The Meanings of Social Life: A Cultural Sociology

Paperback | January 4, 2007

byJeffrey C. Alexander

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In The Meanings of Social Life , Jeffrey Alexander presents a new approach to how culture works in contemporary societies. 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 culturalstructures 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 thatrestrict 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 bookconfirms Jeffrey Alexander's reputation as one of the major social theorists of our day.

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In The Meanings of Social Life , Jeffrey Alexander presents a new approach to how culture works in contemporary societies. 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 culturalstructures translate into concrete actions and in...

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

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:312 pages, 5.98 × 9.09 × 0.98 inPublished:January 4, 2007Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195306406

ISBN - 13:9780195306408

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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Meanings of (Social) Life: On the Origins of a Cultural Sociology1. The Strong Program in Cultural Sociology: Elements of a Structural Hermeneutics (with Phillip Smith)2. On the Social Construction of Moral Universals: The "Holocaust" from War Crime to Trauma Drama3. Cultural Trauma and Collective Identity4. A Cultural Sociology of Evil5. The Discourse of American Civil Society (with Phillip Smith)6. Watergate as Democratic Ritual7. The Sacred and Profane Information Machine8. Modern, Anti, Post, and Neo: How Intellectuals Explain "Our Time"NotesReferencesIndex

Editorial Reviews

"The theoretical outline at the beginning is only the introduction to a series of more concrete and often brilliant studies reaching from the Holocaust to Watergate, from cultural trauma and collective identity to a cultural sociology of the evil....All these studies are convincing examples ofthe connection of structuralism and hermeneutics."--American Journal of Sociology