Contemporary articles citing Alexander J (1992) Cultivating Differen
public, culture, political, cultural, concept, sphere, action, studies, institutional, society
- Kern, Thomas. 2009. "Cultural Performance and Political Regime Change." Sociological Theory. 27:3 291-316.
- The question about how culture shapes the possibilities for successful democratization has been a controversial issue for decades. This article maintains that successful democratization depends not only on the distribution of political interests and resources, but to seriously challenge a political regime, the advocates of democracy require cultural legitimacy as well. Accordingly, the central question is how democratic ideas are connected to the broader culture of a social community. This issue will be addressed in the case of South Korea. The Minjung democracy movement challenged the military regime by connecting democratic ideas concerning popular sovereignty and human rights with cultural traditions. The dissidents substantiated democratic values by (1) articulating an alternative concept of political representation against the authoritarian regime, (2) increasing the cultural resonance of their concept by linking democratic ideas to traditional narratives and practices, (3) developing a rich dramaturgical repertoire of collective action, and (4) mobilizing public outrage by fusing the above three elements within historical situations.
- Baiocchi, Gianpaolo. 2006. "The Civilizing Force of Social Movements: Corporate and Liberal Codes in Brazil's Public Sphere." Sociological Theory. 24:4 285-311.
- Analysts of political culture within the ``civil religion'' tradition have generally assumed that discourse in civil society is structured by a single set of enduring codes based on liberal traditions that actors draw upon to resolve crises. Based on two case studies of national crises and debate in Brazil during its transition to democracy, I challenge this assumption by demonstrating that not only do actors draw upon two distinct but interrelated codes, they actively seek to impose one or another as dominant. In Brazil this is manifest in actors who defend elements from the code of liberty and its valuation of the freestanding citizen, and those who defend the corporate code and its valuation of the collectivity over the individual. In an earlier debate on crime the corporate code was dominant, but in a later debate surrounding presidential improprieties, the liberal code became dominant. This analysis makes two contributions to the literature: it highlights the importance of nonindividualist cultural codes, such as the corporate code, in animating discourse in the public sphere in democratizing societies, raising attention to the importance of the symbolic contestation between actors seeking to establish one or another code during political transitions. Second, it offers a subtle commentary on the literature on democratization: changes in collective representations in the public sphere may not proceed apace of institutional changes and may be contingent on the kinds of crisis events and actors willing to contest previously dominant codes.
- Meeks, C. 2001. "Civil Society and the Sexual Politics of Difference." Sociological Theory. 19:3 325-343.
- This paper discusses the sexual politics of anti-normalization within the context of the sociological discussions of civil society and the public sphere. The sexual politics of anti-normalization is less centered around ``identity'' as a means of securing group solidarity and representing sexual communities in civil society. A politics of anti-normalization comprehends identity as a means of normalizing and regulating sexual desire and difference. Anti-normalization entails the politicization of ethical-moral issues concerning sex and desire and the production of sexual differences beyond the usual opposition of heterosexuality to homosexuality. I discuss the ways that the theoretical discourses on civil society reduce conceptions of difference to identity and develop a framework for analyzing the sexual politics of difference ``beyond identity'' in the public sphere.
- Goldberg, CA. 2001. "Welfare Recipients or Workers? Contesting the Workfare State in New York City." Sociological Theory. 19:2 187-218.
- This paper addresses how New York City's workfare program has structural opportunities for collective action by welfare recipients. As workfare blurs the distinction between wage workers and welfare recipients, it calls into question accepted understandings of the rights and obligations of welfare recipients and fosters new claims on the state. The concept of ``cultural opportunity structures'' can help to explain the political mobilization of workfare participants if it is linked to a Durkheimian tradition of cultural analysis attentive to symbolic classification. The dramaturgic approach to culture exemplified in the work of Erving Goffman can usefully complement this structural approach if a narrow focus on frames and framing process is broadened to include interaction rituals and ceremonial profanation.
- Jacobs, RN & P Smith. 1997. "Romance, Irony, and Solidarity." Sociological Theory. 15:1 60-80.
- Contemporary social theory has turned increasingly to concepts such as civil society, community, and the public sphere in order to theorize about the construction of vital, democratic, and solidaristic political cultures. The dominant prescriptions for attaining this end invoke the need for institutional and procedural reform, but overlook the autonomous role of culture in shaping and defining the forms of social solidarity. This article proposes a model of solidarity based on the two genres of Romance and Irony, and argues that these narrative forms offer useful vocabularies for organizing public discourse within and between civil society and its constituent communities. Whilst unable to sustain fully-inclusive and solidaristic political cultures on their own, in combination the genres of Romance and Irony allow for solidaristic forms built around tolerance, reflexivity, and intersubjectivity.
