Speaking to Publics

William Julius Wilson

in Public Sociology

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2007 | ISBN: 9780520251373
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520940758 | DOI:
Speaking to Publics

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This chapter is sympathetic to Burawoy's position. It argues that it is not just the findings of sociological research that contribute to public discourse on issues such as persistent poverty, urban planning, and criminal justice. Even more important are sociological frameworks, concepts such as labeling and concentration effects, which have become staples of public discussion and policy processes. The key to extending the range of sociological influence is lucid writing. The chapter also explicitly takes on the claim that public sociology will undermine professional sociology. Rather than challenging the legitimacy of professional sociology, public sociology will enhance that legitimacy. The chapter limits its comments to what Burawoy has called “traditional” public sociology, the sociology of op-ed pages and books written for a mixture of lay and professional audiences.

Keywords: Michael Burawoy; sociological research; public discussion; sociological influence; professional sociology

Chapter.  2911 words. 

Subjects: Comparative and Historical Sociology

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