Meanings of Social Life: A Cultural Sociology

Paperback (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $8.37
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 66%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (13) from $8.37   
  • New (6) from $21.35   
  • Used (7) from $8.37   

Overview

Modern men and women go about their lives without really knowing why. Why do we work for such a long time every day? Why are we so obsessed with technology? Why do we continuously construct scandals? Why do we finish one war only to fight another?

If we had to explain these things, we would say "it just makes sense" or "it's necessary" or "it's what good (or bad) people do". But when we say that the war against terrorism is necessary and rational we use a rhetoric of good and evil, of friends and enemies, of honor, conscience, loyalty, of civilization and primeval chaos. These rhetorics rest on ideas and feelings, not just rational necessity, and they are of immense power and import.

These rhetorics are cultural structures. They are deeply constraining but also enabling at the same time. The problem is that we don't understand them. That is the task of this book.

In this pathbreaking work, Jeffrey Alexander argues for a cultural sociology that will bring these unconscious cultural structures into the broad light of day. Exposing our everyday myths and narratives in a series of empirical studies that range from Watergate to the Holocaust, he shows how these unseen yet potent cultural structures translate into concrete actions and institutions.

Only when these deep patterns of meaning are revealed, Alexander argues, can we understand the stubborn staying power of violence and degradation, but also the steady persistence of hope. By understanding the darker structures that restrict our imagination, we can seek to transform them. By recognizing the culture structures that sustain hope, we can allow our idealistic imaginations to gain more traction in the world.

A work that will transform the way that sociologists think about culture and the social world, this book confirms Jeffrey Alexander's reputation as one of the major social theorists of our day.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195306408
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 11/28/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 312
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeffrey C. Alexander is Lillian Chavenson Saden Professor of Sociology at Yale University, and co-Director of the Center for Cultural Sociology.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Meanings of (Social) Life: On the Origins of a Cultural Sociology 3
1 The Strong Program in Cultural Sociology: Elements of a Structural Hermeneutics (with Philip Smith) 11
2 On the Social Construction of Moral Universals: The "Holocaust" from War Crime to Trauma Drama 27
3 Cultural Trauma and Collective Identity 85
4 A Cultural Sociology of Evil 109
5 The Discourse of American Civil Society (with Philip Smith) 121
6 Watergate as Democratic Ritual 155
7 The Sacred and Profane Information Machine 179
8 Modern, Anti, Post, and Neo: How Intellectuals Explain "Our Time" 193
Notes 229
References 271
Index 293
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)