For pragmatic public sociology: Theory and practice after the pragmatic turn

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


A reinvigorated social theory based on the social philosophy of John Dewey, George Herbert Mead, William James, and others has begun to make significant contributions to the study of human societies. The so-called "Pragmatic Turn" in philosophy and social theory, associated especially with Richard Rorty and Hans Joas, has drawn our attention to the role of habit and creativity in social action. This chapter reviews some of these trends, but argues that the modern revival of neopragmatism sidesteps many of the core insights of the classical pragmatists. Relating the issue to Michael Burawoy's call for "public sociology," and drawing on the pragmatism of C. Wright Mills, a critical public pragmatism would seek to provide the preconditions for democracy via the cultivation of a public that valued what Dewey called "creative intelligence," and what Mills called "the sociological imagination."

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Diversity of Social Theories
EditorsHarry Dahms
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2011

Publication series

NameCurrent Perspectives in Social Theory
ISSN (Print)0278-1204


  • John Dewey
  • Pragmatism
  • Praxis
  • Public sociology
  • Sociological imagination


Dive into the research topics of 'For pragmatic public sociology: Theory and practice after the pragmatic turn'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this