A NEW PERSPECTIVE OF SOCIAL THEORY. CONCERNING THE ASSUMPTIONS BEHIND JEFFREY ALEXANDER'S CULTURAL SOCIOLOGY
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This paper is devoted to the cultural theory of an American sociologist, Jeffrey Alexander, who is currently regarded to be one of the most influential social theorists of our time. Educated at Harvard and Berkeley, he remained for some time under the influence of these institutions' intellectual authorities. Moreover, according to his own words, he is a child of the 1960s, a historical period which inspired his sociological sensibility. Alexander has nevertheless transgressed the intellectual atmosphere of that time. Although initially described by some sociologists as an exponent of so called neofunctionalism, he has consequently been strengthening his reputation of a versatile social theorist committed especially to building, as he calls it himself, 'a strong program in cultural sociology'. This approach has been developed by him in opposition to the traditional ideas of the sociology of culture and underscores the crucial importance and analytical autonomy of culture. It has become a prominent, even if off-beat, intellectual perspective which promises to provide the contemporary social sciences with a new impetus and put sociology itself right in the middle of the most compelling interdisciplinary debates of contemporary humanities.
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