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.
• Professor Alexander is one of the leading cultural sociologists in the US • The first attempt to bring performative studies into the center of sociology. This volume offers the first, systematic performance based analytical framework • Makes a path-breaking contribution to social theory and cultural sociology - the first attempt to synthesize sociological and performance studies theories with conceptual frameworks
Introduction: symbolic action in theory and practice: the cultural pragmatics of symbolic action Jeffrey C. Alexander and Jason L. Mast; 1. Cultural pragmatics: social performance between ritual and strategy Jeffrey C. Alexander; 2. From the depths of despair: performance, counterperformance, and 'September 11' Jeffrey C. Alexander; 3. The cultural pragmatics of event-ness: the Clinton/Lewinsky affair Jason L. Mast; 4. Social dramas, shipwrecks and cockfights: conflict and complicity in social performance Isaac Reed; 5. Performing a 'new' nation: the role of the TRC in South Africa Tanya Goodman; 6. Performing opposition or, how social movements move Ron Eyerman; 7. Politics as theater: an alternative view of the rationalities of power David E. Apter; 8. Symbols in action: Willy Brandt's kneefall at the Warsaw monument Valentin Rauer; 9. The promise of performance and the problem of order Kay Junge; 10. Performance art Bernhard Giesen; 11. Performing the sacred: a Durkheimian perspective on the performance turn in the social sciences Bernhard Giesen.
'Truly a groundbreaking work, and is absolutely essential reading for anyone interested in the understanding of modern social and political action.' Marvin Carlson, TDR: The Drama Review