The Symbolic Forms of Social Life

The Symbolic Forms of Social Life

Acronym: SThRC_3

Two advances in cultural sociology have opened rich new space for theoretical debate about the meaning and significance of culture. On the one hand, sociologists have abandoned vague and sweeping concepts of culture from the twentieth century. Culture is now understood in a more analytically precise sense as the symbolic forms, meanings, and social imaginaries through which people interpret and act in the world. On the other hand, and alongside this new analytical precision, culture is now recognized as possessing some degree of analytical independence. Sociologists, in other words, no longer see culture as the soft, subjective stuff of social life that can only be explained in relation to more objective structures of power or interests. Instead, symbolic forms of social life are now recognized as themselves potentially creative, structuring powers that shape social life. We invite papers that seek to move within the new theoretical space opened by these developments in the study of culture by addressing theoretical problems related to the meaning and significance of the symbolic in various contexts today. While papers may have an empirical component, we seek papers that move beyond applying theories to cases, and that engage and contribute to classical and contemporary theories of culture.

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