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The Meanings of Social Life

Jeffrey C. Alexander

Published in print October 2003 | ISBN: 9780195160840
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199944156 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195160840.001.0001
The Meanings of Social Life

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This book presents a new approach to how culture works in contemporary societies. Exposing our everyday myths and narratives in a series of empirical studies that range from Watergate to the Holocaust, it shows how these unseen yet potent cultural structures translate into concrete actions and institutions. Only when these deep patterns of meaning are revealed, it argues, can we understand the stubborn staying power of violence and degradation, but also the steady persistence of hope. By understanding the darker structures that restrict our imagination, we can seek to transform them. By recognizing the culture structures that sustain hope, we can allow our idealistic imaginations to gain more traction in the world.

Keywords: culture; contemporary societies; Watergate; Holocaust; cultural structures; actions; institutions

Book.  306 pages. 

Subjects: Sociology

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Table of Contents

The meanings of (social) life in The Meanings of Social Life

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The Strong Program In Cultural Sociology in The Meanings of Social Life

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Cultural Trauma and Collective Identity in The Meanings of Social Life

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A Cultural Sociology of Evil in The Meanings of Social Life

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The Discourse of American Civil Society in The Meanings of Social Life

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Watergate as Democratic Ritual in The Meanings of Social Life

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Modern, Anti, Post, and Neo in The Meanings of Social Life

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