Culture and micro-sociology

Authored by: Iddo Tavory

Routledge Handbook of Cultural Sociology

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

Print ISBN: 9781138288621
eBook ISBN: 9781315267784
Adobe ISBN:


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The chapter outlines some of the ways in which different research traditions have attempted to theorize the patterned way in which cultural meanings play into the micro-sociological context. Whereas situationist positions attend to meaning mostly in the process of its emergence, more dispositional approaches see meaning as being preformed, activated, or at most refracted in the situational context. I show how researchers have attempted to come to terms with these tensions through accounts of “layering” and “leveraging” – the first attentive to the iterative sedimentation of meaning, the latter focused on the pragmatic use of meaning in particular problem contexts. I then argue that while these strategies are important, micro-sociologists and others have by and large ignored the importance of thinking inter-situationally: placing the situation not in an abstract macro-context of meaning, but in relation to the rhythms and expectations of social life. I show how recent work overcomes this problem, and how cherished aspects of micro-sociology must be rethought in the process.

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