Dr. Rhiannon Leebrick is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Wofford College. Her research interests include environmental sociology, political economy and globalization, and social theory. She recently joined the editorial team of Civic Sociology, an open-access journal from University of California Press which is slated to publish its first articles in January 2019.
UC Press: Welcome to Civic Sociology!
Rhiannon Leebrick: Thanks!
UC Press: What got you involved with Civic Sociology?
Rhiannon Leebrick: I became involved in Civic Sociology because of conversations I had with folks at academic conferences, specifically related to two observations. First, the continued need for and importance of sharing the research we are doing at the local or regional level and exploring how our individual projects are connected through larger and global dynamics such as economic and political processes. Second, questioning what the role and obligation of sociology is today, especially given that as sociologists we are not immune to the social phenomena, institutions, and policies that we study. Civic Sociology is a place to continue these conversations, start new ones, and connect the dots between the work sociologists, among others, around the globe are doing. We can do this through traditional articles, but also through research notes, essays, podcasts, and review articles.
UC Press: What does “civic sociology” mean to you?
Rhiannon Leebrick: To me, civic sociology, as it is currently envisioned, is a framework to bring together the multiple paths that sociological research can take with the intention of building more connections, reflexivity, and ideas for or examples of ameliorative action. In other words, a conceptual tool to think about how we study society and how sociologists can, are, and should intervene in systemic problems. The journal is a place where one can submit professional sociological research meaning work aimed at expanding the discipline and meant for other academics to read, public sociology or work that is aimed at a non-academic audience, policy sociology meant for changing/amending policies, or critical sociology, which at its best, helps us to contrast what we say about society to how society operates (while working to acknowledge and understand the ways in which we are socialized and how social structures operate around and within us).
UC Press: What kind of papers are you looking to be submitted to the journal?
Rhiannon Leebrick: This is what is most exciting about this journal and the framework of civic sociology to me, we are interested in re-examining what it means to be a sociologist today with the hope of starting (and continuing) conversations about reinvigorating the discipline. There are many sociologists doing valuable work in their local communities to help solve immediate problems and using a sociological perspective to critically think about the ways in which global dynamics influence local/regional phenomena and systemic issues, however, sociologists are often on the margins of public conversations, if they are included in these discussion at all. Even at our own conferences and in our respective institutions it can be difficult to carve out the necessary time to have sustained conversations. I think Civic Sociology can be a platform to keep these conversations going, a place to share insights, research, frustrations, to ask questions, and practice reflexivity. Therefore, I am most interested in submissions that tackle questions related to how we can better utilize sociology given the socio-historical moment we are in, while practicing being reflexive in our own research and as a discipline. I hope that we will receive papers from sociologists across the globe that are focused on the three directions of civic sociology: problem-solving and professional practice, local and regional issues, and normative and ethical reflection.
UC Press: We’re publishing this post in conjunction with the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association—the theme of this year’s meeting is “Engaging social justice for a better world.” If ASA attendees read this and want to submit to Civic Sociology, what should they do?
Rhiannon Leebrick: Check out the author guidelines at civicsociology.org/author-guidelines. We are currently accepting research articles, research notes, and review articles, which will all go through the peer-review process. We are also interested in essays/comments/opinions.
UC Press: Thank you for your work on Civic Sociology, and best wishes for a successful start!
Civic Sociology is an open-access journal which encourages a scholarship oriented toward more effective, ethical interventions into systemic social problems, and which emphasizes problem-solving and professional practice; local and regional issues; and normative and ethical reflection.