The result of thirty-five years of thought and research on culture by one of the best and most literate writers in sociology, this wide-ranging review of the meaning and study of culture is Bennett Berger at his best. Drawing on his unsurpassed knowledge of the scholarly literature and on his wealth of personal experience, Berger reviews and synthesizes recent work in cultural sociology from a materialist perspective. An Essay on Culture culminates in a call for an empirical research program focused on the relation between symbolic choices and social locations, rather than on interpretive accounts of the meanings of texts or performances.
Among his unusual insights are a defense of reductionism, sympathetic accounts of peer pressure and special interests, an attempt to restore some dignity to the word “ideology,” and a fresh perspective on conspiracy theory.
Scholars and students of culture will find here stunning discussions and theoretical insights on ideological work, morality and culture, and on the relations between social structure and cultural structure.
This title is part of UC Press's Voices Revived program, which commemorates University of California Press’s mission to seek out and cultivate the brightest minds and give them voice, reach, and impact. Drawing on a backlist dating to 1893, Voices Revived makes high-quality, peer-reviewed scholarship accessible once again using print-on-demand technology. This title was originally published in 1995.