American Sociological Association

What Should Activist Scholars Teach in the Social Problems Classroom? Social Problems Literacy for Civic Engagement

What should activist-scholars teach in the social problems classroom? In this conversation, I challenge the assertion that advancing a sociology of social problems is an overly academic enterprise of little use to students and other publics. I introduce the potential of a pedagogical framework for promoting social problems literacy: a set of skills that promotes critical, sociological understandings of social problems toward aims of supporting civic engagement and activism. Though some readers might argue that scholar-activism demands instruction on what to think and do about the causes and consequences of troublesome societal conditions, I suggest that activist-scholars might instead prepare students to evaluate social problems information critically and with a sociological eye, begin forming their own commitments, and publicly share these ideas in compelling, civic-minded ways. In proposing the merits of this framework, I hope to question the sometimes rigid line drawn between what is "activist" and "academic."


Lowry, D.





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