Karachi, November 14, 2019 (PPI-OT): We want the world to be a safer place where people can have basic rights and they live with dignity, however, presently, there are many of problems such as poverty, inflation, recessions, inequalities, discrimination, dependency and monetary issues that have created miseries in human lives. In this situation, it can be exemplified that social scientists seek to research for eliminating such problems as they are working in interdisciplinary subjects and can handle the situation accordingly, especially in the areas of human welfare and development. These views were expressed by the Professor Dr Paul Alter Komesaroff during a day-long seminar on Thursday.
Professor Dr Komesaroff belongs to Monash University, Australia and holds a PhD in philosophy. He is a director of the international ethics center at the Australian University and developed expertise in both qualitative and quantitative investigations of the social and cultural dimensions of health and health care. He was addressing at the international conference held on the role of social scientists in the 21st century, which was arranged by the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, at the Arts Auditorium, University of Karachi.
He informed the audience that social scientists are largely concerned with the social and economic advancement to reduce socio-economic deprivations as a whole. He mentioned that they have significant accounts for developing strategies, planning and programming in developing and growing economies which would have positive impacts on poor’s lives.
He mentioned that social scientists have found a new idea for incorporating women into the workforce to eliminating poverty and hunger. They also identified barriers and challenges faced by women at workplaces and trying to resolve them through the lens of gender equality. The field of social sciences guarantees democracy and majority of consents before applying any of social policy and social movement.
Professor Dr Paul Alter Komesaroff said that social scientists believed that every individual citizen should feel empowered and built an environment where people can challenge prejudice, inspire learning and be more productive in contemporary societies.
Another speaker, Dr James Kay, Kabarak University, Kenya, 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 conceptualized as existential fulfillment while their connectedness with what they do that gives them motivation and commitment is viewed as work engagement.
He mentioned that existential fulfillment and work engagement are indicators of positive mental hygiene and promote adaptive coping at the workplace. The antipode is burnout which is defined as existential vacuum or active disengagement. Globally, only 13.6 percent of employees worldwide are engaged at work, 61.7 percent are disengaged and 23.3 percent actively disengaged.
He shared that Latin America has the highest work engagement levels at 31 percent followed by North America 27 percent, Africa/Middle East 23 percent and the least work engagement levels reported in Europe 19 percent. The KU Vice Chancellor Professor Dr Khalid Mahmood Iraqi said that society needs of 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 expressed 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.
The Dean, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, KU, Professor Dr Nasreen Aslam Shah, expressed 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 marginalized groups, good governance, nation and state-building.
The former Chairman, Mass Communication Department, KU, Professor Dr Nisar Ahmed Zuberi said that social theories are providing a framework that uses to study and interpret the social phenomenon. He said that term social sciences referred to as “science of society” which was established in the 19th century, it covers many of disciplines which explain society and the relationships among the society members.
He mentioned that social scientist provides a general thought to explain actions and behaviours of the society. The role of social theory considers the day-to-day activity (including: socialization, roles of mothers, managers, teachers and so on) every role has specific duties and responsibilities, sometimes expectations, strictly followed norms, ethics and behaviours which is, of course, vary from person to person in the society.
He added that social scientists play a variety of roles in the policymaking process, it validates the social scientific knowledge and its applicability whereas; there should be a good relationship between social scientists and the policymaker to have balanced society through the appropriate decision making.
Dr Asman Manzoor of Center of Excellence for Women’s Studies, KU, said that in Pakistan, early marriage has been going on since early days, which has been customs such as “Watta Satta” means that a girl is exchanged between two families, and “Pait Lekhi” means that a girl is engaged before her birth.
She mentioned that in Pakistan, marriage in nearest or distance relatives is very common which causes early marriage and education for girls is not considered much more important. It is said that early marriage provides a girl’s honour and keeps her pure. Another faculty member of the CEWS, KU, Dr Shagufta Nasreen, also shed light on the issue of early marriages in the country and problems associated with this practice. She observed that many young girls are married in the pretext of social, cultural and religious traditions and remain disadvantaged physically, educationally, psychologically, and economically thus keep on suffering for the whole of their life.
She said that the practice of child marriage is a violation of human rights. This practice is driven by poverty, deeply embedded cultural traditions, and pervasive discrimination against girls. Dr Muhammad Rozunzzaman Siddiky and Professor Dr Profulla Sarker from Bangladesh were not able to attend the conference due to some reasons but their research papers were read out while many other research papers were presented during the day-long seminar.
The purpose to arrange the conference was to provide the platform to academicians, professionals and policymakers in the related field and to update the faculty with the latest empirical studies published by the academics around the world. The event aimed to establish networking among national and international academicians and researchers and to build serious discussions in the related field continuously.
The participants at the conference shared their experiences on topics like mental hygiene, community and social development, economic and political challenges, maintaining the balance in democratic system, cultural diversity and human rights, advancement and development of socio-economic sectors, grey areas in foreign policy, gender and development, gender discrimination and its impact, role of globalization in promotion of peace, addressing the traditional and non-traditional security issues, issues pertaining to violence and terrorism in present scenario, role of education in national development, natural and manmade disasters, concerns pertaining to good governance, inter-faith dialogue, population trends and public policy, social media and its impact, global dimensions of growth and sustainability, critical theory and public policy framework, value-neutrality of social sciences, emerging trends of civil society, literary critique and the future of humanities, regional integration and trading blocks.
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