Contemporary articles citing Putnam R (2000) Bowling Alone Collap
public, groups, historical, civic, capital, democratic, recent, alternative, approach, time
- 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.
- Hart-Brinson, Peter. 2012. "Civic Recreation and a Theory of Civic Production." Sociological Theory. 30:2 130-147.
- The debate on civic decline inspired by Putnam's ``bowling alone'' thesis exposed an important limitation in three dominant conceptions of the civic. Whether conceptualized as a locus, type, or motivation for action, the boundaries distinguishing the civic from other categories of political action are permeable and indistinct. This article develops a theory of civic production to better account for the inherent normativity and ``porousness'' of this analytic category. I conceptualize the civic as a variable, contingent outcome or product of a contentious performance undertaken in some venue for some reason. The phenomenon of ``civic recreation,'' a form of fund-raising that combines a leisure activity with a public cause, underscores the necessity of a theory of civic production. I draw from social movement theory and from ethnographic data from one fitness fund-raiser to illustrate some of the key processes and outcomes for which a theory of civic production must account.
- Lichterman, Paul. 2012. "Religion in Public Action: From Actors to Settings." Sociological Theory. 30:1 15-36.
- Contemporary social research often has located religion's public influence by focusing on individual or collective religious actors. In this unitary actor model, religion is a stable, uniform feature of an individual or collectivity. However, recent research shows that people's religious expression outside religious congregations varies by context. Building on this new work, along with insights from Erving Goffman and cultural sociology, an alternative, ``cultural-interactionist model'' of religious expression focuses on how group styles enable and constrain religious expression in public settings. Illustrating the model are two ethnographic cases, a religiously sponsored homeless advocacy organization and a secondary comparison setting from an activist campaign for housing, both from a U.S. metropolitan area. Shifting from actors to settings and group styles clarifies the interplay between religious and nonreligious culture over time. The shift refines our understanding of how religion's civic or political effects work, as in the case of building social capital for collective action. The cultural-interactionist model enables us to track historical change in everyday group settings. It promotes further research on historically changing ways of managing religious diversity, and diverse ways of constructing a religious self.
- Garcelon, Marc. 2010. "The Missing Key: Institutions, Networks, and the Project of Neoclassical Sociology." Sociological Theory. 28:3 326-353.
- The diversity of contemporary ``capitalisms'' underscores the need to supplant the amorphous concept of structure with more precise concepts, particularly institutions and networks. All institutions entail both embodied and relational aspects. Institutions are relational insofar as they map obligatory patterns of ``getting by and getting along''-institutional orders-that steer stable social fields over time. Institutions are simultaneously embodied as institutional paradigms, part of a larger bodily agency Pierre Bourdieu called habitus. Institutions are in turn tightly coupled to networks between various people based on, but not reducible to, strategic interests. Yet social interaction sometimes exceeds institutional boundaries, giving rise to disjunctive fields and underscoring the prominence of institutional failures in the unfolding of antagonistic relations such as warfare. Such disjunctive fields can be tracked in relation to some transnational networks at the global level without assuming developmental convergence. This last point underscores the meaning of neoclassical sociology, which eschews assumptions of developmental convergence at the global level.
- 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.
- 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.
- Garcelon, Marc. 2006. "Trajectories of Institutional Disintegration in Late-soviet Russia and Contemporary Iraq." Sociological Theory. 24:3 255-283.
- How might revolutions and other processes of institutional disintegration inform political processes preceding them ? By mapping paths of agency through processes of institutional disintegration, the trajectory improvisation model of institutional breakdown overcomes ``action-structure'' binaries by framing political revolutions as possible outcomes of such disintegrative processes. The trajectory improvisation approach expands the trajectory adjustment model of social change developed by Gil Eyal, Ivan Szelenyi, and Eleanor Townsley. An overview of political revolution in Soviet Russia between 1989 and 1991 illustrates trajectory improvisation. The recent American invasion and occupation of Iraq shows alternative routes to institutional disintegration, indicating the independence of models of institutional breakdown from those of social movements. These cases illustrate both the diversity of situations the trajectory improvisation model speaks to, and the limitation of models of trajectory adjustment, improvisation, social movements, and invasions, illustrating why such models at best enable what are called ``explanatory narratives'' of actual historical processes.
- Fine, GA & B Harrington. 2004. "Tiny Publics: Small Groups and Civil Society." Sociological Theory. 22:3 341-356.
