Michael Burawoy

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Michael Burawoy
Michael Burawoy.jpg
Born 15 June 1947
Nationality English, American
Alma mater University of Cambridge (BA)
University of Zambia (MA)
University of Chicago (PhD)
Known for politics of production
factory regime
hegemonic despotism
extended case method

Michael Burawoy (Russian: Майкл (Михаил) Буравой) is a British sociological Marxist, best known as author of Manufacturing Consent: Changes in the Labor Process under Monopoly Capitalism—a study on work and organizations that has been translated into a number of languages—and as the leading proponent of public sociology. Burawoy was also president of the American Sociological Association in 2004 and is a professor at the University of California, Berkeley. In 2006–2010, he was vice-president for the Committee of National Associations of the International Sociological Association (ISA). In the XVII ISA World Congress of Sociology he was elected President of the International Sociological Association (ISA) for the period 2010–2014.


Graduating as a mathematics student from the University of Cambridge in 1968, Burawoy went on to pursue post-graduate study in the newly independent African nation of Zambia, while simultaneously working as a researcher for Anglo American PLC. Completing a master's degree at the University of Zambia in 1972, Burawoy enrolled as a doctoral student at the University of Chicago, finishing a sociology dissertation with an ethnography of Chicago industrial workers, later to become Manufacturing Consent: Changes in the Labor Process under Monopoly Capitalism.

Aside from Burawoy's sociological study of the industrial workplace in Zambia, Burawoy has studied industrial workplaces in Chicago, Hungary, and post-Soviet Russia. His method of choice is usually participant observation, more specifically ethnography.[1] Based on his studies of the workplace he has looked into the nature of postcolonialism, the organization of state socialism and the problems in the transition from socialism.

In more recent times, Burawoy has moved away from observing factories to looking at his own place of work- the university- to consider the way sociology is taught to students and how it is put into the public domain. His work on public sociology is most prominently shown in his presidential address to the American Sociological Association in 2004, where he divides sociology into four separate (yet overlapping) categories: public sociology, policy sociology (which has an extra-academic audience), professional sociology (which addresses an academic audience familiar with theoretical and methodological frameworks common to the discipline of sociology), and lastly critical sociology which, like public sociology, produces reflexive knowledge but which is only available to an academic audience, like professional sociology.

Selected works[edit]


Author (or co-author)[edit]

  • The Colour of Class on the Copper Mines: From African Advancement to Zambianization. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1972
  • Manufacturing Consent: Changes in the Labor Process Under Monopoly Capitalism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979
  • The Politics of Production: Factory Regimes Under Capitalism and Socialism. London: Verso, 1985
  • The Radiant Past: Ideology and Reality in Hungary's Road to Capitalism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992 (With János Lukács)
  • The Extended Case Method: Four Countries, Four Decades, Four Great Transformations, and One Theoretical Tradition (University of California Press), 2009

Collaborative and edited books[edit]

  • Marxist Inquiries: Studies of Labor, Class and States. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Supplement to the American Journal of Sociology. Edited with Theda Skocpol, 1983
  • Ethnography Unbound: Power and Resistance in the Modern Metropolis. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991 (With ten coauthors)
  • Uncertain Transition: Ethnographies of Change in the PostSocialist World. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield. Edited with Katherine Verdery, 1998
  • От Деревянного Парижа к Панельной Орбите: Модель жилищных классов Сыктывкара. (From Timbered Paris to Concrete Orbita: The Structure of Housing Classes in Syktyvkar). Syktyvkar: Institute of Regional Social Research of Komi, 1999 (With Pavel Krotov and Tatyana Lytkina)
  • Global Ethnography: Forces, Connections and Imaginations in a Postmodern World. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000 (With nine coauthors)


  • "Dwelling in Capitalism, Traveling Through Socialism." pp. 21–44 in Baldoz et al. (editors), The Critical Study of Work (Philadelphia: Temple University Press.)
  • "Neoclassical Sociology: From the End of Communism to the End of Classes." American Journal of Sociology 106(4): 1099-1120, 2001
  • "What Happened to the Working Class?" pp. 69–76 in Kevin Leicht (ed.), The Future of the Market transition (New York: JAI Press), 2002
  • "Sociological Marxism." pp. 459–86 in Jonathan Turner (ed.), The Handbook of Sociological Theory, 2002 (Plenum Books) (With Erik Wright)
  • "For a Sociological Marxism: The Complementary Convergence of Antonio Gramsci and Karl Polanyi." Politics and Society 31(2): 193-261, 2003
  • "Revisits: An Outline of a Theory of Reflexive Ethnography." American Sociological Review 68(5): 645-679, 2003
  • "Public Sociology: South African Dilemmas in a Global Context." Society in Transition 35(1): 11-26, 2004
  • "The Critical Turn to Public Sociology," pp. 309–322 in Rhonda Levine (ed.) Enriching the Sociological Imagination: How Radical Sociology Changed the Discipline, New York, 2004
  • "The World Needs Public Sociology." Sosiologisk tidsskrift 12(3): 255-272, 2004
  • "Antinomian Marxist," pp. 48–71 in Alan Sica and Stephen Turner (eds.), The Disobedient Generation: Social Theorists in the Sixties (Chicago: University of Chicago Press), 2005
  • "For Public Sociology." American Sociological Review 70(1): 4-28, 2005
  • "Provincializing the Social Sciences." pp. 508–525 in George Steinmetz (editor), The Politics of Method in the Human Sciences: Positivism and its Epistemological Others (Durhman, NC: Duke University Press), 2005
  • "The Return of the Repressed: Recovering the Public Face of U.S. Sociology, 100 Years on." The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 600: 68-87, 2005
  • "Public Sociology vs. the Market." Socio-Economic Review 5(2): 356-367, 2007
  • "Private Troubles and Public Issues," pp. 125–133 in Andrew Barlow (editor), Collaborations for Social Justice (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield), 2007
  • "A Public Sociology for California." Critical Sociology 34(3): 339-348, 2008


  1. ^ See his collaborative work on: Ethnography Unbound: Power and Resistance in the Modern Metropolis (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991) and Global Ethnography: Forces, Connections and Imaginations in a Postmodern World (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000).
  • Burawoy, Michael, 2005, "2004 American Sociological Association Presidential address: For public sociology," The British Journal of Sociology, Volume 56, Issue 2. pp. 260–290

External links[edit]