When I was on the Goldsmiths website I came across this transcription of a Bev Skeggs and Les Back discussing the contemporary sociological imagination. The discussion is available here. They explore a range of issues to do with the form that sociology takes and how this should be challenged. The piece demonstrates the kind of creative sociology that they are both known for and the piece is really nice. It gives a real insight into their thinking, the piece is full of ideas. It’s funny how new insights or details come out if these types of dialogues. Below is a short excerpt from their exchange:
Bev: So you’re saying what’s happened is that the technologies of sociology, say, the methods of empirical understanding, be it measurement or ethnography, are detached from a very particular form of sociological attention, a detachment from critical political understandings of power relations, and it’s that detachment that has enabled the spread of the sociological imagination but only in its limited technical forms.
Les: I think sometimes it’s reduced to those bare technical forms and other times it’s really fantastically alive, at its most imaginative. And that’s part of the–, of the difficulty in summing up exactly that thing about where sociological imagination has moved to, because partly, you know, I think in some ways the sociological imagination is much more alive in The Wire than it is in most seminars about urban ethnography.