Abstract This article discusses Jeffrey Alexander’s work on social performances. All societies, says Alexander, need a measure of integration—they need to be “fused”—for a common, properly social, life to be possible. In simple societies, this is achieved by means of rituals; in complex societies, it is achieved by means of the theater. In both cases, performances are understood in analogy with “texts” which are “read.” Although explicit interpretations indeed are crucial for our understanding of a performance, audience members make sense of what they see in more direct, more embodied, ways as well. Cognitive neuroscience can help us understand how performances affect us and thereby how societies are fused.
American Journal of Cultural Sociology – Springer Journals
Published: Apr 1, 2020
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