chapter  Chapter 1
36 Pages

What Is Liberation Sociology?

ByJoe R. Feagin, Hernán Vera

Liberation sociology is concerned with alleviating or eliminating various social oppressions and with creating societies that are more just and egalitarian. The research of the liberation sociology, in contrast, is generally defined by its usefulness to those who are oppressed and struggling for their liberation. Commitments to alleviating human suffering—or to peace, human rights, social justice, and real democracy—politicize the practice of sociology no more than the commitments that assert indifference, value-free methods, or neutral knowledge. The sociology of liberation is part of a long tradition that aims at both studying and rebuilding society. Sociology departments around the country seldom have resources or the inclination to finance internal research projects, particularly those with such a progressive intent. For liberation sociology, the connection between the empirical reality that sociologists study and sociologists’ subjectivity—personal commitments, social biases, and existential coefficients of all sorts—is part of an ongoing dialectical and reflective process.