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SA Hosts Launch of 2010 World Social Science Report

11 October 2010

Date :

11 October 2010


South Africa will host the launch of the World Social Science Report (WSSR) at the 4th Annual Leadership Retreat in Kleinmond, near Cape Town, on 11 October 2010. The WSSR addresses the world’s inequalities and how different nations, states and continents have different resources at their disposal for development. This is the first time that SA will host the launch of this report, released once every decade.


Inyathelo, the South African Institute for Advancement, in cooperation with the Human Sciences Research Council and the International Social Science Council, will present the WSSR report at the start of the Leadership Retreat which runs from 11-13 October 2010 at the Arabella Western Cape Hotel.


Examining Knowledge Divides


Dr Anita Craig, an advisor to the WSSR report’s editorial team, described the report as “of enormous significance and is a survey of the state of our knowledge as people in the world. It examines the knowledge divides across the world.”


The report highlights features of various global “knowledge divides”, including:

  • Social science from Western countries continues to have the greatest global influence, but the field is expanding rapidly in Asia and Latin America, particularly in China and Brazil.
  • In sub-Saharan Africa, social scientists from South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya produce 75% of academic publications.
  • In South Asia, barring some centres of excellence in India, social sciences as a whole have low priority.

Role of social sciences

According to the report, “social sciences have become so diffuse and widespread that nobody notices their role in understanding and shaping our world and daily lives anymore. Without them, most public policies would simply not exist and many individual and collective decisions would be difficult.”

Commented Nazli Abrahams, coordinator of the Leadership Retreat: “The retreat is premised on the fact of an unequal world, where different groups have different development resources at their disposal. The question is: in a world structured by differential access to and control over source of power, what are the roles of institutions in the global South?

“As South Africans we celebrate the local launch of the international WSS Report at the 2010 Vice Chancellors’ Leadership Retreat, where we will continue to interrogate the relationship between social science, the rest of the sciences, and the world we live in.”

Background on the 2010 WSS Report

The International Social Science Council is a subsidiary of UNESCO and every 10 years it conducts a review of the state of people’s knowledge globally. This report is the embodiment of the state of social scientific knowledge and it indicates to anyone involved in education and development issues such as:

  • What the global divides are,
  • Indicates the inabilities to overcome these divides, and
  • How best to respond to the report findings.

The report adds that social sciences are needed to understand and influence how humans act. They are crucial to implement the UN Millennium Development Goals: from reducing poverty to promoting gender equality; and they are needed to face challenges such as climate change.

Kindly RSVP by Friday 8th October 2010 to: Celia-Ann Adams  or Michilene Meyer at