Contemporary articles citing Bourdieu P (1977) Outline Theory Pract
approach, model, cultural, concept, understanding, his, agency, bourdieu's, first, symbolic
- Go, Julian. 2013. "Decolonizing Bourdieu: Colonial and Postcolonial Theory in Pierre Bourdieu's Early Work." Sociological Theory. 31:1 49-74.
- While new scholarship on Pierre Bourdieu has recovered his early work on Algeria, this essay excavates his early thoughts on colonialism. Contrary to received wisdom, Bourdieu did in fact offer a theory of colonialism and a systematic understanding of its effects and logics. Bourdieu portrayed colonialism as a racialized system of domination, backed by force, which restructures social relations and creates hybrid cultures. His theory entailed insights on the limits and promises of colonial reform, anticolonial revolution, and postcolonial liberation. Bourdieu's early thinking on colonialism drew upon but extended French colonial studies of the time. It also contains the seeds of later concepts like habitus, field, and reflexive sociology while prefiguring more recent disciplinary postcolonial studies. Bourdieusian sociology in this sense originates not just as a study of Algeria but more specifically a critique of colonialism. It can be seen as contributing to the larger project of postcolonial sociology.
- Jansen, Robert. 2011. "Populist Mobilization: a New Theoretical Approach to Populism." Sociological Theory. 29:2 75-96.
- Sociology has long shied away from the problem of populism. This may be due to suspicion about the concept or uncertainty about how to fit populist cases into broader comparative matrices. Such caution is warranted: the existing interdisciplinary literature has been plagued by conceptual confusion and disagreement. But given the recent resurgence of populist politics in Latin America and elsewhere, sociology can no longer afford to sidestep such analytical challenges. This article moves toward a political sociology of populism by identifying past theoretical deficiencies and proposing a new, practice-based approach that is not beholden to pejorative common sense understandings. This approach conceptualizes populism as a mode of political practice-as populist mobilization. Its utility is demonstrated through an application to mid-twentieth-century Latin American politics. The article concludes by sketching an agenda for future research on populist mobilization in Latin America and beyond.
- Ng, Kwai & Jeffrey Kidder. 2010. "Toward a Theory of Emotive Performance: With Lessons From How Politicians Do Anger." Sociological Theory. 28:2 193-214.
- This article treats the public display of emotion as social performance. The concept of ``emotive performance'' is developed to highlight the overlooked quality of performativity in the social use of emotion. We argue that emotive performance is reflexive, cultural, and communicative. As an active social act, emotive performance draws from the cultural repertoire of interpretative frameworks and dominant narratives. We illustrate the utility of the concept by analyzing two episodes of unrehearsed emotive performances by two well-known politicians, Bill Clinton and Jiang Zemin. The two cases demonstrate how emotion can be analyzed as a domain in which culturally specific narratives and rhetorics are used to advance the situational agenda of actors. The concept opens up a more expansive research agenda for sociology. It pushes sociologists to pay greater attention to people's experiences, interpretations, and deployments of emotions in social life.
- Atkinson, Will. 2010. "Phenomenological Additions to the Bourdieusian Toolbox: Two Problems for Bourdieu, Two Solutions From Schutz." Sociological Theory. 28:1 1-19.
- In constructing his renowned theory of practice, Pierre Bourdieu claimed to have integrated the key insights from phenomenology and successfully melded them with objectivist analysis. The contention here, however, is that while his vision of the social world may indeed be generally laudable, he did not take enough from phenomenology. More specifically, there are two concepts in Alfred Schutz's body of work, which, if properly defined, disentangled from phenomenology, and appropriated, allow two frequently forwarded criticisms of Bourdieu's perspective to be overcome: on the one hand, a particular interpretation of the concept of lifeworld can remedy identified weaknesses on the problem of individuation; while on the other hand, Schutz's notion of the stock of knowledge can rectify Bourdieu's overly nonconscious depiction of agency. Given my overall support for Bourdieu's scheme and the fact that the extant criticisms on these two grounds are often excessive and obfuscatory, both the suggested elaborations will be prefaced by a clarificatory partial defense of his position.
- Campbell, Colin. 2009. "Distinguishing the Power of Agency From Agentic Power: a Note on Weber and the ``black Box'' of Personal Agency*." Sociological Theory. 27:4 407-418.
