John Arena


In this article I argue professional and policy sociology are antagonistic, rather than compatible with the theory and practice of a critical, organic, public sociology in de- fense of human rights and social justice. Drawing upon my graduate school experi- ence and relationship with New Orleans public housing movement, I show how prac- ticing public sociology in various terrains required unmasking and opposing the apo- litical pretenses of professional sociology and the agenda-setting of neoliberal govern- ment and corporate patrons of policy sociology. The current global economic crisis and assault on university budgets is strengthening the policy and professional sociolo- gy tendencies of the discipline. If public sociology is to have a future, its practitioners must immerse themselves as integral components of a working class, counterhege- monic challenge to global neoliberal capitalism, rather than play support roles for various foundation and NGO funded and directed single issue campaigns.