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: 3666

DOWNLOAD NOW »
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 Meanings of Social Life

A Cultural Sociology

Author: Jeffrey C. Alexander

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780198036463

Category: Social Science

Page: 312

View: 2382

DOWNLOAD NOW »
In The Meanings of Social Life , Jeffrey Alexander presents a new approach to how culture works in contemporary societies. Exposing our everyday myths and narratives in a series of empirical studies that range from Watergate to the Holocaust, he shows how these unseen yet potent cultural structures translate into concrete actions and institutions. Only when these deep patterns of meaning are revealed, Alexander argues, can we understand the stubborn staying power of violence and degradation, but also the steady persistence of hope. By understanding the darker structures that restrict our imagination, we can seek to transform them. By recognizing the culture structures that sustain hope, we can allow our idealistic imaginations to gain more traction in the world. A work that will transform the way that sociologists think about culture and the social world, this book confirms Jeffrey Alexander's reputation as one of the major social theorists of our day.

The Meanings of Social Life

A Cultural Sociology

Author: Jeffrey C. Alexander

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0190207574

Category: Social Science

Page: 312

View: 5374

DOWNLOAD NOW »
In The Meanings of Social Life , Jeffrey Alexander presents a new approach to how culture works in contemporary societies. Exposing our everyday myths and narratives in a series of empirical studies that range from Watergate to the Holocaust, he shows how these unseen yet potent cultural structures translate into concrete actions and institutions. Only when these deep patterns of meaning are revealed, Alexander argues, can we understand the stubborn staying power of violence and degradation, but also the steady persistence of hope. By understanding the darker structures that restrict our imagination, we can seek to transform them. By recognizing the culture structures that sustain hope, we can allow our idealistic imaginations to gain more traction in the world. A work that will transform the way that sociologists think about culture and the social world, this book confirms Jeffrey Alexander's reputation as one of the major social theorists of our day.

The Civil Sphere

Author: Jeffrey C. Alexander

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199708959

Category: Social Science

Page: 816

View: 4741

DOWNLOAD NOW »
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.

Performance and Power

Author: Jeffrey C. Alexander

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 0745655661

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 232

View: 1705

DOWNLOAD NOW »
Performativity has emerged as a critical new idea across the humanities and social sciences, from literary and cultural studies to the study of gender and the philosophy of action. In this volume, Jeffrey Alexander demonstrates how performance can reorient our study of politics and society. Alexander develops a cultural pragmatics that shifts cultural sociology from texts to gestural meanings. Positioning social performance between ritual and strategy, he lays out the elements of social performance - from scripts to mise-en-scène, from critical mediation to audience reception - and systematically describes their tense interrelation. This is followed by a series of empirically oriented studies that demonstrate how cultural pragmatics transforms our approach to power. Alexander brings his new theory of social performance to bear on case studies that range from political to cultural power: Barack Obama's electoral campaign, American failure in the Iraqi war, the triumph of the Civil Rights Movement, terrorist violence on September 11th, public intellectuals, material icons, and social science itself. This path-breaking work by one of the world's leading social theorists will command a wide interdisciplinary readership.

The Social Life of Things

Commodities in Cultural Perspective

Author: Arjun Appadurai

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 1107392977

Category: Social Science

Page: N.A

View: 9162

DOWNLOAD NOW »
The meaning that people attribute to things necessarily derives from human transactions and motivations, particularly from how those things are used and circulated. The contributors to this volume examine how things are sold and traded in a variety of social and cultural settings, both present and past. Focusing on culturally defined aspects of exchange and socially regulated processes of circulation, the essays illuminate the ways in which people find value in things and things give value to social relations. By looking at things as if they lead social lives, the authors provide a new way to understand how value is externalized and sought after. They discuss a wide range of goods - from oriental carpets to human relics - to reveal both that the underlying logic of everyday economic life is not so far removed from that which explains the circulation of exotica, and that the distinction between contemporary economics and simpler, more distant ones is less obvious than has been thought. As the editor argues in his introduction, beneath the seeming infinitude of human wants, and the apparent multiplicity of material forms, there in fact lie complex, but specific, social and political mechanisms that regulate taste, trade, and desire. Containing contributions from American and British social anthropologists and historians, the volume bridges the disciplines of social history, cultural anthropology, and economics, and marks a major step in our understanding of the cultural basis of economic life and the sociology of culture. It will appeal to anthropologists, social historians, economists, archaeologists, and historians of art.

Meanings of Life

Author: Roy F. Baumeister

Publisher: Guilford Press

ISBN: 9780898625318

Category: Psychology

Page: 426

View: 3925

DOWNLOAD NOW »
Who among us has not at some point asked, what is the meaning of life?' In this extraordinary book, an eminent social scientist looks at the big picture and explores what empirical studies from diverse fields tell us about the human condition. MEANINGS OF LIFE draws together evidence from psychology, history, anthropology, and sociology, integrating copious research findings into a clear and conclusive discussion of how people attempt to make sense of their lives. In a lively and accessible style, emphasizing facts over theories, Baumeister explores why people desire meaning in their lives, how these meanings function, what forms they take, and what happens when life loses meaning. It is the most comprehensive examination of the topic to date.