- The concept of agency, although central to many sociological debates, has remained frustratingly elusive to pin down. This article is an attempt to open up what has been called the ``black box'' of personal agency by distinguishing clearly between two contrasting conceptions of the phenomenon. These two conceptions are very apparent in the manner in which the concept is defined in sociological reference works, resembling as it does a similar contrast in the treatment of the concept of power. The two are referred to as type 1 and type 2 or the power of agency as compared with agentic power, the essential contrast being that the first refers to an actor's ability to initiate and maintain a program of action while the second refers to an actor's ability to act independently of the constraining power of social structure. The nature of these two forms of personal agency is then illustrated by referring to material taken from Weber's essay The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, this essay itself being understood as an argument that focuses on the crucial role played by an increase in the power of agency in ushering in the modern world. Finally, it is argued that these two conceptions of agency possess no given logical relationship with each other, it being perfectly possible for individuals to be possessed of considerable power of agency while lacking agentic power, and vice versa. It is therefore concluded that it is important, in all discussions of human agency, to distinguish clearly between these two forms.
- Abrutyn, Seth. 2009. "Toward a General Theory of Institutional Autonomy." Sociological Theory. 27:4 449-465.
- Institutional differentiation has been one of the central concerns of sociology since the days of Auguste Comte. However, the overarching tendency among institutionalists such as Durkheim or Spencer has been to treat the process of differentiation from a macro, ``outside in'' perspective. Missing from this analysis is how institutional differentiation occurs from the ``inside out,'' or through the efforts and struggles of individual and corporate actors. Despite the recent efforts of the ``new institutionalism'' to fill in this gap, a closer look at the literature will uncover the fact that (1) it has tended to conflate macro-level institutions and meso-level organizations and (2) this has led to a taken for granted approach to institutional dynamics. This article seeks to develop a general theory of institutional autonomy; autonomy is a function of the degree to which specialized corporate units are structurally and symbolically independent of other corporate units. It is argued herein that the process by which these ``institutional entrepreneurs'' become independent can explain how institutions become differentiated from the ``inside out.'' Moreover, this article offers five dimensions that can be operationalized, measuring the degree to which institutions are autonomous.
- Silber, Ilana. 2009. "Bourdieu's Gift to Gift Theory: an Unacknowledged Trajectory." Sociological Theory. 27:2 173-190.
- This article offers to unravel lines of both continuity and change in Bourdieu's repeated return to the topic of the gift throughout his intellectual career. While this periodical revisiting of the gift may seem at first like mere repetition, a closer reading reveals three successive and cumulative phases in his gift theory, each adding a new layer of analytical and normative inflections. Emerging from these three phases is a trajectory marked by systematic theoretical consolidation but also growing dilemmas and inner tensions, even to the point of self-contradiction: starting from a critical debunking of the disinterested gift as sincere but obfuscating fiction, it culminates with a positive, prescriptive valorization of disinterestedness as something which needs be cultivated in our very own times. Challenging his vision, as it were, ``from within,'' these inner tensions and developments amount to an intriguing, inverted case of Bourdieu's own idea of ``double truth,'' all the more significant since it pertains to a topic that he defined as playing a paradigmatic function in his general theoretical approach.
- Perry, Pamela & Alexis Shotwell. 2009. "Relational Understanding and White Antiracist Praxis." Sociological Theory. 27:1 33-50.
- In this article, we argue that, in order for white racial consciousness and practice to shift toward an antiracist praxis, a relational understanding of racism, the ``self,'' and society is necessary. We find that such understanding arises from a confluence of propositional, affective, and tacit forms of knowledge about racism and one's own situatedness within it. We consider the claims sociologists have made about transformations in racial consciousness, bringing sociological theories of racism into dialogue with research on whiteness and antiracism. We assert that sociological research on white racism and ``whiteness'' tends to privilege propositional and tacit/common sense knowledge, respectively, as critical to shifting white racial consciousness. Research on antiracism privileges affective knowledge as the source of antiracist change. We examine some of Perry's recent ethnographic research with white people who attended either multiracial or majority white high schools to argue that the confluence of these three types of knowledge is necessary to transform white racial praxis because it produces a relational understanding of self and ``other,'' and, by extension, race, racism, and antiracist practice.
