Social Inquiry

Interdisciplinary Program in Social Inquiry

The interdisciplinary program in Social Inquiry provides students with a broad overview of modern social theory and approaches, addressing themes common across disciplines in the social sciences—especially sociology, politics, economics, and anthropology. The focus is distinctly historical and comparative, with a focus on Europe, North America, Latin America, and Africa. The intellectual foundations of this program are rooted in the writings of Marx, Weber, Durkheim, Foucault, Habermas, Polanyi, Schumpeter, and Arendt, and the important philosophical issues that underpin the social sciences: democracy, equality, justice, globalization, social order, and individual liberty. Within the framework of this unique interdisciplinary tradition, students gain the training in particular disciplines that will prepare them for working in a specific field or for graduate study.

Most of the courses in this program are taught by the distinguished faculty of The New School for Social Research (NSSR), which offers graduate programs in each of the social science disciplines that comprise Social Inquiry. The New School for Social Research is internationally known for its distinctive and critical approach to social theory. Students with a strong interest in economics should also look into the major in Economics. Social Inquiry is a distinctive program especially suited for students interested in considering social issues from an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary perspective. While courses are listed under individual subject codes, such as LPOL for politics and LSOC for sociology, The New School for Social Research ensures an interdisciplinary approach even in what might seem to be disciplinary courses. Courses from outside these individual disciplines may also satisfy requirements in the program, and students are encouraged to consider taking courses in Lang’s other programs, such as Urban Studies, Culture and Media, and History. Students also take integrative courses, in which ways of thinking, knowing, and inquiring in more than one discipline are taught. Students then go on to study a chosen discipline in depth.

Students have several options to complete the program. They may concentrate in a particular discipline or self-design a program in consultation with the chair to explore a particular issue, region, or theme. Upper-level Lang students have access to the resources at NSSR. Each year, appropriate New School for Social Research courses are integrated into the undergraduate curriculum and made available to Lang undergraduates. Also, advanced students may take approved courses in graduate departments at The New School for Social Research. Advanced students may also apply to the accelerated BA/MA at The New School for Social Research. Students interested in this option should consult with the Academic Advising office before their junior year.