Sociology as a brand

Sociology is a damaged brand, associated with a particular kind of politics and with particular sorts of social interventions. These remain controversial. But a damaged brand is still a brand. People who are attracted to these causes are not put off by the fact that sociologists have a narrow range of political preferences, a range with a narrow spectrum on the Left. Indeed, this may be a significant part of the attraction to sociology: it delivers a consistent message. Sociology has successfully occupied a particular niche in the larger arena of policy debate. It has identified itself with ‘social justice’ understood as the removal of various kinds of social inequality. Sociologists can claim expertise on these topics: not the exclusive, authoritarian expertise of ‘science’, but the expertise that comes from possessing facts that originate from stable and acknowledged fact-producing methods. Sociologists will not be regarded as ‘honest brokers’ in these discussions, but they will be expert participants with a point of view legitimated by their connection with the groups for which they speak.

Stephen Turner, American Sociology: From Pre-Disciplinary to Post-Normal, Pg 115-116

5 thoughts on “Sociology as a brand”

  1. I don’t know! With the exception of his stuff on practices, I’m never sure what I think about anything he argues…

  2. Well, I think what you’ve excerpted is one of the clearest understandings of public sociology from a sociology of knowledge standpoint.

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