Culture is increasingly important to American social science, but in what way? This book addresses the core issues of the sociology of culture-questions about the social role of meaning, along with those about the methods sociologists use to study culture and society-in a manner that makes clear their relevance to sociology as a whole. Part I consists of essays by leading cultural sociologists on how the turn to culture has changed the sociological study of organizations, economic action, and television, and concludes with Georgina Born's methodological statement on the sociology of art and cultural production. Part II contains a highly original, and at times heated, debate between Richard Biernacki and John H. Evans on the appropriateness of abstract and quantifiable coding schemes for the sociological study of culture. Ranging from the philosophy of science to the concrete, practical problems of interpreting masses of cultural data, the debate raises the controversy over the interpretation of culture and the explanation of social action to a new level of sophistication.
1 Culture as Object and Approach in Sociology Isaac Reed; Part I: Cultural Approaches to Society; 2 "A Special Camaraderie with Colleagues": Business Associations and Cultural Production for Economic Action Lyn Spillman; 3 Organization-Based Legitimacy: Core Ideologies and Moral Action Jerry Goodstein, Mary Blair-Loy, Amy Wharton; 4 Moral Regulation: Beyond Janet Jackson and "The Passion" Kenneth Thompson; 5 The Social and the Aesthetic: Methodological Principles in the Study of Cultural Production Georgina Born; Part II: On Abstraction and Interpretation: The Beirnacki-Evans Debate; 6 After Quantitative Cultural Sociology: Interpretive Science as a Calling Richard Biernacki; 7 Two Worlds in Cultural Sociology John H. Evans; 8 The Banality of Misrepresentation Richard Biernacki; 9 Impervious to Disconfirming Data John H. Evans; Lyn Spillman is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Notre Dame.; Mary Blair-Loy is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of California-San Diego.; Jerry Goodstein is Associate Professor of Management and Decision Sciences at Washington State University-Vancouver.; Kenneth Thompson is Professor of Sociology at the Open University, UK.; Georgina Born is Professor of Sociology, Anthropology, and Music at the University of Cambridge, UK.; Richard Biernacki is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of California-San Diego.; John H. Evans is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of California-San Diego.