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A Will To Public Sociology: Parrhesia Or Dialectical Regression?

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Chapter Summary

Professor Michael Burawoy was almost like a parrhesiast, an organic public intellectual of fearless speech, when he passionately advocated a global mission of public sociology at the public forum of the 2005 Hong Kong Sociological Association Annual Meeting. In Michel Foucault’s Fearless Speech, parrhesia, a Greek concept of fearless and public speech, implies “frankness, truth, danger, criticism and obligation”. The defense of the social becomes the ultimate goal of sociology as a specific discipline and unique praxis of knowledge production. The privatization and commercialization of public services have been earnestly promoted and implemented in Hong Kong and the rationale fed by the neo-liberal state is for the effective management of public goods. In Hong Kong, as a sandwich society living in fissures between two empires and their dominant cultures, one witnesses squabbles from time to time between the U.S. and Chinese governments over the ground of ‘human rights’.

Keywords: Hong Kong; human rights; parrhesia; Professor Michael Burawoy; public sociology



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