- Glaeser, Andreas. 2009. "Feminism and the Abyss of Freedom." Sociological Theory. 27:1 81-85.
- Go, Julian. 2008. "Global Fields and Imperial Forms: Field Theory and the British and American Empires." Sociological Theory. 26:3 201-229.
- This article develops a global fields approach for conceptualizing the global arena. The approach builds upon existing approaches to the world system and world society while articulating them with the field theory of Bourdieu and organizational sociology. It highlights particular structural configurations (''spaces of relations'') and the specific cultural content (''rules of the game'' and ``symbolic capital'') of global systems. The utility of the approach is demonstrated through an analysis of the different forms of the two hegemonic empires of the past centuries, Great Britain and the United States. The British state tended toward formal imperialism in the 19th century, characterized by direct territorial rule, while the United States since WWII has tended toward informal imperialism. The essay shows that the difference can be best explained by considering the different historical global fields in which the two empires operated.
- Decoteau, Claire. 2008. "The Specter of Aids: Testimonial Activism in the Aftermath of the Epidemic." Sociological Theory. 26:3 230-257.
- Reporting on a study of activists living with HIV/AIDS who give testimonials of their experiences with the disease in various educational settings, this article employs the notion of `haunting' as a means of analyzing the effect of social justice activism in the ``aftermath'' of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Because of a shift in both the discursive construction of AIDS and the material symptoms of the disease (due to widespread availability of anti-retroviral medication), the signified of AIDS is ``out of joint'' with the signification of the disease in the public sphere. AIDS, as a social phenomena and a personal, traumatic experience has been rendered spectral through processes of social othering, structural disenfranchisement, and cultural denialism. Most of the presenters included in this study utilize a strategy of ``survivorhood'' in order to promote prevention and combat stigma. In doing so, they inadvertently buttress dominant discourses that claim that the disease is now ``manageable,'' normalized, and under control. By contrast, one presenter utilizes a completely different performative approach. In order to confront and subvert the ``aftermath'' discourse and thereby presence the living trauma of AIDS, this presenter embodies the specter of AIDS. As such, his presentation forces the audience to reckon with processes of social exclusion and cultural otherness.
- Depelteau, Francois. 2008. "Relational Thinking: a Critique of Co-deterministic Theories of Structure and Agency." Sociological Theory. 26:1 51-73.
- This article presents a relational criticism of the ``morphogenetic theory'' of M. Archer. This theory is founded and representative of the most influential mode of perception of the social universe of the last few decades: co-determinism (structure <-> agency). Co-determinism's influence can be explained by its integration of modern general presuppositions like freedom, individualism, and the quest for a new social order. By identifying five basic principles of relational sociology, we see that Archer's co-deterministic theory offers a complicated solution to avoid voluntarism and co-determinism, limits the potential of sociological imagination, cannot adequately see the fluidity of social processes, produces a certain reification of social structures and agency, and is based on an inconsistent use of egocentric and relational perspectives. These problems can be avoided if we use a relational approach (actor <-> actor double right arrow structures) based on the study of complex and empirical trans-actions.
- Armstrong, Elizabeth & Mary Bernstein. 2008. "Culture, Power, and Institutions: a Multi-institutional Politics Approach to Social Movements." Sociological Theory. 26:1 74-99.
- We argue that critiques of political process theory are beginning to coalesce into a new approach to social movements-a ``multi-institutional politics'' approach. While the political process model assumes that domination is organized by and around one source of power, the alternative perspective views domination as organized around multiple sources of power, each of which is simultaneously material and symbolic. We examine the conceptions of social movements, politics, actors, goals, and strategies supported by each model, demonstrating that the view of society and power underlying the political process model is too narrow to encompass the diversity of contemporary change efforts. Through empirical examples, we demonstrate that the alternative approach provides powerful analytical tools for the analysis of a wide variety of contemporary change efforts.
- Hitlin, Steven & Glen Elder. 2007. "Time, Self, and the Curiously Abstract Concept of Agency." Sociological Theory. 25:2 170-191.
