Indexing Transformation seminar by David Cooper: 20th of September 2018

Dear Colleagues,

 Please join your forthcoming Indexing Transformation seminar which will be presented by David Cooper, Emeritus Associate Professor of Sociology on the Department of Sociology at the University of Cape Town, who will be presenting a seminar titled

‘Engaged Scholarship and University Transformation’

Article (JASS 11(2) 2017 Cooper EngagedScholarship ‘Third Mission’):


While I support the recent South African students movements and protests which have included transformation issues around ‘what is taught and how’ centred on ‘curriculum transformation’, I argue that there have been hardly any voices raised around ‘what is researched and for whom’. In this presentation I focus on a paper of mine (in Journal of Applied Social Sciences) of 2017 entitled: “Concepts of ‘Applied and Public Sociology’: Arguments for a Bigger Theoretical Picture around the Idea of a ‘University Third Mission’ [of engaged scholarship]”. Here I suggest the broader concept of Engaged Scholarship  (ES, for all university fields) rather than ‘applied and/or public sociology’ (for our own field), which moreover is much more preferable to the currently dominant term in South Africa – of (socially responsive) ‘community engagement’. I also link this broader idea of ES to a core set of inter-related ‘bigger’ concepts which I have proposed in other writings: (i) use-inspired basic research; (ii) a university third mission (of socio-economic-cultural development); (iii) a post-1970s 3rd capitalist industrial revolution (where the university role in a knowledge economy is fundamental); and (iv) a more encompassing quadruple helix, of university-industry-government-civil society (U-I-G-CS) research relations of engagement. In conclusion I highlight some ambiguities and inconsistencies embedded in current use of applied and public sociology (and other applied science) terminology, especially with reference to ‘how and with whom’ university engagement is advocated: central is my argument for a social justice-centered mode of ES with its explicit and value-laden component of ‘social justice’ (for the dominated social classes) intersecting with ‘research for whom’ – unlike the essentially value-neutral idea of ‘applied/public sociology’ or so-called ‘community engagement’.


Date: Thursday, 20th of September2018

Time: 1pm – 2pm (Questions and answers until about 2.30pm)

Venue: Room 401

Address: 4th floor of the Arts and Social Sciences Building, on the corner of Merriman Avenue & Ryneveld Street.