Contemporary political sociology : globalization, politics, by Kate Nash

By Kate Nash

This absolutely revised and up to date creation to political sociology comprises the burgeoning literature on globalization and indicates how modern politics is associated with cultural concerns, social constitution and democratizing social action.

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We will draw on some of the insights of this program later in the chapter to develop the theoretical framework for analyzing cultural politics. In terms of political sociology, however, The Civil Sphere, whilst it brilliantly updates Durkheim’s work for the twenty-first century, also shares some of the difficulties of that work with regard to politics. Changing Definitions of Politics and Power 19 Alexander’s theorization of The Civil Sphere does not neglect political agents. There is nothing necessary or functional about the expansion of the cultural codes of the civil sphere to include those persons and situations previously excluded.

The word “brown” does not simply label objects that are already given; it constructs “brown” things as different from gray, orange, red, and so on (Culler, 1976: 246). Furthermore, it is entirely possible to imagine a world in which such “brown” things were not distinguished at all. They are only meaningful for us because we have learned through social interactions with others to recognize them in this way. Meaning structures the world for us, then, through classifications; it exists only for us insofar as we make distinctions that have value and interest to us, and we are continually learning how others make and use socially relevant classifications.

To show him or her nothing but brown objects would be useless; he or she would have to learn to distinguish brown from other colors. The word “brown” does not simply label objects that are already given; it constructs “brown” things as different from gray, orange, red, and so on (Culler, 1976: 246). Furthermore, it is entirely possible to imagine a world in which such “brown” things were not distinguished at all. They are only meaningful for us because we have learned through social interactions with others to recognize them in this way.

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