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In 2004, Michael Burawoy challenged sociologists to move beyond the ivory tower and into the realm of activism, to engage in public discourses about what society could or should be. His call to arms sparked debate among sociologists. Which side would sociologists take? Would "public sociology" speak for all sociologists? In this volume, leading Canadian experts continue the debate by discussing their discipline's mission and practice and the role that ethics plays in research, theory, and teaching. In doing so, they offer insights as to where their discipline is heading and why it matters to people inside and outside the university.
“If the standpoint of economics is the market and its expansion, and the standpoint of political science is the state and the guarantee of political stability, then the standpoint of sociology is civil society and the defense of the social. In times of market tyranny and state despotism, sociology—and in particular its public face—defends the interests of humanity.”—Michael Burawoy, past president of the American Sociological Association “Sociologists should—indeed must—speak forcefully on important issues whenever they have something to say, but they should do so as individuals and not collectively as a profession.”—Douglas Massey, past president of the American Sociological Association “If we aren’t doing public sociology, we’re just talking to each other. To claim to study society and to say that you needn’t bother to make your work relevant or accessible to social members—well, that seems to me just plain insane.”—Sharon Hays, Streisand Professor of Contemporary Gender Studies, University of Southern California "Once we acknowledge the sharp divisions in our society, we have to decide which publics we want to work with. I propose … that we strive to address the public and political problems of people at the lower end of the many hierarchies that define our society."—Frances Fox Piven, president of the American Sociological Association "We must tend to our job of getting enough truth of the kind that can bear on the future, which is what is relevant to public discourse.... we should not be distracted much by contributing to public discourse, and what we do along that line is not likely to be much use to the public."—Arthur Stinchcombe, formerly John Evans Professor of Sociology, Northwestern University
Public Sociology features a wide-ranging discussion of the controversial model of a social science that reaches out to non-academic audiences, including both average citizens and policymakers. This approach has been greeted with enthusiasm by supporters, and with skepticism and anxiety among critics. Both perspectives are well represented in this volume.Some of the critical voices question whether public sociology is even a good idea. Others dissent, arguing for a strong program in professional sociology as an alternative. Still others express concern that public sociology promotes a liberal-left political agenda, despite its nonpartisan pretensions. Some elements of the model are queried, such as ""critical sociology."" Others are supportive--discussing personal experiences, the benefits of an engaged social science, and how it could take social science into a broader, global marketplace.Following an introduction by the editor, the contributions include: David Boyns and Jesse Fletcher, ""Public Relations, Disciplinary Identity, and the Strong Program in Professional Sociology,"" Jonathan H. Turner, ""Is Public Sociology Such a Good Idea?"" Steven Brint, ""Guide to the Perplexed,"" Vincent Jeffries, ""Piritim A. Sorokin's Integralism and Public Sociology,"" Norella M. Putney, Dawn E. Alley, and Vern L. Bengston, ""Social Gerontology as Public Sociology in Action,"" Edna Bonacich, ""Working with the Labor Movement: A Personal Journey in Organic Public Sociology,"" Christopher Chase-Dunn, ""Globabl Public Social Science,"" Neil McLauglin, Lisa Kowalchuk, and Kerry Turcotte, ""Why Sociology Does Not Need to be Saved,"" Michael Burawoy, ""Third-Wave Sociology and the End of Pure Science,"" Patricia Madoo Lengerman and Jill Niebrugge-Brantley, ""Back to the Future: Settlement Sociology, 1885i?1/2-1930,"" Sean McMahon, ""From the Platform: Public Sociology in the Speeches of Edward A. Ross,"" Chet Ballard, ""The Origin and Early History of the Association for Humanist So
Public sociology—an approach to sociology that aims to communicate with and actively engage wider audiences—has been one of the most widely discussed topics in the discipline in recent years. The Handbook of Public Sociology presents a comprehensive look at every facet of public sociology in theory and practice. It pays particular attention to how public sociology can complement more traditional types of sociological practice to advance both the analytical power of the discipline and its ability to benefit society. The volume features contributions from a stellar list of authors, including several past presidents of the American Sociological Association such as Michael Burawoy, a leading proponent of public sociology. The first two sections of the Handbook of Public Sociology look at public sociology in relation to the other three types of practice—professional, policy, and critical—with an emphasis on integrating the four types into a holistic model of theory and practice. Subsequent sections focus on issues like teaching public sociology at various levels, case studies in the application of public sociology, and the role of public sociology in special fields in the discipline. The concluding chapter by Michael Burawoy, a past president of the American Sociological Association and a leading proponent of public sociology, addresses current debates surrounding public sociology and presents a constructive vision for the future that embraces and improves upon all four types of sociology. The Handbook of Public Sociology with its examination not only of public sociology but also of how it can enhance and complement other types of practice, transcends differences in the field and will appeal to a wide range of academics, students, and practitioners.
Public Sociology, 2nd edition offers a fundamental enriching of method far beyond the scope of research methodology textbooks. It looks at sociology as a social act-as writing-in arguing for a public sociology that can more fully embrace and address crucial public issues. Building on the philosophy of science and recent postmodernist critiques, Agger shows how the social science text reproduces the existing social world, suppressing science's author in order to position itself as simply a mirror of nature, not a deliberate human version replete with ontology, theory, values, and politics. As such, method is an argument that polemicizes quietly for a certain view of the world. Agger peruses how science could be crafted differently, acknowledging, even embracing its authoriality while opening it to crosscurrents of other humanistic writing. Only by liberating sociology from the "secret writing" of science can its ineradicable humanity be realized. But rather than dwelling on recent critiques, this, more than any other book, looks ahead to a new way of doing science-one that is simultaneously more scientific and humanistic. Its prescient view of how social science can take the lead in building a more democratic public sphere will make it a must-read for every student and researcher.
This book highlights the variety of ways in which sociology brings about social change in community settings, assists nonprofit and social service organizations in their work, and influences policy at the local, regional, and national levels. It also spotlights sociology that informs the general public on key policy issues through media and creates research centers that develop and carry out collaborative research. The book details a broad range of sociology projects. The 33 case studies are divided into 8 sections. Each section also includes sidebars of include non-sociologists writing about the impact of selected research projects. In some cases these are interdisciplinary projects since solutions to social problems are often multifaceted and do not fit into the disciplines as defined by universities. Further, it emphasizes actions and connections. This is not armchair sociology where self-proclaimed public sociologists just write articles suggesting what government, corporations, communities, or others "ought to do." The authors are interested in the active connections to publics and users of the research, not the passive research process.
During the past ten years the terms public sociology, civil society, and governance have been used with increasing frequency to describe a wide array of political and social practices. Nickel provides a critical clarification of the concepts of civil society and governance, moving beyond traditional disciplinary boundaries. With her unique international background in the practice of public service and social policy Nickel is able to provide a nuanced explanation of how civil society and governance are interrelated and the implications for the organisation of knowledge and public life. The book is framed in three parts. Part one explores the emergence of public sociology as an ideal, as well as the broader public turn in the social sciences. Part two explores the changing relationship between government and civil society, including non-profit organisations. Part three draws these two themes together in an exploration of the politics of practice and relations of power.
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