is social science anti-democratic?
It’s often thought that social science is a tool for progress and democracy. Overall, I agree. However, there’s a sense in which social science is anti-democratic:
- Social scientists may discover that popular behaviors have bad outcomes.
- Social scientists may discover that popular government policies have bad outcomes.
- Social scientists privilege experts over the “person in the street.”
- Social scientists may find that policies favoring certain political, social or corporate actors may be bad.
You might think of this as the Ibsen view of politics and social science. And you see this already. It’s now a ritual among some politicians to trash social scientists. I’m comfortable in this position, but it does put us in tension with our sponsors and funders.