Last Saturday (Oct 10, 2009) Craig Calhoun, president of the Social Science Research Council (SSRC), released a new statement on the historical and contemporary trajectories of, and need for, public social science. Because Dr. Calhoun’s work directly bears on the mission of Sexuality & Society (and all of Contexts.org), I thought that it would be useful to provide a link to the article, “Social Science and Public Knowledge.” If you don’t care to read the article in its entirety right now, below are two snippets:
“Public social science depends on addressing public issues and informing public understanding. Simply reaching a broader public is only part of the story. Certainly a social science turned in on itself fails to achieve much public significance. But more important than the desire to promulgate what social scientists know is the effort to bring knowledge to bear on pressing public issues.”
“Addressing public issues does not mean merely bringing social science to already clearly formulated problems. It means analyzing why problems are posed in particular ways and what the implications are. It means asking whether certain ways of stating the issues make it harder to find resolutions. It means locating blind spots and questioning whether taken-for-granted appearances are as real or transparent as they seem. This is one of the ways in which situating contemporary issues and proposed solutions in comparative and historical contexts is vital. Although critical theory has alas been allowed to become a heavily academic field, the tasks of critique are not of merely academic significance but rather of considerable public import.”
Calhoun’s statement reiterates the importance of public scholarship, including the groundbreaking journal work of Contexts, and the work of Barbara Risman and other prominent sociologists to bring a Council of Social Science Advisors (CSSA) to the president of the United States. Bravo!
C L O S E R » Blog Archive » Public Anthropology – 10 Years from Researchpages to Closer (1999/2000 – 2009/2010) — November 9, 2009
[...] in a recent essay poses two important questions for public social science (H/T ZeroAnthropology and Sexuality and Society): Public Sphere Forum » Blog Archive » Calhoun First, what is the relationship between effective [...]