The American Sociologist

, Volume 36, Issue 3–4, pp 27–45 | Cite as

”Is public sociology such a good idea?”

  • Jonathan H. Turner


Michael Burawoy’s call for a public sociology disciplined by professional and policy sociology, on the one side, and driven by critical sociology, on the other, exposes the ideological biases of sociology to publics. In so doing, public sociology will thwart non-ideological efforts for sociology to exert influence on broader publics and on political decision-makers. In order for sociology to be able to influence public opinion and the decisions of key players in the political and economic arenas, it will need to earn respect through a long evolutionary process of careful research and explanation without ideological fervor. To expose the ideological biases of sociology will thwart this evolutionary process. In contrast, sociology would be much better to develop an engineering mentality in addressing issues, problems, and concerns of publics in present-day societies.


Social Movement Public Sphere Public Debate Moral Vision Social Engineering 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Abbott, A. 2001. Chaos of Disciplines. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  2. Burawoy, M. 2004a. “Manifesto for Public Sociologies.” Social Problems 51: 124–130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. —. 2004b. “Introduction.” Social Problems 51: 103–106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. —. 2004c. “Public Sociologies: Contradictions, Dilemmas, and Possibilities.” Social Forces 82: 1613–1626.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. —. 2005. “For Public Sociology.” American Sociological Review 70: 4–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. -, and Van Antwerpen, J. 2001. “Public Sociology at Berkeley: Past, Present and Future.” Unpublished paper.Google Scholar
  7. Cole, S. 2001. What's Wrong with Sociology? New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction.Google Scholar
  8. Habermas, J. 1981/1984. The Theory of Communicative Action. Two volumes. Boston: Beacon.Google Scholar
  9. Horowitz, I.L. 1993. The Decomposition of Sociology. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Massey, D. 2005. Presentation in Centennial Session: Assessing Scientific Basis of American Sociology, American Sociological Association meetings, August, Philadelphia, PA.Google Scholar
  11. —, and Denton, N.A. 1993. American Apartheid: Segregation and the Making of the Underclass. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  12. —, Durand, J., and Malone, N.J. 2002. Beyond Smoke and Mirrors: Mexican Immigration in an Era of Economic Integration. New York: Russell Sage.Google Scholar
  13. Mills, C.W. 1959. The Sociological Imagination. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Riesman, D., et al. 1950. The Lonely Crowd. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Turner, J.H. 1972. American Society: Problems of Structure. New York: Harper and Row.Google Scholar
  16. —. 1977. Social Problems in America. New York: Harper and Row.Google Scholar
  17. —. 1985. American Dilemmas. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  18. —. 1989. “The Disintegration of American Sociology.” Sociological Perspectives 32: 419–433.Google Scholar
  19. —. 1998. “Must Sociological Theory and Practice Be So Far Apart?” Sociological Perspectives 41: 133–162.Google Scholar
  20. -. 2001. “Social Engineering: Is This Really as Bad as It Sounds? Sociological Practice.Google Scholar
  21. —, and Starnes, C. 1976. Inequality: Privilege and Poverty in America. Santa Monica, CA: Goodyear Publishing.Google Scholar
  22. Turner, S., and Turner, J.H. 1990. The Impossible Science. Newbury Park: Sage.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Transaction Publishers 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathan H. Turner
    • 1
  1. 1.Sociology at the University of CaliforniaRiverside

Personalised recommendations