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Public SociologyFifteen Eminent Sociologists Debate Politics and the Profession in the Twenty-first Century$
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Dan Clawson

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780520251373

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520251373.001.0001

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About Public Sociology

About Public Sociology

Chapter:
(p.176) About Public Sociology
Source:
Public Sociology
Author(s):

Orlando Patterson

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520251373.003.0013

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

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