Contemporary articles citing Swidler A (2001) Talk Love Culture Ma

cultural, sociological, culture, approach, meaning, public, provide, contemporary, key, forms

Adut, Ari. 2012. "A Theory of the Public Sphere." Sociological Theory. 30:4 238-262. Link
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.

Lizardo, Omar & Sara Skiles. 2012. "Reconceptualizing and Theorizing ``omnivorousness'': Genetic and Relational Mechanisms." Sociological Theory. 30:4 263-282. Link
Scores of sociological studies have provided evidence for the association between broad cultural taste, or omnivorousness, and various status characteristics, such as education, occupation, and age. Nevertheless, the literature lacks a consistent theoretical foundation with which to understand and organize these empirical findings. In this article, we offer such a framework, suggesting that a mechanism-based approach is helpful for examination of the origins of the omnivore-univore taste pattern as well as its class-based distribution. We reground the discussion of this phenomenon in Distinction (Bourdieu 1984), conceptualizing omnivorous taste as a transposable form of the aesthetic disposition available most readily to individuals who convert early aesthetic training into high cultural capital occupational trajectories. After outlining the genetic mechanisms that link the aesthetic disposition to early socialization trajectories, we identify two relational mechanisms that modulate its manifestation (either enhancing or inhibiting it) after early socialization.

Manza, Jeff & Clem Brooks. 2012. "How Sociology Lost Public Opinion: a Genealogy of a Missing Concept in the Study of the Political." Sociological Theory. 30:2 89-113. Link
In contemporary sociology the once prominent study of public opinion has virtually disappeared. None of the leading theoretical models in the closest disciplinary subfield (political sociology) currently provide ample or sufficiently clear space for consideration of public opinion as a possible factor in shaping or interacting with key policy or political outcomes in democratic polities. In this article, we unearth and document the sources of this curious development and raise questions about its implications for how political sociologists have come to understand policy making, state formation, and political conflict. We begin by reconstructing the dismissal of public opinion in the intellectual reorientation of political sociology from the late 1970s onward. We argue that the most influential scholarly works of this period (including those of Tilly, Skocpol, Mann, Esping-Andersen, and Domhoff) face an underlying paradox: While often rejecting public opinion, their theoretical logics ultimately presuppose its operation. These now classical writings did not move toward research programs seeking engagement with the operation and formation of public opinion, even though our immanent critique suggests they in fact require precisely this turn. We address the challenge of reconceptualizing how public opinion might be productively integrated into the sociological study of politics by demonstrating that the major arguments in the subfield can be fruitfully extended by grappling with public opinion. We conclude by considering several recent, interdisciplinary examples of scholarship that, we argue, point the way toward a fruitful revitalization.

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.''.

Gross, N. 2005. "The Detraditionalization of Intimacy Reconsidered." Sociological Theory. 23:3 286-311. Link
This essay challenges those strains of cot? temporary social theory that regard romantic/sexual intimacy as a premier site of detraditionalization in the late modern era. Striking changes have occurred in intimacy and family life over the last half-century, but the notion of detraditionalization as currently formulated does not capture them very well. With the goal of achieving a more refined understanding, the article proposes a distinction between ``regulative'' and ``ineaning-constitutive'' traditions. The former involve threats of exclusion from various moral communities; the latter involve linguistic and cultural frameworks within which sense is made of the world. Focusing on the U.S. case and marshaling various kinds of empirical evidence, the article argues that while the regulative tradition of what it terms lifelong, internally stratified marriage has declined in strength in recent years, the image of the form of couplehood inscribed in this regulative tradition continues to function as a hegemonic ideal in many American intimate relationships. Intimacy in the United States also remains beholden to the tradition of romantic love. That these meaning-constitutive traditions continue to play a central role in structuring contemporary intimacy suggests that detraditionalization involves the relative decline only of certain regulative traditions, a point that calls into question some of the normative assessments that often accompany the detraditionalization thesis.

