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Culture and Society

Culture and Society
Contemporary Debates


  • Date Published: November 1990
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521359399

£ 42.99

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About the Authors
  • This volume brings together the major statements by the leading contemporary scholars of cultural analysis on the relationship 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. Approaches to the study of culture covered include functionalism, semiotics, and Weberian, Durkheimian, and Marxian analysis. 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 last two decades of a cultural paradigm for social and political analysis.

    Reviews & endorsements

    'Culture and Society is an important resource for those of us who teach courses and seminars in the sociology of culture. It is important in its scope and range: theoretical, from functionalism and neo-Marxism to dramaturgical analysis to postmodernism; disciplinary, including key contributions by anthropologists, historians and others, as well as by sociologists; and substantive, ranging from politics and work to religion and science. The volume consolidates recent progress in the social sciences' understanding of culture without turning its back on deservedly influential ideas of the past.' Paul MiMaggio, Yale University

    'The essays presented here provide an essential foundation for understanding contemporary debates about the place of culture criticism in a variety of disciplines. All of the major theoretical trends are amply represented, and their juxtaposition will give students and scholars an excellent overview of current trends, problems, and potentials in one of the fastest growing areas of intellectual interest.' Lynn Hunt, University of Pennsylvania

    'This splendid collection of essays illuminates the vital argument about the importance of culture in social analysis today. Many of the articles are classics in their own right. The book is a major contribution to teaching and research.' Robert N. Bellah, University of California, Berkeley

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 1990
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521359399
    • length: 384 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 22 mm
    • weight: 0.56kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction Part I. Analytic Debates: 'Understanding the Relative Autonomy of Culture' introduction
    The case for culture 1. The human studies
    2. Values and social systems
    3. Culture and ideological hegemony
    4. Signs and language
    Approaches to culture Functionalist 1. The normative structure of science
    2. Values and democracy
    Semiotic 3. The world of wrestling
    4. Food as symbolic code
    Dramaturgical 5. Out of frame activity
    6. The Balinese cockfight as play
    Weberian 7. Puritanism and revolutionary ideology
    8. French catholicism and secular grace
    9. Lininality and community
    10. Symbolic pollution
    11. Sex as symbol in Victorian purity
    Marxian 12. Class formation and ritual
    13. Masculinity and factory labor
    14. Artistic taste and cultural capital
    15. Sexual discourse and power
    Part II. Substantive Debates: Moral Order and Crisis: Perspectives on Modern Culture
    The Place of Religion: Is modernity a Secular or Sacred Order? Introduction:
    1. Social sources of secularization
    2. The future of religion Wolfgang 3. Civil religion in America
    The debate over the 'End of Ideology': can secular reason create cultural order? 4. Culture industry revisited
    5. From consensual order to instrumental control
    6. The end of ideology in the west
    7. Beyond coercion and crisis: the coming of an era of voluntary community
    8. Ideology, the cultural apparatus, and the new consciousness industry
    Modernism or post-modernism: dissolution of reconstruction of moral order? 9. Post-modernism and the dissolution of moral order
    10. The post-modern condition
    11. Modernity versus postmodernity
    12. Mapping the post-modern.

  • Editors

    Jeffrey C. Alexander

    Steven Seidman

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