The Social Life of Water

Author: John R. Wagner

Publisher: Berghahn Books

ISBN: 0857459678

Category: Nature

Page: 326

View: 6186

DOWNLOAD NOW »
Everywhere in the world communities and nations organize themselves in relation to water. We divert water from rivers, lakes, and aquifers to our homes, workplaces, irrigation canals, and hydro-generating stations. We use it for bathing, swimming, recreation, and it functions as a symbol of purity in ritual performances. In order to facilitate and manage our relationship with water, we develop institutions, technologies, and cultural practices entirely devoted to its appropriation and distribution, and through these institutions we construct relations of class, gender, ethnicity, and nationality. Relying on first-hand ethnographic research, the contributors to this volume examine the social life of water in diverse settings and explore the impacts of commodification, urbanization, and technology on the availability and quality of water supplies. Each case study speaks to a local set of issues, but the overall perspective is global, with representation from all continents.

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: 1468

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

Iconic Power

Materiality and Meaning in Social Life

Author: Jeffrey C. Alexander,Dominik Bartmanski,Bernhard Giesen

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

ISBN: 9781137375964

Category: Social Science

Page: 276

View: 341

DOWNLOAD NOW »
Iconic Power is a collection of original articles that explore social aspects of the phenomenon of icon. What counts as iconic in late modern society? How do icons work? What exactly makes an image, object, or person iconic? Why should we care about icons? These are among the central questions of this volume. From elite wine brands to popular music festivals, from the Berlin Wall to the Abu Ghraib scandal, the contributors to this volume discuss the cultural biographies of various iconic images and events. They show that icons seduce and shock, and that the iconosphere can represent at once the richness and the poverty of culture, its superficiality as well as its depth. Each contribution to this book carefully tests the analytic purchase and empirical implications of iconicity. If we can succeed in understanding the iconic, we will better understand our culture and we will significantly extend the scope of cultural sociology.

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: 1642

DOWNLOAD NOW »
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.

The Drama of Social Life

A Dramaturgical Handbook

Author: Charles Edgley

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1317035267

Category: Social Science

Page: 356

View: 2951

DOWNLOAD NOW »
Whatever else they may be doing, human beings are also and always expressing themselves whenever they are in the awareness of others. As such, the metaphor of life as theater - of people playing roles to audiences who review them and then coordinate further action - is an ancient idea that has been resurrected by social scientists as an organizing simile for the analysis and understanding of social life. The Drama of Social Life examines this dramaturgical approach to social life, bringing together the latest original work from leading contemporary dramaturgical thinkers across the social sciences. Thematically organized, it explores: ¢ the work of classical and contemporary thinkers who have contributed most to this theoretical framework ¢ the foundational concepts of the dramaturgical approach ¢ a rich array of substantive areas of empirical investigation to which dramaturgy continues to contribute ¢ directions for future dramaturgical thinking. An indispensable collection that updates and extends the dramaturgical framework, The Drama of Social Life will appeal to scholars and students of sociology, social psychology, performance studies, cultural studies, communication, film studies, and anthropology - and all those interested in the work of Goffman and symbolic interactionist theory and practice.

The Social Life of Money

Author: Nigel Dodd

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 1400880866

Category: Social Science

Page: 464

View: 1804

DOWNLOAD NOW »
Questions about the nature of money have gained a new urgency in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. Even as many people have less of it, there are more forms and systems of money, from local currencies and social lending to mobile money and Bitcoin. Yet our understanding of what money is—and what it might be—hasn't kept pace. In The Social Life of Money, Nigel Dodd, one of today’s leading sociologists of money, reformulates the theory of the subject for a postcrisis world in which new kinds of money are proliferating. What counts as legitimate action by central banks that issue currency and set policy? What underpins the right of nongovernmental actors to create new currencies? And how might new forms of money surpass or subvert government-sanctioned currencies? To answer such questions, The Social Life of Money takes a fresh and wide-ranging look at modern theories of money. One of the book’s central concerns is how money can be wrested from the domination and mismanagement of banks and governments and restored to its fundamental position as the "claim upon society" described by Georg Simmel. But rather than advancing yet another critique of the state-based monetary system, The Social Life of Money draws out the utopian aspects of money and the ways in which its transformation could in turn transform society, politics, and economics. The book also identifies the contributions of thinkers who have not previously been thought of as monetary theorists—including Nietzsche, Benjamin, Bataille, Deleuze and Guattari, Baudrillard, Derrida, and Hardt and Negri. The result provides new ways of thinking about money that seek not only to understand it but to change it. Complete with a new preface that discusses recent developments in the evolution of money, the book draws out the ways in which its transformation could in turn radically alter society, politics, and economics.

