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Rethinking Tradition: From Ontological Reality to Assigned Temporal Meaning

  • Hizky Shoham (a1)

The article seeks to revitalize the concept of tradition and re-claim its usefulness for contemporary sociological thought and research. Instead of ontological entity, tradition is defined here as an assigned temporal meaning, i.e., a symbolic activity in which various social groups attribute traditional qualities to certain sectors of life that are understood as binding together different times. The article analyzes two incompatible approaches with which tradition was hitherto conceptualized in sociology: (1) tradition as the anti-modern, and (2) tradition as synonymous with “culture.” The analysis introduces a few middle-ground options that support the theory of tradition as assigned meaning.

L’article entend redonner vie au concept de tradition en sociologie et montrer son utilité pour la recherche aujourd’hui. Il met en évidence les insuffisances des deux interprétations usuelles : tradition comme refus de la modernité et tradition rendue synonyme de culture. Il propose de voir dans l’appel à tradition une activité symbolique par laquelle des groupes sociaux divers attribuent des caractères « traditionnels » à certains aspects de la vie sociale regardés comme assurant un lien inter-temporel.

Dieser Aufsatz setzt sich zum Ziel der Tradition in der Soziologie einen neuen Aufschwung zu geben und ihre Bedeutung für die heutige Forschung zu verdeutlichen. Er hebt die Unzulänglichkeiten zweier gängiger Interpretationsschemen hervor: Tradition als Verweigerung der Moderne und Tradition als Synonym für Kultur. Er schlägt vor, den Aufruf an die Tradition als symbolischen Akt zu begreifen, dem verschiedene soziale Gruppen traditionelle Werte im sozialen Miteinander beimessen, die als intertemporales Bindeglied fungieren

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