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The Oxford Handbook of Cultural Sociology

ISBN : 9780195377767

Jeffrey C. Alexander; Ronald Jacobs; Philip Smith
840 Pages
181 x 253 mm
Pub date
Feb 2012
Oxford Handbooks
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In recent decades, the focus of the study of culture in sociology has been divided between the sociology of culture and cultural sociology. In the former approach, culture is seen as a reflection of the deeper and more "real" social structures. A cultural sociology, however, begins from the premise that ideas and beliefs retain autonomy from the social structures to which they refer and illuminate. Only after the internal logics of meaning have been discovered and understood-the codes, narratives, and rhetorical techniques-can the cultural be put back into social structure, and analyzed in a multidimensional way. Edited by Jeffrey Alexander, arguably the leading cultural sociologist in the world, and two other widely respected practitioners, Ron Jacobs and Phil Smith, these essays from an international cast of the best and brightest cultural sociologists cover topics in theory and method; power, politics, and states; economics and organization; mass media; social movements; religion; aesthetics; knowledge; and health. Organized by empirical areas of study rather than particular theories or competing intellectual strands, the editors demonstrate that cultural sociology is not so much as a specialized subfield of sociology but, rather, an intellectual approach that can be generalized across all the core fields of the discipline.


1. Introduction: Cultural Sociology Today
Jeffrey C. Alexander, Ron Jacobs, Philip Smith

PART I The Cultural Method in Sociology
2. Cultural Sociology as a Research Program: Post-Positivism, Meaning, and Causality
Isaac Ariail Reed
3. Rationalization Processes inside Cultural Sociology
Richard Biernacki
4. Four Ways to Measure Culture: Social Science, Hermeneutics, and the Cultural Turn
John Mohr and Craig Rawlings

PART II The Economic as Culture
5. Culture and the Economy
Carlo Tognato
6. Culture and Economic Life
Lyn Spillman

PART III The Political as Culture
7. From Moral Sentiments to Civic Engagement: Sociological Analysis as Responsible Spectatorship
Robin Wagner-Pacifici
8. Reinventing the Concept of Civic Culture
Paul Lichterman
9. Cultural Sociology and Civil Society in a World of Flows: Recapturing Ambiguity, Hybridity and the Political
Gianpaolo Biaocchi

PART IV The Media as Culture
10. Mediatized Disasters in the Global Age: On the Ritualization of Catastrophe
Simon Cottle
11. Media, Intellectuals, the Public Sphere, and the Story of Barack Obama in 2008
Eleanor Townsely
12. Entertainment Media and the Aesthetic Public Sphere
Ronald Jacobs

PART V Race and Immigration as Culture
13. Rethinking the Relationship of African American Men to the Street
Al Young
14. Ethnicity, Race, Nationhood, Foreignness, Etc.: Prolegomena to a Cultural Sociology of Difference-Based Interactions
Giuseppe Sciortino
15. Burning Schools/Building Bridges: Ethnographical Touchdowns in the Civil Sphere
Mats Trondman

PART VI Religion as Culture
16. The Constitution of Religious Political Violence: Institution, Culture and Power
Roger Friedland
17. Globalization, Culture and Religion
Kenneth Thompson

PART VII Social Movements as Culture
18. Narrative and Social Movements
Francesca Polletta and Bobby Chen
19. The Politics of Authenticity: Civic Individualism and the Cultural Roots of Gay Normalization
Steven Seidman, Chet Meeks, and James Dean

PART VIII Trauma as Culture
20. Rethinking Conflict and Memory: the case of Nanjing
Barry Schwartz
21. Cultural Trauma: Emotion and Narration
Ron Eyerman
22. The Chinese Construction and Repression of Trauma: The Rape of Nanjing
Jeffrey C. Alexander and Rui Gao

PART IX Events as Culture
23. Events as Templates of Possibility: An Analytic Typology of Political Facts
Mabel Berezin
24. Cultural Pragmatics and the Structure and Flow of Democratic Politics
Jason Mast

PART X Materiality as Culture
25. Consumption as Cultural Interpretation: Taste, Performativity and Navigating The Forest Of Objects
Ian Woodward
26. The Force of Embodiment: Bodies, Dispositions and Culture
Arthur Frank
27. Music Sociology in a New Key
Lisa McCormick

PART XI Knowledge as Culture
28. Narrating Global Warming
Philip Smith

PART XII Classification and Ambiguity as Culture
29. Broadening the Strong Program in Cultural Sociology: Focus On Mundane Life in Organizations
Nina Eliasoph and Jade Lo
30. Inbetweenness and Ambivalence
Bernhard Giesen

About the author: 

Jeffrey C. Alexander is the Lillian Chavenson Saden Professor of Sociology at Yale University. Ronald Jacobs is an Associate Professor of Sociology at University at Albany, SUNY. Philip Smith is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Yale University.

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