Social science and the modern world

International Social Science Journal (Chinese Edition)

No.1, 2022


Social science and the modern world



Björn Wittrock   


In a long-term perspective, the social sciences constitute particular forms of human self-reflexivity that are characteristic of what might broadly be termed the modern world. The social sciences originated in Europe in the late eighteenth century. Its rise experienced a process from moral and political philosophy to social science. Between 1890 and 1930, its focus was to understand a world of inequalities and imperialism. After World War II, it was a period of reestablishment and renewal of the social sciences on an international scale. The years from 1971 to 1992 were ones of ruptures and new departures. Since 1991, social scientists try to understand a world beyond hegemony. Today, they are on the crossroads.