4

I wonder what the difference is between "sciences sociales" and "sciences de la société".

3

The ngram is a valuable tool, but in this case it may not paint the whole picture. This is rather subtle.

As I see in contemporary usage, while "sciences sociales" has been a standard form of use over the past 50 years, in the past 15 years "sciences de la société" appears to be the more PC usage in the world of education at least, possibly in a wider circle.

It may be a form of "hexagonal," i.e. jargon-like French that makes you sound more professional at the cost of simplicity and elegance -- or it may be an inflected use due to sociopolitical implications of the earlier "sciences sociales" since "social" may also carry the connotation of "assisted" ("assurances sociales," "aide sociale" etc.).

So, for a writer who aims at the official world of education, it is possible that "sciences de la société" may be a more appropriate wording if the audience is an official audience (for instance a textbook that needs to be approved, or an article submitted to an education publication). It may also allow the writer to use the appropriate "code" that shows that she/he belongs to the right stratum or initiates' circle.

If you look at the ngram, you will see that "sciences de la société" only appears in the past 15-20 years. Its use may also have leveled off over the past 5-10 years. I am not fully current on its use in the education world since 2010, but, browsing official education sites right now, I still see it prominently displayed in the naming of many university programs.

As for me, I dislike hexagonal and would use "sciences sociales" unless I had a very good reason to do otherwise.

  • "...the more PC usage...": "Pretty cool" or "Piece of Crap" ? – jlliagre Feb 22 '16 at 22:00
  • "the more PC usage...": Politically Correct:-) – WestOfPecos Feb 23 '16 at 8:27
3

There is a strong difference in usage, Sciences sociales are well know academic fields of study while Sciences de la société, while not unheard, is rarely used, often in the GHSS acronym, Géographie, Histoire et Sciences de la société used to name a French universities UFR (Unité de formation et de recherche).

Ngram shows about one hundred times less Sciences de la société than Sciences sociales and digging the results show many false positives.

The first substantial occurrence of this wording might be a 1975 collective book under the direction of Jean Cazeneuve and titled La sociologie et les sciences de la société.

  • 1
    @comethapaxd'ajax Plutôt faculté mais bien qu'encore couramment employé en France, ce mot n'a plus de signification légale dans le domaine de l'enseignement supérieur. Une faculté de médecine est une UFR des sciences de santé/médecine. Les UFR sont des composantes des universités: Voir fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unit%C3%A9_de_formation_et_de_recherche – jlliagre Feb 20 '16 at 22:03
  • Ref. UFR pour faculté. Merci pour l'info, je ne savais pas. Est-ce qu'on peut imaginer qu'un programme d'étude en Sciences sociales soit normalement offert par une UFR de GHSS ? – user3177 Feb 20 '16 at 22:15
  • 1
    @comethapaxd'ajax A priori non. Les sciences (humaines et) sociales ont un trop large spectre. Un programme d'étude universitaires concernera plutôt l'une des disciplines qu'elles regroupent. Voir cette page pour une description de GHSS: sig2015.esrifrance.fr/fiche_univ_diderot_paris7.aspx – jlliagre Feb 20 '16 at 22:36
-1

There is no difference :

  • sociales is an adjective meaning related to society société like social in English.
  • de la société is another form which demonstrates the possessive form like the English of the society.

Il n'y a aucune différence:

  • sociales est un adjectif signifiant relatif à la société l'équivalent en anglais est social.
  • de la société est une autre forme qui démontre la possession comme en anglais of the society.
  • Inexact. Les "sciences sociales" sont un secteur d'étude et d'enseignement très large, très bien défini (au moins son noyau), avec un corps de personnels et de structures pour. "sciences de la société" est rarement entendu, n'est pas utilisé (ou de manière assez confidentielle) dans les appellations officielles (ce qui ne préjuge pas de son intérêt bien sûr !). Encore faudrait-il définir ce que c'est. – guillaume girod-vitouchkina Feb 21 '16 at 9:52

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