Fertile soil for organic public sociology: Community-based natural resource management
Where do public sociology and the study of natural resources meet? One promising intersection is at community-based natural resource management. At this juncture there are multiple opportunities for rural sociologists to embrace the tenets of public sociology, as espoused by Michael Burawoy. By working with an active, thick, and local "civil society," rural sociologists have the opportunity to improve livelihoods as well as contribute to the sustainability of the natural resource base that so many depend upon. This article examines these possibilities by discussing three domains for rural sociologists to apply public sociology to community-based natural resource management: participation, empowerment, and knowledge coproduction. This article makes an explicit call for rural sociologists to "go public," and by doing so challenge the underlying structures of marginalization and inequity that have characterized public involvement in natural resource management through the contemporary era of resource management in the United States.