Saturday, October 23, 2004

Public Sociology and Empowerment

My interest in public sociology (henceforth referred to as PS) is not as some missionary call as I'm sure some critics of PS fear of its proponents. Rather, my interest is simply in the aspect of getting sociological ways of thinking (relating personal experiences to social structures) to be more available to people outside of academia. Also, sociologists often have insightful analyses of social structures; this being most socioligists' goal. Therefore, it lends their research to be relevant for the public should they want to relate personal experiences to social structures.

This is the first important aspect of PS as I see it. However, my engagement with PS has also had some more selfish elements. For me it has also been therapeutic. It has been a way to do something with the skills I've spent 6 years of my life learning that addressed the very structures I'd learned to analyze. As the political situation encroached upon my personal life, I saw PS as a way of doing sociology empowering me to do something to resist those social structures. So I don't see myself as so different from the people I want to have the option of using sociological ways of thinking.

Because of this, I dipped my toe into a little PS this past summer. Here is an interview I did that was put in Counterpunch.org this summer with Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg.

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