Looking at the Malaysian social science scenario as a whole over the last six decades or so, it can be said with certainty that Malaysian social science and social scientists have played an important role, in fact, a key role in providing scientific analysis and explanations of the social order as well as global transformation in Malaysia, and in advocating certain approaches and strategies with regard to how it could and should be managed to build the society and craft the nation into what it is today. Batches upon batches of social scientists have been trained in Malaysian and foreign universities who then served as academicians as well as officials in both the public and private sectors. Books, papers as well as policies and plans have been written or formulated by social scientists on Malaysian economic and social development which have important impacts on the country and other parts of the world.
By the term ‘Malaysian Social Science’, we are not taking a narrow nationalist position to mean only the social sciences contributed by Malaysian scholars. Rather, we are using social science as a tool of analysis that has been developed by critical Malaysian scholars and Malaysianists irrespective of their nationality together over many decades. MSC11 will cover various dimensions of global transformation and inclusive development beyond Malaysia.
Globalization has been characterized by changes in demography and technology that have societal impacts in both developed and developing countries. Global transformation has enriched the powerful North and at the same time impoverished and marginalized the poor South. MSC11 is an agenda setting on inclusive development as a result of this global transformation that challenges the effort towards ensuring quality global and regional growth. The various discourses by distinguished speakers and panelists will enhance the corpus of knowledge and the quality of social science research which is the core business of PSSM.
Good scholarship that addresses in depth, with rigour and objectivity such important themes as inclusive development, social and ethnic diversity, global transformation requires a transparent academic culture and critical discourse. In the era when key performance indicators (KPIs) and number crunching become the rule of the game, we are fighting an uphill battle to promote quality, especially in research and publication in social science. The above are some of the key challenges we need to address in the years to come to advance social science and promote its meaningful contribution to the society and the nation. These challenges could be addressed and debated seriously in MSC11.