The cultural turn

Language, globalization, and media

Authored by: Mark Poster

Routledge Handbook of Cultural Sociology

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

Print ISBN: 9781138288621
eBook ISBN: 9781315267784
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315267784-6

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Abstract

Already in 1976, Daniel Bell discerned new cultural dangers, threats, and disruptive forces. Bell was right to perceive a change in culture, but the change has to do with broadly poststructural intellectual and postmodern social developments. Three interrelated trends are important. The linguistic turn conceives the individual as constituted by language, implying a new cultural understanding of the individual in society. Globalization’s persistent and massive crossing of cultures disrupts the local stability of any one culture. New media transform the process of the cultural constitution of the self in language and the dynamics of globalization, altering the relation of humans to objects in the world. The issue of media and self-constitution places the Western figure of the individual into historical question. Unless we understand how the self in the West is constituted by discourses and practices, we inevitably naturalize and universalize that self and consequently approach the context of globalization and multiple cultures with serious handicaps. In order to contribute to an understanding of our global, postmodern condition and clarify the important political matters that confront us, the sociology of culture must explore how information machines are implicated in the question of self-constitution.

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