Michael Burawoy: Public Sociology in the Era of Trump


Monday, November 12, 2018, 12:00pm to 1:30pm


NOTE CHANGE: Now Wexner 436

Michael Burawoy, Professor of Sociology, University of California at Berkeley.

Michael BurawoyWhat is the "Era of Trump"?  As scholars how might we engage it?  Does sociology have any particular contributions to make? What changes in the university make such contributions more or less important, more or less feasible?  How are attempts at public sociology affected by changes in the public sphere?  These are some of the questions the talk will address.

Note room change this week
Now Wexner 436 (map)

About the speaker

Michael Burawoy has been a participant observer of industrial workplaces in four countries: Zambia, United States, Hungary and Russia. In his different projects he has tried to illuminate -- from the standpoint of the working class -- postcolonialism, the organization of consent to capitalism, the peculiar forms of class consciousness and work organization in state socialism, and, finally, the dilemmas of transition from socialism to capitalism.

Over the course of four decades of research and teaching, he has developed the extended case method that allows broad conclusions to be drawn from ethnographic research. The same methodology is advanced in Global Ethnography, a book coauthored with 9 graduate students, that shows how globalization can be studied "from below" through participating in the lives of those who experience it.

No longer able to work in factories, he turned to the study of his own workplace – the university – to consider the way sociology itself is produced and then disseminated to diverse publics. His advocacy of public sociology has generated much heat in many a cool place.

Throughout his sociological career he has engaged with Marxism, seeking to reconstruct it in the light of his research and more broadly in the light of historical challenges of the late 20th and early 21st. centuries.

He has been President of the American Sociological Associastion (2003-4); President of the International Sociological Association (2010-14); founding editor of the ISA magazine, Global Dialogue (2010-2017); and he is now Chair of the Berkeley Faculty Association.

For an amusing account of his research see Jeff Byles' article in the Village Voice, "Tales of the Kefir Furnaceman."

Learn more about Michael Burawoy's work

See also: Fall 2018