Rubén Flores is a sociologist at University College Dublin whose research has contributed to the sociology of compassion and care. He recently joined the editorial team of Civic Sociology, a new open-access journal from University of California Press.

UC Press: Welcome to Civic Sociology!

Rubén Flores: Thank you! It is a real honour to be part of Civic Sociology’s editorial team.

UC Press: This idea of a “civic” sociology is perhaps a departure from contemporary, more siloed approaches to sociological research. What got you interested in the journal Civic Sociology, and what does the concept “civic sociology” mean to you?

Rubén Flores: I was drawn to the journal as a result of my interest in normative ethics and social research. I see Civic Sociology as a great opportunity to rekindle a form of ethical reflection that was once more common in sociological scholarship. Normative inquiry has the potential to inspire experimentation that can help us to understand why we do what we do in the deepest sense. Many sociologists are eager to study inclusive, humane, sustainable, and caring ways to live and organize society, but we tend not to talk about the priorities motivating our work. I hope that the conversations in the pages of Civic Sociology can help to reconnect sociology with the moral dimension of its civic mission.

UC Press: As an editor for the journal, what types of papers would you like to see published in Civic Sociology?

Rubén Flores: I would like to see big-idea papers addressing serious collective problems at global and local levels. I would also like to see submissions that address the ethical experience of sociological inquiry. My suspicion is that many sociologists have a draft of a paper somewhere in their files that they began to write and then abandoned upon realizing that it had “become too normative.” It would be interesting for some scholars to revisit the points in their writing where they have agonized the most about how to deal with ethical issues, either by publishing these works or by developing essays about what ideas are sufficiently sociological to publish.

UC Press: This week, the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association begins. Should people at ASA read this post and want to submit to Civic Sociology, what should they do?

Rubén Flores: The journal’s website is a good point of departure. It provides a wealth of information and a substantive mission statement. A quick review of these materials will give scholars a sense of what the journal is trying to achieve and how it stands to contribute to the wider discipline. Within the scope of this charge, thoughtful scholarship is welcome.

UC Press: Thank you for your work on Civic Sociology!


You can learn more about UC Press’s new, open-access journal Civic Sociology in our Q&A with Civic Sociology Editor-in-Chief Eric Lybeck and by visiting

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.