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Picture of Academics as Public Intellectuals

Academics as Public Intellectuals

Editor(s): Sven Eliaeson, Ragnvald Kalleberg

Book Description

As public intellectuals academics formulate specialized knowledge to become understandable and relevant for people outside of the specialty. There are two main forms of such intellectual activity: dissemination and debating. Scientific knowledge is a cultural value in its own right and also of importance in public discourse. Due to the complexity of the challenges facing modern societies the intellectual role of individual academics and scholarly institutions is increasingly important with mass education and new media techniques expanding the public sphere. It has become more important that specialists popularize also for specialists in other fields. Challenges such as climate change or social integration requires knowledgeable citizens and broad public discourses integrating specialized knowledge from several disciplines.

Contemporary challenges in Western Europe, Scandinavia and the US are discussed. The historical perspectives are followed back to early Modernity. The cases include contributions on Holberg, the Myrdals and Boas. There are contributions on the recent transformations “East of the Elbe” and the challenges facing scholars in Turkey and India. The main focus of the book is on social scientists but the issues discussed are of general interest for all kinds of academics and for people interested in the cultural and political relevance of science.


ISBN-13: 978-1-8471-8476-4
ISBN-10: 1-84718-476-6
Date of Publication: 01/03/2008
Pages / Size: 315 / A5
Price: £39.99


Sven Eliaeson (born 1948). Fil. Dr (Swedish Ph D) in Political science in Uppsala 1982, docent in political science at Stockholm University 1996, professor in sociology at Centre for Social Studies in Warsaw from 2001. The classics in social science, in particular Max Weber, is scholarly main thrust and ”European affairs” (including Nordic security policy and European enlargement) Nebenfach. Numerous sojourns at German and American universities.

Ragnvald Kalleberg is a professor of sociology in the Department of Sociology and Human Geography at the University of Oslo. He has done research, taught and disseminated knowledge and insight mainly in three areas: 1) sociology of science, with a focus on history of science, academics as public intellectuals, research ethics and national research policies), 2) sociology of organizations, with a focus on universities as knowledge organizations, workplace democracy, leadership, and work environment; and 3) general social theory (philosophy of social science and theory of modernity). He has chaired the Norwegian National Committee for Research Ethics in the Social and Cultural Sciences (NESH). He has helped to develop national guidelines for the encouragement of academics as public intellectuals.