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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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The Field of Sociology: Its Power and Its Promise

The Field of Sociology: Its Power and Its Promise

Chapter:
(p.240) (p.241) The Field of Sociology: Its Power and Its Promise
Source:
Public Sociology
Author(s):

Michael Burawoy

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520251373.003.0017

Sociology in the United States has spanned three waves over the past 150 years. Now, in its third wave, it harnesses that science to its earlier moral concerns in order to give vitality to public sociology. This chapter holds this point of view, situating the critics in the field of sociology, navigating its successive waves. The three waves of sociology reflect and refract broad societal responses to three waves of market expansion. The first wave of marketisation led to a spontaneous reaction from an emergent civil society that sought to transcend capitalism with socialist, communitarian, and cooperative experiments. The second wave of marketization took off after World War I, leading to equally profound reactions, but this time from nation-states—in such varied forms as fascism, communism, and social democracy. Today, in its third wave, sociology's external focus turns from the policy world to the world of publics.

Keywords:   third-wave sociology, social sciences, United States, market expansion, World War I, social democracy, public sociology

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