Iconic Power: Materiality and Meaning in Social Life

Overview

Iconic Power is a collection of original articles that explore social aspects of the phenomenon of icon. What counts as iconic in late modern society? How do icons work? What exactly makes an image, object, or person iconic? Why should we care about icons? These are among the central questions of this volume. From elite wine brands to popular music festivals, from the Berlin Wall to the Abu Ghraib scandal, the contributors to this volume discuss the cultural biographies of various iconic images and events. They ...

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Iconic Power: Materiality and Meaning in Social Life

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Overview

Iconic Power is a collection of original articles that explore social aspects of the phenomenon of icon. What counts as iconic in late modern society? How do icons work? What exactly makes an image, object, or person iconic? Why should we care about icons? These are among the central questions of this volume. From elite wine brands to popular music festivals, from the Berlin Wall to the Abu Ghraib scandal, the contributors to this volume discuss the cultural biographies of various iconic images and events. They show that icons seduce and shock, and that the iconosphere can represent at once the richness and the poverty of culture, its superficiality as well as its depth. Each contribution to this book carefully tests the analytic purchase and empirical implications of iconicity. If we can succeed in understanding the iconic, we will better understand our culture and we will significantly extend the scope of cultural sociology.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Iconic Power is the strongest theoretical statement to yet come out of the 'Strong Program' in Cultural Sociology. Arguably, more than any other trope, including those of ritual and performance, the concept of 'iconicity' promises to break free of the economistic, linguistic, and other kinds of reductionisms that plague the cultural sciences. This fine volume contains both theoretical expositions on how pictorial icons do their cultural work, as well as applied analyses of phenomena such as 9/11, images of famines, Woodstock and Bayreuth as 'iconic' events, expensive Australian red wines, and the political iconography of post-communist Eastern Europe. If cultural sociology is to have a vibrant future - and not repeat the mistakes of the past - then in Iconic Power practitioners have a handbook on how to approach the distinctive character of the visual and other non-discursive symbols." - Eduardo de la Fuente, Lecturer in Sociology, Flinders University of South Australia; Author, Twentieth Century Music and the Question of Modernity.

"Ranging in its coverage from the events of 9/11 to images of HIV, and from the revolutions of 1989 to cult wines, this book systematically unpacks the tremendous importance of icons in social life. Both a striking contribution to visual sociology and a powerful manifesto for new directions in cultural sociology, Iconic Power is fascinating reading for everyone interested in the seductive potency of iconography." - David Inglis, Head of the Sociology Department, University of Aberdeen, Scotland

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781137375964
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 12/11/2013
  • Series: Cultural Sociology Series
  • Pages: 276
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeffrey C. Alexander is the Lillian Chavenson Saden Professor of Sociology at Yale University. With Ron Eyerman, he is the Co-Director of the Center for Cultural Sociology (CCS). Dominik Maksymilian Bartmanski is a doctoral student at Yale University in the Sociology Department's Center for Cultural Sociology. Bernhard Giesen is a professor of Sociology and the Chair of the Department of Macrosociology at the Universität Konstanz in Germany.

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Table of Contents

1. Materiality and Meaning in Social Life: Toward an Iconic Turban in Cultural Sociology; D.Bartmanski and J.Alexander
PART I
2. Representation, Presentation, Presence: Tracing the Homo Pictor; G.Boehm
3. Iconic Power and Performance: the Role of the Critic; J.Alexander
PART II
4. Inconspicuous Revolutions of 1989. Culture and Contingency in The Making of Political Icons; D.Bartmanski
5. The Making of Humanitarian Visual Icons. On the 1921-1923 Russian Famine as Foundational Event; F.Kurasawa
6. Seeing Tragedy in the News Images of September 11; W.Bowler
7. The Emergence of Iconic Depth. Secular Icons in a Comparative Perspective; W.Binder
PART III
8. Shifting Extremism: On the Political Iconology in Post-socialist Serbia; D.҆uber and S.Karamanic
9. The Visualization of Uncertainty: HIV Statistics in Public Media; V.Rauer
10. How To Make an Iconic Commodity: The Case of Penfolds' Grange Wine; I.Woodward and D.Ellison
11. Becoming Iconic. The Cases of Woodstock and Bayreuth; P.Smith
PART IV
12. Body and Image; H.Belting
13. Iconic Difference and Seduction; B.Giesen
14. Iconic Rituals. Towards a Social Theory of Encountering Images; J.Sonnevend
15. Visible Meanings; P.Sztompka
Afterword; B.Giesen

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