- Title Pages
- One The sociologist as voyeur
- Two Why sociology?
- Three Sociology as a science/technology of freedom
- Four Why sociology matters
- Five Passion, curiosity and integrity
- Six Sociology as democratic knowledge
- Seven Pushing at the boundaries of the discipline
- Eight Growing up as a sociologist in rural Shropshire
- Nine On the right-of-way
- Ten Living sociology
- Eleven Sociology for some, someone’s sociology…
- Twelve Imagining social science
- Thirteen From accidental to ambitious sociology
- Fourteen Sociographer by design? Boundary crossings and interdisciplinarity
- Fifteen ‘I am a sociologist’; but what exactly is a sociologist and how do you become one?
- Sixteen Sociology
- Seventeen Drift, opportunity and commitment
- Eighteen A passion for empirical sociology
- Nineteen Me, myself and sociology
- Twenty Turning to the psychosocial
- Twenty-One A long haul
- Twenty-Two Putting sociology to work in the NHS
- Twenty-Three Clinging to the precipice
- Twenty-Four The pursuit of a sociological career overseas and the navigation of an outsider perspective
- Twenty-Five Tales from the field
- Twenty-Six What sociology means to me
- Twenty-Seven Social science which engages with the real world
- Twenty-Eight A sporting chance? Notes on an ongoing career in the sociology of sport
- Twenty-Nine Sociology: involvement and detachment
- Thirty A career spent orbiting sociology
- Thirty-One Researching children’s lives
- Thirty-Two Following my star
- Thirty-Three ‘The epoch of belief…the epoch of incredulity’
- Recommended readings
- Resources for readers
- (p.83) Ten Living sociology
- Sociologists' Tales
- Policy Press
In this interview Les Back reviews the opportunities and limitations faced by sociologists working today. Reflecting on his own research career he explores his key intellectual influences including the writing of American sociologist C Wright Mills as well as urban ethnographers like Michael Young who were inspired by the anthropological tradition. Back outlines his vision of live sociology that is charactered here through a commitment to sociable dialogue, vital modes of sociological representation and a public orientation to doing research. Here sociology is not just an intellectual method of understanding society but a way to live and train an attentiveness to the social world.
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