Contemporary articles citing Anderson B (1983) Imagined Communities
political, role, public, contemporary, sphere, practices, media, well, drawing, yet
- Adut, Ari. 2012. "A Theory of the Public Sphere." Sociological Theory. 30:4 238-262.
- The dominant approach to the public sphere is characterized by idealism and normativism. It overemphasizes civic-minded or civil discourse, envisions unrealistically egalitarian and widespread participation, has difficulty dealing with consequential public events, and neglects the spatial core of the public sphere and the effects of visibility. I propose a semiotic theory that approaches the public sphere through general sensory access. This approach enables a superior understanding of all public events, discursive or otherwise. It also captures the dialectical relationship between the public sphere and politics by (1) specifying the mechanisms through which visibility and publicity become resources or constraints for political actors, (2) explaining the political regulation of visibility, (3) showing the central role that struggles over the contents of public spaces play in political conflict, and (4) analyzing the links among social structure, social norms, and political action in the transformation of the public sphere.
- 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.
- Earl, Jennifer & Katrina Kimport. 2009. "Movement Societies and Digital Protest: Fan Activism and Other Nonpolitical Protest Online." Sociological Theory. 27:3 220-243.
- Sociologists of culture studying ``fan activism'' have noted an apparent increase in its volume, which they attribute to the growing use of the Internet to register fan claims. However, scholars have yet to measure the extent of contemporary fan activism, account for why fan discontent has been expressed through protest, or precisely specify the role of the Internet in this expansion. We argue that these questions can be addressed by drawing on a growing body of work by social movement scholars on ``movement societies,'' and more particularly on a nascent thread of this approach we develop that theorizes the appropriation of protest practices for causes outside the purview of traditional social movements. Theorizing that the Internet, as a new media, is positioned to accelerate the diffusion of protest practices, we develop and test hypotheses about the use of movement practices for fan activism and other nonpolitical claims online using data on claims made in quasi-random samples of online petitions, boycotts, and e-mailing or letter-writing campaigns. Results are supportive of our hypotheses, showing that diverse claims are being pursued online, including culturally-oriented and consumer-based claims that look very different from traditional social movement claims. Findings have implications for students of social movements, sociologists of culture, and Internet studies.
- 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.
- Vandenberghe, Frederic. 2007. "Avatars of the Collective: a Realist Theory of Collective Subjectivities." Sociological Theory. 25:4 295-324.
- Langman, L. 2005. "From Virtual Public Spheres to Global Justice: a Critical Theory of Internetworked Social Movements." Sociological Theory. 23:1 42-74.
- From the early 1990s when the EZLN (the Zapatistas), led by Subcommandte Marcos, first made use of the Internet to the late 1990s with the defeat of the Multilateral Agreement on Trade and Investment and the anti-WTO protests in Seattle, Quebec, and Genoa, it became evident that new, qualitatively different kinds of social protest movements were emergent. These new movements seemed diffuse and unstructured, yet at the same time, they forged unlikely coalitions of labor, environmentalists, feminists, peace, and global social justice activists collectively critical of the adversities of neoliberal globalization and its associated militarism. Moreover, the rapid emergence and worldwide proliferation of these movements, organized and coordinated through the Internet, raised a number of questions that require rethinking social movement theory. Specifically, the electronic networks that made contemporary globalization possible also led to the emergence of ``virtual public spheres'' and, in turn, ``Internetworked Social Movements.'' Social movement theory has typically focused on local structures, leadership, recruitment, political opportunities, and strategies from framing issues to orchestrating protests. While this tradition still offers valuable insights, we need to examine unique aspects of globalization that prompt such mobilizations, as well as their democratic methods of participatory organization and clever use of electronic media. Moreover, their emancipatory interests become obscured by the ``objective'' methods of social science whose ``neutrality'' belies a tacit assent to the status quo. It will be argued that the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory offers a multi-level, multi-disciplinary approach that considers the role of literacy and media in fostering modernist bourgeois movements as well as anti-modernist fascist movements. This theoretical tradition offers a contemporary framework in which legitimacy crises are discussed and participants arrive at consensual truth claims; in this process, new forms of empowered, activist identities are fostered and negotiated that impel cyberactivism.
- Blau, JR & ES Brown. 2001. "Du Bois and Diasporic Identity: the Veil and the Unveiling Project." Sociological Theory. 19:2 219-233.
- Positioning Du Bois's arguments in The Souls of Black Folk (1903) within social theory enhances our understanding of the phenomenological dimensions of radical oppression and of how oppressed groups build on members' differences,as well as on what they share, to construct a cosmopolitan and richly textured community. Du Bois wrote Souls just at the beginning of the Great Migration but indicated that geographical dispersion would deepen racial solidarity, enhance the meaningfulness of community, and emancipate individual group members through participation in mainstream society while maintaining their black identity. Du Bois's writings have powerful implications for understanding how to promote racial justice, and contemporary readers might consider that they have implications for social justice more generally. An analysis of black newspapers that were published during the period of 1900 to 1935 illustrates how Du Bois's conceptions were woven into discourse and everyday practices.
