The Meanings of Social Life

A Cultural Sociology

Author: Jeffrey C. Alexander

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN: 0195306406

Category: Social Science

Page: 296

View: 3593

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Presents an approach to how culture works in societies. Exposing our everyday myths and narratives in a series of empirical studies that range from Watergate to the Holocaust, this work shows how these unseen cultural structures translate into concrete actions and institutions.

Fin de Siècle Social Theory

Relativism, Reduction, and the Problem of Reason

Author: Jeffrey C. Alexander

Publisher: Verso

ISBN: 9781859849965

Category: Social Science

Page: 231

View: 1900

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In four closely interwoven studies, Jeffrey Alexander identifies the central dilemma that provokes contemporary social theory and proposes a new way to resolve it. The dream of reason that marked the previous fin de siècle foundered in the face of the cataclysms of the twentieth century, when war, revolution, and totalitarianism came to be seen as themselves products of reason. In response there emerged the profound skepticism about rationality that has so starkly defined the present fin de siècle. From Wittgenstein through Rorty and postmodernism, relativism rejects the very possibility of universal standards, while for both positivism and neo-Marxists like Bourdieu, reductionism claims that ideas simply reflect their social base. In a readable and spirited argument, Alexander develops the alternative of a "neo-modernist" position that defends reason from within a culturally centered perspective while remaining committed to the goal of explaining, not merely interpreting, contemporary social life. On the basis of a sweeping reinterpretation of postwar society and its intellectuals, he suggests that both antimodernist radicalism and postmodernist resignation are now in decline; a more democratic, less ethnocentric and more historically contingent universalizing social theory may thus emerge. Developing in his first two studies a historical approach to the problem of "absent reason," Alexander moves via a critique of Richard Rorty to construct his case for "present reason." Finally, focusing on the work of Pierre Bourdieu, he provokes the most sustained critical reflection yet on this influential thinker. Fin de Siecle Social Theory is a tonic intervention in contemporary debates, showing how social and cultural theory can properly take the measure of the extraordinary times in which we live.

The Civil Sphere

Author: Jeffrey C. Alexander

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199708959

Category: Social Science

Page: 816

View: 5236

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What binds societies together and how can these social orders be structured in a fair way? Jeffrey C. Alexander's masterful work, The Civil Sphere, addresses this central paradox of modern life. Feelings for others--the solidarity that is ignored or underplayed by theories of power or self-interest--are at the heart of this novel inquiry into the meeting place between normative theories of what we think we should do and empirical studies of who we actually are. Solidarity, Alexander demonstrates, creates inclusive and exclusive social structures and shows how they can be repaired. It is not perfect, it is not absolute, and the horrors which occur in its lapses have been seen all too frequently in the forms of discrimination, genocide, and war. Despite its worldly flaws and contradictions, however, solidarity and the project of civil society remain our best hope: the antidote to every divisive institution, every unfair distribution, every abusive and dominating hierarchy. This grand, sweeping statement and rigorous empirical investigation is a major contribution to our thinking about the real but ideal world in which we all reside.

Contemporary Introduction to Sociology

Culture and Society in Transition

Author: Jeffrey C. Alexander,Kenneth Thompson,Laura Desfor Edles

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1317264983

Category: Political Science

Page: 656

View: 1262

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The first edition of A Contemporary Introduction to Sociology was the first truly new introductory sociology textbook in decades. Written by two leading sociologists at the cutting edge of theory and research, the text reflected the idioms and interests of contemporary American life and global social issues. The second edition continues to invite students to reflect upon their lives within the context of the combustible leap from modern to postmodern life. The authors show how culture is central to understanding many world problems as they challenge readers to confront the risks and potentialities of a postmodern era in which the futures of both the physical and social environment seem uncertain. As culture rapidly changes in the 21st century, the authors have broadened their analysis to cover developments in social media and new data on gender and transgender issues.

Performance and Power

Author: Jeffrey C. Alexander

Publisher: Polity

ISBN: 0745648177

Category: Language Arts & Disciplines

Page: 246

View: 9711

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This is a study of the relationship between performance and power. In this volume, Jeffrey Alexander develops a cultural pragmatics that shifts cultural sociology from texts to gestural meanings and examines the elements of social performance.

Social Performance

Symbolic Action, Cultural Pragmatics, and Ritual

Author: Jeffrey C. Alexander,Bernhard Giesen,Jason L. Mast

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 1139452673

Category: Social Science

Page: N.A

View: 1881

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Jeffrey C. Alexander brings together new and leading contributors to make a powerful and coherently argued case for a new direction in cultural sociology, one that focuses on the intersection between performance, ritual and social action. Performance has always been used by sociologists to understand the social world but this volume offers the first systematic analytical framework based on the performance metaphor to explain large-scale social and cultural processes. From September 11, to the Clinton/Lewinsky affair, to the role of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Social Performance draws on recent work in performative theory in the humanities and in cultural studies to offer a novel approach to the sociology of culture. Inspired by the theories of Austin, Derrida, Durkheim, Goffman, and Turner, this is a path-breaking volume that makes a major contribution to the field. It will appeal to scholars and students alike.