- It has been conventional to conceptualize civic life through one of two core images: the citizen as lone individualist or the citizen as joiner. Drawing on analyses of the historical development of the public sphere, we propose an alternative analytical framework for civic engagement based on small-group interaction. By embracing this micro-level approach, we contribute to the debate on civil society in three ways. By emphasizing local interaction contexts-the microfoundations of civil society-we treat small groups as a cause, context, and consequence of civic engagement. First, through framing and motivating, groups encourage individuals to participate in public discourse and civic projects. Second, they provide the place and support for that involvement. Third, civic engagement feeds back into the creation of additional groups. A small-groups perspective suggests how civil society can thrive even if formal and institutional associations decline. Instead of indicating a decline in civil society, a proliferation of small groups represents a healthy development in democratic societies, creating cross-cutting networks of affiliation.
- Wuthnow, R. 2004. "The Religious Factor Revisited." Sociological Theory. 22:2 205-218.
- Four decades have passed since the publication of Gerhard Lenski's The Religious Factor. While generally regarded as a classic in the sociology of religion, the book has had a curious history, largely because of the interest it generated in differences between Protestants and Catholics. In this paper I provide an alternative reading of The Religious Factor's impact on sociology of religion that points to its larger theoretical implications. I argue that the book should be understood in relation to continuing debates about the classification of religious traditions, differentiation among socioreligious groups, intergroup relations among religious traditions, and friendship ties within religious communities. Through understanding these contributions, the book's legacy as well as continuities and new opportunities in the study of religion can be appreciated.
- Frank, DJ & JW Meyer. 2002. "The Profusion of Individual Roles and Identities in the Postwar Period." Sociological Theory. 20:1 86-105.
- In recent decades, the individual has become more and more central in both national and world cultural accounts of the operation of society. This continues a long, historical process, intensified by the consolidation of a more global polity and the weakening of the primordial sovereignty of the national state. Increasingly, society is culturally rooted in the natural, historical, and spiritual worlds through the individual, rather than through corporate entities or groups. The shift has produced a proliferation and specification of individual roles, accounting for what individuals do in society. It has also produced an expansion in recognized indivdual personhood, accounting for who individuals are in the extrasocial cosmos and fueling elaborated personal tastes and preferences. Where it has been contested, the shift to the individual has also produced a rise in specializing identities (e.g., in such domains as ethnicity or gender). These offer accounts of individuals' distinctive linkages to the cosmos, and they serve to bolster individual claims to standard roles and personhood. Over time, specializing identities tend to get absorbed into roles and personhood. And in turn, expanded roles and personhood provide further bases for specializing identity claims. Because many theorists mischaracterize the relationship of specializing identities to roles and personhood, the literature often overemphasizes the anomic character of the identity explosion and the closeness of the coupling between social roles and identity claims. Oil the contrary, specializing identities tend to be edited to remain within general rules of individual personhood and to be disconnected from the obligations involved in institutionalized roles.
- Rabinovitch, E. 2001. "Gender and the Public Sphere: Alternative Forms of Integration in Nineteenth-century America." Sociological Theory. 19:3 344-370.
- This paper intends to evaluate two competing models of multicultural integration in stratified societies: the ``multiple publics'' model of Nancy Fraser and the ``fragmented public sphere'' model of Jeffrey Alexander. Fraser and Alexander disagree oil whether or not claims to a general ``common good'' or ``common humanity'' are democratically legitimate in light of systemic inequality. Fraser rejects the idea that cultural integration can be democratic in conditions of social inequality, while Alexander accepts it and tries to explain how it may be realized. In order to address this debate, I analyze the cultural foundations of the female-led, maternally themed social movements of nineteenth-century America. The language of these movements supports Alexander's position over Fraser's, though it also suggests that Alexander is mistaken in the specifics of his cultural theory of a general and democratic ``common good.'' While Alexander's model of integration is structured uniquely by what he and Philip Smith have called ``the discourse of civil society,'' the evidence suggests a distinctly alternative, equally democratic code at play in this case, which I have labeled a discourse of affection and compassion.
- Szreter, S. 2002. "The State of Social Capital: Bringing Back in Power, Politics, and History." Theory and Society. 31:5 573-621.
- Svendsen, GLH & GT Svendsen. 2003. "On the Wealth of Nations: Bourdieuconomics and Social Capital." Theory and Society. 32:5-6 607-631.
- Why are some countries richer than others? We suggest in the line of political economy theory that traditional production factors cannot explain the observed differences. Rather, differences in the quality of formal institutions are crucial to economic wealth. However, this type of political economy theory accentuating the role of formal institutions cannot stand on its own. This implies a socio-economic approach in the study where we supplement the formal institutional thesis with Bourdieu's idea of material and non-material forms of capital. Such new socio-economics - which might be termed a ``Bourdieuconomics'' - implies the usage of a capital theory that, methodologically, operates with material and non-material forms of capital at the same level. Here, we stress the particular importance of a non-material form of capital, namely social capital, which facilitates informal human exchange, thereby ``lubricating'' civic society and the voluntary provision of collective goods such as trust and predictable behavior. In this way, social capital reduces transaction costs in society, thereby enhancing economic growth and the creation of differences in the wealth of nations. Future research should therefore be directed towards analyses of a new and formerly disregarded production factor, social capital, within a new field of socio-economics, namely ``Bourdieuconomics.''
