Public intellectualism is often understood as advancing discovery and transfer of knowledge among scholars and the public. Public intellectualism has become an important area of research and theorizing within sociology and criminology – drawing heavily upon the ideas formulated by Michael Burawoy’s 2004 American Sociological Association Presidential Address “For Public Sociology” (Burowoy, 2004). Public sociology “strikes up a dialogic relation between sociologist and public in which the agenda of each is brought to the table, in which each adjusts to the other” (Buroway, 2005:9). Drawing on the work of C. Wright Mills and his contention that a sociological imagination may expose social structure as the source of our problems, public sociology contends that we need more than a sociological imagination, but also a “political imagination to turn personal troubles into public issues” (Buroway, 2012:x). An effective political imagination depends on developing a connection between researchers and their publics. This session seeks to explore the role of public intellectualism in academe with particular focus on sociology and criminology. This exploration includes discussion on the challenges and opportunities of engaging in public intellectualism, critiquing the ideas and theory behind the practice, and the tensions between academic and public discourse on various social problems.
Session Code: Edu1