The meanings of social life : a cultural sociology (Book, 2003) []
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The meanings of social life : a cultural sociology

The meanings of social life : a cultural sociology

Author: Jeffrey C Alexander
Publisher: New York : Oxford University Press, 2003.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
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Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Jeffrey C Alexander
ISBN: 0195160843 9780195160840
OCLC Number: 213910138
Description: x, 296 pages ; 24 cm
Contents: Introduction: The meanings of (social) life : on the origins of a cultural sociology --
1. The strong program in cultural sociology : elements of a structural hermeneutics / with Philip Smith --
2. On the social construction of "moral universals" : the "Holocaust" from war crime to trauma drama --
3. Cultural trauma and collective idenitity --
4. A cultural sociology of evil --
5. The discourse of American civil society / with Philip Smith --
6. Watergate as democratic ritual --
7. The sacred and profane information machine --
8. Modern, anti, post, and neo : how intellectuals explain "our time."
Responsibility: Jeffrey C. Alexander.



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 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.


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