Our mission as sociologists is to illuminate the connections between what C. Wright Mills called personal troubles and public issues, between our everyday experience and the broader social structures and cultural / historical tendencies that serve as our horizon of meaning and action.
We seek to clarify the consequences of choices in civic, professional, public and private life, through meaningful, reasoned, and dialogic inquiry that fosters deliberative intelligence. We engage this inquiry with a balance of passion and dispassion—guided by normative commitments, but bound by standards of evidence and logic; following both an ethic of responsibility and an ethic of ultimate ends; searching both for explanation and interpretation; building on our disciplinary tradition to understand the transformations of society and the changing relations of self to society, while openly engaging other traditions and other ways of knowing.
To our students, we offer active membership in this community of inquiry. We encourage and enable each of them to take ownership of an intellectual project, through commitment to the impassioned and disciplined pursuit of significant questions, meaningful both to the student and to his or her communities. In the process, we hope they will develop and engage a critical imagination that connects their projects to the possibility of a better world and a deeper empathy for the lives of others.