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Status of Interdisciplinary Studies


Vivek Kumar

SOCIAL SCIENCES IN PAKISTAN: A PROFILE
Edited by Inayatullah , Rubina Saigol, Pervez Tahir
Council of Social Sciences Pakistan, Islamabad, 2005, pp. 514, Rs. 500.00

VOLUME XXX NUMBER 5 May 2006

The book under review is the outcome of a Herculean task of reviewing the status of both pure and interdisciplinary disciplines of the social sciences in Pakistan. The review has been done on the basis of quantitative growth, qualitative development and identification of the factors that limited or fostered the disciplines. Without following any chronology of the development disciplines the editors have collected the articles on different disciplines randomly. For instance International relations which is relatively new and interdisciplinary subject has been discussed ahead of Economics, Anthropology or Sociology.   Three major challenges that the teaching and research in the field of International Relations in Pakistan face are, one, lack of theoretical orientation of the courses, second, its weak multidisciplinary character. The third challenge is the lack of nexus between the policy makers and the Pakistani academia (p.25). Inayatullah emphasizes that, “The discipline of Political Science in Pakistan compared to its counterparts in the West and India remains underdeveloped both quantitatively and qualitatively… The new developments in the discipline at the international level have only marginally touched it” (p.46). Ayesha Siddiqa mentions that Strategic Studies in Pakistan were the outcome of circumstances in which the armed forces started to build themselves after 1947 where there was no infrastructure for the building and training of armed forces. This discipline heavily relies on Economics, History, Sociology, Geography etc. A lengthy fifty page review on the state of Educational Discourse by Rubina Saigol argues, “Despite an extensive and intensive critique of the liberal structural-functional prardigm borrowed from the thought of Durkhiem and Parsons the majority of educators in Pakistan, remained caught within the structural-functional and liberal view of education as a social equalizer, instead of seeing it as one more source of inequality in society…Most of the curricular content in Pakistan remained hostage to the controversial two nation paradigm, especially in Social Studies, Pakistan Studies, Islamiyat and language teaching…While educators in India developed sophisticated critiques of how education reproduces the existing social order and class relationship…in Pakistan the mainstream educational establishment remained unaware of the worldwide scathing critiques of a liberal and positivist education” (p.81).   Mohammad Ashraf Adeel traces the 55-year-old history of discipline of Philosophy and emphasizes that Islamic Philosophy relating to Pakistani culture, its identity and problems is taught in all the departments. Further, these departments have been playing an important role in keeping Pakistan in contact with the intellectual ...


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