Civic Sociology is an open access journal from the University of California Press that aims to reconstruct the disciplinary knowledge of sociology by re-focusing research in three particular directions oriented to:
Problem-solving and professional practice
Local and regional issues
Normative and ethical reflection
These three emphases are not mutually exclusive relative to on-going sociological research, but would encourage a better understanding of local and regional particularities which in turn encourages more effective and ethical interventions into systemic social problems. The results would not only make sociological research more relevant, but would also produce new integrative, synthetic and reflexive forms of social knowledge, guiding sociological research and scholarship in new directions.
The journal’s goal is to reinvigorate sociology as a profession—one that is not exclusively academic but also works in local communities to solve problems. In so doing, it intends to highlight the complex ways in which global dynamics shape local/regional events, and vice versa.
This amounts to a return to earlier versions of sociological practices, some of which were explicitly called “civic sociology”. This includes the work of Patrick Geddes and the Branfords within the Edinburgh civics school, the settlement house movement pioneered by Jane Addams and the Chicago School, and the Atlanta sociological laboratory developed by W.E.B. DuBois. Their civic work provides models for present and future efforts to better integrate sociological knowledge in society.
The journal also aims to make sociological research more relevant and effective within professional, policy, and public forms of engagement, by solving rather than just explaining or describing social problems. The focus on local and regional issues grounds these challenges within the particularities of places and history, highlighting connections between the local, national and global. As a form of professional practice, civic sociology would reintegrate our evidence bases with current social and political issues while encouraging better integration of knowledge within communities, organizations and policy. Such work would also involve greater interrogation of the normative and ethical assumptions of sociological practice rather than taking such matters for granted.
Read the full vision for the journal here.
Review the Editorial Board here.
Pictured above: Jane Addams (1860 - 1935), W.E.B. DuBois (1868 - 1963), Patrick Geddes (1854 - 1932)