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This autobiographical essay reflects on my sociological career, highlighting the integration of sociology with social policy. I discuss the personal, social, and intellectual experiences, ranging from childhood to adult life, that influenced my pursuit of studies in race and ethnic relations and urban poverty. I then focus on how the academic and public reaction to these studies increased my concerns about the relationship between social science and public policy, as well as my attempts to make my work more accessible to a general audience. In the process, I discuss how the academic awards and honors I received based on these studies enhanced my involvement in the national policy arena. I conclude this essay with some thoughts about public agenda research and productive controversy based on my own unique experiences. In short, this autobiographical essay shows how a scholar can engage academics, policy makers, and the media concerned with how sociological knowledge can inform a policy agenda on some of the nation’s most important social problems.


Wilson, William Julius. "Reflections on a Sociological Career that Integrates Social Science with Social Policy." Annual Review of Sociology 37 (August 2011): 1-18.