Cultural Trauma and Collective Identity

Author: Jeffrey C. Alexander,Ron Eyerman,Bernard Giesen,Neil J. Smelser,Piotr Sztompka

Publisher: Univ of California Press

ISBN: 9780520936768

Category: Social Science

Page: 304

View: 970

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In this collaboratively authored work, five distinguished sociologists develop an ambitious theoretical model of "cultural trauma"—and on this basis build a new understanding of how social groups interact with emotion to create new and binding understandings of social responsibility. Looking at the "meaning making process" as an open-ended social dialogue in which strikingly different social narratives vie for influence, they outline a strongly constructivist approach to trauma and apply this theoretical model in a series of extensive case studies, including the Nazi Holocaust, slavery in the United States, and September 11, 2001.

Meaning and Method

The Cultural Approach to Sociology

Author: Isaac Reed,Jeffrey C. Alexander

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1317256220

Category: Social Science

Page: 302

View: 5517

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Culture is increasingly important to American social science, but in what way? This book addresses the core issues of the sociology of culture-questions about the social role of meaning, along with those about the methods sociologists use to study culture and society-in a manner that makes clear their relevance to sociology as a whole. Part I consists of essays by leading cultural sociologists on how the turn to culture has changed the sociological study of organizations, economic action, and television, and concludes with Georgina Born's methodological statement on the sociology of art and cultural production. Part II contains a highly original, and at times heated, debate between Richard Biernacki and John H. Evans on the appropriateness of abstract and quantifiable coding schemes for the sociological study of culture. Ranging from the philosophy of science to the concrete, practical problems of interpreting masses of cultural data, the debate raises the controversy over the interpretation of culture and the explanation of social action to a new level of sophistication.

Revisiting Institutionalism in Sociology

Putting the “Institution” Back in Institutional Analysis

Author: Seth Abrutyn

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1134463499

Category: Social Science

Page: 228

View: 3050

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There may not be a concept so central to sociology, yet so vaguely defined in its contemporary usages, than institution. In Revisiting Institutionalism in Sociology, Abrutyn takes an in-depth look at what institutions are by returning to some of the insights of classical theorists like Max Weber and Herbert Spencer, the functionalisms of Talcott Parsons and S.N. Eisenstadt, and the more recent evolutionary institutionalisms of Gerhard Lenski and Jonathan Turner. Returning to the idea that various levels of social reality shape societies, Abrutyn argues that institutions are macro-level structural and cultural spheres of action, exchange, and communication. They have emergent properties and dynamics that are not reducible to other levels of social reality. Rather than fall back on old functionalist solutions, Abrutyn offers an original and synthetic theory of institutions like religion or economy; the process by which they become autonomous, or distinct cultural spaces that shape the color and texture of action, exchange, and communication embedded within them; and how they gain or lose autonomy by theorizing about institutional entrepreneurship. Finally, Abrutyn lays bare the inner workings of institutions, including their ecology, the way structure and culture shape lower-levels of social reality, and how they develop unique patterns of stratification and inequality founded on their ecology, structure, and culture. Ultimately, Abrutyn offers a refreshing take on macrosociology that brings functionalist, conflict, and cultural sociologies together, while painting a new picture of how the seemingly invisible macro-world influences the choices humans make and the goals we set.

Routledge International Handbook of the Sociology of Art and Culture

Author: Laurie Hanquinet,Mike Savage

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1135008884

Category: Social Science

Page: 480

View: 1027

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The Routledge Handbook of the Sociology of Arts and Culture offers a comprehensive overview of sociology of art and culture, focusing especially – though not exclusively – on the visual arts, literature, music, and digital culture. Extending, and critiquing, Bourdieu’s influential analysis of cultural capital, the distinguished international contributors explore the extent to which cultural omnivorousness has eclipsed highbrow culture, the role of age, gender and class on cultural practices, the character of aesthetic preferences, the contemporary significance of screen culture, and the restructuring of popular culture. The Handbook critiques modes of sociological determinism in which cultural engagement is seen as the simple product of the educated middle classes. The contributions explore the critique of Eurocentrism and the global and cosmopolitan dimensions of cultural life. The book focuses particularly on bringing cutting edge ‘relational’ research methodologies, both qualitative and quantitative, to bear on these debates. This handbook not only describes the field, but also proposes an agenda for its development which will command major international interest.