- The term ``agency'' is quite slippery and is used differently depending on the epistemological roots and goals of scholars who employ it. Distressingly, the sociological literature on the concept rarely addresses relevant social psychological research. We take a social behaviorist approach to agency by suggesting that individual temporal orientations are underutilized in conceptualizing this core sociological concept. Different temporal foci-the actor's engaged response to situational circumstances-implicate different forms of agency. This article offers a theoretical model involving four analytical types of agency (''existential,'' ``identity,''''pragmatic,'' and ``life course'') that are often conflated across treatments of the topic. Each mode of agency overlaps with established social psychological literatures, most notably about the self, enabling scholars to anchor overly abstract treatments of agency within established research literatures.
- Martin, JL & M George. 2006. "Theories of Sexual Stratification: Toward an Analytics of the Sexual Field and a Theory of Sexual Capital." Sociological Theory. 24:2 107-132.
- The American tradition of action theory failed to produce a useful theory of the possible existence of trans-individual consistencies in sexual desirability. Instead, most sociological theorists have relied on market metaphors to account for the logic of sexual action. Through a critical survey of sociological attempts to explain the social organization of sexual desiring, this article demonstrates that the market approach is inadequate, and that its inadequacies can be remedied by studying sexual action as occurring within a specifically sexual field (in Bourdieu's sense), with a correlative sexual capital. Such a conception allows for historical and comparative analysis of changes in the organization of sexual action that are impeded by the use of a market metaphor, and also points to difficulties in Bourdieu's own treatment of the body qua body.
- Hoffman, SG. 2006. "How to Punch Someone and Stay Friends: an Inductive Theory of Simulation." Sociological Theory. 24:2 170-193.
- One way to study ontology is to assess how people differentiate real activities from others, and a good case is how groups organize simulation. However, social scientists have tended to discuss simulation in more limited ways, either as a symptom of postmodernism or as an instrumental artifact. Missing is how groups organize simulations to prepare for the future. First, I formulate a definition of simulation as a group-level technique, which includes the qualities of everyday ontology, playfulness, risk and consequence reduction, constrained innovation, and transportability. Next, I use ethnographic data collected at an amateur boxing gym to argue that simulations simplify the most risky, unpredictable, and interpersonal aspects of a consequential performance. The problem is that a simulation can rarely proceed exactly like the reality it is derived from. For example, boxers hold back in sparring but should not in competition. The effectiveness of a simulation therefore depends on how robust the model is and how well members translate the imperfect fit between the contextual norms of the simulation and its reality.
- Dalton, B. 2004. "Creativity, Habit, and the Social Products of Creative Action: Revising Joas, Incorporating Bourdieu." Sociological Theory. 22:4 603-622.
- Hans Joas's The Creativity of Action (1996) posits that conceiving of all action as fundamentally creative would overcome problems inherent in rational and normative theories of action and would provide an alternative basis for action-based theories of macrosociological phenomena. Joas conceives (of creativity as a response to the frustration of ``prereflective aspirations,'' which necessitates innovative adjustment to reestablish habitual intentions. This conceptualization creates an unsupportable duality between habitual action and creativity that neglects other possible sources of creative action, including habit itself. Combining strengths from Bourdiell's concept of habitus, creativity can be redefined as the necessary adaption of habitual practices to specific contexts of action. Creative action continually introduces novel possibilities in practical action and provokes a variety of social responses to its products. This revised concept of creativity overcomes the dichotomy presented by Joas, identifies a microsocial source of innovation in creative action, and calls attention to patterns of creative authority in society at large.
- Lewis, AE. 2004. "``what Group?'' - Studying Whites and Whiteness in the Era of ``color-blindness''." Sociological Theory. 22:4 623-646.
- In this article I argue that despite the claims of some, all whites in racialized societies ``have race.'' But because of the current context of race in our society, I argue that scholars of ``whiteness ``face several difficult theoretical and methodological challenges. First is the problem of how to avoid essentializing race when talking about whites as a social collective. That is, scholars must contend with the challenge of how to write about what is shared by those racialized as white without implying that their experiences of racialization all will be the same. Second, within the current context of color-blind racial discourse researchers must confront the reality that some whites claim not to experience their whiteness at all. Third, studies of whiteness must not be conducted in a vacuum: racial discourse or ``culture'' cannot be separated from material realities. Only by attending to and by recognizing these challenges will empirical research on whiteness be able to push the boundaries of our understandings about the role of whites as racial actors and thereby also contribute to our understanding of how race works more generally.
