Chapter

Stalled at the Altar?: Conflict, Hierarchy, and Compartmentalization in Burawoy’s Public Sociology

Sharon Hays

in Public Sociology

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2007 | ISBN: 9780520251373
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520940758 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520251373.003.0004
Stalled at the Altar?: Conflict, Hierarchy, and Compartmentalization in Burawoy’s Public Sociology

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Writing from the perspective of the United States, this chapter expresses some doubts on seeing public sociology as an already accomplished practice. It notes that Burawoy's public address is a politician's speech designed to build consensus. What is worrying is “the tendency to accept existing hierarchies within the discipline and merely to insert public sociology among them.” This, the chapter argues, would do little to affect the conflicts and inequalities within sociology and would open up the potential for simply compartmentalizing public sociology within the discipline—thereby reproducing its second-class status. Departments and universities would have to encourage a style of teaching that engages with moral and political questions. They would have to acknowledge that public sociology is not an “extracurricular” activity, but as important as teaching, conducting research, and publishing.

Keywords: United States; inequality; public sociology; political questions; Michael Burawoy

Chapter.  5008 words. 

Subjects: Comparative and Historical Sociology

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