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Public Sociology On A Global Scale

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Chapter Summary

Karl Polanyi’s The Great Transformation is the great, rediscovered sociological classic because of its focus on markets from the end of the 18th century to the middle of the 20th century. In short, Polanyi opens the door to public sociology. The history of sociology parallels the waves of marketization. In its first wave sociology reflected the response of local communities, defending themselves against the commodification of labour power. The second wave of marketization gave rise to the social rights of the regulatory state and corresponding policy sociology aimed at social amelioration. Third-wave marketization threatens the viability of the human species which can be defended only by the reaction of society but this time the reaction has to be global and besides embracing both labour and social rights it also has to go beyond both to uphold human rights.

Keywords: human rights; Karl Polanyi; marketization; public sociology



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