Contesting culture

Bourdieu and the strong program in cultural sociology

Authored by: Marco Santoro , Marco Solaroli

Routledge International Handbook of the Sociology of Art and Culture

Print publication date:  September  2015
Online publication date:  September  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415855112
eBook ISBN: 9780203740248
Adobe ISBN: 9781135008895

10.4324/9780203740248.ch3

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Abstract

Notwithstanding Pierre Bourdieu’s profoundly influential oeuvre and globally recognized dominant status in the social sciences, the humanities and cultural studies (Santoro 2008a; 2011; Silva and Warde 2010), there can be no doubt whatsoever that the Bourdieusian theory has almost no currency in the ‘strong program’ (henceforth SP) in cultural sociology aggressively advanced by Jeffrey Alexander and his ‘school’ since the late nineties (see Alexander and Smith 1998, 2002, 2010; Alexander 2003; Alexander, Jacobs and Smith 2011a; Rodrigo, Carballo and Ossandón 2008). From an SP perspective, what previous programs (including Bourdieu’s) are lacking is a sense of culture as the deepest structure of social life, the inner engine of social action, and the constitutively meaningful dimension of society. Indeed, the claim of a strategic positioning of culture at the centre of the sociological enterprise of understanding human conduct and life lies at the core of the so-called ‘strong program’.

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