Durkheimian cultural sociology and cultural studies.
Thesis Eleven, 79(1),
Alexander has made a major contribution to the development of a neo-Durkheimian cultural sociology. Two central elements have been: the semiotic analysis of sacred symbols and rituals that evoke the solidarity attached to the idealized nation; analysis of structures and processes that constitute a civil society. Some questions can be raised. The first concerns the tensions between ethnic-nationalisms and the kind of culture of civil society that is said to be congruent with the liberal-democratic state. Secondly, not all groups share the binary constructions of the civil code of liberal democracy. Thirdly, more attention needs to be given to the relationship between the rational public sphere and the spheres of entertainment and popular culture. Cultural studies of popular genre, such as television talk shows, reveal that, rather than exhibiting universal characteristics of liberal-democratic society, these public cultural performances reproduce the particularities of national differences.
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