form of culture that cannot be subsumed under an overall
definition of general culture.
Kwakiutl dancing, for example, in Boas’ analysis can only be
understood according to the meanings ascribed to it by
participants rather than seeing it as part of general social function.
Consistent with his anti-evolutionary theory, Boas advocated
cultural relativism or the complexity of all culture whether
primitive or not.
Bronislaw Kasper Malinowski
(1884 - 1942)

 he was a Polish immigrant who did a comprehensive study of


Trobriand Island. Based on his field study, developed what social
scientists now call as participant observation.
 It is a method of social science research that requires the
anthropologists to have the ability to participate and blend with
the way of life of given group of people.
Bronislaw Kasper Malinowski Was an anthropologist and
(1884 - 1942) ethnographer.

 he is also considered as one of the most influential


ethnographers in the 20th century.
 Ethnography is literally the practice of writing about people.
 Often, it is taken to mean the anthropologist’s way of making
sense of other people’s modes of thoughts, since anthropologists
usually study cultures other than their own.
Alfred Reginald Radcliffe-Brown
(1881 - 1955)

 he did fieldwork in 1906 – 1908, on the Andaman Islands east of


India, and published his reports in the diffusionist style, but later
shifted his theoretical orientation.
 in 1937, he became the Chair in Social Anthropology in Oxford.
He also advocated the study of abstract principles that govern
social change.
 He saw individuals as mere products of social structures.
Was an English social
Alfred Reginald Radcliffe-Brown anthropologist who developed
the theory of structural
(1881 - 1955) functionalism.

