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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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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 02 August 2021

The Strength of Weak Politics

The Strength of Weak Politics

(p.145) The Strength of Weak Politics
Public Sociology

Douglas S. Massey

University of California Press

This chapter is sympathetic to individual political participation but critical of collective participation by the discipline. It expresses worries that an engaged public sociology will erode professional standards, that a disciplinary politics would erode the political effectiveness of individual activists. Drawing on issues of immigration policy, racial segregation, and human rights, this chapter argues, first, that effective action requires an accurate understanding of the groups and structures one seeks to modify through political action. Second, it argues that a reputation for impartiality and objectivity greatly enhances the value of the statements that the association does choose to make on questions of public import. And third, it argues that by advancing scientific rather than political criteria of truth, the American Sociological Association helps build professional respect and scientific legitimacy, which are prerequisites for the effective engagement of individual sociologists.

Keywords:   individual political participation, collective participation, public sociology, disciplinary politics, immigration policy, racial segregation, human rights, ASA

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