Rethinking the vision of sociology one might want to argue for

it may be time to re-think how to situate our ourselves and our commitments in relation to, not only what one is against, but also what vision of sociology one might want to argue for. It is not a mattter, to my mind, of answering disciplined instrumentalism with hyperpolitical posturing that dwells in the delusion that we transform the world simply by making pronouncements about it. It might be that the value of what we do is found in the commitment to thinking, education and understanding. In fact I think this is what the sociologists in this exhibit are talking about. Guided by ambition and a confidence that may have something to say about our current condition, this involves shaping the discipline, developing collaborations, and yes, raising income and resources to fund projects we believe in. A commitment to dialogue is central here to – not least with our students – if we are to seek and find new audiences and publics for sociological ideas. We have no choice but to play the game and establish standing that can be quantitatively recognised. However, this is a dead game without retaining a commitment to communicate to a wider range of publics comprised not only of professional sociologists but also our students – inside and outside universities – and people searching for alternative ways to think the issues of the day.

– Les Back, Sociologists Talking 


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