Contemporary articles citing Durkheim E (1995) Elementary Forms Rel
action, cultural, suggests, society, historical, actors, after, so, model, his
- 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.
- Scheve, Christian. 2012. "The Social Calibration of Emotion Expression: an Affective Basis of Micro-social Order." Sociological Theory. 30:1 1-14.
- This article analyzes the role of emotions in social interaction and their effects on social structuration and the emergence of micro-social order. It argues that facial expressions of emotion are key in generating robust patterns of social interaction. First, the article shows that actors' encoding of facial expressions combines hardwired physiological principles on the one hand and socially learned aspects on the other hand, leading to fine-grained and socially differentiated dialects of expression. Second, it is argued that decoding facial expression is contingent upon this combination so that reciprocal attributions of emotional states, situational interpretations, and action tendencies are more effective within rather than across social units. Third, this conjunction affects the conditions for emotional contagion, which is argued to be more effective within social units exhibiting similar encoding and decoding characteristics, and thus aligns emotions and action tendencies in a coherent, yet socially differentiated way.
- Goldberg, Chad. 2011. "The Jews, the Revolution, and the Old Regime in French Anti-semitism and Durkheim's Sociology*." Sociological Theory. 29:4 248-271.
- The relationship between European sociology and European anti-Semitism in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries is investigated through a case study of one sociologist, Emile Durkheim, in a single country, France. Reactionary and radical forms of anti-Semitism are distinguished and contrasted to Durkheim's sociological perspective. Durkheim's remarks about the Jews directly addressed anti-Semitic claims about them, their role in French society, and their relationship to modernity. At the same time, Durkheim was engaged in a reinterpretation of the French Revolution and its legacies that indirectly challenged other tenets of French anti-Semitism. In sum, Durkheim's work contains direct and indirect responses to reactionary and radical forms of anti-Semitism, and together these responses form a coherent alternative vision of the relationship between modernity and the Jews.
- Tavory, Iddo. 2011. "The Question of Moral Action: a Formalist Position*." Sociological Theory. 29:4 272-293.
- This article develops a research position that allows cultural sociologists to compare morality across sociohistorical cases. In order to do so, the article suggests focusing analytic attention on actions that fulfill the following criteria: (a) actions that define the actor as a certain kind of socially recognized person, both within and across fields; (b) actions that actors experienceor that they expect others to perceiveas defining the actor both intersituationally and to a greater extent than other available definitions of self; and (c) actions to which actors either have themselves, or expect others to have, a predictable emotional reaction. Such a position avoids both a realist moral sociology and descriptive-relativism, and provides sociologists with criteria for comparing moral action in different cases while staying attuned to social and historical specificity.
- Marshall, Douglas. 2010. "Temptation, Tradition, and Taboo: a Theory of Sacralization." Sociological Theory. 28:1 64-90.
- A theory of sacralization is offered in which the sacred emerges from the collision of temptation and tradition. It is proposed that when innate or acquired desires to behave in one way conflict with socially acquired and/or mediated drives to behave in another way, actors ascribe sacredness to the objects of their action as a means of reconciling the difference between their desired and actual behavior toward those objects. After establishing the sacred as a theoretical construct, the theory is sketched and then fleshed out with a more formal specification. The foundational assumptions and mechanisms of the theory are then empirically substantiated as a first step toward validating the theory, and a handful of predictions deduced from the theory are assessed.
- 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.
- Saito, Hiro. 2006. "Reiterated Commemoration: Hiroshima as National Trauma." Sociological Theory. 24:4 353-376.
- This article examines historical transformations of Japanese collective memory of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima by utilizing a theoretical framework that combines a model of reiterated problem solving and a theory of cultural trauma. I illustrate how the event of the nuclear fallout in March 1954 allowed actors to consolidate previously fragmented commemorative practices into a master frame to define the postwar Japanese identity in terms of transnational commemoration of ``Hiroshima.'' I also show that nationalization of trauma of ``Hiroshima'' involved a shift from pity to sympathy in structures of feeling about the event. This historical study suggests that a reiterated problem-solving approach can be efficacious in analyzing how construction of national memory of a traumatic event connects with the recurrent reworking of national identity, on the one hand, and how a theory of cultural trauma can be helpful in exploring a synthesis of psychological and sociological approaches to commemoration of a traumatic event, on the other.
- Mirchandani, R. 2005. "Postmodernism and Sociology: From the Epistemological to the Empirical." Sociological Theory. 23:1 86-115.