- Emirbayer, M. 1996. "Useful Durkheim." Sociological Theory. 14:2 109-130.
- From the mid-1960s through much of the 1980s, Durkheim's contributions to historical-comparative sociology were decidedly marginalized; the title of one of Charles Tilly's essays, ``Useless Durkheim,'' conveys this prevailing sensibility with perfect clarity. Here, ky contrast, I draw upon writings from Durkheim's later ``religious'' period to show how Durkheim has special relevance today for debates in the historical-comparative field. I examine how his substantive writings shed light on current discussions regarding civil society; how his analytical insights help to show how action within civil society as well as other historical contexts is channelled by cultural, social-structural, and social-psychological configurations (plus transformative human agency); and how his ontological commitment to a ``relational social realisin'' contributes to ongoing attempts to rethink the foundations of historical-comparative investigation.
- Somers, MR. 1995. "Narrating and Naturalizing Civil Society and Citizenship Theory: the Place of Political Culture and the Public Sphere." Sociological Theory. 13:3 229-274.
- The English translation of Habermas's The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere converges with the revival of the `'political culture concept'' in the social sciences. Surprisingly Habermas's account of the Western bourgeois public sphere has much in common with the original political culture concept associated with Parsonian modernization theory in the 1950s and 1960s. In both cases, the concept of political culture is used in a way that is neither political nov cultural. Explaining this peculiarity is the central problem addressed in this article and its companion piece, which appeared in Sociological Theory, volume 3, number 2 (1995). I hypothesize that this is the case because the concept itself is embedded in an historically constituted political culture (here called a conceptual network)-a structured web of conceptual relationships that combine into Angle-American citizenship theory. The method of an historical sociology of concept formation is used to analyze historically and empirically the internal constraints and dynamics of this conceptual network. The method draws from new work in cultural history and sociology, social studies, and network, narrative, and institutional analysis. This research yields three empirical findings: this conceptual network has a narrative structure, here called the Angle-American citizenship story; this narrative is grafted onto an epistemology of social naturalism; and these elements combine in a metanarrative that continues to constrain empirical research in political sociology.
- Roth, AL. 1995. "`'men Wearing Masks'': Issues of Description in the Analysis of Ritual." Sociological Theory. 13:3 301-327.
- Since Durkheim ( 1965), the concept of ritual has held a privileged position in studies of social life because investigators recurrently have treated it as a source of insight into core issues of human sociality, such as the maintenance of social order Consequently, studies of ritual have typically focused on rituals' function(s), and, specifically whether ritual begets social integration or fragmentation. In this frame, students of ritual have tended to ignore other equally fundamental issues, including (1) how actions, or courses of action, constitute a ritual, and (2) whether ritual is best understood as an aspect of all social action or a specific type of it. Drawing on Durkheim's overlooked contemporary, Van Gennep ( 1960), I argue that analyses of ritual must describe how participants enact an occasion as ritual through distinctive activities and sequences of these. Analysts of ritual must attempt to ground the relevance of their descriptions in the participants' demonstrable orientations, an undertaking with move general implications for the study of social action.
- SOMERS, MR. 1995. "Whats Political or Cultural About Political-culture and the Public Sphere - Toward an Historical Sociology of Concept-formation." Sociological Theory. 13:2 113-144.
- The English translation of Habermas's The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere converges with a recent trend toward the revival of the `'political culture concept'' in the social sciences. Surprisingly, Habermas's account of the Western bourgeois public sphere has much in common with the original political culture concept associated with Parsonian modernization theory in the 1950s and 1960s. In both cases, the concept of political culture is used in a way that is neither political nor cultural. Explaining this peculiarity is the central problem addressed in this article and one to follow I hypothesize that this is the case because the concept itself is embedded in an historically constituted political culture (here called a conceptual network)-a structured web of conceptual relationships that combine into Anglo-American citizenship theory. The method of an historical sociology of concept formation is introduced to analyze historically and empirically the internal constraints and dynamics of this conceptual network. The method draws from new work in cultural history and sociology, social studies, and network, narrative, and institutional analysis. This research yields three empirical findings: this conceptual network has a narrative structure, here called the Anglo-American citizenship story; this narrative is grafted onto an epistemology of social naturalism; and these elements combine in a metanarrative that continues to constrain empirical research in political sociology.