What is the cultural approach to sociology? Although there are many paths to understanding society, all branches of sociology integrate meaning. A cultural approach requires an intellectual sensitivity toward meaning, a way of putting emphasis on the human experience. Whether studying race and ethnicity or the sociology of economics, each realm of human activities studied by social scientists is cultural.
Taking this meaning-centered approach, the editors of this special volume of The ANNALS have gathered a diverse group of culture-minded sociologists, whose work encompasses a wide spectrum of topics from the study of large institutions, such as the economy and the legal system, to small group interactions. The editors highlight the common cultural thread that runs through a wide repertoire of areas such as the arts, pop culture, organization, education, race and ethnicity, sexuality, science and technology, social inequalities, sociology of law, economic sociology, and microsociology.
Each of the authors featured in this issue studies a different subfield of the discipline. Yet collectively, these diverse papers clearly demonstrate the constant interplay between culture and society and how the cultural approach has been a highly productive perspective informing empirical research – throughout all of the branches of sociology.
In addition to pointing up the pervasiveness of meaning throughout the discipline, this collaborative collection includes the following themes:
· Culture implicated in the exercise of power
· The constitutive role of culture
· Recent empirical sociological research that positions culture both as an orientation and a subject matter in the context of American Sociology
Students and scholars of all specialty subjects will find this synergetic volume of The ANNALS offers a unique collaborative approach and a clearer understanding of how to use culture in different sociological subfields – especially in the translation from the intellectual background of one subfield to another.