Remembering the Holocaust

A Debate

Author: Jeffrey C. Alexander

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0190207639

Category: History

Page: 224

View: 8563

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Remembering the Holocaust explains why the Holocaust has come to be considered the central event of the 20th century, and what this means. Presenting Jeffrey Alexander's controversial essay that, in the words of Geoffrey Hartman, has already become a classic in the Holocaust literature, and following up with challenging and equally provocative responses to it, this book offers a sweeping historical reconstruction of the Jewish mass murder as it evolved in the popular imagination of Western peoples, as well as an examination of its consequences. Alexander's inquiry points to a broad cultural transition that took place in Western societies after World War II: from confidence in moving past the most terrible of Nazi wartime atrocities to pessimism about the possibility for overcoming violence, ethnic conflict, and war. The Holocaust has become the central tragedy of modern times, an event which can no longer be overcome, but one that offers possibilities to extend its moral lessons beyond Jews to victims of other types of secular and religious strife. Following Alexander's controversial thesis is a series of responses by distinguished scholars in the humanities and social sciences--Martin Jay, Bernhard Giesen, Michael Rothberg, Robert Manne, Nathan Glazer, and Elihu & Ruth Katz--considering the implications of the universal moral relevance of the Holocaust. A final response from Alexander in a postscript focusing on the repercussions of the Holocaust in Israel concludes this forthright and engaging discussion. Remembering the Holocaust is an all-too-rare debate on our conception of the Holocaust, how it has evolved over the years, and the profound effects it will have on the way we envision the future.

Lexikon der soziologischen Werke

Author: Georg W. Oesterdiekhoff

Publisher: Springer-Verlag

ISBN: 3658023783

Category: Social Science

Page: 816

View: 1397

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Dieses Lexikon liefert einen Überblick über die wichtigsten Werke der Soziologie. Es dokumentiert auf eine einzigartige Weise sowohl die Geschichte der Soziologie als auch ihre aktuellen Ansätze. 800 Bücher werden von 185 Rezensenten präzise dargestellt, so dass der Leser sich sehr schnell über Inhalt und Relevanz eines Werkes informieren kann. Es werden auch Klassiker aus der Ethnologie, Psychologie, Philosophie, Ökonomie und Politikwissenschaft besprochen, sofern diese Werke eine Relevanz für die Soziologie haben. Dieses Nachschlagewerk hat sich im neuen Jahrtausend zu einem führenden Handbuch der Soziologie und der Sozialwissenschaften etabliert. Die Erstauflage von 2001 beinhaltete 750 Werke. Die hier vorliegende Zweitauflage des Jahres 2013 ist nun auf einen Umfang von 800 Werken gewachsen und repräsentiert damit den neuesten Stand der Forschung und der Diskussion.

Culture, Society, and Democracy

The Interpretive Approach

Author: Isaac Reed,Jeffrey C. Alexander

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1317261682

Category: Social Science

Page: 208

View: 6220

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This volume addresses the key question of the intersection of sociology and politics, and asks what a non-Marxist cultural perspective can offer the Left. Written by leading scholars, it develops new conceptions of social critique, new techniques of interpretive analysis, and new concepts for the sociology of democratic practice. It is a volume for the twenty-first-century, where global and local meet, when critical theory must examine its most fundamental presuppositions.

Soziologische Phantasie

Author: C. Wright Mills

Publisher: Springer-Verlag

ISBN: 365810015X

Category: Social Science

Page: 325

View: 9016

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Soziologische Phantasie, die erstmals 1963 erschienene deutsche Übersetzung von C. Wright Mills‘ The Sociological Imagination, darf zurecht als Meilenstein wissenschaftlich-politischer Debatten in den Vereinigten Staaten betrachtet werden und zählt auch heute noch zu einer der wichtigsten Selbstkritiken der Soziologie. Mills schlägt hier einen dritten Weg zwischen bloßem Empirismus und abgehobener Theorie ein: Er plädiert für eine kritische Sozialwissenschaft, die sich weder bürokratisch instrumentalisieren lässt noch selbstverliebt vor sich hin prozessiert, sondern gesellschaftliche Bedeutung erlangt, indem sie den Zusammenhang von persönlichen Schwierigkeiten und öffentlichen Problemen erhellt. Eben dies sei Aufgabe und Verheißung einer Soziologie, die sich viel zu häufig „einer merkwürdigen Lust an der Attitüde des Unbeteiligten“ hingebe.

