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  1. Many engineering activists have emphasized the need to reframe engineering as a sociotechnical field in order to expand engineers' contributions to social justice and peace. Yet, reframing engineering as sociotechnical does not always lead to critical engagement with social justice. We provide several examples of how “social” aspects have been brought into engineering in a depoliticized manner that limits engagement with political and social justice goals. We link these examples to Cech’s three pillars of the “culture of disengagement” in engineering: social/technical dualisms, meritocracy, and depoliticization. We argue that reframing engineering as sociotechnical addresses the first pillar, the social/technical dualism, but does not necessarily include the second and third pillars. We propose that all three pillars can be addressed through integrating explicit attention to political engagement and social justice in efforts to reframe engineering as a sociotechnical field. Doing so can increase engineers’ capacity to contribute to social justice and peace.
  2. The goal of this paper is to share a sociological framework for understanding social justice activism with the intention of improving efficacy of architects’ efforts in addressing contentious social issues. The paper draws on recent sociological scholarship on professions and social movements, which give us new ways of thinking about our agency in affecting social change within and beyond the profession. The paper presents emerging themes based on participant observation and unstructured interviews conducted over the past two years, focused on contemporary activism in architecture. We highlight how professionals use their material resources (design expertise and practice) and their symbolic resources (status in socio-economic, political, and cultural systems) in different forms of contentious political engagement. We offer a sociological framework for distinguishing between ways architects use their work and status in their efforts to achieve social and professional change. The analysis offered in this paper is intended to offer politically-engaged architects (professionals, educators, and students) a framework to assist in their efforts toward shaping equity and justice outcomes for the field and for society.