Bringing sociologists back in


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Corey Dolgon, Stonehill College - "Bringing Sociologists Back In: A Pedagogy for Public Sociology"

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Bringing sociologists back in

  1. 1. Bringing Sociologists Back In: A Pedagogy for Public Sociology<br />
  2. 2. Hidden Transcripts of History: “In the Beginning There was the Word”?<br /> Raymond Williams on Cultural Studies (CS):<br />“I often feel sad about the many people who were active in that field at that time who didn’t publish, but who did as much as any of us did to establish this work. Only when CS reached the either the national publishing level or was adopted in the university, was the work, in the typical ways of this culture, perceived as existing at all….I give this example because so often the history of each phase of CS has been tracked through texts. Such accounts talk about this individual having done this work; this tendency; this school; this movement…Yet that is in a sense only the surface of the real development, and is moreover misleading because what is happening each time is that a formation in a given general relationship to a society is taking what you could otherwise trace as a project with certain continuities and in fact altering it, not necessarily for the better.”<br />Raymond Williams, <br />The Politics of Modernism: Against the NewConformists. London: Verso Press, 1989.<br />
  3. 3. Historical Origins of Sociology<br />Public Engagement in Service of Humanity<br />Comte—Theoretically, a positivistic science to improve society<br />Marx—Historical Materialism, a science of social change while actively working to organize revolution<br />Durkheim—Knowledge to be applied for guiding social reform<br />--------------------------------------<br />Each of these approaches promote some mixture of the intellectual and theoretical with a direct effort to impact movement organizing, policy making, public institutions such as education, etc. <br />
  4. 4. The Origins of Teaching Sociology in The U.S. <br />Hull House vs. The University of Chicago<br />Jane Addams and Florence Kelley’s book, Hull House Maps and Papers, set precedents for the use of mapping as a statistical technique to reveal patterns of social groups; emphasis on the city as a major factor structuring daily lives; the analysis of immigrant groups and their disorganization in the city, primarily as a function of debilitating economic conditions; and a directly linked the work of Hull-House residents and sociologists at Chicago (Mary Jo Deegan, 1988)<br />“there were occasional rumblings about the old maids downtown who were wet-nursing social reformers. ..the greatest damage done to the City of Chicago was not the product of corrupt politicians or criminals but the women reformers.”<br />
  5. 5. Teaching “Service”: a note on definitions, etc.<br />*What do we mean by “service” itself & how does that relate to Pedagogy?<br />Educated young people are seeking an outlet for that sentiment of universal brotherhood, which the best spirit of our times is forcing from an emotion into a motive.” They feel a fatal wantof harmony between their theory and their lives, a lack of coordination between thought and action…These young men and women, longing to socialize their democracy, are animated by certain hopes which may be thus loosely formulated; that if in a democratic country nothing can be permanently achieved save through the masses of the people, it will be impossible to establish a higher political life than the people themselves crave; that it is difficult to see how the notion of a higher civic life can be fostered save through common intercourse; that the blessings which we associate with a life of refinement and cultivation can be made universal and must be made universal if they are to be permanent; that the good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain, is floating in mid-air, until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life.<br />
  6. 6. Sociology in Struggle: Radical Engagement and Conservative Isolation <br />The Race, Class and Gender of Professionalism vs. <br />Alternative Education, Popular Front & the Meaning of Sociology<br />1. Continued isolation of women and people for color from academic sociology.<br /> A. sexism and racism<br /> B. Inherent Politics of Social Work and Social Research<br /> C. Ideology of urban research—neoclassical and “scientific”<br />Within Higher Education, the work of engaged research and action sociology would be marginalized in schools of social work and public administration:<br /> Edith Abbott and Sophonisba Breckinridge, Bertha Capen Reynolds, Mary van Kleek, etc.<br />2. Work Peoples College, Brookwood Labor College, Commonwealth College, & Highlander<br /> “founders and supporters of the labor colleges believed that the education of workers in a full-time residential setting with a social science dominated curriculum best prepared them for service in the labor movement. Their goal was to train a cadre, that is activists, propagandists, and leaders who could organize workers and sharpen their awareness of the potential for a society controlled by workers.”<br />
  7. 7. From Popular Front to McCarthyism<br />Sociology for What and Sociology for Whom?<br />1. Robert and Helen Lynd: integrated and comprehensive institutional studies could help communities avoid provincial and reactionary approaches to social problems, instead “suggesting the possible utility of a deeper-cutting procedure [and] a reexamination of the institutions themselves.<br />2. New CP inspired Adult Education: New York City (The Jefferson School)<br /> Detroit (the Workers’ Service Program) <br /> Chicago (The Abraham Lincoln School) <br /> San Francisco (The California Labor School) <br /> Los Angeles (The Peoples Education Center)<br />3. C. Wright Mills and Al Lee—Critique of Power Elite, “Fat Cat” Sociology and the Rise of a Sociological Imagination<br />
  8. 8. Conservatism and Its Discontents <br />The Ironies of McCarthyism—the Rise of the 1960s<br />Highlander Legacy: <br />From Ella Baker to Chuck McDewFrom Rosa Parks to Bob Zellner. <br />When we asked <br />my sociology <br />professor why <br />we were expelled <br />he said that he <br />never intended <br />for us to speak <br />to civil rights activists, <br />‘I just wanted you to go to the library.”<br /> “The sit-ins have given us an opportunity for “the word to become flesh. They have inspired us to build a new image of ourselves in our own minds.”<br />
  9. 9. Institutional Entrenchment and Realignment, Mid-1970s - Mid 1990s<br />Entrenchment and Institutionalization<br /> 1. Ethnic, Racial, Womens/Gender &Peace Studies<br /> 2. Civic Engagement, Service Learning, Campus Compact<br /> 3. Faculty, grad, student unions & return to labor- academic coalitions. (SAWSJ, etc.)<br /> 4. PC struggles and internalization of politics<br /> 5. Alienation and Isolation (from Boggs, Jacoby & Boyer)<br /> 6. A return of the bargain (Howard Zinn) & the neoliberal university<br />
  10. 10. Contemporary strategies for teaching service, public sociology, social action<br />At a Crossroads or the same old traffic jam?<br />Public Sociology<br />Service Learning<br />Community Based / Action Research<br />Civic Engagement Movement<br />