Social science expertise: the problem of Interdisciplinary technologies

Popova, Olga Valentinovna
D.Sc. in Political Science, Professor, Head of the Department of Political Institutions and Applied Political Research, Saint Petersburg State University, Saint Petersburg, Russia


Against the background of technical and natural sciences, expertise in the social sciences and, for example, political science, looks like something in the "light" style. However, this circumstance could not diminish the significance of the fact that the fate of mankind largely depends on the results of expertise on various processes and projects in the social sciences. At least no less than in "strict" knowledge of the material world. Alas, the optimistic forecasts expressed 50 years ago about the direct linear dependence of the human society progress on the technological processes development have failed, as well as the idea of the total causality of the civilization success reliance of the production enhancing itself.
The problem of interdisciplinary technologies used in social science expertise has several dimensions. In its simplest form, it concerns the possibility of the methods and techniques used in individual social sciences to be retranslated and used in other spheres of social knowledge. However, the question also relates the fundamental possibility/impossibility to apply for this sphere some practices from fields of knowledge which are extremely far from the analysis of society, power and individuals. The second essential aspect is the validity of combining specific contemporary methodologies and techniques in the social sciences. Moreover, the expertise in the social sciences could not ignore issues of the constructing forecasts accuracy, especially in situations of nonlinear event's development and overcoming bifurcation points in the processes under study.
This topic goes beyond the discussion of analytical procedures themselves. In the social and power aspects of expert knowledge, the significant figures are not only the experts themselves, but also the decision-makers and the organizers of the expertise. Scientists' perception of the relevant topics for discussion and the actual role of experts could vary greatly. All of these problems need to be discussed in detail, taking into account the positive experience that has been gained in the area of social science expertise.

Keywords: social sciences, expertise, problem field, analysis methodology, methods, techniques, expert competences, range of possibilities