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2017 | 1(12) The Relational Turn in Sociology: Implications for the Study of Society, Culture, and Persons | 115-138

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The Place of Culture in Relational Sociology

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Margaret S. Archer and Pierpaolo Donati have independently developed relational approaches in the social sciences. Combining morphogenetic theory and the relational theory of society opens up new research perspectives. This article attempts to investigate relational conceptions of culture by answering two questions: one related to the nature of culture and the other to the place of culture in relational sociology. Assuming the complementarity of the theories of both sociologists, the possibility that their conceptions may be inconsistent or even contradict each other is not discounted. The article discusses the issue of symbolization and the presence of processes of semiosis within relational sociology. It is argued that apart from the Cultural System and the Socio-Cultural interaction assumed by Archer’s analytical dualism, a more general category of Cultural Reality can be introduced. This theme is further discussed in the light of Donati’s views on human reality; he postulates including the relational frame of symbolization. Analysis shows that culture occupies a central place in relational sociology. This article exposes the complexity of the nature of culture in human reality.



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