Dissertation Abstracts

Toward a sociology of science. The social construction of public sociology in Romania and France

Author: Badoi, Delia G, delia.badoi@ehess.fr
Department: Centre of Sociological and Political Studies Raymond Aron
University: EHESS Paris, France
Supervisor: Jean Louis Fabiani
Year of completion: In progress
Language of dissertation: French

Keywords: public sociology , reflexive sociology , romanian sociology , public intellectuel
Areas of Research: Institutional Ethnography , Science and Technology , Theory


The present dissertation starts with a discussion detached from academic community of American sociologists, which is based on public sociology, with reference to relevancy and utility of sociological knowledge production: “Sociology for whom? What kind of sociology for public?”. Public sociology firstly appears in 1988, in the presidential discourse of Herbert Gans "Sociology in America: The discipline and the public", which proposes to encourage the role of "public intellectual" (Russell Jacoby, 1987). Public sociologist would not be a populist, but a researcher to have an impact on public space by the work they performed and also serving to revitalize “the old” public interest which was so long debated by Pierre Bourdieu, Alain Touraine, or Alvin Gouldner. In 2004, the public sociology was taken over by Professor Michael Burawoy, who launched a great debate in international sociology. The basic premise of this approach is that sociology is meant to inform the public about social issues and contemporary developments.
The challenges of contemporary sociology have dedicated a new type of society, in fact, “the knowledge society" (James Coleman), in which the information and knowledge shaping individuals, developments, innovations, but also risks, that are all generated by the science used widely in the world (“risk society”).
However, in this context, I propose to analyze the development of the practice of sociologists as public intellectuals in French and Romanian academic context. To better illustrate this debate, the present reflexive research follows to build the social object of public sociology with an analysis on the people who produce sociological knowledge, the sociologists from academic area, also sociologists who are involved in the construction of public policies. Finally, my methodology is based on ethnographic interview and laboratory studies (Bruno Latour) and it consists by a tradition of the sociology of science and technology. The first conclusions of the research indicate that the interest in public sociology is not “in the public eye” for sociologists which are working in the academia area, but the sociological practices are maybe attached to didactic activity and personal grants of research in the university.

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