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Thursday, January 27, 2005

Well said.

As many of you know I don't completely agree with occasional-blogger Mathieu Deflem's stance on public sociology. One area in which we are in complete agreement, however, is the danger of politicizing a scientific field. (Incidentally, Max Weber also shares this view, but I digress. For more see Weber's "Science as a Vocation.")

Thus, I am pleased to direct you all to a very well-written piece of Dr. Deflem's that critiques recent developments in the journal Social Forces. As I said, I don't always agree with Dr. Deflem, but in this case I think he has some excellent points.

Worth taking a look at, regardless of your position on the issue.

1 Comments:

Blogger Tom Volscho said...

The "politicization of sociology" is always a matter of degree. Too much politicization bad, too little "politicization" also bad.

An "activist agenda" seems a bit harsh. No one is forcing anyone into "activism" in the discipline of sociology, in fact, to be called an "activist" in an academic department is usually a blemish on your record. (see for example, http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog/WILALC.html).

Sociology also has roots in activism...I remember an ASA conferences not two summers ago where tours of the Hull House were advertised in the ASA program (http://www.uic.edu/jaddams/hull/hull_house.html) and people were wearing stickers in support of the hotel staff.

This anti-public sociology stuff is being blown way out of proportion! But remembering some of the lessons of Weber's "politics as a vocation" is worth thinking about.

Only certain types of sociology are fit for public consumption...once it becomes dangerous (if, say, the mass public starts reading Domhoff or Feagin and getting unruly) then it will be banished completely.

Thursday, January 27, 2005 5:14:00 PM  

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