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Editorial

Editorial American Journal of Cultural Sociology (2013) 1, 1–2. doi:10.1057/ajcs.2012.6 From modernity’s onset, social theorists have been announcing the death of meaning, at the hands of market forces, impersonal power, scientific expertise, and the pervasive forces of rationalization and industrialization. Yet, cultural structures and processes have proved surprisingly resilient. Relatively autonomous patterns of meaning – sweeping narratives and dividing codes, redolent if elusive symbols, fervent demands for purity and cringing fears of pollution – continue to exert extraordinary effects on action and institutions. They affect structures of inequality, racism and marginality, gender and sexuality, crime and punishment, social movements, market success and citizen incorporation. New and old new media project continuous symbolic reconstructions of private and public life. As contemporary sociology registered the continuing robustness of cultural power, the new discipline of cultural sociology was born. How should these complex cultural processes be conceptualized? What are the best empirical ways to study social meaning? Even as debates rage around these field-specific theoretical and methodological questions, a broadly cultural sensibility has spread into every arena of sociological study, illuminating how struggles over meaning affect the most disparate processes of contemporary social life. Bringing together the best of these studies and debates, http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png American Journal of Cultural Sociology Springer Journals

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2013 by Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd
Subject
Social Sciences; Social Sciences, general; Sociology, general; Sociology of Culture; Media Sociology
ISSN
2049-7113
eISSN
2049-7121
DOI
10.1057/ajcs.2012.6
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

American Journal of Cultural Sociology (2013) 1, 1–2. doi:10.1057/ajcs.2012.6 From modernity’s onset, social theorists have been announcing the death of meaning, at the hands of market forces, impersonal power, scientific expertise, and the pervasive forces of rationalization and industrialization. Yet, cultural structures and processes have proved surprisingly resilient. Relatively autonomous patterns of meaning – sweeping narratives and dividing codes, redolent if elusive symbols, fervent demands for purity and cringing fears of pollution – continue to exert extraordinary effects on action and institutions. They affect structures of inequality, racism and marginality, gender and sexuality, crime and punishment, social movements, market success and citizen incorporation. New and old new media project continuous symbolic reconstructions of private and public life. As contemporary sociology registered the continuing robustness of cultural power, the new discipline of cultural sociology was born. How should these complex cultural processes be conceptualized? What are the best empirical ways to study social meaning? Even as debates rage around these field-specific theoretical and methodological questions, a broadly cultural sensibility has spread into every arena of sociological study, illuminating how struggles over meaning affect the most disparate processes of contemporary social life. Bringing together the best of these studies and debates,

Journal

American Journal of Cultural SociologySpringer Journals

Published: Feb 12, 2013

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