Essay Archives

Sociology & the Public Sphere

September 30th, 2011

Public Sociology as a Return to Political Economy


Submitted by Wolfgang Streeck, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, Cologne

A few years ago, at some international social science conference around the time when Michael Burawoy issued his call for “public sociology,” I was struck by the thought that never before in the history of mankind had there been so many people as today so well trained in analyzing and explaining social life.[1] Still, the [...]

September 7th, 2011

The Return of the Repressed: Recovering the Public Face of U.S. Sociology

Submitted by Michael Burawoy, University of California, Berkeley

The founding of the American Sociological Society took place in 1905 at the annual meeting of the American Economics Association.[1] Sociology’s declaration of independence marked the coming of age of the new discipline, taking it from a social movement of reformers and utopians into the era of 20th century professionalism. Lester Ward, vociferous opponent of [...]

September 3rd, 2009

A Sociology for Public Sociology: Some Needed Disciplinary Changes for Creating Public Sociology

Submitted by Herbert J. Gans, Columbia University

Michael Burawoy’s dramatic reinvention of and powerful advocacy for public sociology at the ASA’s 2004 annual meetings has set off a process to incorporate public sociology into the current discipline. Although it is too early to determine what paths that process will take, so far there seems to be more discourse about public sociology than [...]

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