- Bergesen, AJ. 2004. "Chomsky Versus Mead." Sociological Theory. 22:3 357-370.
- G. H. Mead's model of language and mind, while perhaps understandable at the time it was written, now seems inadequate. First, the research evidence strongly suggests that mental operations exist prior to language onset, conversation of gestures, or social interaction. Second, language is not just significant symbols; it requires syntax. Third, syntax seems to be part of our bioinheritance, that is, part of our presocial mind/brain-what Noam Chomsky has called our language faculty. Fourth, this means syntax probably is not learned nor a social construction that is internalized as a cultural template. Fifth, this suggests a basic reversal of the prevailing model of symbolic interaction, mind, language, and perhaps the self as well, although there has not been the time or space to engage that topic here. Therefore, symbolic interaction may turn out to be a more Chomskyan than Meadian process. Given the bioinheritance of our mind/brain we are able to engage in symbolic interaction; it does not appear that symbolic interaction creates our mind or the basic computational algorithms of language.
- Steinmetz, G. 2004. "Odious Comparisons: Incommensurability, the Case Study, and ``small N's'' in Sociology." Sociological Theory. 22:3 371-400.
- Case studies and ``small-N comparisons'' have been attacked from two directions, positivist and incommensurabilist. At the same time, some authors have defended small-N comparisons as allowing qualitative researchers to attain a degree of scientificity, yet they also have rejected the case study as merely ``idiographic.'' Practitioners of the case study sometimes agree with these critics, disavowing all claims to scientificity. A related set of disagreements concerns the role and nature of social theory in sociology, which sometimes is described as useless and parasitic and other times as evolving in splendid isolation from empirical research. These three forms of sociological activity-comparative analysis, studies of individual cases, and social theory-are defended here from the standpoint of critical realism. In this article I first reconstruct, in very broad strokes, the dominant epistemological and ontological framework of postwar U.S. sociology. The next two sections discuss several positivist and incommensurabilist criticisms of comparison and case studies. The last two sections propose an understanding of comparison as operating along two dimensions, events and structures, and offer an illustration of the difference and relationship between the two.
- Hallett, T. 2003. "Symbolic Power and Organizational Culture." Sociological Theory. 21:2 128-149.
- With the recent wave of corporate scandals, organizational culture has regained relevance in politics and the media, However, to acquire enduring utility, the concept needs an overhaul to overcome the weaknesses of earlier approaches. As such, this paper reconceptualizes organizational culture as a negotiated order (Strauss 1978) that emerges through interactions between participants, an order influenced by those with the symbolic power to define the situation. I stress the complementary contributions of theorists of,practice (Bourdieu and Swidler) and theorists of interaction (Goffman and Strauss), building upward from practice into interaction, symbolic power, and the negotiated order. Using data from initial reports on the fall of Arthur Andersen and Co., I compare this symbolic power approach to other approaches (culture as subjective beliefs and values or as context/public meaning). The symbolic power model has five virtues: an empirically observable object of study; the capacity to explain conflict and integration; the ability to explain stability and change; causal efficacy; and links between the micro-, meso-, and macrolevels of analysis. Though this paper focuses on organizational culture, the symbolic power model provides theoretical leverage for understanding many situated contexts.
- Verter, B. 2003. "Spiritual Capital: Theorizing Religion With Bourdieu Against Bourdieu." Sociological Theory. 21:2 150-174.
- Bourdieu's. theory of culture offers a rich conceptual resource for the social-scientific study of religion. In particular, his analysis of cultural capital as a medium of social relations suggests an economic model of religion alternative to that championed by rational choice theorists. After evaluating Bourdieu's limited writings on religion, this paper draws upon his wider work to craft a new model of ``spiritual capital.'' Distinct from Iannaccone's and Stark and Finke's visions of ``religious capital,'' this Bourdieuian model treats religious knowledge, competencies, and preferences as Positional goods within a competitive symbolic economy. The valuation of spiritual capital is the object of continuous struggle and is subject to considerable temporal and subcultural variation. A model of spiritual capital illuminates such phenomena as religious conversion, devotional eclecticism, religious fads, and social mobility. It also suggests some necessary modifications to Bourdieu's theoretical system, particularly his understanding of individual agency, cultural production, and the relative autonomy of fields.
