Seeing Like a Social Scientist

What does it mean to understand the world as a student of the social sciences? What kinds of engagement with it does it entail?

This inaugural course in the BA Social Science curriculum invites our students to participate in styles of thinking that are identified with social scientific practice and begin in them the process of developing a social scientific sensibility. A key aspect of this sensibility, as it is fleshed out in and through our curriculum, is to keep knowing’ and doing’ constantly in sight of each other, and not to treat concepts and contexts, theory and practice separately. Seeing Like a Social Scientist is a foundational course that orients students towards this sensibility. In it, real’ world that is to be seen, the concrete context in which social scientific ideas will be explored in the course, is our very own — the Bangalore campus of Azim Premji University and the community/​society it sustains. As such, the course also serves as an introduction to the rest of the Social Science curriculum; it prepares students with some fundamental frameworks and concepts, paradigms and identifiable methodologies, that cut across different disciplines in the social sciences, something that they will need to carry forward into the next semester and beyond as the coursework progresses.