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Developing a public sociology: from lay knowledge to civic intelligence in health impact assessment

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Abstract:

The theme of ‘Public Sociologies’ at the 2004 ASA conference provoked renewed debate about the direction of sociology and its relationship to civil society and the public sphere. In his presidential address Michael Burawoy raised two key questions about sociological knowledge: knowledge for whom and knowledge for what? This provoked widespread discussion across sociological and policy communities.

This paper reflects on some of these debates through an everyday example of social research: a case-study of a ‘health impact assessment’ undertaken in a former coal mining community in south Wales, UK. In this case-study, we argue, there are elements of public and policy sociologies, and we explore the relationships between these, and how they evolved.

We go on to use this case study to explore wider debates in the social sciences about ‘new knowledge spaces’ within which contentious public issues are discussed, and the implications of these pluralistic epistemological environments for different forms of expertise. In particular we refer to the debate on ‘lay knowledge’ and ‘scientific expertise’ and propose that a concept of ‘civic intelligence’ provides a mechanism to resolve the tension between these.

Most Common Document Word Stems:

health (97), peopl (67), local (59), impact (58), knowledg (58), assess (53), social (40), polici (38), process (35), hous (35), sociolog (34), develop (33), lay (33), evid (32), communiti (31), provid (27), decis (26), hia (24), public (23), scienc (22), villag (22),

Author's Keywords:

public sociology, civic intelligence, health impact assessment
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Association:
Name: American Sociological Association
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http://www.asanet.org


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p183902_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Elliott, Eva. and Williams, Gareth. "Developing a public sociology: from lay knowledge to civic intelligence in health impact assessment" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, TBA, New York, New York City, Aug 11, 2007 <Not Available>. 2013-12-15 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p183902_index.html>

APA Citation:

Elliott, E. and Williams, G. , 2007-08-11 "Developing a public sociology: from lay knowledge to civic intelligence in health impact assessment" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, TBA, New York, New York City Online <PDF>. 2013-12-15 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p183902_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: The theme of ‘Public Sociologies’ at the 2004 ASA conference provoked renewed debate about the direction of sociology and its relationship to civil society and the public sphere. In his presidential address Michael Burawoy raised two key questions about sociological knowledge: knowledge for whom and knowledge for what? This provoked widespread discussion across sociological and policy communities.

This paper reflects on some of these debates through an everyday example of social research: a case-study of a ‘health impact assessment’ undertaken in a former coal mining community in south Wales, UK. In this case-study, we argue, there are elements of public and policy sociologies, and we explore the relationships between these, and how they evolved.

We go on to use this case study to explore wider debates in the social sciences about ‘new knowledge spaces’ within which contentious public issues are discussed, and the implications of these pluralistic epistemological environments for different forms of expertise. In particular we refer to the debate on ‘lay knowledge’ and ‘scientific expertise’ and propose that a concept of ‘civic intelligence’ provides a mechanism to resolve the tension between these.

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