Meaning and Moral Order: Explorations in Cultural Analysis

Meaning and Moral Order: Explorations in Cultural Analysis

Meaning and Moral Order: Explorations in Cultural Analysis

Meaning and Moral Order: Explorations in Cultural Analysis

Synopsis

Meaning and Moral Order goes beyond classical, neoclassical, and poststructural theories of culture in its attempt to move away from problems of meaning to a more objective concept of culture. Innovative, controversial, challenging, it will compel scholars to rethink many of the assumptions on which the study of ideology, ritual, religion, science, and culture have been based.

Excerpt

In a previous volume (Cultural Analysis, 1984), several colleagues and I argued that some promising new directions in social scientific approaches to the study of culture were becoming evident. in surveying the work of four prominent theorists representing four quite different approaches— the American phenomenological sociology of Peter L. Berger, the British cultural anthropology of Mary Douglas, the French historical neostructuralism of Michel Foucault, and the German philosophical critical theory of Jürgen Habermas—we suggested that several potentially converging tendencies could be identified in current theories of culture. Among these were tendencies away from subjectivist conceptions of culture, toward more objectivist conceptions, toward innovative resolutions of the problem of sociological reductionisrn, and toward analyses of the internal relations and patterns among components of culture. These, we suggested, provided some hopeful signs for the analysis of culture to be placed on a more systematic empirical footing.

Reviewers of that volume took various stances toward our suggestions. Some agreed with us; others thought we had been overly pessimistic in suggesting a need for new directions in the study of culture; still others saw us as being overly optimistic and argued that the differences in the traditions we had surveyed were still far more interesting than any of the potential convergences we had sought to identify.

Some of these criticisms seemed more plausible than others. What we ourselves saw as the major limitation of that project was the need to put into practice some of the ideas that had been distilled. That is, only by at-

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.