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February 12, 2007

UC Berkeley sociologist Michael Burawoy to speak Feb. 21

By Jennifer McNulty

Sociology professor Michael Burawoy of UC Berkeley will deliver the Richard Gordon Memorial Lecture on Wednesday, February 21, at 3 p.m. in the Alumni Room of the University Center at UCSC.

Photo of Michael Burawoy

Michael Burawoy

Burawoy will discuss "Social Science and Politics," and a reception will be held following the lecture. The event, sponsored by the Politics Department, is free and open to the public.

Dubbed "sociology's underground man" by the Village Voice, Burawoy has studied the industrial working class "from the bottom up," spending 10 months as a machine operator in a south Chicago engine shop, working in champagne and steel factories in Hungary, and spending more than a year as a personnel officer in the Zambian copper mines.

"My main focus has been in seeking to make little contributions to shifting sociology in a critical direction," he told the newspaper. "As a Marxist I try to bring visions from the shop floor to academia, to recover visions from below that might inform alternatives in the future."

Through his research, Burawoy has developed methodologies that allow broad conclusions to be drawn from ethnographic research and case studies. Burawoy is coauthor, with nine graduate students, of Global Ethnography, which shows how globalization can be studied "from below" through participation in the lives of those who experience it.

As a scholar, Burawoy has tried to reconstruct Marxism in light of his research and, more broadly, in the light of historical challenges of the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

Richard Gordon was an associate professor of politics at UCSC. He died in 1996 at the age of 50. A native of Australia, he joined the faculty in 1977 and taught comparative politics and political economy. He was a preceptor and taught the core course at Stevenson College for a number of years.


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