Culture

Floating market, Bangkok, Thailand

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.

News related to Culture

Michele Lamont stands in front of a lecturn

Lamont Presidential Lecture out in American Sociological Review

June 10, 2018

Michèle Lamont, Robert I. Goldman Professor of European Studies, Professor of Sociology and of African and African American Studies, served as the 108th president of the American Sociological Association in 2016-17. Her term took an unexpected turn with the election of Donald Trump in November 2016: it befell on her to take a leadership role in defending the professional interests of sociologists and the conditions for academic freedom.... Read more about Lamont Presidential Lecture out in American Sociological Review

Making Sense of a Perplexing Country and an unwieldy Subject: Studies in the sociology of development and of modern-day trafficking and slavery

Making Sense of a Perplexing Country and an unwieldy Subject: Studies in the sociology of development and of modern-day trafficking and slavery

March 1, 2018

The Confounding Island: Institutions, Culture and Mis-Development in Post-Colonial Jamaica was just delivered to the press by Professor Orlando Patterson. This book examines one of the world’s most perplexing societies. Famous for the spectacular successes of its athletes and musicians, its vibrant democracy, and its religiosity, Jamaica is equally infamous for being among the world’s most violent places.... Read more about Making Sense of a Perplexing Country and an unwieldy Subject: Studies in the sociology of development and of modern-day trafficking and slavery

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