2015 ASA’s Sociology of Culture Program

MONDAY, August 24

8:30 to 10:10am, location TBA

The Materiality of Culture?

This session is composed of papers that critically reflect on recent advances that challenge purely discursive or ideational conceptions of culture.

Organizer: Gianpaolo Baiocchi, NYU


10:30am to 12:10pm, location TBA


Papers in that session investigate different aspects of what is considered “normal” –ways of feeling, thinking, and acting— and/or ponder how this elusive yet central concept in sociology is approached in different sociological traditions (e.g. in studies of social deviance, taken-for-grantedness, and unmarkedness).

Organizer: Eviatar Zerubavel


2:30 to 4:10pm, location TBA

Art, Money, and Meaning (Co-sponsored with Section on Consumption)

Why do some artworks fetch millions while others languish in obscurity? What gets classified as “art” for purposes of (e)valuation, and how? Cultural and economic sociologists have addressed these questions with a variety of methods and data, yet rarely in conversation with each other. How does an artwork’s price relate to its broader (symbolic/political/historical) meaning? Can the differing tools of formal analysis (art historical vs. econometric) speak to each other?

Organizer: Fiona Rose-Greenland, University of Chicago


4:30 to 6:10pm, TBA

Culture and (In)security in the 21st Century

Terrorism, extended military engagements, torture, “natural” disasters, school shootings, police brutality, financial bubbles and epidemics have turned security into an issue of constant reflection. How is this affected by 24/7 access to mass/social media? Is it generating changes in discourses of community and otherness? How is it confronted in cultural practices such as “open carry,” racial, religious and ethnic profiling, organic gardening, yoga or vampire movies?

Organizer: David Smilde, Tulane University


TUESDAY, Aug. 25

8:30 to 10:10am, TBA

Invited Panel I: Culture and its Intersections

Cultural sociology has matured to the point where debates are no longer about whether culture matters, but about how to best conceptualize and measure the ways in which culture does matter. Part of what explains cultural sociology’s richness is its borrowings from other disciplines, such as anthropology, religious studies, neuroscience or economics. This panel explores the next frontier in the field, scrutinizing the most promising intersections.

Organizer and Presider: Geneviève Zubrzycki, University of Michigan


Karin Knorr (University of Chicago) “What has Cultural Sociology (not) Learned from the Sciences?”

Fernando Dominguez Rubio (UCSD) “Materials for cultural sociology”

Mustafa Emirbayer (University of Wisconsin) “Self-Negation.”

Robin Wagner-Pacifici (New School of Social Research) “Cultural Sociological Intersections and Informings: Art, Literature, Philosophy”

Discussant: Claudio Benzecry, UConn


10:30am to 12:10pm, location TBA


Table 1            Consumer Studies Network

Table 2            Material Culture Network

Table 3            Levels of Culture

Table 4            Arts and Politics

Table 5            Collective Memory

Table 6            Cultural Capital I

Table 7            Symbolic Boundaries

Table 8            Culture and Politics

Table 9            Cultural Capital II

Table 10          Identity and the Life Course

Table 11          Cultural Producers and Professionals

Table 12          Space and Place

Table 13          Theory I

Table 14          Theory II

Table 15          Gender and Sexuality

Table 16          Migration and Identity

Table 17          Cultural Genres

Table 18          Status and Hierarchies

Table 19          Production of Culture 1

Table 20          Production of Culture II

 Organizers:   Lauren Rivera, Northwestern University and Michael Stambolis, Berkeley

12:30 to 1:30pm, location TBA

Soc of Culture Graduate Student Professionalization Workshop: Writing Strategies with Eviatar Zerubavel


1:30 to 2:10pm, location TBA

Section Business meeting


2:30 to 4:10pm, location TBA

Invited Panel II: Sources of Cultural Power

The dominant paradigm for understanding cultural power is the “cultural arbitrary,” the idea that a sign receives its meaning from its relationship to other signs in a symbolic structure. Pragmatism, critical realism, embodied realism and materiality studies argue instead that symbols and objects have a substantive meaning. Do these approaches represent a new understanding of cultural power, or do they point to processes that are themselves constructed by arbitrary symbols?

Organizer: Geneviève Zubrzycki, University of Michigan

Presider: David Smilde, Tulane University


Virag Molnar (New School of Social Research) “The Power of Things: Material Culture as Political Resource”

Andreas Glaeser (University of Chicago) “A Hermeneutic of Power”

Philip Gorski (Yale University) “The Matter of Emergence”

Omar Lizardo (University of Notre Dame) “Definitely not Arbitrary: Grounding and Motivation in Cultural Symbols and Meaning Construction.”