Making sociology public: a critical analysis of an old idea and a recent debate

Fatsis, Lambros (2014) Making sociology public: a critical analysis of an old idea and a recent debate. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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The current thesis attempts to discuss, critique, and repair the idea of public sociology as a public discourse and a professional practice. Emerging in the writings of C W. Mills and Alvin Gouldner in the late 1950s and 1970s, “public sociology” was given its name in 1988 by Herbert J. Gans, before it was popularised by Michael Burawoy in 2004, reflecting a recurring desire to debate the discipline’s public relevance, responsibility and accountability to its publics: academic and extra-academic alike.
Resisting a trend in the relevant literature to treat the term as new, it is argued that the notion of making sociology “public” is as old as the discipline itself, suggesting that the recent public sociology debate does not describe a modern predicament, but an enduring characteristic of sociology’s epistemic identity.
A detailed critical review of recent controversies on public sociology is offered as a compass with which to navigate the terms and conditions of the term, as it has been espoused, critiqued and re-modelled to fit divergent aspirations about sociology’s identity, status and function in academia and the public sphere.
An invitation to understand the discipline beyond a language of crisis concludes the thesis, offering eleven counter-theses to M. Burawoy’s approach that seek to reconstruct sociology’s self-perception, while also suggesting ways of making it public in the context of intellectual life at the 21st century.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Sociology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology > HM0435 History of sociology. History of sociological theory
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 10 Dec 2014 15:48
Last Modified: 25 Sep 2015 15:12

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