14204 Anthropological and Sociological Approaches to Cultural Studies

Credits: 3 graduate credits in Cultural Studies

Prerequisite: Admission to the graduate program in Cultural Studies

The course is based on a reader edited by Motti Regev.

Through this course, students´┐Ż acquaintance with theories in Cultural Studies is expanded to approaches anchored in sociological and anthropological traditions not dealt with in other required courses in the program. In Cultural Studies, sociological and anthropological theories often distinguish between four central perspectives: Marxism and its offshoots, structural analysis, interpretive analysis of meanings, and culture as performance. As the various versions of the Marxist perspective are discussed extensively in other courses, this course focuses on the three remaining approaches and presents a selection of written works of some of their most influential theoreticians. In addition, because traditional theories tend to view national and ethnic cultures as separate entities, this course familiarizes students with up-to-date theoretical outlooks that focus on global culture and late modernity.

Topics: Culture and social structure: Elementary forms of religious life, collective memory and communities, rituals and liminality, purity and danger. Worlds of meaning and social action: The Protestant ethic and the capitalist spirit, the civilizing process, thick description of culture, the native point of view, the genesis of pure aesthetics. Culture as performance: The city and its culture, deference and demeanor, culture as a toolkit, post-social relations. Culture and globalization: Glocalization, cultural isomorphism, cosmopolitanism, recognition and status.