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Before discussing the need for public sociology in Russia, we must ask whether the conditions for the production of scientific knowledge in sociology are in place. It is virtually impossible in Russia to institutionalize autonomous sociological research. To a significant extent this has to do with the history of the discipline: Russian sociology emerged due to non-sociological factors, and sociological labor is strictly divided into education and academic research. There is no demand for researchers on the educational market, and the research market is dominated by market research and made-to-order studies commissioned for political purposes. Meanwhile the state is scaling down investment into sociological and other research.
Public sociology, which translates the results of scholarly work into the public sphere, is only relevant where the knowledge so produced is autonomous. Sociologists must not be politicians. The production cycle of sociological research must be governed by a professional logic. The sociologist must not be a “total intellectual,” in Michel Foucault’s term.