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The Meanings of Social LifeA Cultural Sociology$
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Jeffrey C. Alexander

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780195160840

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195160840.001.0001

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The Strong Program In Cultural Sociology

The Strong Program In Cultural Sociology

Elements of a Structural Hermeneutics (with Philip Smith)

(p.11) 1 The Strong Program In Cultural Sociology
The Meanings of Social Life

Jeffrey C. Alexander

Philip Smith

Oxford University Press

This chapter evaluates the competing models or understandings of culture currently available to social theory using the concept of cultural autonomy. It highlights the fundamental flaws that characterize most of these models and proposes an alternative approach that can be broadly understood as a kind of structural hermeneutics. It explains that structuralism and hermeneutics can be made into fine bedfellows because the former offers possibilities for general theory construction, prediction, and assertions of the autonomy of culture while the latter allows analysis to capture the texture and temper of social life.

Keywords:   culture, social theory, cultural autonomy, structural hermeneutics, structuralism, theory construction, social life

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