Interaction between values and facts in social science

Stick to the Social Science Facts

Scientists are often told to ‘stick to the facts’ when communicating their research findings. This seems like sound advice, particularly for controversial topics.

However, sticking to the facts ignores how values and beliefs interact with facts. This is a crucial issue when it comes to social science. This article will explore how the study of society is entangled with morality and values.

Durkheim’s Study of Suicide

In 1897, father of sociology Emile Durkheim published “Suicide: A Study in Sociology” which is considered as one of the classic works in this field. The book was the first methodological study of a social fact in the context of society and triggered a new field of sociological inquiry.

Durkheim was interested in the question of why a certain number of people commit suicide in every society at a given time. He believed that the answer could be found by studying the causes of suicide. He proposed that each society was predisposed to contribute a particular quota of suicides, and the intensity of this tendency could be measured.

Durkheim also studied the role of religion, family, and education in suicides. He found that suicides increase in those countries, months of the year, and times of day when religious and other social life is most active, and decreases in such places where such activity declines. He classified four types of suicides: egoistic, altruistic, anomic, and fatalistic.

Savitribai Phule’s Birth

Born on January 3, 1831 in Naigaon, Maharashtra, Savitribai Phule was a revolutionary flame that ignited the movement for education and equality of women in India. She fought social injustices like child marriage and sati and is now hailed as the country’s first feminist.

Together with her husband Jyotirao Phule, she opened one of India’s first schools for girls in Bhide Wada, Pune in 1848. She also worked towards the emancipation of widows and fought against sati pratha and the caste system.

The duo did not have any children of their own but did adopt a son named Yashawantrao from a Brahmin widow. They also opened a well in their house for those who were considered untouchable and pushed for the freedom of women from oppressive customs.

Shyam Saran Negi’s Voting

The 106-year-old Master Shyam Saran Negi, the country’s first voter and Election Commission’s brand ambassador, has kept his date with democracy. He voted in the Himachal Pradesh Assembly polls through postal ballot on November 12. His residence in scenic Kalpa village of Kinnaur district was decorated with a red carpet, and he was greeted by a band playing traditional musical instruments. The Election Commission’s Chief Electoral Officer Naveen Chawla also visited him.

The BJP expresses “deep sadness and condolences” on the death of Negi. It wished that God grants “strength to the family members to bear this irreparable loss.” He was a pillar of strength and inspiration for younger generations, as he always exhorted them to vote. He cast his 34th postal ballot this year for the Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections. He had earlier voted in the Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha elections as well. The state government is making arrangements for his funeral with full state honours.

Scotland’s Menstrual Products

The Scottish government has made history in the world of menstrual products by implementing the Period Products Act. The new law puts a legal duty on local councils and education providers to make free tampons and pads available in public settings across the country.

The law was introduced by Labour politician Monica Lennon and has been praised as a victory in the global movement against period poverty. According to surveys, around a quarter of people who menstruate miss school and work due to their inability to access the necessary hygiene products.

The law requires local officials and education providers to stock up on tampons and pads in order to ensure that anyone who menstruates can access them without having to pay. The government has also made period education resources available and promoted the use of a mobile app, launched earlier this year by Hey Girls social enterprise, to find a collection point nearby. The app has already been downloaded more than 3.4 million times.

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