SAGE Journal Articles
Journal Article 2.1: Pennell, J. R., & Maher, T. (2014). Whom will sociology serve? Transforming the discipline by engaging communities. Humanity & Society, 39(1), 47–63. doi:10.1177/0160597614548421
Abstract: This article examines the debate on public sociology through the community-based work of the authors and their students. Critiquing the continued focus of public sociology on policy makers, funders, and other sociologists, we argue that sociologists must reorder their priorities by serving the public itself. Although large-scale studies play an important purpose in the discipline, sociology must once again value smaller-scale “organic” research grounded in local communities to remain relevant. Furthermore, a “critical constructionist” theoretical framework offers a conceptual approach that counters the distanced, ameliorative standpoint of mainstream sociology. We offer programmatic ways sociologists can combine their teaching, research, and community service to engage students in learning the discipline through change-oriented work.
Learning Objective: 2.1: Outline the development of sociology.
Summary: This article considers the ethics of public sociology as well as its development in the discipline of Sociology.
Journal Article 2.2: Curran, D. (2015). Risk society and Marxism: Beyond simple antagonism. Journal of Classical Sociology, 16(3), 280–296. doi:10.1177/1468795X15600929
Abstract: Moving beyond Beck’s explicit opposition to Marx’s understanding of society, this article proposes to explore some of the deeper commonalities between Marxism and Beck’s theory of risk society. Rather than remaining at the level of propositional claims about society, at which Marx and Beck are opposed in several important ways, this article proposes to analyze these theories in terms of their key commonalities in the problem situations they address. In particular, this article identifies how both of these theories explore the implications of the development of productive forces and the resulting humanization of nature in the context of widespread social estrangement. This article then identifies key commonalities in the structure of the theoretical solutions that each theory employs to address their commonly held problem situation. In this way, this article rethinks the relationship between Beck and Marx, as well as suggesting alternative ways of re-appropriating classical social theory.
Learning Objective: 2.2: Describe key theoretical perspectives.
Summary: Curran reviews conflict theory while updating it to highlight a compatibility with current modernization theories such as Ulrich Beck’s Risk Society.
Journal Article 2.3: Maynard, D. W., & Schaeffer, N.C. (2000). Toward a sociology of social scientific knowledge: Survey research and ethnomethodology’s asymmetric alternates. Social Studies of Science, 30(3), 323–370.
Abstract: When abstract, quantitative and generalizing sociologies are juxtaposed to qualitative sociologies, the relationship is often seen as complementary or competitive. Our purpose is to articulate a different type of relationship between abstract social scientific knowledge (as exemplified in Survey Research [SR]) and the form of concrete and particularized knowledge represented in ethnomethodological conversation analysis. SR, historically, represents what we (following Jean Converse) refer to as the “ascendance of the objectivized subjective realm.” Like other kinds of (in Ted Porter’s phrase) “mechanical objectivity,” this ascendance is everywhere made possible because it is accompanied by practitioners’ (researchers and interviewers) tacit, practical forms of knowledge that enable them to work through the situated problems endemic to SR. As endeavors that locate orderliness and social organization in the details of actual social activity, ethnomethodology and conversation analysis find that SR centers have intrinsic interest as sites of locally-produced structures. Investigating the situated tacit practices of investigators actually conducting SR and survey interviews, ethnomethodological and conversation analytical approaches to SR are also akin to the Sociology of Scientific Knowledge, which has largely investigated practices in natural science laboratories. This may suggest that there is “symmetry” between natural and social science, but we also argue that `asymmetry' is a serviceable notion for science studies. Indeed, understanding the asymmetry between survey-based and ethnomethodological social sciences offers potential for communication (rather than a “state of non-intercourse”) between sociologists and the scientists they study. As an illustration of the Sociology of Social Scientific Knowledge, we examine a successful attempt at ‘refusal conversion” in an SR center.
Learning Objective: 2.3: Explain the scientific approach | Outline the basic steps of the scientific research process.
Summary: This article demonstrates how quantitative and qualitative methods can be compatible and complimentary with one another.