DOI link for Introduction
Cultural sociology is concerned with socially constructed meanings and material practices as they find expression in and reverberate from the “lifeworlds” of people’s everyday experience. This introduction to the Handbook of Cultural Sociology charts the history and rise of cultural sociology from the discipline’s classical beginnings to the current moment. In the shift from industrial to postindustrial societies, the significance of the cultural intensified dramatically. The parallel “cultural turn” in academia spanned multiple disciplines and approaches, and sociology was challenged by new voices, particularly within feminist and postcolonial circles. Today, amid much social and political upheaval across the globe, a critically engaged cultural sociology is more relevant than ever. Consequently, we propose a Broad Program that embraces intellectual diversity of topic and method. The Broad Program both explores culture directly and pervasively in relation to social lifeworlds, and asks how lifeworlds connect culturally to global processes and developments. This program requires that sociology come to terms with its Eurocentric biases and embrace multicentric perspectives; it also means asking new questions about culture in relation to meaning, “truth,” and power.