Cultural Sociology. July 2008, 2(2)

The BSA's journal for culture focuses in on Geertz, drawing from a 2007 symposium (thank Alexander, and the Yale strong-program scene).

Alexander opens things up by positioning Geertz as a portal for strong-program cultural sociology. Here Geertz is a bridge between the humanities and social science, grounding a confidently interpretational latter. (Even if the same old problems keep seeping through).

'Deep play (.pdf)' rears up in Smith's piece: an interesting reading of the cockfight piece linked up to a restatement of Yale cultural sociology's structuralism. Worth reading regardless of your thoughts on the strong-program.

How much 'thick description' adds up to an explanation? A quick run through the Salem witch trials (a soft example, one suspects) in the interests of a minimal/maximal interpretation dyad gets us there. Reed's key point: what's valid for 'cultural' factors should fly for other elements of action.

There's something distressingly inside-baseball about 'reconciling Geertz and Alexander' in a volume clearly directed by the latter. If you care how Alexander's thinking tracks against the shifts in Geertz's then look into Trondam's piece.

We exit Yale for the last two pieces. Beer follows Jarvis Cocker through some web 2.0 staples. Apparently the internet is changing the relation between musicians and audiences, and music is important to groups and identities. (To be fair, who knows when the first draft was penned...) He recommends you sign up for myspace.

Finally Danko brings a quick summary of the work of French sociologist Heinich, who's strong-program friendly take on art is more or less unknown in English.