American Sociological Association

Review Essay: Public Engagement and the Influence Imperative

These three books—Going Public: A Guide for Social Scientists, by Arlene Stein and Jessie Daniels; The Social Scientist’s Soapbox: Adventures in Writing Public Sociology, by Karen Sternheimer; and The Public Professor: How to Use Your Research to Change the World, by M. V. Lee Badgett—by three sociologists (Stein, Daniels, and Sternheimer) and an economist (Badgett) address the demand for guidance and support as academic sociologists respond to the disciplinary imperative to make our work more influential. This imperative is largely internal, reflecting the ambitions of sociologists ourselves, who are frustrated by the success of others (hello, economics) in influencing public policy. It is perennial, but also a response to contemporary external threats, including higher education budget squeezes, falling college enrollment shares, and of course the current national political cataclysm.


Philip N. Cohen





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