Document Type

Book Chapter

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Cambridge University Press


Public sociology refers to the application and uses of sociology beyond the academy. The term has been used very broadly to describe any sociological theory, methods, research findings, or commentary by sociologists that are consumed (and, ideally, used) by non-sociologists. Its central aim is "to correct - that is, to make better, social conditions for the betterment of humanity" (Hanemaayer and Schneider 2014: 5). Public sociology has also been referred to more specifically as an approach sociologists use to participate in public discussions about social issues as "public intellectuals" (Burawoy 2005).

This chapter focuses on public sociology in its broadest definition, as the sharing of sociological lessons with publics beyond sociologists, and includes a range of activities from publishing opinion pieces to daily work .in government, organizations, court rooms, classrooms, and communities around the world. Because many of the published works about public sociology are in response to the US-based Burawoy and the ASA, this chapter privileges the North American context.

Chapter of

The Cambridge Handbook of Sociology: Volume 2 Specialty and Interdisciplinary Studies


Kathleen Odell Korgen


This material has been published in The Cambridge Handbook of Sociology: Volume 2 Specialty and Interdisciplinary Studies edited by Kathleen Odell Korgen. This version is free to view and download for personal use only. Not for re-distribution, re-sale or use in derivative works. © Cambridge University Press.

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