Besecke, K. 2005. "Seeing Invisible Religion: Religion as a Societal Conversation About Transcendent Meaning." Sociological Theory. 23:2 179-196. Link
Contemporary sociology conceptualizes religion along two dimensions: the institutional and the individual. Lost in this dichotomy is religion's noninstitutional, but collective and public, cultural dimension. As a result, theories of religious modernity, including both sides of the secularization debate, are unable to recognize or evaluate the social power of noninstitutionalized religious communication. This article offers a reconceptualization of religion that highlights its cultural, communicative dimension. Original research on religious talk provides an empirical ground for a theoretical discussion that highlights: (1) the ``invisible'' nature of religion in modern societies, as theorized by Thomas Luckmann and (2) the social power attributed to communication by contemporary cultural sociologists and cultural theorists. I argue that conceptualizing religion as an evolving societal conversation about transcendent meaning broadens the empirical and theoretical grasp of the religion concept.

Dalton, B. 2004. "Creativity, Habit, and the Social Products of Creative Action: Revising Joas, Incorporating Bourdieu." Sociological Theory. 22:4 603-622. Link
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.

Tilly, C. 2004. "Reasons Why." Sociological Theory. 22:3 445-454. Link
Reasons-organized answers to the question ``Why does (did, should) X do Y?''-vary between formulas and cause-effect accounts in one dimension and between popular and specialized statements on the other. Conventions, explanatory stories, codified justifications, and technical accounts all qualify as reasons. Choices among types of reasons and contents within each type vary as a function of social relations between givers and receivers. As professional analysts of reasons for social processes as well as of reasons that social actors provide for their actions, sociologists face serious challenges to their credibility. They can reply to those challenges by (1) building records of effective intervention in social affairs; (2) educating audiences in the logic of social science; (3) incorporating their own explanations into widely available explanatory stories; or (4) confining their conversation to each other. Sociologists who want to influence public understanding must adopt some combination of Options 1 to 3.

Binder, Amy. 2007. "For Love and Money: Organizations' Creative Responses to Multiple Environmental Logics." Theory and Society. 36:6 547-571. Link
The recent ``inhabited institutions'' research stream in organizational theory reinvigorates new institutionalism by arguing that organizations are not merely the instantiation of environmental, institutional logics ``out there,'' where organizational actors seamlessly enact preconscious scripts, but are places where people and groups make sense of, and interpret, institutional vocabularies of motive. This article advances the inhabited institutions approach through an inductive case study of a transitional housing organization called Parents Community. This organization, like other supportive direct service organizations, exists in an external environment relying increasingly on federal funding. Most scholars studying this sector argue that as federal monies expand to pay for these organizations' services, non-profit organizations will be forced to become ever more bureaucratic and rationalized. However, I find that three key service departments at Parents Community respond in multiple ways to this external environment, depending on each department members' creative uses of institutional logics and local meanings, which emerge from their professional commitments, personal interests, and interactional, on-the-ground decision making. By looking carefully at these three departments' variable responses to the external environment, we have a better map for seeing how human agency is integrated into organizational dynamics for this and other organizations.

Chan, Cheris. 2009. "Creating a Market in the Presence of Cultural Resistance: the Case of Life Insurance in China." Theory and Society. 38:3 271-305. Link
This article brings together two different conceptions of culture-a shared meaning system on one hand and a repertoire of strategies on the other-to understand the emergence of a market. Based on ethnographic data, it examines how a Chinese life insurance market is emerging in the presence of incompatible shared values and ideas acting as cultural barriers, and how these cultural barriers shape the formation of the market. The findings reveal a burgeoning Chinese life insurance market despite local cultural logics incompatible with the profit-oriented institutional logic of life insurance. This Chinese market, however, has developed along a different trajectory from what might be expected. It first emerged as a money management, rather than a risk management, market. I argue that the very cultural barriers that compose the local resistance to a new economic practice also necessitate the mobilization of the cultural tool-kit to circumvent this resistance. These dual processes, shared ideas composing the resistance and the cultural tool-kit circumventing the resistance, shape the trajectory and characteristics of an emergent market. I propose a theoretical model specifying the mechanisms through which the two forms of culture interplay to influence the development of the life insurance. I apply this model to extend Zelizer's (1979) insights and discuss how culture matters in forging a new market in the global diffusion of capitalism.

