Traditionally social science treated culture as a peripheral issue, but the last twenty years have witnessed a cultural turn throughout the social sciences. Culture is now at the core of debate. Culture and Economy After the Cultural Turn examines the impact of the cultural turn for the social sciences in relation to the decline of interest in economic aspects of society. It presents a number of responses to the changing relationship between culture and economy, and to the way in which the cultural turn has sought to understand it.
Chapter 8: Social Differentiation, Transgression and the Politics of Irony
Social Differentiation, Transgression and the Politics of Irony
This discussion aims to place debates about culture, economy and politics in the context of sociological theories of social differentiation.1 I argue that some adherents to the culturalization thesis, along with some postmodernists, in effect suggest that contemporary societies are undergoing a process of de-differentiation. However, this claim requires close examination. I will suggest that modern societies operate with relatively stable boundaries between discrete subsystems which are defined according to specific criteria of relevance. However, these are open to transgressions, that constitute major fault lines in contemporary societies. Many social movements are concerned either to challenge existing boundaries or to defend them, and the act of transgression can write new ...