Cultural Theory: An Introduction / Edition 2

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This second edition of Cultural Theory provides a concise introduction to cultural theory, placing major figures, traditional concepts, and contemporary themes within a sharp conceptual framework.

  • Provides a student-friendly introduction to what can often be a complex field of study
  • Updates the first edition in response to reader feedback and to the changing nature of the field
  • Includes additional coverage of theorists from the classical period to include Nietzsche and DuBois
  • Introduces entirely new chapters on race and gender theory, and the body
  • Considers themes that have become more important in theoretical activity in recent years such as computers and virtual reality, cosmopolitanism, and performance theory
  • Draws on theories and theorists from continental Europe as well as the English-speaking world
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Highly recommended to anyone interested in acquiring a theoretical basis on which to systematize their knowledge of cultural theory. Indeed, the authors manage to make the complex simple enough to understand without oversimplifying." (Discourse Studies, 2010)

“Presenting such a wide-ranging and multifarious set of ideas in a coherent manner constitutes a very considerable achievement. The book offers anyone interested in cultural theory a broad conspectus—provided of course it is read as a whole.” (Metapsychology Online Reviews, February 2009)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405169073
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 8/25/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 636,337
  • Product dimensions: 6.70 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Philip Smith is Associate Professor of Sociology at Yale University and Deputy Director of the Yale Center for Cultural Sociology. His books include Cultural Theory: An Introduction (Blackwell, 2001), Why War? The Cultural Logic of Iraq, the Gulf War and Suez (2005), The Cambridge Companion to Durkheim (with Jeffrey C. Alexander) (2005), and Punishment and Culture (2008).

Alexander Riley is Associate Professor of Sociology at Bucknell University. He is the author of Godless Intellectuals?: How Durkheimian Sociology and Poststructuralism Reinvented the Intellectual Pursuit of the Sacred (2008).

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Table of Contents

Introduction What is culture? : what is cultural theory? 1

1 Culture in classical social theory 6

2 Culture and social integration in the work of Talcott Parsons 26

3 Culture as ideology in Western Marxism 34

4 Culture as action in symbolic interactionism, phenomenology, and ethnomethodology 54

5 The Durkheimians : ritual, classification, and the sacred 69

6 Structuralism and the semiotic analysis of culture 92

7 The poststructural turn 111

8 Culture, structure, and agency : three attempts at synthesis 128

9 British cultural studies 144

10 The production and reception of culture 158

11 Culture as text : narrative and hermeneutics 176

12 Psychoanalytic approaches to culture and the self 195

13 The cultural analysis of postmodernism and postmodernity 207

14 Postmodern and poststructural critical theory 228

15 Cultural theories of race and gender 241

16 The body in cultural theory 262

References 280

Index 296

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2012

    If you need an overall intro to cultural theory, start here!

    Concise intelligible summaries on theoreticians, thinkers and philosophers who've been formative in today's fields of cultural studies and cultural theory. Easy-to-read straight through or just choosing selections, this introduction will give you a basic summary and shares sources throughout of where to look for more information on the topics. The book didn't get too heavy or pedantic, as many theory-driven books are wont to be.

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