The interest in studying culture empirically has been growing dramatically within the discipline, and Harvard has emerged as a leading center for cultural sociology. In their respective work, faculty are concerned with interpretation, explanation, research design, and methodology. To gain purchase on the production and reproduction of social processes in which meaning-making is central and where culture is both causal agent and adaptive force, we study a wide range of practices and institutions, including racial identity, poverty and inequality, collective memory, symbolic boundaries, cultural capital, class culture, disciplinary cultures, evaluation, nationalism, colonialism, economic change, slavery, trafficking, freedom, popular and black youth cultures, sports, transnationalism, networks, and cognition. Our theoretical orientations are diverse and inclusive, ranging from pragmatist views of culture as dynamic and contextual practices to structural notions of culture as durable norms and values.
The department sponsors the Cultural and Social Analysis Workshop.