Contemporary articles citing Mische A (1998) Soc Res

structures, cultural, features, expectations, local, solve, culture, network, core, theorize

Xu, Bin. 2012. "Grandpa Wen: Scene and Political Performance." Sociological Theory. 30:2 114-129. Link
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.

Fontdevila, Jorge, M. Opazo & Harrison White. 2011. "Order at the Edge of Chaos: Meanings From Netdom Switchings Across Functional Systems." Sociological Theory. 29:3 178-198. Link
The great German theorist Niklas Luhmann argued long ago that meaning is the central construct of sociology. We agree, but our scheme of stochastic processes-evolved over many years as identity and control-argues for switchings of intercalated bits of social network and interpretive domain (i.e., netdom switchings) as the core of meaning processes. We thus challenge Luhmann's central claim that modern society's subsystems are based on communicative self-closure. We assert that there is refuting evidence from sociolinguistics, from how languages are put together and how languages' indexical and reflexive devices (e.g., metapragmatics, heteroglossia, genres) are used in social action. Communication is about managing indexicalities, which entail great ambiguity and openness as they are anchored in myriad netdom switchings across social times and spreads. In contrast, Luhmann's concept of communication revolves around binary codes governed recursively and algorithmically within systems in efforts to reduce complexity from the environment. We conclude that systems closure does not solve the problem of uncertainty in social life. In fact, lack of uncertainty is itself a problem. Order is necessary, but order at the edge of chaos.

Saito, Hiro. 2011. "An Actor-network Theory of Cosmopolitanism." Sociological Theory. 29:2 124-149. Link
A major problem with the emerging sociological literature on cosmopolitanism is that it has not adequately theorized mechanisms that mediate the presumed causal relationship between globalization and the development of cosmopolitan orientations. To solve this problem, I draw on Bruno Latour's actor-network theory (ANT) to theorize the development of three key elements of cosmopolitanism: cultural omnivorousness, ethnic tolerance, and cosmopolitics. ANT illuminates how humans and nonhumans of multiple nationalities develop attachments with one another to create network structures that sustain cosmopolitanism. ANT also helps the sociology of cosmopolitanism become more reflexive and critical of its implicit normative claims.

Fine, Gary. 2010. "The Sociology of the Local: Action and Its Publics." Sociological Theory. 28:4 355-376. Link
Sociology requires a robust theory of how local circumstances create social order. When we analyze social structures not recognizing that they depend on groups with collective pasts and futures that are spatially situated and that are based on personal relations, we avoid a core sociological dimension: the importance of local context in constituting social worlds. Too often this has been the sociological stance, both in micro-sociological studies that examine interaction as untethered from local traditions and in research that treats culture as autonomous from action and choice. Building on theories of action, group dynamics, and micro-cultures, I argue that a sociology of the local solves critical theoretical problems. The local is a stage on which social order gets produced and a lens for understanding how particular forms of action are selected. Treating ethnographic studies as readings of ongoing cultures, I examine how the continuing and referential features of group life (spatial arenas, relations, shared pasts) generate action and argue that local practices provide the basis for cultural extension, influencing societal expectations through the linkages among groups.

Fuhse, Jan. 2009. "The Meaning Structure of Social Networks." Sociological Theory. 27:1 51-73. Link
This essay proposes to view networks as sociocultural structures. Following authors from Leopold von Wiese and Norbert Elias to Gary Alan Fine and Harrison White, networks are configurations of social relationships interwoven with meaning. Social relationships as the basic building blocks of networks are conceived of as dynamic structures of reciprocal (but not necessarily symmetric) expectations between alter and ego. Through their transactions, alter and ego construct an idiosyncratic ``relationship culture'' comprising symbols, narratives, and relational identities. The coupling of social relationships to networks, too, is heavily laden with meaning. The symbolic construction of persons is one instance of this coupling. Another instance is the application of social categories (like race or gender), which both map and structure social networks. The conclusion offers an agenda for research on this ``meaning structure of social networks.''.