Cultural Trauma and Collective Identity

Author: Jeffrey C. Alexander

Publisher: Univ of California Press

ISBN: 0520235959

Category: Political Science

Page: 314

View: 3840

DOWNLOAD NOW »
"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

Trauma

A Social Theory

Author: Jeffrey C. Alexander

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 0745661351

Category: Psychology

Page: 240

View: 8480

DOWNLOAD NOW »
In this book Jeffrey C. Alexander develops an original social theory of trauma and uses it to carry out a series of empirical investigations into social suffering around the globe. Alexander argues that traumas are not merely psychological but collective experiences, and that trauma work plays a key role in defining the origins and outcomes of critical social conflicts. He outlines a model of trauma work that relates interests of carrier groups, competing narrative identifications of victim and perpetrator, utopian and dystopian proposals for trauma resolution, the performative power of constructed events, and the distribution of organizational resources. Alexander explores these processes in richly textured case studies of cultural-trauma origins and effects, from the universalism of the Holocaust to the particularism of the Israeli right, from postcolonial battles over the Partition of India and Pakistan to the invisibility of the Rape of Nanjing in Maoist China. In a particularly controversial chapter, Alexander describes the idealizing discourse of globalization as a trauma-response to the Cold War. Contemporary societies have often been described as more concerned with the past than the future, more with tragedy than progress. In Trauma: A Social Theory, Alexander explains why.

American Society

Toward a Theory of Societal Community

Author: Talcott Parsons,Giuseppe Sciortino

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1317263766

Category: Social Science

Page: 537

View: 7822

DOWNLOAD NOW »
Never before published, American Society is the product of Talcott Parsons' last major theoretical project. Completed just a few weeks before his death, this is Parsons' promised 'general book on American society'. It offers a systematic presentation and revision of Parson's landmark theoretical positions on modernity and the possibility of objective sociological knowledge. Even after the passage of many years, American Society imparts a remarkably provocative interpretation of US society and a creative approach to social theory.

Culture and Society

Contemporary Debates

Author: Jeffrey C. Alexander,Steven Seidman

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 9780521359399

Category: Social Science

Page: 375

View: 4836

DOWNLOAD NOW »
This volume brings together the major statements by the leading contemporary scholars of cultural analysis on the relation between culture and society. Part One surveys the range of current analytical debate over culture, focusing on the relationship of culture to social structure and power. While individual contributions differ in defining the nature of culture and its relation to society, they are in agreement in assessing the relative autonomy of culture and the centrality of symbolic analysis. Part Two turns to substantive debates, including those over the role of religion, secular ideology, and mass culture and brings to light disputes about the meaning of modernity. The book testifies to the remarkable development in the past two decades of a cultural paradigm for social and political analysis.

Performance and Power

Author: Jeffrey C. Alexander

Publisher: Polity

ISBN: 0745648177

Category: Language Arts & Disciplines

Page: 246

View: 3153

DOWNLOAD NOW »
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.

The Performance of Politics

Obama's Victory and the Democratic Struggle for Power

Author: Jeffrey C. Alexander

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199781354

Category: Political Science

Page: 384

View: 5208

DOWNLOAD NOW »
Contemporary observers of politics in America often reduce democracy to demography. Whatever portion of the vote not explained by the class, gender, race, and religious differences of voters is attributed to the candidates' positions on the issues of the day. But are these the only--or even the main--factors that determine the vote? The Performance of Politics develops a new way of looking at democratic struggles for power, explaining what happened, and why, during the 2008 presidential campaign in the United States. Drawing on vivid examples taken from a range of media coverage, participant observation at a Camp Obama, and interviews with leading political journalists, Jeffrey Alexander argues that images, emotion, and performance are the central features of the battle for power. While these features have been largely overlooked by pundits, they are, in fact, the primary foci of politicians and their staff. Obama and McCain painstakingly constructed heroic self-images for their campaigns and the successful projections of those images suffused not only each candidate's actual rallies, and not only their media messages, but also the ground game. Money and organization facilitate the ground game, but they do not determine it. Emotion, images, and performance do. Though an untested senator and the underdog in his own party, Obama succeeded in casting himself as the hero--and McCain the anti-hero--and the only candidate fit to lead in challenging times. Illuminating the drama of Obama's celebrity, the effect of Sarah Palin on the race, and the impact of the emerging financial crisis, Alexander's engaging narrative marries the immediacy and excitement of the final months of this historic presidential campaign with a new understanding of how politics work.

Thinking Through Methods

A Social Science Primer

Author: John Levi Martin

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 022643172X

Category: Reference

Page: 279

View: 7203

DOWNLOAD NOW »
Sharpen your tools -- How to formulate a question -- How do you choose a site? -- Talking to people -- Hanging out -- Ethics in research -- Comparing -- Dealing with documents -- Interpreting it and writing it up