- Brint, S. 2001. "Gemeinschaft Revisited: a Critique and Reconstruction of the Community Concept." Sociological Theory. 19:1 1-23.
- Community remains a potent symbol and aspiration in political and intellectual life. However, it has largely passed out of sociological analysis. The paper shows why this has occurred, and it develops a new typology that can make the concept useful again in sociology: The neu typology is based on identifying structurally distinct subtypes of community using a small number of partitioning variables. The first partition is defined by the ultimate context of interaction; the second by the primary motivation for interaction; the third by rates of interaction and location of members; and the fourth by the amount of face-to-face as opposed ro computer-mediated interaction. This small number of partitioning variables yields eight major subtypes of community. The paper shows how and why these major subtypes are related to important variations in the behavioral and organizational outcomes of community. The paper also seeks to resolve some disagreements between classical liberalism and communitarians. It shows that only a few of the major subtypes of community are likely to be as illiberal and intolerant as the selective imagery of classical liberals asserts, while at the same time only a few are prone to generate as much fraternalism and equity as the selective imagery of communitarians suggests. The paper concludes by discussing the forms of community that are best suited to the modern world.
- Ku, AS. 2000. "Revisiting the Notion of ``public'' in Habermas's Theory - Toward a Theory of Politics of Public Credibility." Sociological Theory. 18:2 216-240.
- There exist around the notion of the public three different yet overlapping dichotomies posed on different levels of analysis: public (sphere) versus private (sphere), public versus mass, and publicness versus privacy/secrecy. Habermas's book (1989) incorporates all the three sets of dichotomy without resolving the contradictory meanings and bridging the gaps among them. As a result, his conception of the public sphere becomes paradoxical in terms, and it undertheorizes the cultural properties of publicness. This article proposes all alternative conception of the public that may encompass the structural, institutional, and cultural levels of theorization in a more precise and coherent way. It is argued that the public is an imagined category about citizen membership that is attached to both institutions of state and civil society: In political practices, a symbolic ``public'' is institutionalized through an open communicative space where it is called upon, constructed, and contested as the central source of cultural references. In this connection, a notion of public credibility is introduced as an attempt to bring forth a richer and more dynamic conception about the role of culture in democratic struggles than that of critical rationality by Habermas.
- Sites, W. 2000. "Primitive Globalization? State and Locale in Neoliberal Global Engagement." Sociological Theory. 18:1 121-144.
- Drawing widely from sociology, political science, and urban studies, this article introduces the term ``primitive globalization'' in order to address issues of state and governance for localities that globalize within a national context. Suggested by the discusssion of primitive accumulation in Marx's Capital, this conceptual frame highlights the ways in which states neither circumvented by globalization nor resistant to it may facilitate neoliberal globalization by ``separating'' or disembedding social actors from conditions that otherwise impede short-term economic activity. This conception, which is considered primarily in relation to the United States, positions the state as both facilitator and victim of globalization, draws attention to state fragmentation and national politics, and places the role of the national state in the local state at the center of unstable linkages. It is suggested that under these conditions the national/local state may be caught between the roles of government and governance; for this reason, as well as others, contemporary globalization remains transitional.
- Ku, AS. 1998. "Boundary Politics in the Public Sphere: Openness, Secrecy, and Leak." Sociological Theory. 16:2 172-192.
- The issue of openness/secrecy has nor received adequate attention in attention discussion on the public sphere. Drawing on ideas in critical theory, political sociology, and cultural sociology. this article explores the cultural and political dynamics involved in the public sphere in modem society vis-a-vis is the practice of open/secret politics by the state. It argues that the media, due to their publicist quality are situated at the interface between publicity and secrecy which thereby allows for struggles over the boundary of state openness/secrecy in the public sphere. A theory of boundary, politics is introduced that is contextualized In the relationship among state forms, the means of making power visible/invisible (media strategies), and symbolic as well as discursive practices in the public sphere. In explaining the dynamics of boundary politics over openness/secrecy three ideal-types of boundary creation are conceptualized: open politics, secrecy and leak. The theory is illustrated with a case study of the Patten controversy in Hong Kong.
- Whitmeyer, JM. 1997. "Endogamy as a Basis for Ethnic Behavior." Sociological Theory. 15:2 162-178.
- In this article I argue for endogamy as a fundamental cause of human behavior that is often classified as ethnic. Specifically, I show that it would make evolutionary sense for people to help possible co-progenitors of their descendants. This suggests that in many situations people will help preferentially the minimal endogamous set of people to which they belong. Such help mostly will be restricted to providing benefits that are nearly ``non-rival''-benefits that group members can ``consume'' without making others consume less. This (partial) explanation of pro-ethny behavior reconciles key points from various approaches to ethnicity and agrees with many empirical observations, such as the link between endogamy and ethnicity and the variability of criteria for ethnicity. This explanation yields predictions and explanations in a number of problematic areas; for example, it suggests that expansion of the marriage pool, often occurring as a result of urbanization, is a crucial factor in the transformation of local identities into nationalism.