Cultural Theory and the Problem of Modernity by Alan Swingewood

By Alan Swingewood

This ebook presents a complete account of alternative sociological theories of tradition. analyzing and evaluating Marxist contributions from Gramsci, the Frankfurt university and Raymond Williams with the paintings of Weber, Durkheim, Simmel and Parsons, the writer in flip contrasts those contributions with modern cultural conception. ideas and theories of tradition similar to hegemony, strength box and cultural materialism are mentioned, and the paintings of Habermas, Bourdieu, Bakhtin, Jameson and Bell is tested seriously. the writer develops a sociological method of the examine and research of tradition that enables the complicated nature of social context to be taken under consideration. Arguing that cultural concept needs to both improve theories of organisation and self, he stories the ways in which either classical and modern sociological and Marxist theories have failed during this regard.

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Baxandall, 1988, p. 87) Rather than the development of autonomous, internally regulated spheres, this example suggests partly autonomous, overlapping structures (or fields) as the chief characteristic of cultural development. 30 Cultural Theory and the Problem of Modernity Although Weber's differentiation thesis is valuable for locating the autonomy principle at work within historical and cultural development, it tends to separate the independence of structure from its dependent relation on the broader social forces.

Coherent and rigorously systematic ideas replace the irrational, magical elements characteristic of pre-modernity (Weber, 1948, p. 328). Clearly Weber's cultural sociology challenged many of the basic assumptions of Marxist theory: the principle of differentiated, distinctive and unique spheres suggesting that the expansion of autonomy in relation to politics, culture, law and morality develops independently of direct class and economic interests. Weber emphasised that a systematic application of impersonal rules and regulations to the whole range of social life including architecture, mathematics, science and music was characteristic of Western culture.

At the German Sociological Association Conference (1910) devoted to the Theorising Culture: Weber, Simmel and Social Action 27 subject of 'Technology and Culture' he criticised all attempts to make direct links between aesthetic forms and technology. Rather, the links between aesthetic forms and culture were indirect, mediated by human experience and technology: But ... we ask whether modern technology does not stand in any relation to formal-aesthetic values; the answer in my opinion is undoubtedly affirmative.

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