The social sciences are a group of academic disciplines that study human aspects of the world. They differ from the arts and humanities in that the social sciences tend to apply use of the scientific method in the study of humanity, including quantitative and qualitative methods.
The social sciences approach subjective, inter-subjective, interactive, systemic, and constructed aspects of society as empirically existent systems which can be objectively proven. However, are traditionally referred to as soft sciences. This is in contrast to hard sciences, such as the natural sciences, which may focus exclusively on systemic aspects of nature.
The word "science" is older than its modern use, which is as a short-form for "natural science". Uses of the word "science", in contexts other than those of the natural sciences, are historically valid, so long as they are describing an art or organized body of knowledge which can be taught objectively. The use of the word "science" is not therefore always an attempt to claim that the subject in question ought to stand on the same footing of inquiry as a natural science.
Michel Foucault (French pronunciation: [miʃɛl fuko]) (October 15, 1926–June 25, 1984) was a French philosopher, historian, critic and sociologist. He held a chair at the Collège de France, giving it the title "History of Systems of Thought," and taught at the University of California, Berkeley.
Michel Foucault is best known for his critical studies of social institutions, most notably psychiatry, medicine, the human sciences, and the prison system, as well as for his work on the history of human sexuality. Foucault's work on power, and the relationships among power, knowledge, and discourse, has been widely discussed and applied. Sometimes described as postmodernist or post-structuralist, in the 1960s he was more often associated with the structuralist movement. Foucault later distanced himself from structuralism and always rejected the post-structuralist and postmodernist labels.