Contemporary articles citing Alexander J (2004) Sociol Theor
historical, cultural, collective, broader, public, narratives, political, elements, concept, concludes
- Xu, Bin. 2012. "Grandpa Wen: Scene and Political Performance." Sociological Theory. 30:2 114-129.
- This article remedies the divide in the theory of cultural performance between contingent strategy and cultural structure by bringing scene back in. Scene fuses components of performance and links local performance to macrolevel cultural structures and historical events. I theorize two conceptual elements: scene-act ratio and event-scene link. A scene creates an emotive context that demands consistent and timely performance; features of macrolevel events shape the emotive context of the scene. The two concepts can be deployed to explain variation in performance effectiveness. The theory is illustrated in a comparative study of Chinese leaders' empathetic performance in disasters.
- Santos, Martin. 2009. "Fact-totems and the Statistical Imagination: the Public Life of a Statistic in Argentina 2001." Sociological Theory. 27:4 466-489.
- Statistics are key elements of contemporary life. They figure prominently in the media, in political discourse, and in daily conversations. They also weigh heavily within the economic and political spheres of modern societies. Yet, the study of statistics in the public sphere has been neglected by social scientists in favor of a focus on their production and history. This article remedies this lacuna by focusing on the public life of statistics. Through a case study of a financial indicator-country risk-that exhibited a rich public life in Argentina in 2001, it argues that statistics are not simply transparent fragments of information, but rich symbols and collective representations able to condense multiple meanings and generate deep emotional reactions. Using in-depth interviews, newspaper covers, headlines, and leads, cartoons and archival materials, this article shows that country risk became a powerful collective representation and introduces a new concept, the fact-totem, to make visible the cultural life of statistics. A fact-totem is a statistic with high media presence that captures the imagination of diverse publics and becomes articulated with basic identity narratives of a collectivity. This article begins to elaborate dramatic dimensions of statistics in public.
- 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.
- Goldberg, Chad. 2008. "Introduction to Emile Durkheim's ``anti-semitism and Social Crisis''." Sociological Theory. 26:4 299-323.
- Emile Durkheim's ``Antisemitisme et crise sociale,'' written in 1899 during the Dreyfus Affair in France, is introduced. The introduction summarizes the principal contributions that ``Antisemitisme et crise sociale'' makes to the sociology of anti-Semitism, relates those contributions to Durkheim's broader theoretical assumptions and concerns, situates his analysis of anti-Semitism in its social and historical context, contrasts it to other analyses of anti-Semitism (Marxist and Zionist) that were prominent in Durkheim's time, indicates some of the revisions and additions that a fuller and more complete Durkheimian theory of anti-Semitism would entail, and highlights the significance of Durkheim's ideas for the contemporary study of ethnic and racial antagonism. While noting the limitations of Durkheim's analysis, the introduction concludes that ``Antisemitisme et crise sociale'' has sadly regained its relevance in the light of a revival of anti-Semitism at the turn of the millennium.
- West, Brad. 2008. "Enchanting Pasts: the Role of International Civil Religious Pilgrimage in Reimagining National Collective Memory." Sociological Theory. 26:3 258-270.
- The burgeoning activity of Australian backpacker tourists visiting the WWI Gallipoli battlefields is analyzed to explore the rite of international civil religious pilgrimage. Drawing on Maurice Halbwachs, it is argued that this ritual form plays an important role in reimagining and enchanting established national mythologies. At Gallipoli, this occurred through the development of a dialogical historical narrative combining Australian and Turkish understandings of the past. The broader influence of this narrative on Australian historical understanding illustrates how global forces can be integrated within the study of national collective memory.
- Moody, Michael. 2008. "Serial Reciprocity: a Preliminary Statement." Sociological Theory. 26:2 130-151.
- Serial reciprocity exists when people reciprocate for what they have received-for example, from a parent, a friend, a mentor, a stranger, a previous generation-by providing something to a third party, regardless of whether a return is also given to, or makes its way back to, the original giver. To understand serial reciprocity as reciprocity, this article delineates the general features of the serial type of reciprocity and outlines two general situations in which serial reciprocity provides a viable option-the only or the most appropriate option-for reciprocal return. It also argues for a more fundamental rethinking of reciprocity in general. A more cognitive and cultural perspective on reciprocity is proposed that focuses on the meaning of exchanges and treats reciprocity as a socially constructed element of a culturally available repertoire. This can better account for the existing serial type of reciprocity. The article concludes with suggestions for empirical research.
- Vandenberghe, Frederic. 2007. "Avatars of the Collective: a Realist Theory of Collective Subjectivities." Sociological Theory. 25:4 295-324.
- Jacobs, Ronald & Sarah Sobieraj. 2007. "Narrative and Legitimacy: Us Congressional Debates About the Nonprofit Sector." Sociological Theory. 25:1 1-25.
- This article develops a theory about the narrative foundations of public policy. Politicians draw on specific types of narratives in order to connect the policies they are proposing, the needs of the public, and their own needs for legitimacy. In particular, politicians are drawn to policy narratives in which they themselves occupy the central and heroic character position, and where they are able to protect the scope of their jurisdictional authority. We demonstrate how this works through a historical analysis of congressional debate about the nonprofit sector in the United States. Two competing narratives framed these debates: (1) a selfless charity narrative, in which politicians try to empower heroic charity workers and philanthropists, and then stay out of the way; and (2) a masquerade narrative, in which fake charities are taking advantage of the nonprofit tax exemption, in order to pursue a variety of noncivic and dangerous activities. Members of Congress quickly adopted the masquerade narrative as the dominant framework for discussing the nonprofit sector because it provided a more powerful and flexible rhetoric for reproducing their political legitimacy. By developing innovative elaborations of the masquerade narrative (i.e., identifying new categories of ``false heroes''), while remaining faithful to its underlying narrative format, politicians were able to increase the persuasive impact of their legislative agendas. We argue that the narrative aspects of political debate are a central component of the policy-making process because they link cultural and political interests in a way that involves the mastery of cultural structure as well as the creativity of cultural performance.