Cultural Sociology and Collective Representations

Cultural Sociology and Collective Representations

Acronym: The_RC_1

Since the mid-1990s American sociologist, Jeffrey Alexander, has been advocating for what he and co-author Phil Smith have called the ‘strong program in cultural sociology’. While it draws from a variety of theoretical traditions in symbolic anthropology, hermeneutics, structural linguistics, and comparative literature (to name a few), cultural sociology is framed around the late Durkheimian assertion that the cultural realm has partial or ‘relative’ autonomy. That is, culture is to be treated not as a mere effect of social structure or organization, but rather as in itself a power that orients and organizes social action in myriad contexts. Thus, cultural sociology offers an approach distinct from approaches to culture that are currently more prevalent in Canadian sociology, such as those indebted to Bourdieu or that continue in the tradition of British Cultural Studies. For this panel we seek papers that engage with the core tenets of contemporary cultural sociology; the relative autonomy of cultural representations and the power of the symbolic in social life. Papers need not be based explicitly in the American strong program, and we welcome both case studies of culture in specific contexts and institutions as well as theoretical papers on any aspect of cultural sociology.

Session Organizers:

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