The Modern Prince and the Sociological Imagination. Michael Burawoy in Conversation with Riccardo Emilio Chesta
Keywords:Bourdieu through Gramsci, Capitalism, Intellectuals, Public Sociology, Social Movements, Sociological Imagination, Theorizing
AbstractIn this conversation, Michael Burawoy discusses how he discovered the sociology of Gramsci in radically diverse contexts — from a vibrant post-colonial Zambia to Analytical Marxism in Chicago. The British sociologist reconnects the travels of these debates to contemporary public sociology, updating Gramsci’s key sociological concepts with the critical scholarship of Pierre Bourdieu, the social anthropology of Jaap Van Velsen and Raja Jayaraman, and the political economy of Karl Polanyi. These somehow real and imaginary conversations with social theorists bring Burawoy to stress the importance of reflexivity in sociological research. This means that sociological imagination is fostered through a constant dialectical relation between the art of theorizing and the “concrete phantasies” of social movements, which are well exemplified in Wright’s “real utopias.” Moreover, in Burawoy’s view, a new “Modern Prince” is urgently needed today and it is a public sociology which recognizes the mission of his critical knowledge against marketization.
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