- This article investigates the place of postmodernism in sociology today by making a distinction between its epistemological and empirical forms. During the 1980s and early 1990s, sociologists exposited, appropriated, and normalized an epistemological postmodernism that thematizes the tentative, reflective, and possibly shifting nature of knowledge. More recently, however, sociologists have recognized the potential of a postmodern theory that turns its attention to empirical concerns. Empirical postmodernists challenge classical modern concepts to develop research programs based on new concepts like time-space reorganization, risk society, consumer capitalism, and postmodern ethics. But they do so with an appreciation for the uncertainty of the social world, ourselves, our concepts, and our commitment to our concepts that results from the encounter with postmodern epistemology. Ultimately, this article suggests that understanding postmodernism as a combination of these two moments can lead to a sociology whose epistemological modesty and empirical sensitivity encourage a deeper and broader approach to the contemporary social world.
- Alexander, JC. 2004. "Cultural Pragmatics: Social Performance Between Ritual and Strategy." Sociological Theory. 22:4 527-573.
- Front its very beginnings, the social study of culture has been polarized between structuralist theories that treat meaning as a text and investigate the patterning that provides relative autonomy and pragmatist theories that treat meaning as emerging from the contingencies of individual and collective action-so-called practices-and that analyze cultural patterns as reflections of power and material interest. In this article, I present a theory of cultural pragmatics that transcends this division, bringing meaning structures, contingency, power, and materiality together in a new way. My argument is that the materiality of practices should be replaced by the more multidimensional concept Of performances. Drawing on the new field of performance studies, cultural pragmatics demonstrates how social performances, whether individual or collective, can be analogized systematically to theatrical ones. After defining the elements of social performance, I suggest that these elements have become ``de-fased'' as societies have become more complex. Performances are successful only insofar as they can ``re-fuse'' these increasingly disentangled elements. In a fused performance, audiences identify with actors, and cultural effective mise-en-scene. Performances fail when this scripts achieve verisimilitude through rethinking process is incomplete: the elements of performance remain, apart, and social action seems inauthentic and artificial, failing to persuade. Refusion, by contrast, allows actors to communicate the meanings of their actions successfully and thus to pursue their interests effectively.
- 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.
- Donabedian, B. 2003. "The Natural Realm of Social Law." Sociological Theory. 21:2 175-190.
- This paper proposes criteria for distinguishing those types of social forms that are susceptible to lawlike explanation from those that are susceptible to interpretive accounts. The main criterion concerns the rankability of choice alternatives. The choice process is modeled as having two subprocesses. The first subprocess is a rational one in which unacceptable decision alternatives are eliminated, reducing the universe of alternatives to the set of interchangeably acceptable options, termed the admissible set. In the second subprocess, an arbitrary choice is made from the admissible set. In rational-choice settings, the admissible set consists of just one element, the optimum. However, this is clearly not the only possibility, as the example of language, with its plurality of interchangeable phonemic options, bears witness. The fundamental concept: At one extreme-the extreme of language-the admissible set is large and the arbitrary-choice subprocess dominates the rational-choice subprocess. At the other extreme-the extreme of rational-choice theory-the admissible set consists of a single element and the rational-choice subprocess dominates the arbitrary-choice subprocess. Social law has its proper home in those territories of human activity where the admissible set. is small; social interpretation has its proper home in those regions where the admissible set is large.
- Marshall, DA. 2002. "Behavior, Belonging, and Belief: a Theory of Ritual Practice." Sociological Theory. 20:3 360-380.
- A new model of ritual based on Durkheims ( 1995) theory is developed. It is argued that ritual practices generate belief and belonging in participants by activating multiple social-psychological mechanisms that interactively create the characteristic outcomes of ritual. Specifically, the distinctive elements of ritual practice are shown to induce altered subjective states and effortful and/or anomalous behaviors, which are subsequently misattributed in such a way that belief and belonging are created or maintained around the focus of ritual attention. These processes are traced in detail, and the resulting model is shown to be empirically credible, comprehensive, and theoretically fertile.
- Summers-Effler, E. 2002. "The Micro Potential for Social Change: Emotion, Consciousness, and Social Movement Formation." Sociological Theory. 20:1 41-60.