Illouz, Eva & Shoshannah Finkelman. 2009. "An Odd and Inseparable Couple: Emotion and Rationality in Partner Selection." Theory and Society. 38:4 401-422. Link
The dichotomy between emotion and rationality has been one of the most enduring of sociological theory. This article attempts to bypass this dichotomy by examining how emotion and rationality are conjoined in the practice of the choice of a mate. We posit the fundamental role of culture in determining the nature of this intertwinement. We explore the culturally embedded intertwining of emotion and rationality through the notion of modal configuration. Modal configuration includes five key features: reflexivity, techniques, modal emphasis, modal overlap, and modal sequencing. We apply this framework to the topic of partner selection. Comparing primary and secondary sources on pre-modern partner selection and on internet dating, we show that emotion and rationality were intertwined in both periods but that what differs between them is precisely the emotion-rationality modality.

Straughn, Jeremy. 2009. "Culture, Memory, and Structural Change: Explaining Support for ``socialism'' in a Post-socialist Society." Theory and Society. 38:5 485-525. Link
Two decades ago, East European state socialism met with a paradoxical fate. Between 1989 and 1991, communist party hegemony was abolished, leaving the very idea of socialism permanently discredited-or so it seemed. Yet in the decade that followed, ``socialistic'' principles and practices would retain-or perhaps acquire-a surprising degree of popular appeal. Was this a cultural legacy of systematic indoctrination? A strategic response to material insecurities? Perhaps a combination of both? In this article, it is argued that many previous efforts to unravel the paradox are inadequate because they ignore both the ``strategic'' dimensions of culture and the cultural dimensions of instrumental reason. Using life-history data on the former East Germany, it is shown that apparently discredited ideologies can acquire renewed salience in the wake of regime change if they (1) remain culturally available as strategies of action that (2) provided material opportunities or symbolic privileges in the past, and (3) promise to ameliorate new problems engendered by alternative strategies.

Ghaziani, Amin. 2009. "An ``amorphous Mist''? the Problem of Measurement in the Study of Culture." Theory and Society. 38:6 581-612. Link
Sociological studies of culture have made significant progress on conceptual clarification of the concept, while remaining comparatively quiescent on questions of measurement. This study empirically examines internal conflicts (or ``infighting''), a ubiquitous phenomenon in political organizing, to propose a ``resinous culture framework'' that holds promise for redirection. The data comprise 674 newspaper articles and more than 100 archival documents that compare internal dissent across two previously unstudied lesbian and gay Marches on Washington. Analyses reveal that activists use infighting as a vehicle to engage in otherwise abstract definitional debates that provide concrete answers to questions such as who are we and what do we want. The mechanism that enables infighting to concretize these cultural concerns is its coupling with fairly mundane and routine organizational tasks. This mechanism affords one way to release the culture concept, understood here as collective self-definitions, from being ``an amorphous, indescribable mist which swirls around society members,'' as it was once provocatively described.

Mariot, Nicolas. 2011. "Does Acclamation Equal Agreement? Rethinking Collective Effervescence Through the Case of the Presidential ``tour De France'' During the Twentieth Century." Theory and Society. 40:2 191-221. Link
This article discusses the integrative function frequently assigned to festive events by scholars. This function can be summed up in a proposition: experiencing similar emotions during collective gatherings is a powerful element of socialization. The article rejects this oft-developed idea according to which popular fervor could be an efficient tool to measure civic engagement. It raises the following question: what makes enthusiasm ``civic'', ``patriotic'', ``republican'' or simply ``political''? Based on a study of French presidential tours in France from 1888 to 2007, this article casts a different light on the topic. The enthusiasm of the crowds interacting with the successive French presidents is not civic because an inquiry may find ``patriotism'' into participants' minds. It can be called civic simply because the forms and meaning of the festive jubilation, which may be summarized into the formula: ``if spectators applaud, it means they support,'' necessarily preexist its multiple manifestations.