- Svendsen, GLH. 2006. "Studying Social Capital in Situ: a Qualitative Approach." Theory and Society. 35:1 39-70.
- In recent years, the concept of social capital - broadly defined as co-operative networks based on regular, personal contact and trust - has been widely applied within cross-disciplinary human science research, primarily by economists, political scientists and sociologists. In this article, I argue why and how fieldwork anthropologists should fill a gap in the social capital literature by highlighting how social capital is being built in situ. I suggest that the recent inventions of ``bridging'' and ``bonding'' social capital, e.g., inclusive and exclusive types of social capital, are fruitful concepts to apply in an anthropological fieldwork setting. Thus, my case study on the relationship between local people and newcomers in the rural Danish marginal municipality of Ravnsborg seeks to reveal processes of bridging/bonding social capital building. Such a case study at the micro level has general policy implications for a cultural clash between two different groups by demonstrating the complexity of a social capital mix where bonding social capital strongly prevails. This ultimately leads to a ``social trap'' (Rothstein 2005), implying widespread distrust and serious social and economic costs for a whole population.
- Perrin, Andrew, Robin Wagner-Pacifici, Lindsay Hirschfeld & Susan Wilker. 2006. "Contest Time: Time, Territory, and Representation in the Postmodern Electoral Crisis." Theory and Society. 35:3 351-391.
- Prior generations' electoral crises (e.g., gerrymandering) have dealt mainly with political maneuverings around geographical shifts. We analyze four recent (1998-2003) American electoral crises: the Clinton impeachment controversy, the 2000 Florida presidential election, the Texas legislators' flight to Oklahoma and New Mexico, and the California gubernatorial recall. We show that in each case temporal manipulation was at least as important as geographical. We highlight emergent electoral practices surrounding the manipulation of time, which we dub ``temporal gerrymandering.'' We suggest a theory of postmodern electoral crises, in which the rules of time and space are simultaneously in flux. These crises expose concerns with early American democratic theory, which was based on an understanding of ``the people'' as geographically and temporally unidimensional. Representative systems, therefore, were designed largely without reference to geographic and temporal complexity.
- Lichterman, Paul. 2006. "Social Capital or Group Style? Rescuing Tocqueville's Insights on Civic Engagement." Theory and Society. 35:5-6 529-563.
- Social capital has become the preeminent concept for studying civic relationships, yet it will not help us assess their meanings, institution-like qualities, or potential for social capacity. Alexis de Tocqueville's insights on these three features of civic relationships continue to be highly influential, and the popular social capital concept claims a strongly Tocquevillian heritage while systematically missing what a Tocquevillian imagination illuminates. Scenes from volunteer group settings in a midwestern US city show how a concept of group style apprehends the varying meanings, routines, and social capacities of civic ties. Group style also illuminates the process by which civic groups create ``bridging'' ties beyond the group. Without rejecting the social capital concept entirely, I highlight research questions and findings that social capital would ignore or misapprehend. A concluding discussion draws out implications for democratic theory, and sketches an agenda for future research on civic group style that makes good on Tocquevillian insights while moving beyond Tocqueville's own limits.
- Houtzager, Peter & Arnab Acharya. 2011. "Associations, Active Citizenship, and the Quality of Democracy in Brazil and Mexico." Theory and Society. 40:1 1-36.
- In many Third Wave democracies large classes of people experience diminished forms of citizenship. The systematic exclusion from mandated public goods and services significantly injures the citizenship and life chances of entire social groups. In democratic theory civil associations have a fundamental role to play in reversing this reality. One strand of theory, known as civic engagement, suggests that associations empower their members to engage in public politics, hold state officials to account, claim public services, and thereby improve the quality of democracy. Empirical demonstration of the argument is surprisingly rare, however, and limited to affluent democracies. In this article, we use original survey data for two large cities in Third Wave democracies-So Paulo and Mexico City-to explore this argument in a novel way. We focus on the extent to which participation in associations (or associationalism) increases ``active citizenship''aEuro''the effort to negotiate directly with state agents access to goods and services legally mandated for public provision, such as healthcare, sanitation, and security-rather than civic engagement, which encompasses any voluntary and public spirited activity. We examine separately associationalism's impact on the quality of citizenship, a dimension that varies independently from the level of active citizenship, by assessing differences in the types of citizenship practices individuals use to obtain access to vital goods and services. To interpret the findings, and identify possible causal pathways, the paper moves back-and-forth between two major research traditions that are rarely brought into dialogue: civic engagement and comparative historical studies of democratization.