The sociological experience of cultural objects

Authored by: Robin Wagner-Pacifici

Routledge Handbook of Cultural Sociology

Print publication date:  October  2018
Online publication date:  November  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138288621
eBook ISBN: 9781315267784
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315267784-12

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Abstract

Cultural sociologists should aim to understand their objects of analysis from the inside-out as well as the outside-in. Knowing the inner workings of cultural objects provides access to their meanings and their social resonance. Cultural objects both reflect and model social reality and thus affect human experience of the world. This chapter thus considers several choices about method and purpose confronting cultural sociologists – preoccupation with content or preoccupation with context; coming in close or keeping a distance from the objects of analysis; and utilizing methods and theories developed primarily in the humanities or those developed primarily in the social and natural sciences. Ultimately, it is argued that cultural sociologists can actually sustain alternating visions – those of revelation at the level of social structure and those of revelation at the level of being in time – as they work to transform discussions of revelation into analyses of social and political meaning, and often, power.

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