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: 8638

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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.

The Civil Sphere

Author: Jeffrey C. Alexander

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199708959

Category: Social Science

Page: 816

View: 3440

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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.

Meaning and Method

The Cultural Approach to Sociology

Author: Isaac Reed,Jeffrey C. Alexander

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1317256220

Category: Social Science

Page: 302

View: 3055

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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.

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

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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.

Fin de Siècle Social Theory

Relativism, Reduction, and the Problem of Reason

Author: Jeffrey C. Alexander

Publisher: Verso

ISBN: 9781859840917

Category: Social Science

Page: 231

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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.

Performance and Power

Author: Jeffrey C. Alexander

Publisher: Polity

ISBN: 0745648177

Category: Language Arts & Disciplines

Page: 246

View: 666

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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.

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: 9968

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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.

Cultural Trauma and Collective Identity

Author: Jeffrey C. Alexander

Publisher: Univ of California Press

ISBN: 0520235959

Category: Political Science

Page: 314

View: 1706

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"A timely and sophisticated series of studies. Articulating diverse strands of social theory with the historical episodes that have had major affective resonances within national cultures, the volume as a whole contributes significantly to our understanding of relationships between collective affect and social process."—Michael Shapiro, Professor of Political Science at the University of Hawaii "The fine and deeply argued essays in this book build a strong case against a naturalistic theory of collective traumas. Traumas are made, not born, claim the authors. And they brilliantly cast a steely gaze on several social nightmares--the Nazi holocaust, slavery in the United States, September 11, 2001--in order to limn the social and cultural processes by which events come to be viewed as threatening to the very identity of collectivities. Ultimately this is a book about the nature of the very normative order that gives meaning to the human condition."—Robin Wagner-Pacifici, author of Theorizing the Standoff "Near the end of the 20th century, scholarly interest in collective memory surged, spurred on both by re-examinations of the Holocaust and other canonical sources of trauma, and by the rise of a new set of institutionalized processes of collective memory-work. It is the great merit of these essays to approach the problems of collective trauma in sociological terms, as theorizable patterns in socially and culturally organized processes. This is a vital corrective to more naturalistic understandings and complement to those focused more narrowly on psychology or textual analysis."—Craig Calhoun, President, Social Science Research Council "This interactive collection of essays breaks new ground in the sociology of trauma. With its rich range of empirical cases, this book will inspire new debates across the social sciences about memory, collective suffering, and coping."—Arjun Appadurai, Professor of International Studies, Yale University

Illuminating Social Life

Author: Peter Kivisto

Publisher: SAGE

ISBN: 1452217823

Category: Social Science

Page: 418

View: 1799

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The sixth edition of Peter Kivisto's popular anthology, Illuminating Social Life, continues to demonstrate to students how social theories can help them make sense of the swirling events and perplexing phenomena that they encounter in their daily lives. A perfect complement for sociological theory courses, this updated edition includes 13 original essays by leading scholars in the field that help students better understand and appreciate the relevance of social theory. Once again, Peter Kivisto's collection illuminates the connection between sociological theory and the realities that students are faced with every day —from the Internet, alcohol use, and body building to shopping malls, the working world, and fast-food restaurants

Soziologische Phantasie

Author: C. Wright Mills

Publisher: Springer-Verlag

ISBN: 365810015X

Category: Social Science

Page: 325

View: 1155

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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.

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: 7211

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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.

Revisiting Institutionalism in Sociology

Putting the “Institution” Back in Institutional Analysis

Author: Seth Abrutyn

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1134463499

Category: Social Science

Page: 228

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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: 500

View: 1601

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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.

Culture, Society, and Democracy

The Interpretive Approach

Author: Isaac Reed,Jeffrey C. Alexander

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1317261690

Category: Social Science

Page: 208

View: 2386

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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.

Lexikon der soziologischen Werke

Author: Georg W. Oesterdiekhoff

Publisher: Springer-Verlag

ISBN: 3658023783

Category: Social Science

Page: 816

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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.

Die Großstädte und das Geistesleben

Author: Georg Simmel

Publisher: Musaicum Books

ISBN: 802721386X

Category: Social Science

Page: 47

View: 5413

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Die Großstädte und das Geistesleben ist ein 1903 erschienener Aufsatz des Soziologen Georg Simmel, mit dem dieser die Grundlagen der Stadtsoziologie schuf. Das tiefste Problem des modernen Lebens ist nach Georg Simmel der Anspruch des Individuums nach der Selbstständigkeit und Eigenart seines Daseins gegen die Übermächte der Gesellschaft, das geschichtlich Ererbte der äußerlichen Kultur und Technik des Lebens zu bewahren. Der Großstädter ist - im Gegensatz zum Kleinstädter - einer "Steigerung des Nervenlebens" ausgesetzt. Darin besteht die Basis für den Typus großstädtischer Individualität. Georg Simmel (1858-1918) war ein deutscher Philosoph und Soziologe. Er leistete wichtige Beiträge zur Kulturphilosophie, war Begründer der "formalen Soziologie" und der Konfliktsoziologie. Simmel stand in der Tradition der Lebensphilosophie, aber auch der des Neukantianismus.

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: 2338

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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.

Culture

Critical Concepts in Sociology

Author: Chris Jenks

Publisher: Psychology Press

ISBN: 9780415226905

Category: Social Science

Page: 1668

View: 2961

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Offers various views on the concept of culture, including articles by such authors as Walter Benjamin, Georg Simmel, T.S. Eliot, and Bronislaw Malinowski.

The Oxford Handbook of Cultural Sociology

Author: Jeffrey C. Alexander,Ronald N. Jacobs,Philip Smith

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0195377761

Category: Social Science

Page: 818

View: 6084

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Explains the social science of cultural sociology, a study of the ways in which culture, society, politics, and economy interact in the world.