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Let’s Talk Public Sociology

See full size imageJust to initiate some conversation about public sociology…

Consider the following passage:

Keep on buildin’ prisons, gonna fill them all,
Keep on buildin’ bombs, gonna drop them all.
Working your fingers bear to the bone,
Breaking your back, make you sell your soul.
Like a lung that’s filled with coal, suffocatin’ slow.
The wind blows wild and I may move,
The politicians lie and I am not fooled.
You don’t need no reason or a three piece suit to argue the truth.
The air on my skin and the world under my toes,
Slavery stitched into the fabric of my clothes


  • What aspects of this excerpt qualify as public sociology?
  • Would you consider the author to be a public sociologist? What further information would you need to know to make your decision?
  • What if President Obama was the author? What about a UCLA sociology Ph.D.? What about the president of Amnesty International?
  • What if it was published in a top-tier sociology journal? What if it was published in a best-selling book? Or if it was part of a speech to the public?

Once you’ve answered these questions, check out this link and see if you’ve changed your thoughts. On which definitions and conceptions of public sociology are you basing your opinions?


One Response

  1. I love that song, Abby– I’d say the speaking social truth to power aspect helps the excerpt qualify as public sociology. Until you framed it with those questions, though, I wouldn’t have considered its author a public sociologist– makes me rethink my base of opinion on public sociology.

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