About Public Sociology

Orlando Patterson

in Public Sociology

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2007 | ISBN: 9780520251373
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520940758 | DOI:
About Public Sociology

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This chapter holds that Burawoy's conception of public sociology and reflexive knowledge is, at the same time, overly categorical—imposing sharp distinctions on a social world and underelaborated—failing to recognize the range of forms that public sociology may take. It distinguishes three types of public sociology. The first is called “discursive,” roughly similar to Burawoy's traditional public sociology, where sociologists are actively involved in public conversations with various nonsociological audiences. A second type is characterized by active, civic, especially political, engagement of the sociologist, a rough parallel to Burawoy's organic public sociology. The third type, called “professional,”is the kind of public sociology in which the scholar remains largely committed to the work but becomes involved with publics and important public issues as an expert.

Keywords: public sociology; Michael Burawoy; reflexive knowledge; traditional public sociology; organic public sociology

Chapter.  7855 words. 

Subjects: Comparative and Historical Sociology

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