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Collectivising public sociology

My notes on Burawoy, M. (2002). Public sociologies and the grass roots, speech to SWS Wrightsville Beach, February 7, 2002. In this short text Burawoy takes issue with the mythology of decline which intellectuals are spreading about their own existence, as well as the associated belief that “a public sociology that dealt with […]

Against spontaneous sociology: Michael Burawoy’s attempt to rescue Bourdieu from Matthew Desmond and what it means for public sociology

My notes on Burawoy, M. (2017). On Desmond: the limits of spontaneous sociology. Theory and Society, 46(4), 261-284. The work of Matthew Desmond has won enormous acclaim in recent years, with Evicted being a book I recommend to anyone keen to understand the relevance of contemporary sociology. While recognising his talents […]

Trump and the ascent of the spiralists

In a recent article, Michael Burawoy warned about what he termed the spiralists. These are “people who spiral in from outside, develop signature projects and then hope to spiral upward and onward, leaving the university behind to spiral down”. While he was concerned with university leaders, I observed at the time […]

On the Spiralists

In a recent editorial in Current Sociology, Michael Burawoy warns about what he describes as the ascent of the spiralists. He finds these figures throughout the UC Berekely administration, accusing them of being “people who spiral in from outside, develop signature projects and then hope to spiral upward and onward, leaving […]

On Teaching Theory

This short exchange with Michael Burawoy offers some thought-provoking reflections on teaching social theory. He identifies the major traditions of teaching theory within American sociology, before outlining his own ethnographic approach: The Survey: surveying extracts from a comprehensive range of social theorists, each one treated as an instance of a broader category. Essentially disconnected and […]