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In the previous chapters we have engaged with the voluminous literature which has emerged around public sociology, suggesting it is an example of a scholastic predisposition towards thinking rather than doing. It should be stressed at the outset that we don’t believe that thinking about public sociology serves no purpose. Even if we did it would be impossible, if not embarrassing, for us to admit that now that we have written an entire book on the topic. Despite this book’s theoretical tone, however, its intention is actually practical. We therefore concur

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This section is concerned with the how of public sociology education, what public sociologists do and how this is shaped by – and in some ways works to transform – the contexts in which we do it. It is therefore also about the where of public sociology. In relation to which locations and institutions does the practice of public sociology education take place? Here we analyse the contexts of public sociology and how these mediate the practices and possibilities of public sociology education. The case studies in this section continue to explore what public

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This section addresses the ‘what’ of public sociology education, and asks about the political and epistemological status of public sociology knowledge, including in relation to other sociological practices. What special knowledge(s) can public sociology generate? And, in particular, what constitutes the knowledge-content, or curriculum, of public sociology education? Here it is argued that a key heuristic for public sociology knowledge is its requirement to be ‘really useful’ in the sense that this term has developed in adult education theory (Johnson, 1976

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A Perspective from the Global South

The idea of public sociology, as introduced by Michael Burawoy, was inspired by the sociological practice in South Africa known as ‘critical engagement’. This volume explores the evolution of critical engagement before and after Burawoy’s visit to South Africa in the 1990s and offers a Southern critique of his model of public sociology.

Involving four generations of researchers from the Global South, the authors provide a multifaceted exploration of the formation of new knowledge through research practices of co-production.

Tracing the historical development of ‘critical engagement’ from a Global South perspective, the book deftly weaves a bridge between the debates on public sociology and decolonial frameworks.

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. We may put this more bluntly in the form of a simple equation: Techno-fixes + individual responsibility = environmental degradation and, eventually, the global crisis we are in. And the trouble with this normal state of affairs, as Bruce Cockburn observes, is that it always gets worse. 1 Towards a public sociology of waste As long as individuals privileged enough to afford so-called eco-products satisfy themselves that they are meaningfully and sufficiently contributing to protecting the environment, the longer this kind of ‘busy work’ (to use MacBride

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Is it possible to tackle waste by recycling, reusing and reducing consumption on an individual level alone?

This provocative book critically analyses the widespread narrative around waste as a ‘household’ issue.

Expert scholar Myra J. Hird uncovers neoliberal capitalism’s fallacy of infinite growth as the real culprit and shows how industry and local governments work in tandem to deflect attention away from the real causes of our global waste crisis.

Hird offers crucial insights on the relations between waste and wider societal issues such as poverty, racism, sexism, Indigeneity, decolonisation and social justice, showcasing how sociology can contribute to a ‘public imagination’ of waste.

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As a practice and a vision, public sociology has swept through the discipline in the years since Michael Burawoy’s 2005 call for action in his speech, ‘For Public Sociology’. The German critical theorist Erich Fromm was among the most creative, visible, and influential practitioners of public sociology in the middle of the twentieth century until his death in 1980. The great American theorist Robert Merton taught Fromm’s classic book Escape from Freedom in sociology courses at Columbia University and Fromm was widely cited in the top sociology journals in the

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Erich Fromm was one of the most influential and creative public intellectuals of the twentieth century. He was a mentor to David Riesman and an inspiration for the New Left.

As the rise of global right-wing populism and Trumpism creates new interest in the kind of psycho-social writing and popular sociology that Fromm pioneered in the 1930s, this timely book tells the story of the rise, fall and contemporary revival of Fromm’s theories.

Drawing from empirical work, this is an invaluable contribution to popular debates about current politics, the sociology of ideas and the prospect of a truly global public sociology.

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Much of the literature on the political engagements of sociologists has been framed by Michael Burawoy’s concept of ‘public sociology’. The aim of this chapter is to develop a critique of this concept, drawing from the writings and practices of a group of sociologists at the Society, Work and Politics Institute (SWOP) in Johannesburg, South Africa, and replace it with the concept of ‘critically engaged sociology’ – ‘critical engagement’ for short – which emerges through interaction between sociologists and movements in the struggle for change and captures more

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Challenges, Dialogues and Counterpublics
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Leading academics take a distinctive new approach to the understanding of public sociology education in this perceptive new resource. Through pedagogical case studies and inter-contributor dialogues, they develop and challenge thinking in the field.

Divided into three sections on the publics, knowledges and practices of public sociology education, it looks beyond the boundaries of academia to deliver fresh responses to key disciplinary questions including the purposes and targets of sociological knowledge.

For students, academics and practitioners, it is a timely and thought-provoking contribution to debate about public sociology education.

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