Practicing Culture seeks to revitalize the field of cultural sociology with an emphasis not on abstract theoretical debates but on showing how to put theoretical sources to work in empirical research. Culture is not just products and representations but practices. It is made and remade in countless small ways and occasional bursts of innovation. It is something people do – and do in rich variety and distinctive contexts as engaging case studies from the book reveal. For example:
- in Russia’s most Western city, Kaliningrad, residents dig for artifacts symbolizing a German past – even though their parents only migrated to what was once Konigsberg after WWII
- in the USA, fans of professional wrestling pride themselves on being smart enough to know how much is trickery and how the tricks work yet still believe in the contest.
Practicing Culture will reshape and invigorate the sociology of culture, not only through internal development, but through enhanced connections to the interdisciplinary social theory and to related fields like the sociology of knowledge and ethnography. It will prove an essential tool for students and researchers of cultural theory, contemporary social theory and cultural sociology.
Table of Contents
Introduction Craig Calhoun and Richard Sennett 1. 'We Have Never Been German': The Economy of Digging in Russian Kaliningrad Olga Sezneva 2. Practicing Poetry: A Career Without a Job Ailsa Craig 3. Hot Glass: The Calorific Imagination of Practice in Glassblowing Erin O’Connor 4. State Power as Field Work: Culture and Practice in the French Survey of Historic Landmarks Alexandra Kowalski 5. New and Improved Nations: Branding National Identity Melissa Aronczyk 6. Facts in the City: How London Accountants Simplify Decisions Matthew Gill 7. Managing Doubt: Professional Wrestling Jargon and the Making of 'Smart Fans' Marion Wrenn 8. Beauty at the Gallery: Sentimental Education and Operatic Community in Contemporary Buenos Aires Claudio Benzecry 9. The Erotic Life of Electric Hair Clippers: A Social History Alton Phillips 10. Practicing Authorship: The Case of Brecht’s Plays Monika Krause
Craig Calhoun is University Professor of Social Science at New York University and President of the Social Science Research Council.
Richard Sennett is Professor of Sociology and Chair of the Cities Programme at the London School of Economics and is University Professor of the Humanities at New York University.