- Fligstein, N. 2001. "Social Skill and the Theory of Fields." Sociological Theory. 19:2 105-125.
- The problem of the relationship between actors and the social structures in which they are embedded is central to sociological theory. This paper suggests that the ``new institutionalist ``focus on fields, domains, or games provides an alternative view of how to think about this problem by focusing on the construction of loca( orders. This paper criticizes the conception of actors in both rational choice and sociological versions of these theories. A more sociological view of action, what is called ``social skill,'' is developed. The idea of social skill originates in symbolic interactionism and is defined as the ability to induct cooperation in others. This idea is elaborated to suggest how actors are important to the construction and reproduction of local orders. I show how, its elements already inform existing work. Finally I show how the idea can sensitize scholars to the role of actors in empirical work.
- Goodman, D. 2001. "What Collins's the Sociology of Philosophies Says About Sociological Theory." Sociological Theory. 19:1 92-101.
- In Collins's latest book, we see an attempt to apply his sociological theories to the history of philosophy. While Collins's marcrosociology of knowledge provides important insights into the role of conflict in an intellectual field, his microsociology is more problematic. In particular. Collins's micro theory ignores the fundamental importance of social interpretations. This leads him to use a vague and unproductive notion of emotions. Nevertheless, we can usefully apply Collins's findings to sociological theory itself As in philosophy we see the same competitive appropriation and elaboration of accumulated intellectual capital and the same struggle over the limited resources necessary to intellectual production, especially over what Collins calls the intellectual attention space.
- King, A. 2000. "Thinking With Bourdieu Against Bourdieu: a `practical' Critique of the Habitus." Sociological Theory. 18:3 417-433.
- There are two strands in Bourclieu's sociological writings. On the one hand Bourdieu argues for a theoretical position one might term his `practical theory'' which emphasizes virtuosic interactions between individuals. On the other hand, and most frequently, Bourdieu appeals to the concept of the habitus according to which society consists of objective structures and determined-and isolated-individuals. Although Bourdieu believes that the habitus is compatible with his practical theory and overcomes the impasse of objectivism and subjectivism in social theory, neither claim is the case; the habitus is incompatible with his practical theory, and it retreats quickly into objectivism. However Bourdieu's practical theory does offer a way out of the impasse of objectivism and subjectivism by focussing on the intersubjective interactions between individuals.
- Meyer, JW & RL Jepperson. 2000. "The ``actors'' of Modern Society: the Cultural Construction of Social Agency." Sociological Theory. 18:1 100-120.
- Much social theory takes for gr anted the core conceit of modern culture, chat modern actors-individuals, organizations, nation states-are authochthonous and natural entities, no longer really embedded ill culture. Accordingly while there is much abstract metatheory about ``actors `` and their ``agency, `` there is arguably little theory about the topic. This article offers direct arguments about how the modern (European, now global) cultural system constructs the modern actor as an authorized agent for various interests via an ongoing relocation into society of agency originally located in transcendental authority or in natural forces environing the social system. We see this authorized agentic capability as an essential feature of what modern theory and culture call an ``actor,'' and one that, when analyzed, helps greatly in explaining a number of otherwise anomalous ol little analyzed features of modern individuals, organizations, and slates. These features include their isomorphism and standardization, their internal decoupling, their extraordinarily complex structuration, and their capacity for prolific collective action.
- Evens, TMS. 1999. "Bourdieu and the Logic of Practice: Is All Giving Indian-giving or Is ``generalized Materialism'' Not Enough?." Sociological Theory. 17:1 3-31.