 This view led to the establishment of structural-functionalist


paradigm in anthropology.
According to this view, the basic unit of analysis for
anthropology and social sciences are the social structures and the
functions they perform to maintain the equilibrium of society.
Political Science
• Political science is part of the social sciences that
deals with the study of politics, power, and
government.
• In turn, politics refers to “the process of making
collective decisions in a community, society, or
group through the application of influence and
power” (Ethridge and Handelman 2010, p. 8).
• Political science studies how even the most private
and personal decisions of individuals are influenced
by collective decisions of a community.
• Divorce, for instance, may be very personal
matter among couples, but the decision
and the rules on divorce are shaped by
collective decisions arrived at through
conflict and antagonism of different interest
groups within society, especially religious
groups.
• As women’s rights advocates often claim,
“The personal is political.”
• Whereas other social sciences have a quite clear
history, political science has a complex history.
• Its earlier can be traced back to the ancient Greek
political philosophy of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.
• Later it developed into a religious-oriented tradition
beginning with Augustine, and later secularized by
Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau.
• The preoccupation of these modern political
philosophers is to explain the transition of Western
societies from savagery toward democratic
commonwealth.
• Their works, highlighting the social contract theory,
became the foundation of modern democratic
theory.
• Some scholars argue that political science is a
unique American invention. Hence, its focus has
always been the narrative of democracy.
• The science of political during the 19th century was
organized around the concept of the state as
elaborated by German émigré Francis Lieber, who
taught at Columbia University.
• In the 20th century, the discipline of social science
shifted from state-centered to pluralism as
evidenced in the works of Lawrence Lowell (Public
Opinion and Popular Government, 1913) and, later,
Walter Lippmann (The Phantom Public, 1925).
• Pluralism led to the emphasis on analyzing
group interests rather than the state.
• In this view, society is viewed as being
composed of several competing groups
with different interests that generate
conflicts.
Walter Lippmann (1889-1974) was
a newspaper commentator and
respected world news columnist.
• Later, political science will be dominated by
behavioral orientation that define the discipline as
empirical science.
• This shift was advanced by David Easton in his work
The Political System: An Inquiry in the State of
Political Science (1953).
• This was also the beginning of liberal tradition in
political science.
• Liberal tradition champions individual freedom as
best embodied in democracy. Like in sociology,
critical tradition in political science was not
marginal to the discipline.
• The works of Herbert Marcuse and the members of
the Frankfurt School became a loud critique within
political science itself.
• In the 20th century, political science has moved
from behavioral approach that emphasizes
scientific, method towards doing research on more
pressing social problems. Today, political science is
composed of diverse paradigms and
interpretations.
The Colonial
Origin of the Social
Science
The Clamor for Decolonization
of Social Sciences
• Social sciences spread from the center to the peripheries
of the world.
• Most of their observations, mainly from anthropology,
were clothed in the cultural and attitudes of the fair
European.
• It cannot be denied hat social sciences as they
developed in the West were employed by colonizers in
order to further subjugate the inhabitants of the non-
Western world.
• As Simale and Kincheloe (1999) observed, “The
denigration of indigenous knowledge cannot be
separated from the oppression of indigenous peoples.
Indeed, modernist science, anthropology in particular,
has been deployed as a weapon again indigenous
peoples” (p. 29)
• Social Dawnism, which proclaimed the
survival of the fittest, was used to justify the
domination of native people as well as the
exploitation of the underclass in industrial
societies. In fact, most travelogues and
description of the European travelers were
full of factual errors and had belittling
descriptions of natives.
• When European explorers, just like social
scientists, encountered the natives, they
found themselves different from the natives.
• Most Westerners looked at the natives as
savage, illiterate, and incapable of rational
thinking.
• And these colonial biases were also echoed
in the social sciences during the time.
• For instance, in the development of
societies, European social scientist placed
the non-Western world in the lowest point in
the evolutionary process.
• This kind of attitude also led to colonialism
and the destruction of indigenous cultures,
language, and traditions.
• E. San Juan, Jr. (2006) provides a classic example for
American colonialism in the Philippines:
o Complicit with the invading military, US
academics were appointed to implement the
systematic “tutelage” of the Filipino subject. One
example is Dean Worcester, professor of
anthropology at the University of Michigan, who
wrote one of the first sourcebooks of knowledge
about the Philippines and its people. He
participated in the first Philippine Commission in
1899 on the basis of his expertise on zoological
specimens collected in the archipelago. As
Secretary of the Interior for 13 years, Worcester
became notorious for denouncing the
“barbaric” practices of slavery and peonage of
the Muslims, thus judging Filipinos unfit for being
recognized as a people or a nation (p. 51).
• Because social sciences were imported from the rich
Western countries, many scholars in former colonies and
developing countries are now clamoring for
decolonization of the social sciences.
• As two scholars rightly observed, “The story of the
Scientific Revolution in Europe itself is framed in the
ethnocentric West-is-best discourse of colonialism.”
• Social scientists advocating decolonization or de-
Westernization of science believed that the methods
and concepts, the epistemology, and the philosophical
worldview that inform Western social sciences are not as
universal as Western scholars claim.
• Western medicine, for instances, is a unique product of
Western civilization.
• Outside the Western civilization, there are other existing
alternative medical systems that are even much older
than Western medicine.
Indigenization of Social
Sciences in the Philippines
• In the Philippines, social sciences after World War II
simply perpetual colonial knowledge production from
American social sciences.
• Many Filipino social scientists such as Virgilio Enriquez, a
psychologist; Zeus Salazar, a historian; and Prospero
Covar, an anthropologist advocated for the
indigenization of social sciences.
• Moreover Prospero Covar, a former professor at UP
Diliman, recalled that the clamor for indigenization was