- Can one explain both the resilience of the status quo and the possibility for resistance from a subordinate position? This paper aims to resolve these seemingly incompatible perspectives. By extending Randall Collins's interaction ritual theory, and synthesizing it with Norbert Wiley's model of the self this paper suggests how the emotional dynamics between people and within the self can explain social inertia as well as the possibility for resistance and change. Diverging from literature on the sociology of emotions that has been concerned with individual emotional processes, this paper considers the collective level in order to explore how movement action is motivated. The emotional dynamics of subordinate positioning that limit women's options in face-to-face interactions are examined, as are the social processes of developing feminist consciousness and a willingness to participate in resistance work. Pointing toward empirical applications, I conclude by suggesting conditions where resistance is likely.
- Black, D. 2000. "Dreams of Pure Sociology." Sociological Theory. 18:3 343-367.
- Unlike older sciences such as physics and biology, sociology has never had a revolution. Modern sociology is still classical-largely psychological, teleological, and individualistic-and evert less scientific than classical sociology. But pure sociology is different: It predicts and explains the behavior of social life with its location and direction in social space-its geometry. Here I illustrate pure sociology with formulations about the behavior of ideas, ideas, including a theory of scienticity that predicts and explains the degree to which an idea is likely to be scientific (testable, general, simple, valid, and original). For example: Scienticity is a curvilinear function of social distance from the subject. This formulation explains numerous facts about the history and practice of science, such as why some sciences evolved earlier and faster than others and why so much sociology is so unscientific. Because scientific theory is the most scientific science, the theory of scienticity also implies a theory of theory and a methodology far the development of theory.
- Etzioni, A. 2000. "Toward a Theory of Public Ritual." Sociological Theory. 18:1 44-59.
- Given that holidays both reflect a society's attributes and serve to modify, these attributes, they are a valuable tool for a macro-sociological analysis. This paper proceeds by examining Durkheim's,well-known contributions on rituals and advancing theoretical ideas on how these might be modified seeking to develop a theory of holidays. The article concerns the role of holidays in managing tensions and recommitment to values; their role in relating communities to the society at large; their effect on gender roles, and the theoretical issues concerning holiday cycles and holiday-engineering efforts by religious authorities and states that have endeavored to adapt holidays for their own purpose. The article relies on public accounts, personal observations, and findings culled from a few studies by contemporary social scientists.
- Janssen, J & T Verheggen. 1997. "The Double Center of Gravity in Durkheim's Symbol Theory: Bringing the Symbolism of the Body Back in." Sociological Theory. 15:3 294-306.
- By studying Durkheim through a Schopenhauerian lens, the one-sidedly cognitivist and functionalist reception of his social theory can be balanced. Durkheim explicitly rejected such monistic interpretations. His dialectical approach was always aimed at an essentially dualistic perception of man and society, wherein the lower pole, the individual, is central. In Durkheim's symbol theory, this position lends to two kinds of symbols: those that are bound to the human body, here called ``this and that'' symbols, and those people call choose freely here called ``this for that'' symbols. This twofold symbol theory can already be found in medieval philosophy (e.g. Dante Alighieri) as well as in the work of Paul Ricoeur. For Durkheim the human person is the symbol par excellence. By implication the rituals in which the person is (ra)constructed that is the rites of passage, should be central. The interpretation hera opens up new perspectives for a more psychological interpretation of Durkheim's sociology.
- Smith, DN. 1996. "The Social Construction of Enemies: Jews and the Representation of Evil." Sociological Theory. 14:3 203-240.
- Fifty years after the Holocaust, anti-Jewish myths and sentiments are gaining momentum in Europe, the Islamic world, the Americas, and even in Japan. Why? Does hate spring eternal? Seeking an answer to this question, I develop a seven-part argument. My aim is to advance what can reasonably be called a ``social constructionist'' perspective on the kind of antisemitic demonology that is now gaining worldwide currency. My method is to seek clarity by evaluating varying kinds of constructionist claims. Both the strengths and weaknesses of these claims are illuminating for my purposes, as I try to show in connection with writers including Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe, Elisabeth Young-Bruehl, Daniel Goldhagen, and Pierre-Andre Taguieff. My conclusion is that we can best understand antisemitism as an instance of what historian Gavin Langmuir calls ``chimeria.'' Interpreted in the spirit of certain classic texts (by Sartre, Adorno, and Samuel), this notion offers a powerful starting point for further inquiry. To illustrate the promise of this approach, I close with an interpretation of the current, global antisemitic revival as an expression of anti-Jewish chimeria.
- 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.