Monday, January 28, 2019

Ann Swidler, UC Berkeley Sociology Department

Cultural Architectures

Time and Location: 3:00-4:30 PM, CERAS Building, 520 Galvez Mall, Stanford CA 94305 (Room 123)

“Culture” is not a single entity, but a complex architecture. Instead of the omnibus term “culture,” I propose several concepts intermediate between individual-level cultural meanings and global or “constitutive” cultural schemas. Cultural styles are group-level practices that structure social relations such as solidarity, sociability, and hierarchy. Semiotic codes, including cultural categories, affect action by shaping how people know they will be understood by others. Institutional challenges and opportunities evoke individual-level cultural skills and cognitive models. Public contexts organize cultural understandings in ways quite distinct from individual-level understandings. Collective action schemas model patterns of collective action. They describe what everyone knows that everyone knows that everyone would do in situations requiring collective action. Collective action schemas in turn depend on rituals that make cultural patterns publicly authoritative.