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Richard Dawkins as a public intellectual after The God Delusion: A British study

Richard Dawkins as a public intellectual after The God Delusion: A British study This article informs sociology of intellectuals through a case study of Richard Dawkins’ public reputation after the publication of The God Delusion. It uses positioning theory and cultural sociology’s distinction between traditional intellectuals and media intellectuals to argue that Dawkins’ self-positioning was inherently constrained by subsequent positioning by media intellectuals, and that the latter is more important than the former in setting Dawkins’ divisive reputation in public discourse. In particular, this article highlights five positioning techniques that are instrumental in constructing Dawkins’ reputation: (i) labeling and packaging of ‘militant atheism’ and ‘New Atheism’; (ii) positioning of allies and opponents; (iii) positioning with cultural values; (iv) positioning with the civil sphere; and (v) positioning of Dawkins’ intellectual authority. The article ends with questions and suggestions for pursuing a more culturally sensitive sociology of intellectuals. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png American Journal of Cultural Sociology Springer Journals

Richard Dawkins as a public intellectual after The God Delusion: A British study

American Journal of Cultural Sociology , Volume 2 (3) – Sep 2, 2014

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2014 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.2014.7
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This article informs sociology of intellectuals through a case study of Richard Dawkins’ public reputation after the publication of The God Delusion. It uses positioning theory and cultural sociology’s distinction between traditional intellectuals and media intellectuals to argue that Dawkins’ self-positioning was inherently constrained by subsequent positioning by media intellectuals, and that the latter is more important than the former in setting Dawkins’ divisive reputation in public discourse. In particular, this article highlights five positioning techniques that are instrumental in constructing Dawkins’ reputation: (i) labeling and packaging of ‘militant atheism’ and ‘New Atheism’; (ii) positioning of allies and opponents; (iii) positioning with cultural values; (iv) positioning with the civil sphere; and (v) positioning of Dawkins’ intellectual authority. The article ends with questions and suggestions for pursuing a more culturally sensitive sociology of intellectuals.

Journal

American Journal of Cultural SociologySpringer Journals

Published: Sep 2, 2014

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