Speaker - Jeffrey Alexander

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Jeffrey Alexander has played a pioneering role in the development of the ‘strong program’ of cultural sociology, which argues for the importance of taking seriously the role of cultural meaning in shaping social life. In particular, Alexander argues that societies are organised around symbolic representations of the sacred and the profane which have the power to shape political life and public identity, exploring these processes in cases ranging from public reactions to 9/11 and the changing meanings of the Holocaust.

More recently, he has developed a substantial argument that public life is constituted around a code of sacred and profane meanings which political actors, amongst others, must negotiate if they are to maintain public credibility and the moral authority to lead powerful public institutions (The Civil Sphere, 2006). In his most recent book (The Performance of Politics, 2010), he argues that it was the successful and unsuccessful attempts by political actors to present themselves in terms of these sacred codes that determined the outcome of the 2008 American Presidential election, rather than purely economic or demographic factors.

1 Program

Jeffrey Alexander & Gordon Lynch: The Power of the Sacred

10.18.11 | 00:19:41 min | 0 comments