Social science is, in its broadest sense, the study of society and how people behave and influence the world around them.
It tells us about the world beyond our immediate experience, and can help explain how our own society works - from what is happening with new technology and how this could change our world, to how improvements can be made to our social and healthcare systems. Looking at how businesses can grow and improve career opportunities or how we react to political events.
This year we’re challenging you to take a photograph that shows the bigger picture of how the world is changing and how it affects you, your family, friends, community and the nation as a whole.
The Bigger Picture competition is an opportunity to be creative using photography and explore the relevance of social science to your life. Your photo should fall into one of the five categories below. In addition to your image we’d also like you to supply an imaginative title, together with a supporting statement of up to 100 words explaining the social science behind it.
There are many issues affecting young people in society today, either directly or indirectly. Are you are a young carer, looking after a parent, sibling or elderly relative? How do you cope? Mental health issues could be affecting you or someone close to you. You could be a victim of bullying or have witnessed others suffering. Do you, or someone you know, struggle with self-harm, self-belief or body image? What about addiction or alcoholism as a result of peer pressure. Or are you worrying about exams and future career prospects?
An increasing population, a materialistic and throwaway society, and the rapid use of finite natural resources are all affecting our surroundings. How do we consume energy? What can be done to ensure a more sustainable future - recycle more and reduce reliance on landfill? What are our influences and effects on the environment - are we experiencing more flooding, coastal erosion and climate change as a result of our actions? What can be done to change things for the better?
Society in chaos
We are living in changing and turbulent times with the ever growing threat of terrorism, increased threats from other countries, migrants making perilous journeys to escape violence, poverty and starvation. Does this affect you or your community? Or are you concerned by the pressures on our public services, our education, health, and transport systems? Is there an increase of pride in our country or just a tide of nationalism? Are we a society in chaos?
New world order
Today’s political world is changing rapidly. We now live in a society of unprecedented events, where a rich businessman can become President of the USA and where an independent political candidate can come out on top in France. Fake news tries to influence and persuade us, but how do we find the truth? Will Brexit affect our economy, job prospects, trade and travel? What is the future for NATO?
Age of innovation
The pace of change in industry and business is increasing rapidly. Where are the developments in artificial intelligence or technology taking us? Do they open up a whole new world or threaten our livelihoods? Does our obsession with social media make us more connected or more isolated? Are we so obsessed with obtaining the latest gadgets and gizmos? Is technology driving family connections apart or bringing them closer? Do we have lots of ‘online friends’, but no one to turn to in a crisis?