SOC571 Introduction to Cultural Sociology

Faculty of Social Studies
Autumn 2017
Extent and Intensity
1/1/0. 10 credit(s). Type of Completion: zk (examination).
doc. Bernadette Nadya Jaworsky, Ph.D. (lecturer)
Mgr. Ivana Rapošová (assistant)
doc. PhDr. Ing. Radim Marada, Ph.D.
Department of Sociology - Faculty of Social Studies
Contact Person: Ing. Soňa Enenkelová
Supplier department: Department of Sociology - Faculty of Social Studies
Wed 20. 9. 11:30–13:00 U34, Wed 27. 9. 11:30–13:00 U34, Wed 4. 10. 11:30–13:00 U34, Wed 11. 10. 11:30–13:00 U34, Wed 18. 10. 11:30–13:00 U34, Wed 1. 11. 11:30–13:00 U34, Wed 8. 11. 11:30–13:00 U34, Wed 15. 11. 11:30–13:00 U34, Wed 22. 11. 11:30–13:00 U34, Wed 29. 11. 11:30–13:00 U34, Wed 6. 12. 11:30–13:00 U34, Wed 13. 12. 11:30–13:00 U34
Course Enrolment Limitations
The course is only offered to the students of the study fields the course is directly associated with.

The capacity limit for the course is 25 student(s).
Current registration and enrolment status: enrolled: 8/25, only registered: 0/25
Fields of study the course is directly associated with
Course objectives
The course presents cultural sociology as a specific analytical perspective or paradigm: as a sociological (sub-)discipline which differs from other analytical perspectives in sociology and social sciences by a particular methodological standpoint rather than by a specific subject of study. Broadly speaking, to approach the world in the perspective of cultural sociology is to take meaning as a basic social fact and to understand the social actor as a homo interpretans. These are the most general parameters that will lead our discussions of the selected topics and texts. And it is exactly the understanding of cultural sociology as a method of inquiry that makes it possible to speak about it as a sociological (sub-)discipline rather than a specific field of study. The method makes us sensitive to the social and historical impact of the relatively autonomous world of meanings, it brings under attention the cultural aspects and background of social practices, material objects, institutional arrangements, behavioral inclinations, etc.
Learning outcomes
By the end of the semester, students should be able to:
Compare and contrast different sociological approaches to the study of culture
Review and analyze patterns of historical change in the meanings of culture as a theoretical concept
Recognize, define and discuss the debates concerning the sociological sub-disciplines of “cultural sociology” vs. “sociology of culture”
Apply a sociological lens for analysis of cultural phenomena in various social spheres, including the state, the economy, the family, education, religion, urban space, and civil society
Critically reflect about their own cultural experiences in light of sociological and historical data
To cultivate research proficiency and expertise by undertaking a semester-long research paper that involves primary sociological texts, the incorporation of a strong thesis and multiple drafts
  • CHECK THE ACTUAL SYLLABUS FOR THE GIVEN SEMESTER In the first part we will discuss the theoretical background of cultural sociology (the structural-hermeneutics, Durkheimian sociology, phenomenology, hermeneutics, structuralism, etc.) and in the second part we will move to particular cases where we will connect theory with everyday life experiences.
  • Class schedule:
  • 1.Introduction to the course
  • 2.Cultural sociology as a new paradigm in social sciences
  • 3.Culture in classical social theory
  • 4.The Durkheimians - Ritual, Classification and the Sacred
  • 5.Structuralism and the Semiotic Analysis of Culture
  • 6.Culture as text
  • 7.Reading week, no class
  • 8.Social Performance
  • 9.Materiality, iconicity, collective memory
  • 10.Race, gender and the Body
  • 11.Classification and binary codes
  • 12."Weak" programs
  • 13.Students’ presentations
  • See the course sylabus in the IS
  • The Oxford handbook of cultural sociology. Edited by Jeffrey C. Alexander - Ronald N. Jacobs - Philip Smith. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012. xix, 818. ISBN 9780195377767. info
  • INGLIS, David. Culture and everyday life. 1st ed. New York, NY: Routledge, 2005. x, 159. ISBN 0415319269. info
  • ALEXANDER, Jeffrey C. The meanings of social life : a cultural sociology. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003. 296 p. ISBN 9780195306408. info
  • Cultural sociology. Edited by Lyn Spillman. 1st pub. Malden: Blackwell Publishers, 2002. xiv, 369 s. ISBN 0-631-21653-7. info
  • EDLES, Laura Desfor. Cultural sociology in practice. 1st pub. Malden: Blackwell Publishers, 2002. ix, 265 s. ISBN 0-631-21090-3. info
  • DURKHEIM, Émile. The elementary forms of religious life. Edited by Mark S. Cladis - Carol Cosman. 1st pub. Oxford: Oxford university press, 2001. xli, 358. ISBN 9780199540129. info
Teaching methods
1. Regular Attendance and active participation in seminar discussions (“Even to have expressed a false thought boldly and clearly is already to have gained a great deal.” Ludwig Wittgenstein)
2. Short (1-page) weekly discussion papers (The papers should be a reaction/critical engagement rather than a simple summary of the readings assigned for the week. You should focus on the questions you want to ask in the class, or point to gaps and conflicts in one or more readings.) You will only get credit for the discussion paper if you show up and talk in class.
3. Oral presentation and discussion leadership
4. Written final exam (5 essay questions to be answered outside of class)
5. Final essay (topic of student’s choice in consultation with instructor; 3,000-4,000 words; approximately 10-13 double-spaced pages in Times New Roman, 12-font)
Assessment methods
Particular activities of students will be evaluated as follows:

25% - reading, discussion papers and class participation
15% - oral presentation/discussion leadership
25% - written exam
35% - research essay
Language of instruction
Further comments (probably available only in Czech)
Study Materials
The course is taught annually.
General note: Předmět je určen přednostně pro studenty magisterských studijních programů Cultural Sociology.
The course is also listed under the following terms Spring 2013, Autumn 2013, Autumn 2014, Autumn 2015, Autumn 2016.
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