Cover Image

Larger ImageView Larger


Public Sociology

Fifteen Eminent Sociologists Debate Politics and the Profession in the Twenty-first Century

Dan Clawson (Editor), Robert Zussman (Editor), Joya Misra (Editor), Naomi Gerstel (Editor), Randall Stokes (Editor), Douglas L. Anderton (Editor) & 1 more


Adobe PDF E-Book
ISBN: 9780520940758
Other Formats Available:

Please note: UC Press e-books must be purchased separately from our print books, and require the use of Adobe Digital Editions. If you do not already have Adobe Digital Editions installed on your computer, please download and install the software. To complete your e-book order, please click on the e-book checkout button. A charge will appear on your credit card from Ingram Digital Group.

In 2004, Michael Burawoy, speaking as president of the American Sociological Association, generated far-reaching controversy when he issued an ambitious and impassioned call for a "public sociology." Burawoy argued that sociology should speak beyond the university, engaging with social movements and deepening an understanding of the historical and social context in which they exist. In this volume, renowned sociologists come together to debate the perils and the potentials of Burawoy's challenge.

Contributors: Andrew Abbott, Michael Burawoy, Patricia Hill Collins, Barbara Ehrenreich, Evelyn Nakano Glenn, Sharon Hays, Douglas Massey, Joya Misra, Orlando Patterson, Frances Fox Piven, Lynn Smith-Lovin, Judith Stacey, Arthur Stinchcombe, Alain Touraine, Immanuel Wallerstein, William Julius Wilson, Robert Zussman

Introduction—Robert Zussman and Joya Misra
For Public Sociology—Michael Burawoy

Public Sociology and the End of Society—Alain Touraine
Stalled at the Altar? Conflict, Hierarchy, and Compartmentalization in Burawoy’s Public Sociology—Sharon Hays
If I Were the Goddess of Sociological Things—Judith Stacey
Going Public: Doing the Sociology That Had No Name—Patricia Hill Collins

Speaking to Publics—William Julius Wilson
Do We Need a Public Sociology? It Depends on What You Mean by Sociology—Lynn Smith-Lovin
Speaking Truth to the Public, and Indirectly to Power—Arthur L. Stinchcombe
The Strength of Weak Politics—Douglas S. Massey
From Public Sociology to Politicized Sociologist—Frances Fox Piven

The Sociologist and the Public Sphere—Immanuel Wallerstein
About Public Sociology—Orlando Patterson
For Humanist Sociology—Andrew Abbott

Whose Public Sociology? The Subaltern Speaks, but Who Is Listening?—Evelyn Nakano Glenn
A Journalist’s Plea—Barbara Ehrenreich

The Field of Sociology: Its Power and Its Promise—Michael Burawoy

Editors and Contributors
Dan Clawson, Robert Zussman, Joya Misra, Naomi Gerstel, Randall Stokes, and Douglas L. Anderton teach in the Department of Sociology at the University of Massachusetts. Michael Burawoy, former president of the American Sociological Association, is Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley.
“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

Join UC Press

Members receive 20-40% discounts on book purchases. Find out more