The commercialization of sociological research : on the how and why (not)

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http://hdl.handle.net/10138/301988

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Komp , K S 2017 , ' The commercialization of sociological research : on the how and why (not) ' , European Societies , vol. 20 , no. 4 , pp. 644-664 . https://doi.org/10.1080/14616696.2017.1405059

Title: The commercialization of sociological research : on the how and why (not)
Author: Komp, Kathrin Susanne
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Sociology
Date: 2017
Language: eng
Number of pages: 21
Belongs to series: European Societies
ISSN: 1461-6696
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/301988
Abstract: Recent budget cuts in academia and the spread of neoliberal thought has put pressure on sociology. Unlocking new funding sources is a major concern for sociologists and focusing on funding from the market is a prominent suggestion. Such funding can be generated through research commercialization, that is, developing research findings into products and services that can be sold on the market. This study explores how a commercialization of sociological research can be achieved, and what advantages and disadvantages it has. Methods are expert interviews and participant observation. Findings show that a commercialization of sociological research can be achieved through studies on companies or products, and through the participation in multidisciplinary research projects. The proponents of commercialization are mainly university administrations, consultants, and economists, who see advantages in the acquisition of funding and the improvement of products. The adversaries of commercialization are sociologists, who find a commercialization antithetical to their disciplinary identity, have ethical concerns about aggravating social problems as a side-effect, and fear for their academic careers. In conclusion, a commercialization of sociological research needs to proceed circumspectly, considering that it could internally erode the discipline of sociology.
Subject: 5141 Sociology
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