Embracing a sociology that challenges social injustices and sustains scholar activists is pivotal in this time of increasing social inequalities. Sociologists possess the analytical tools and empirical data necessary to support communities fighting against injustices in many realms. These areas include: racial inequality, environmental degradation, immigration restrictions and law enforcement violence, housing segregation, unequal educational opportunities, disparate health outcomes, mass incarceration, and precarious violence against women and LGBTQ. Sociologists who partner with community groups, human rights organizations, civil rights lawyers, and other social justice advocates can make significant contributions to promote scholarship that can facilitate progressive social change.
In facing the growing normalization of racism, nationalism and xenophobia, many sociologists are critically examining the concept of objectivity and its role in maintaining hierarchies of power within the discipline. In exploring steps toward a more epistemologically sound construction of unbiased methodological processes in sociology, the following questions emerge: What does “objectivity” mean? What is the role of objectivity in our field? Are objectivity and detachment the only routes to scientific validity? Can the linkage between sociology and public engagement lead to a sounder science and weaken status hierarchies within the discipline? Does the reification of objectivity and detachment in the discipline serve to reinforce status hierarchies more than produce sound science? Does a sociology that converges scholarship with applications to social equality create meaningful opportunities to shape social and economic policies? How significant is public sociology and purpose-driven-science in connecting empirical work to social justice scholarship?