- I argue here that in the end Bourdieu's theory of practice Sails to overcome the problem on which it expressly centers, namely, subject-object dualism. The failure is registered in his avowed materialism, which, though significantly ``generalized,'' remains what it says: a materialism In order to substantiate my criticism, I examine for their ontological presuppositions three areas of his theoretical framework pertaining to the questions of(I) human agency las seen through the conceptual glass of the habitus), (2) otherness, and (3) the gift. By scrutinizing Bourdieu's powerful and progressive social theory, with an eye to finding fault, I hope to show the need to take a certain theoretical action, one that is patently out of keeping with the usual self-presentation and self understanding of social science. The action I have in mind is this: because the problem of subject-object dualism is in the first place a matter of ontology, in order successfully to address it there must take place a direct shift of ontological starting point, from the received starting point in Western thought to one that projects reality in terms of ambiguity that is basic. With this shift the dualism of subject and object dissolves by definition, leaving a social reality that, for reasons of its basic ambiguity, is best approached as a question of ethics before power.
- Burawoy, M. 1998. "The Extended Case Method." Sociological Theory. 16:1 4-33.
- In this article I elaborate and codify the extended case method. which deploys participant observation to locate everyday life in its extralocal and historical context. The extended case method emulates a reflexive model of science that takes as its premise the intersubjectivity of scientist and subject of study: Reflexive science valorizes intervention, process, structuration, and theory reconstruction. It is the Siamese twin of positive science that proscribes reactivity but upholds reliability replicability, and representativeness. Positive science, exemplified by survey research, works on the principle of the separation between scientists and the subjects they examine. Positive science is limited by ``context effects'' (interview: respondent, field, and situational effects) while reflex ive science is limited by ``power effects'' (domination, silencing, objectification, and normalization). The article concludes by considering the implications of having two models of science rather than one, both of which are necessarily flawed. Throughout I use a study of postcolonialism to illustrate both the virtues and the shortcomings of the extended case method. Methodology can only bring us reflective understanding of the means which have demonstrated their value in practice by raising them to the level of explicit consciousness; it is no more the precondition of fruitful intellectual work than the knowledge of anatomy is the precondition of ``correct'' walking.
- Kane, AE. 1997. "Theorizing Meaning Construction in Social Movements: Symbolic Structures and Interpretation During the Irish Land War, 1879-1882." Sociological Theory. 15:3 249-276.
- Though the process of meaning construction is widely recognized to be a crucial factor in the mobilization, unfolding, and outcomes of social movements, the conditions and mechanisms that allow meaning construction and cultural transformation are often misconceptualized and/or underanalyzed. Following a ``tool kit'' perspective on culture, dominant social movement theory locates meaning only as it is embodied in concrete social practices. Meaning construction from this perspective is a matter of manipulating static symbols and meaning to achieve goals. I argue instead that meaning is located in the structure of culture, and that the condition and mechanism of meaning construction and transformation are, respectively, the metaphoric nature of symbolic systems, and individual and collective interpretation of those systems in the face of concrete events. This theory is demonstrated by analyzing, through textual analysis, meaning construction during the Irish Land War 1879-1882, showing how diverse social groups constructed new and emergent symbolic meanings and how transformed collective understandings contributed to specific, yet unpredictable, political action and movement outcomes. The theoretical model and empirical case demonstrates that social movement analysis must examine the metaphoric logic of symbolic systems and the interpretive process by which people construct meaning in order to fully explain the role of culture in social movements, the agency of movement participants, and the contingency of the course and outcomes of social movements.
- Lichterman, P. 1995. "Beyond the Seesaw Model: Public Commitment in a Culture of Self-fulfillment." Sociological Theory. 13:3 275-300.
- Communitarian sociological theory and research of the past 30 years has often assumed that a growing culture of self-fulfillment, or `'personalism,'' is ultimately incompatible with commitment to the public good. This article argues that this `'seesaw model'' does not exhaust the possible relations between personalism and public commitment. It borrows insights from radical democratic theories to argue the existence of a form of public commitment that is enacted through, rather than impeded by, personalism. A cultural analysis that highlights everyday practices enables us to conceptualize this personalized form of public commitment, which goes unrecognized in communitarian accounts, and which gets discussed only in formal theoretical or social-psychological, terms in radical democratic theories. A case example of personalized public commitment in recent grass-roots environmentalism illustrates the limits in the seesaw model and speaks back to radical democratic theories of public commitment by illuminating how the individualized commitment they theorize may work in everyday cultural practice. I conclude with suggestions for further theoretical work on personalism.