The Strong Program

Origins, achievements, and prospects

Authored by: Jeffrey C. Alexander , Philip Smith

Handbook of Cultural Sociology

Print publication date:  July  2010
Online publication date:  September  2010

Print ISBN: 9780415474450
eBook ISBN: 9780203891377
Adobe ISBN: 9781134026159


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The Strong Program is the most controversial advocate of the cultural turn in sociology. It is the least apologetic and ambiguous, the most transparent and ambitious. Yet, while proclaiming “without fear” that meaning really does count, the Strong Program is more than simply a powerful provocation. It is also a research program, along with a set of transposable modules—models, methods, and conceptual tools—that taken separately or together allow interpretation and explanation of the social world. With these it has relentlessly made the case for a switch from the “sociology of culture” towards a truly “cultural sociology.”

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