- The Oxford Handbook of Cultural Sociology
- Introduction: Cultural Sociology Today
- Cultural Sociology as Research Program: Post-Positivism, Meaning, and Causality
- Rationalization Processes inside Cultural Sociology
- Four Ways to Measure Culture: Social Science, Hermeneutics, and the Cultural Turn
- Culture and the Economy
- Culture and Economic Life
- From Moral Sentiments to Civic Engagement: Sociological Analysis as Responsible Spectatorship
- Reinventing the Concept of Civic Culture
- Cultural Sociology and Civil Society in a World of Flows: Recapturing Ambiguity, Hybridity, and the Political
- Mediatized Disasters in the Global Age: On the Ritualization of Catastrophe
- Media, Intellectuals, the Public Sphere, and the Story of Barack Obama in 2008
- Entertainment Media and the Aesthetic Public Sphere
- Rethinking the Relationship of African American Men to the Street
- Ethnicity, Race, Nationhood, Foreignness, and Many Other Things: Prolegomena to a Cultural Sociology of Difference-Based Interactions
- Burning Schools/Building Bridges: Ethnographical Touchdowns in the Civil Sphere
- The Constitution of Religious Political Violence: Institution, Culture, and Power
- Globalization and Religion
- Narrative and Social Movements
- The Politics of Authenticity: Civic Individualism and the Cultural Roots of Gay Normalization
- Rethinking Conflict and Collective Memory: The Case of Nanking
- Cultural Trauma: Emotion and Narration
- Remembrance of Things Past: Cultural Trauma, the “Nanking Massacre,” and Chinese Identity
- Events as Templates of Possibility: An Analytic Typology of Political Facts
- Cultural Pragmatics and the Structure and Flow of Democratic Politics
- Consumption as Cultural Interpretation: Taste, Performativity, and Navigating the Forest of Objects
- The Force of Embodiment: Violence and Altruism in Cultures of Practice
- Music Sociology in a New Key
- Narrating Global Warming
- Broadening Cultural Sociology's Scope: Meaning-Making in Mundane Organizational Life
- Inbetweenness and Ambivalence
Abstract and Keywords
This article introduces the reader to the current status of cultural sociology as a specific mode of inquiry. It first discusses the pre-history of cultural sociology, tracing its origins in the demise of Parsonian functionalism from the mid-1960s onward, the cultural turn in sociology through the 1980s, and the emergence of an increasingly confident cultural sociology as an alternative paradigm to the once dominant sociology of culture. The article then considers the impact of cultural sociology, especially on well-established research areas such as economic sociology. It also examines the tensions marking “best practices” in contemporary cultural sociology as a dimension of social life, including the tension between discourse and materiality, the link between public ritual and everyday life, and the question of method and epistemology.
Jeffrey C. Alexander, Lillian Chavenson Saden Professor of Sociology at Yale University, works in the areas of theory, culture and politics, developing a meaning-centered approach to the tensions and possibilities of modern social life. He is a Director of the Center for Cultural Sociology, also at Yale. His recent publications include: Understanding the Holocaust: A Debate (2009); A Contemporary Introduction to Sociology: Culture and Society in Transition (with Kenneth Thompson 2008); Social Performances: Symbolic Action, Cultural Pragmatics, and Ritual (with Bernhard Giesen and Jason Mast 2006); Cultural Trauma and Collective Identity (with Eyerman, Giesen, Sztompka, and Smelser 2004); and The Meanings of Social Life: A Cultural Sociology (2003). In his major work The Civil Sphere (2006), Alexander developed a new cultural-sociological theory of democracy, a perspective that provides the foundation The Performance of Politics: Obama's Victory and the Democratic Struggle for Power (2010) and his newest volume, Performative Revolution in Egypt: An Essay in Cultural Power (2011).
Ronald N. Jacobs is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University at Albany, State University of New York. His research focuses on culture, media, and the public sphere. His current work is concentrated in two areas: (1) a study of media intellectuals and the social space of opinion, and (2) a study of entertainment media and the aesthetic public sphere.
Philip Smith School of Psychological Sciences The University of Melbourne Parkville, Australia
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