The Sociologist and the Public Sphere

Immanuel Wallerstein

in Public Sociology

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2007 | ISBN: 9780520251373
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520940758 | DOI:
The Sociologist and the Public Sphere

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This chapter acknowledges the tension between instrumental and reflexive knowledge, between the knowledge of professional sociology and the knowledge of the organic public intellectual. It sees the intellectual honesty of organic public sociologists compromised by political loyalties. However, the discussion argues that it is intrinsically impossible to keep one's values from entering one's scientific/scholarly work. The answer to the dilemmas posed by different types of knowledge is that all sociologists should engage with both. All sociologists and all social scientists, the chapter suggests, should perform three functions: an intellectual function, to develop plausible analyses instrumental knowledge, reflexive knowledge, professional sociology, intellectual honesty of the empirical world; a moral function, to understand the moral implications of the work; and a political function, to consider the best way to realize a moral good as they understand it.

Keywords: professional sociology; instrumental knowledge; reflexive knowledge; public sociology; political loyalties; intellectual honesty

Chapter.  2739 words. 

Subjects: Comparative and Historical Sociology

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