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November 15, 2019

‘Social scientists can suggest ways through research to lessen widespread human suffering’


November 15, 2019

Presenting research papers at a daylong ‘International Conference on Role of Social Scientists in the 21st Century’, held at Karachi University’s Arts Auditorium on Thursday, scholars and academicians highlighted the importance of global peace and said problems such as poverty, inflation, recession, inequalities and discrimination made human lives miserable.

They said social scientists were struggling to seek research approaches for addressing such issues as researchers could handle the situation, especially in the areas of human welfare and development. The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences had organised the moot in which a number of foreign scholars presented their research papers.

The aim of the conference was to provide a platform for discussions to academicians, professionals and policymakers in the related field and to update the faculty about the latest empirical studies published by academics around the world. It also aimed to establish networking among national and international academicians and researchers for serious discussions in the field of social sciences.


Presenting his research paper titled ‘The Role, Importance and Challenges Faced by Social Scientists in the 21st Century’, Prof Dr Paul Alter Komesaroff of Monash University, Australia, said that social scientists faced many challenges in accomplishing their tasks; the topmost demand was of managing time as they had to deal with keeping up-to-date case management notes to track the implementation and progress.

He however said that social scientists were largely concerned with social and economic advancement in order to reduce socio-economic deprivation. They worked with governmental departments, United Nations Organisation, non-governmental organisations, funding agencies and of course with the media to become influential at far-reaching areas, he said.

Prof Komesaroff observed that social scientists had significant accounts for developing strategies, planning and programming in developing and growing economies which would have positive impacts on the poor’s’ lives. Similarly, they have found a new idea for incorporating women into the workforce for eliminating poverty and hunger.

He said further social scientists also identify barriers and challenges faced by women at workplaces and are trying to resolve them through the lens of gender equality. The field of social sciences guarantees democracy and the majority of consents before applying any of social policy and social movement, he said, adding that they believed that every individual citizen should feel empowered and build an environment where people can challenge prejudice, inspire learning and be more productive in contemporary societies.

Mental hygiene

Dr James Kay of the Mount Kenya University while reading his paper ‘The Place of Mental Hygiene in the 21st Century Workplace and the Role of Mental Health Providers’ said that work is central to human existence because it offers the possibility for the full range of human experiences and gives meaning to life.

The way individuals relate with themselves and derive meaning in life is conceptualised as existential fulfillment while their connectedness with what they do that gives them motivation and commitment is viewed as work engagement. The existential fulfillment and work engagement are indicators of positive mental hygiene and promote adaptive coping at the workplace. Burnout is defined as existential vacuum or active disengagement.

Patriarchy system

Royal University of Dhaka Bangladesh Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Profulla C Sarker presented his research on the role of social scientists preventing life cycle gender violence against women in the 21st century of patriarchal society.

He said that in the patriarchy system male exercise power upon female without her consent which generates violence against women.

He discussed the role of social scientists’ in preventing gender violence against women and in promoting gender equality with the initiative of the GOs, INGOs, NGOs, VOs involving schools, community, media, civil society, law enforcing agencies.

Social scientists

Dr Md. Roknuzzaman Siddiky of the Noakhali Science and Technology University, Bangladesh, highlighted the role of social scientists in the 21st century via his research paper.

He said that the present world is characterised by global tension, violence, ethnic and racial conflicts, religious extremism and so on, which are hampering global development. In order to stabilise peace, harmony and progress across the world, it is very necessary to promote social tolerance, social justice, cultural diversity, intercultural dialogues, and peaceful co-existence across the world.

In this regard, the social scientists around the world could play much instrumental role by cultivating and nurturing the culture of tolerance, social solidarity and integrating all the people of the planet regardless of sex, class, national identity, and ethnic or religious identity with their ideas based on the philosophy of progress and non-violence.

The least developed countries and some developing countries have failed to get potential benefits from globalisation due to their weak human resources, low-level technology and shortage of technical skills. The social scientists can play an important role to develop appropriate methods through research and utilise local knowledge in order to mitigate climate change and environmental degradation and lessen human suffering.

New horizons

KU Department of Mass Communication visiting faculty Prof Dr Nisar Ahmed Zuberi while presenting his research papers said that the term social sciences covers many of disciplines which explain society and the relationships among the society members.

Various theories have been evolved in social sciences for eradicating social problems. They provide a general thought to explain actions and behaviours of society. He said that the theories and its application have great importance in this current era.

There is a need to produce more indigenised social scientists that should make their contribution in advance analytical research and skills, which should have common national interests and develop necessary information to design effective policies at national level.

Anti-globalisation wave

Dr Fauzia Ghani of the Government College University, Lahore, read a research paper on ‘The Wave of Anti-Globalisation: A Reversal of Nationalism.

She said that globalisation diminished the idea of nationalism and territorial boundaries. The critics denounce globalisation as a force that undermined the role and concept of nation state in international System. But currently, the anti-globalisation wave swapped the things as they were before particularly Brexit and the 2016 US presidential elections.

Role of education

Dr Zakira Jahantab of the International Islamic University, Islamabad, said that education is one of the most important instruments that play its role in human development, capital formation and producing responsible citizens in the country. Therefore, education has always been the major concern of successive governments.

The progress of a country depends on quality education while physical and mental well-being in a holistic and integrated approach towards human development is very much crucial.

Other researchers

In the conference, a number of researchers and faculty members presented their researches. Dr Shazia Sharafat and Dr Rukhsana of Karachi University presented their paper on the challenges faced by business women in Pakistan. Dr Seema Manzoor and Dua-e-Rehma read their papers on community development and awareness-raising in selected slum areas of Karachi regarding education, health and nutrition.

Siraj Bashir and Muhammad Nadeemullah presented their research paper on social work practice with local communities in Balochistan: essentials for political engagement.

Dr Sadia Barrech and Muhammad Din read a paper titled ‘Socio-cultural factors affecting women political empowerment: a case study of Balochistan”.

Lubna Akhlaq Khan’s research topic was ‘Good Woman is the Silent One: A Feminist Critique of Proverbial Stance on Gendered Talk’. Likewise, many teachers from various universities from across the country presented research papers.

Closing session

Addressing closing session of the moot, KU Acting Vice Chancellor Professor Dr Khalid Mahmood Iraqi said that society needs proficient social scientists, who can play a prominent role in the social development program implementation. He mentioned that the value of social scientists in society is undeniable as they foster important knowledge and research trends towards social issues to raise the quality of life.

He added that the social scientists with vast experience help in finding solutions to the challenges faced in the discovery of further knowledge. He was of the view that a productive interaction among scientists, academicians and scholars from home and foreign universities will go a long way in knowledge-sharing and promotion of research culture in diverse fields of life in Pakistan.

KU Dean Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Prof Dr Nasreen Aslam Shah said that we have a multicultural, ethnic and lingual society in which social scientists could play their significant roles by bridging the gap between various segments of population.

She observed that research in social sciences helps to identify the need for reforms in sectors that are critical for the development of society. She said that it also helps to address the challenges and problems and to identify their possible solutions for the country’s political, social and economic development, such as inter-ethnic relations, protections of marginalised groups, good governance, nation and state-building.