Reed, Isaac & Julia Adams. 2011. "Culture in the Transitions to Modernity: Seven Pillars of a New Research Agenda." Theory and Society. 40:3 247-272. Link
How did cultural dynamics help bring about the societies we now recognize as modern? This article constructs seven distinct models for how structures of signification and social meaning participated in the transitions to modernity in the West and, in some of the models, across the globe. Our models address: (1) the spread, via imitation, of modern institutions around the world (memetic replication); (2) the construal, by socio-cultural forces and by state organizations, of the modern citizen-subject (social subjectification); (3) the continual search for new meanings to replace traditional religious meaning-systems (compensatory reenchantment); (4) repeated attempts, in modern revolutions, to remake society completely, according to a utopian vision (ideological totalization); (5) the cultural origins and social consequences of scientific and humanistic worldviews (epistemic rift); (6) the gendered politics of state formation (patriarchal supercession); (7) the invention and production of race in the colonial encounter (racial recognition). We explicate the models in reverse chronological order, because in our synthesis, we argue that the original modern break results from a dynamic combination of racial recognition, patriarchal supercession, and epistemic rift; these changes set the stage for the four other processes we theorize. In addition to our synthesis, we also consider, from a more neutral perspective, the kinds of causal arguments upon which these models tend to rely, and thus explicate the analytical undergirding for the application of any of these models to empirical research on transitions to modernity. Throughout the article, we consider how these models might, and might not, mesh with other families of explanation, such as the politico-economic.

Tavory, Iddo & Michelle Poulin. 2012. "Sex Work and the Construction of Intimacies: Meanings and Work Pragmatics in Rural Malawi." Theory and Society. 41:3 211-231. Link
This article focuses on Malawian sex workers' understandings of exchange and intimacy, showing how multiple historically emergent categories and specific work pragmatics produce specific patterns of relational meanings. As we show, sex workers make sense of their relationships with clients through two categories. The first is sex work; the second is the chibwenzi, an intimate premarital relational category that emerged from pre-colonial transformations in courtship practices. These categories, in turn, are also shaped differently in different work settings. We use narratives from in-depth interviews with 45 sex workers and bar managers in southern Malawi to describe how the everyday pragmatics of two forms of sex work-performed by ``bargirls'' and ``freelancers''aEuro''foster distinct understandings of relationships between them and men they have sex with. Bargirls, who work and live in bars, blurred the boundaries between ``regulars'' and chibwenzi; freelancers, who are not tethered to a specific work environment, often subverted the meanings of the chibwenzi, presenting these relationships as both intimate and emotionally distant. Through this comparison, we thus refine an approach to the study of the intimacy-exchange nexus, and use it to capture the complexities of gender relations in post-colonial Malawi.

Schulz, Jeremy. 2012. "Talk of Work: Transatlantic Divergences in Justifications for Hard Work Among French, Norwegian, and American Professionals." Theory and Society. 41:6 603-634. Link
This article approaches work talk, a neglected but vital object of sociological inquiry, as a possible key to unlocking the mystery of the contemporary work ethic as it appears among male professionals living and working in the United States and Western Europe. This analytical task is carried out through a close examination of the contrasting rhetorics, scripts, and vocabularies anchoring French, Norwegian, and American forms of hard work talk. This comparative exercise capitalizes on material from over one hundred in-depth interviews with comparable French, Norwegian, and American male business professionals working in finance, law, consulting, engineering and other professional fields. Scrutinizing the scripts that members of these three groups use to address their motives for working hard in demanding jobs, this article maps a legitimation divide between the American respondents and their French and Norwegian counterparts. The hard work commentaries of the French and Norwegian respondents feature script repertoires that focus exclusively on the stimulating and enriching character of their work activities. By contrast, the commentaries of the American respondents incorporate overachievement scripts addressing both the extrinsic rewards of work and the personality traits that make hard work a natural expression of personality. These hard work commentaries invoke career success and moneymaking as inducements to hard work. But they also invoke personality traits such as drive and the innate aversion to leisure. This transatlantic divide reflects the greater cultural resonance of self-realization in the two European contexts and the fact that the French and Norwegians have embraced a more Maslowian approach to working life. As I argue in the article's conclusion, these transatlantic differences in script repertoires can be viewed as the product of the societally specific cultural configurations at work in the three countries. Such cultural configurations define what it means-in terms of status and authenticity-to work hard in a remunerative and rewarding job.