The Elephant in the Room

Silence and Denial in Everyday Life

Author: Eviatar Zerubavel

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199884846

Category: Social Science

Page: 176

View: 9669

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The fable of the Emperor's New Clothes is a classic example of a conspiracy of silence, a situation where everyone refuses to acknowledge an obvious truth. But the denial of social realities--whether incest, alcoholism, corruption, or even genocide-is no fairy tale. In The Elephant in the Room, Eviatar Zerubavel sheds new light on the social and political underpinnings of silence and denial-the keeping of "open secrets." The author shows that conspiracies of silence exist at every level of society, ranging from small groups to large corporations, from personal friendships to politics. Zerubavel shows how such conspiracies evolve, illuminating the social pressures that cause people to deny what is right before their eyes. We see how each conspirator's denial is symbiotically complemented by the others', and we learn that silence is usually more intense when there are more people conspiring-and especially when there are significant power differences among them. He concludes by showing that the longer we ignore "elephants," the larger they loom in our minds, as each avoidance triggers an even greater spiral of denial. Drawing on examples from newspapers and comedy shows to novels, children's stories, and film, the book travels back and forth across different levels of social life, and from everyday moments to large-scale historical events. At its core, The Elephant in the Room helps us understand why we ignore truths that are known to all of us.

The Crisis of Journalism Reconsidered

Democratic Culture, Professional Codes, Digital Future

Author: Jeffrey C. Alexander,Elizabeth Butler Breese,Marîa Luengo

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 1316589234

Category: Social Science

Page: N.A

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This collection of original essays brings a dramatically different perspective to bear on the contemporary 'crisis of journalism'. Rather than seeing technological and economic change as the primary causes of current anxieties, The Crisis of Journalism Reconsidered draws attention to the role played by the cultural commitments of journalism itself. Linking these professional ethics to the democratic aspirations of the broader societies in which journalists ply their craft, it examines how the new technologies are being shaped to sustain value commitments rather than undermining them. Recent technological change and the economic upheaval it has produced are coded by social meanings. It is this cultural framework that actually transforms these 'objective' changes into a crisis. The book argues that cultural codes not only trigger sharp anxiety about technological and economic changes, but provide pathways to control them, so that the democratic practices of independent journalism can be sustained in new forms.

Interpretation and Social Knowledge

On the Use of Theory in the Human Sciences

Author: Isaac Ariail Reed

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 0226706745

Category: Philosophy

Page: 194

View: 1963

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For the past fifty years anxiety over naturalism has driven debates in social theory. One side sees social science as another kind of natural science, while the other rejects the possibility of objective and explanatory knowledge. Interpretation and Social Knowledge suggests a different route, offering a way forward for an antinaturalist sociology that overcomes the opposition between interpretation and explanation and uses theory to build concrete, historically specific causal explanations of social phenomena.

Paradoxes of Individualization

Social Control and Social Conflict in Contemporary Modernity

Author: Mr Willem de Koster,Professor Dick Houtman,Professor Stef Aupers

Publisher: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.

ISBN: 1409494802

Category: Social Science

Page: 196

View: 7601

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Paradoxes of Individualization addresses one of the most hotly debated issues in contemporary sociology: whether a process of individualization is liberating selves from society so as to make them the authors of their personal biographies. The book adopts a cultural-sociological approach that firmly rejects such a notion of individualization as naïve. The process is instead conceptualized as an increasing social significance of moral notions of individual liberty, personal authenticity and cultural tolerance, which informs two paradoxes. Firstly, chapters about consumer behavior, computer gaming, new age spirituality and right-wing extremism demonstrate that this individualism entails a new, yet often unacknowledged, form of social control. The second paradox, addressed in chapters about religious, cultural and political conflict, is concerned with the fact that it is precisely individualism's increased social significance that has made it morally and politically contested. Paradoxes of Individualization, will therefore be of interest to scholars and students of cultural sociology, cultural anthropology, political science, and cultural, religious and media studies, and particularly to those with interests in social theory, culture, politics and religion.

Self, Social Structure, and Beliefs

Explorations in Sociology

Author: Jeffrey C. Alexander,Gary T. Marx,Christine L. Williams

Publisher: Univ of California Press

ISBN: 9780520241374

Category: History

Page: 286

View: 1770

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Annotation This is an exploration of the creative work done by leading sociologists who were inspired by the scholarship of Neil Smelser.

The New Blackwell Companion to Social Theory

Author: Bryan S. Turner

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 144430500X

Category: Social Science

Page: 640

View: 1583

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A comprehensive new collection covering the principal traditionsand critical contemporary issues of social theory. Builds on the success of The Blackwell Companion to SocialTheory, second edition with substantial revisions, entirely newcontributions, and a fresh editorial direction Explores contemporary areas such as actor network theory,social constructionism, human rights and cosmopolitanism Includes chapters on demography, science and technologystudies, and genetics and social theory Emphasizes key areas of sociology which have had an importantimpact in shaping the discipline as a whole