David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Sociological Theory 25 (1):46 - 66 (2007)
In this article I discuss Burawoy's (2005) argument for public sociology in the context of the sociologist as both citizen and as social scientist; that is, as simultaneously a member of any 'society' being researched and as researcher claiming validity for the knowledge produced by research. I shall suggest that the relation between citizenship and social science necessarily places a limit on sociological claims to knowledge in terms both of what can be claimed and of the legitimacy of any claims, but that this need not be damaging to sociology as an expert practice producing distinctive and significant forms of knowledge about the social world. Burawoy's claims on behalf of public sociology take their force from the idea of the sociologist as citizen, but they go beyond this limit in a way that would not only undermine the legitimacy of sociology as professional practice, but also, I shall argue, that of public sociology itself. Ultimately, Burawoy argues for a partisan profession that actively promotes human values that he believes to be embodied in the sociological standpoint. In contrast, I shall argue that political neutrality is central to the corporate organization of sociology, not because social inquiry can, or should be, value-neutral, but because corporate political neutrality creates the space for dialogue and is the condition for any sociology to have a voice.
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References found in this work BETA
Imre Lakatos & Alan Musgrave (eds.) (1970). Criticism and the Growth of Knowledge. Cambridge University Press.
Michael Gibbons (ed.) (1994). The New Production of Knowledge: The Dynamics of Science and Research in Contemporary Societies. Sage Publications.
Richard Whitley (2000). The Intellectual and Social Organization of the Sciences. Oxford University Press.
Jürgen Habermas (1990). On the Logic of the Social Sciences. The MIT Press.
C. Wright Mills (1960). The Sociological Imagination. British Journal of Educational Studies 9 (1):75-76.
Citations of this work BETA
Kateřina Ptáčková (2012). Professional Curiosity Engaged in Policy Sociology. Human Affairs 22 (4):475-491.
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