The Public Value of the Social Sciences An Interpretive Essay, by Brewer, John D.
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- ISBN: 9781780935225 | 1780935226
- Cover: Hardcover
- Copyright: 5/23/2013
John Brewer explores the essential nature of the social sciences and the ways in which notions of 'impact' and 'value' could be reframed to generate a more productive debate around their contribution to the good of society. The argument is presented in the form of an interpretive essay, thought-provoking, forward-looking, and challenging to intellectual orthodoxy. It is interspersed with boxed vignettes illustrating different interpretations of 'value' within the social sciences. The book's premise is that two threats to social science currently loom large. The first is the global university crisis, epitomized, particularly in the UK, by the audit culture in higher education. Brewer argues that this should be seen as an opportunity to empower the field by reframing it as a new form of 'public social science' with a commitment to promote the public good through teaching and research. The second perceived threat is the 'impact agenda'. Though 'impact' may be relatively easy to demonstrate the author argues it is a flawed concept in any bid to measure value. The debate needs to be moved on from the concept of 'public impact' to a more productive one of 'public value'.This book is an essential and thought-provoking contribution to a crucial contemporary debate and should be read by all researchers and teachers in the social sciences who are concerned by the future of higher education in their disciplines.