done through Sikolohiyang Pilipino (Filipino Psychology)
that manifested its beginnings in the 1960s when the UP
Community Development Research Council challenged
the applicability of Western concepts, theories and
research tools, and subsequently embarked upon
researches on Filipino concepts and indigenous cultural
forms.
Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o (B. 1938): Kenyan literary
and social activist, currently Distinguished
Professor of English and Comparative
Literature at the University of California, Irvine.
As an activist, he was imprisoned in 1977 and
released in 1978.
• Sikolohiyang Pilipino (SP) is borne out of this move to
indigenize social sciences in the Philippines.
• Two leading exponents of SP, Narcisa Peredes –
Canilao and Maria Ana Babaran-Diaz, wrote:
“Sikolohiyang Pilipino refers to the psychology borne
out of the experience, thought and orientation of
Filipinos, based on the full use of the Filipino culture
and language” (p. 49).
• According to these authors, “The idea is that the
social sciences, such as Western academic
psychology, are very much a product of the
common sense concepts and lived daily realities of
the white male fathers of psychology, their
respective communities, and local histories.”
• Thus, Carolyn Sobritchea (2002) argued that
the strategies for collecting information as
suggested by SP are very useful for doing
feminist ethnography in the Philippine
context such as pagmamasid (observation),
pakikiramdam (feeling your way through),
pakikilahok (participation), pagtatanong-
tanong (informal interview),
pakikipagkuwentuhan (informal
conversation), and sama-samang
talakayan (focus group discussion).
• The current direction of SP can also be
applied to decolonization of Filipino social
sciences.
• It was a movement that systematically
critiqued the theories and methodologies of
Western psychology, and on a more
constructive plane, it aimed to create a
psychology relevant to and based on
Filipino indigenous ways of knowing, living,
and valuing, “in short, a psychology that is
appropriate and significant to Filipinos” (Pe-
Pua 2006, p. 111).
• Indigenization come after decolonization.
• Reconstructing Filipino psychology tailored-
fit to Filipino local experience can proceed
in two levels: from within and from without
(Enriquez 1995).
Social Sciences in
the Era of
Globalization
• While science may be considered as a
universalizing form of knowing, it has to be
sensitive to the local cultures of the people
that adopt it.
• Social sciences, in particular, because they
study cultural meanings and social change,
must be able to address the concerns and
problems of the local communities rather
than being merely a tool to continue the
control of Western worldview on local
cultures.
• In the era of globalization, the strongest
weapon against being swallowed in the
vortex of homogenization of culture is to rely
on its traditions and collective memories of
its people.
• Such collective memories empower them
against being swallowed by the torrent of
Western Values.
• In the era of globalization, social sciences face the
problem of plurality of paradigms and methods.
• According to Gerald Delanty (2006), a British
sociologist, “The current situation”, of the social
sciences, “is characterized by post-disciplinary
developments and a related plurality of theoretical
and methodological approaches” (p. xviii).
• “These tendencies tend to undermine the venture
of grand theory that was part of the classical social
theory”.
• Gone are the days when social scientists dreamt of
creating an all-encompassing theory to explain
large-scale historical upheavals and social change.
• With globalization, social sciences welcomed the
proliferation of different social theories and
ideological orientations.
• The critique of Eurocentrism of traditional social
sciences allows indigenous cultures and other non-
Western “subjugated knowledges” to reclaim their
voices.
• Other than decolonizing Western social sciences,
the social sciences are also being transformed by
feminism and postmodern currents.
• Henrietta L. Moore (2010) defines the
feminist reorientation in anthropology:
o Feminist anthropology is considered with critically
examining relations between women and men,
and investigating how gender, embodiment and
sexuality are produced through complex relays
of power involving ideologies and social
institutions. Its focus of analysis has shifted over
time, moving from an initial emphasis on women
to a concern with gender relations, issues of
difference and identity, and sexuality and
heteronormativity [strict distinction between
male and female sexes] (p. 284)
• Feminist approaches in social sciences
question the gender biases inherent in
traditional social sciences.
• They do not challenged the exclusion of
women from the “male-stream” (as
mainstream) disciplines of anthropology,
sociology, and political science, but also
more radically, they questioned the
unacknowledged male-bias (or
androcentric orientation) of many theories
and measurements.
• In particular, classical women sociologists
approached the task of analyzing society
from their distinctive knowledge and
experiences as women, and that this
standpoint gave them particular
advantages as students of society.
• One of the most significant contributions of
women in social sciences is the rejection of
the theoretical stance in which the theorist
locates herself or himself outside and apart
from that she or he analyzes, speaking as a
disinterested and omniscient observer
(Lengermann and Niebrugge-Brantly 2001,
p. 131).
• This is reflexivity or the awareness of the
social scientists of the ideological, political,
and social biases of their standpoints when
doing research and publishing their works for
the wider public.
• Feminists argue that many male social
scientists, including women, in most
instances, are never aware of the gender
biases of their studies and research.
• When social scientists, for instance, study IQ
or intelligence, they usually make
generalizations that do not discriminate
between the experience of women and
men.
Summary
• The social science, namely, sociology, and political
science, developed as a result of the development
of modern society.
• The rise and rapid growth of the natural sciences
influenced the direction of the social sciences.
• The social sciences borrowed mainly from the
natural sciences in developing their own concepts
and method.
• However, in the 20th century, the social sciences
have become diverse and pluralistic.
• Nevertheless, they have never abandoned the
quest to be relevant to the people of the 20th
century.
• Social sciences today have drastically changed
from being Western-centered to having a more
pluralistic orientation and being multicultural in
nature.
• This has to do with the efforts of social scientists from
non-Western countries to indigenize Western social
sciences.
• Feminists, postcolonial theories, and postmodern
scholars have also contributed to the questioning of
the assumed universality of Western concepts and
theories of Western social sciences.
• In particular, Sikolohiyang Pilipino, in the Philippines,
is spearheading the move to decolonize
psychology.