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  • Reply to: The Future of Cultural Sociology - Andrew J. Perrin   5 years 7 months ago

    Dear Robert,
    I don't think you've over-simplified at all. I'd even dare to be a bit blunter, and ask, what is the identity of cultural sociology when its main ideas (tastes, meanings, identities, schemas, mental models, frames, cultural codes etc.) have entered mainstream sociology? That is, the "cultural turn" has run its course. Everyone is talking about culture, most everyone recognizes its importance. So now what?

    Perhaps our future contributions will be mainly in the sociology of culture per se, and in developing innovative methods of cultural analysis. Any thoughts?

    Gabe Ignatow

  • Reply to: The Future of Cultural Sociology - Andrew J. Perrin   5 years 7 months ago

    I've been thinking a bit lately about our conspicuous, collective silence regarding "civilizational sociology" (a la Huntington, Tiryakian, and others). I am not suggesting that civilizational sociology is dead within American sociology, but it is nearly so. And yet, if we want to develop cultural arguments and theoretical frameworks that can be used for comparative and global analysis, don't we need to address the comparative cultural sociology of our intellectual forebears? The 'practice turn' in cultural sociology has taken us in another direction entirely, but it seems to me some of the recent work on moral cultures has an implicitly civilizational bent. Then there's the matter of Samuel Huntington's international renown. If any one of us, or some of us together, want to make an intellectual impact beyond our own discipline, and one hopes beyond academia altogether, don't we need to grapple with the civilizationists?

    --Gabe Ignatow

  • Reply to: The Future of Cultural Sociology - Andrew J. Perrin   5 years 7 months ago

    Thanks to Andy for organizing a great panel on cultural sociology at the ASA. It was quite thought-provoking. I didn't get a chance to make my comments during the session, but here is a thought that has been bugging me:

    There seemed to be a real divide on the panel between the sociology of culture (represented by Josh Gamson) and cultural sociology (represented by everyone else). I understand that there are important differences between the two approaches and that the section attempts to accommodate both. I wouldn't mind this diversity in the section if I didn't feel as if the sociologists of culture are a bit marginalized.

    To be provocative and somewhat selfish, I would argue that the primary focus of the section should be the sociology of culture. In fact, I really wonder if cultural sociology is any different than sociology in general. For instance, when I did my dissertation on school choice I examined how the past experiences, cultural contexts, the meanings, the "tastes", etc. of the actors helped to shape their ultimate choices. I didn't see myself as a cultural sociologist -- just a sociologist looking at the question in a way that a sociologist would and an economist, for instance, might not.

    Therefore, I don't fully understand why a section on culture in the ASA should primarily be a place for folks who study how tastes, meanings, networks, contexts, etc. influence action -- that should be what we all do (perhaps this is why the section has grown so much!). For my money, I want a section for folks who study cultural production and consumption. I find this fascinating and important because in my mind it is at the intersection of production and consumption where we can see the intersection of structure and agency -- we don't just see how people "choose" one thing or another, we see how people live their lives at this intersection. We see how human experiences, meanings, and preferences influence the production of culture through consumption patterns and how the production of culture (embedded in fields of power) influences our experiences, preferences, meanings, etc...

    Anyway, I've over-simplified and over-reached, but I think it's an important conversation that needs to continue (at the very least so folks like Josh and I don't feel marginalized!).

    Robert C. Bulman

  • Reply to: Culture Miniconference Materials   6 years 8 months ago

    Thank you, Andy & Micah! I'm looking forward to reading the ideas of my colleagues.