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Cultural Theory: An Introduction, 2nd Edition

ISBN: 978-1-4443-5890-2
320 pages
September 2011, Wiley-Blackwell
Cultural Theory: An Introduction, 2nd Edition (1444358901) cover image
This second edition of Cultural Theory provides a concise introduction to cultural theory, placing major figures, traditional concepts, and contemporary themes within a sharp conceptual framework.
  • Provides a student-friendly introduction to what can often be a complex field of study
  • Updates the first edition in response to reader feedback and to the changing nature of the field
  • Includes additional coverage of theorists from the classical period to include Nietzsche and DuBois
  • Introduces entirely new chapters on race and gender theory, and the body
  • Considers themes that have become more important in theoretical activity in recent years such as computers and virtual reality, cosmopolitanism, and performance theory
  • Draws on theories and theorists from continental Europe as well as the English-speaking world
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Preface to the First Edition: About this Book.

Preface to the Second Edition.

Acknowledgments.

Introduction: What is Culture? What is Cultural Theory?

1 Culture in Classical Social Theory.

2 Culture and Social Integration in the Work of Talcott Parsons.

3 Culture as Ideology in Western Marxism.

4 Culture as Action in Symbolic Interactionism, Phenomenology, and Ethnomethodology.

5 The Durkheimians: Ritual, Classification, and the Sacred.

6 Structuralism and the Semiotic Analysis of Culture.

7 The Poststructural Turn.

8 Culture, Structure, and Agency: Three Attempts at Synthesis.

9 British Cultural Studies.

10 The Production and Reception of Culture.

11 Culture as Text: Narrative and Hermeneutics.

12 Psychoanalytic Approaches to Culture and the Self.

13 The Cultural Analysis of Postmodernism and Postmodernity.

14 Postmodern and Poststructural Critical Theory.

15 Cultural Theories of Race and Gender.

16 The Body in Cultural Theory.

References.

Index.

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Philip Smith is Associate Professor of Sociology at Yale University and Deputy Director of the Yale Center for Cultural Sociology. His books include Cultural Theory: An Introduction (Blackwell, 2001), Why War? The Cultural Logic of Iraq, the Gulf War and Suez (2005), The Cambridge Companion to Durkheim (with Jeffrey C. Alexander) (2005), and Punishment and Culture (2008).

Alexander Riley is Associate Professor of Sociology at Bucknell University. He is the author of Godless Intellectuals?: How Durkheimian Sociology and Poststructuralism Reinvented the Intellectual Pursuit of the Sacred (2008).

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Introduces entirely new chapters on race and gender theory, and the body. Other new material includes treatments of thinkers such as Nietzsche, DuBois, and Eagleton, and considers important contemporary themes, including virtual reality and cosmopolitanism.
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  • Provides a student-friendly introduction to what can often be a complex field of study
  • Updates the first edition in response to reader feedback and to the changing nature of the field
  • Includes additional coverage of theorists from the classical period to include Nietzsche and DuBois
  • Introduces entirely new chapters on race and gender theory, and the body
  • Considers themes that have become more important in theoretical activity in recent years such as computers and virtual reality, cosmopolitanism, and performance theory.
  • Draws on theories and theorists from continental Europe as well as the English-speaking world.
See More
"Highly recommended to anyone interested in acquiring a theoretical basis on which to systematize their knowledge of cultural theory. Indeed, the authors manage to make the complex simple enough to understand without oversimplifying." (Discourse Studies, 2010)

“Presenting such a wide-ranging and multifarious set of ideas in a coherent manner constitutes a very considerable achievement. The book offers anyone interested in cultural theory a broad conspectus—provided of course it is read as a whole.” (Metapsychology Online Reviews, February 2009)

"For those stalking culture, you'd best set out with this mapping of the terrain."
Roger Friedland, University of California, Santa Barbara

"The second edition of Cultural Theory provides a clear, lively, and timely introduction to leading thinkers and their ideas. Its lucid writing and comprehensive scope is of great value to students and scholars seeking to understand the field of cultural theory."
Robin Wagner-Pacifici, Swarthmore College

"Bringing alive a subject as broad as cultural sociology is difficult, but this fresh edition succeeds brilliantly. Books about theory are usually less than exciting, let alone inspiring, but this book glows and absorbs as it informs. I have depended on it for years, cannot do without it, and, given the growth of cultural theory, I cannot see how anyone else can."
Barry Schwartz, University of Georgia

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