Cultural sociology

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Cultural sociology describes a special sociology that is devoted to numerous everyday phenomena , but also to cultural symbols , and which deals with sociological aspects of architecture, fine arts, literature, music, performing arts, etc. On the other hand, "cultural sociology" can be used as a term for a general sociological perspective, which emphasizes the cultural conditionality of all social phenomena and thus stands out from scientistic concepts of society.


As a key concept, culture is linked as a condition and form of social action that is closely linked to other aspects of social coexistence. The cultural sociology then addresses the relationship between culture and society and related phenomena, e. B. the process of enculturation , d. H. the individual appropriation of the cultural patterns of a society into which one was born. Values in the form of norms determine how we act and think. Cultural values ​​are functionally integrated in society .

On the other hand, the term acculturation describes the process of individuals or societies taking in elements that have hitherto been alien to their culture, triggered since ancient times by long-distance trade or wars, today conspicuous by migration , development aid and above all by the process of globalization . In this sense, which identifies culture and ethnicity , culture is also e.g. B. used in North American Cultural Sociology (cf. Ethnosociology ). This emphasizes the so-called " everyday culture " or " subculture ".

On the other hand, other perspectives of cultural sociology try to determine the peculiarities of modern culture in the sense of social diagnoses, for example in contrast to traditional or bourgeois cultural forms. In cultural sociology, it is controversial in this regard whether modern culture should be referred to as “popular culture” (“cultural studies”) or not because of the cultural forms that can be observed in connection with mass media, youth culture and consumption (with emphasis on the recipient's perspective) Due to its comprehensive character, which relates all subcultures to one another, should be better understood as “mass culture”. (See mass (sociology) .)

Concept history

Historically, the German word “Kultur” has been used analogously to the term “civilization” (French and English) since the 18th century. In this context, reference should be made to attempts at the beginning of the 20th century to derive an essential difference between German “ culture ” and French “ civilization ” from these terms, which were synonymous for a long time (cf. Norbert Elias : About the process of civilization , vol. 1). In the older educational German, “culture” in the narrower sense also meant what is now often referred to as “ high culture ”. Cultural sociology then also includes substances from z. B. the sociology of art or literature , z. B. Georg Simmel (who always had 'everyday phenomena' in mind, such as fashion). Simmel called this a “sociological aesthetic”.

Professional representatives

Representatives of the sociology of culture were z. B. Georg Simmel , Alfred Weber , Alfred von Martin , Friedrich Tenbruck , Dieter Claessens , Mohammed Rassem and Dietmar Kamper , today (2018) about Wolfgang Lipp , Justin Stagl , Johannes Weiß , Roland Girtler , Klaus Lichtblau , Karl-Siegbert Rehberg , Wolfgang Eßbach , Andreas Reckwitz ; The French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu is internationally important .

The German Society for Sociology (DGS) has an agile section “Sociology of Culture” with well-known sociologists who pragmatically avoids separating the two “culture” terms mentioned neatly. The Society for Cultural Sociology Leipzig e. V. has been publishing the German-language journal Kultursoziologie since 1992 .

In the Austrian Society for Sociology (ÖGS) there is a section entitled “Cultural Theory and Cultural Research”, which deals with contributions to the cultural sociology of modernity in an interdisciplinary manner and sees Norbert Elias , Pierre Bourdieu , Clifford Geertz , Vilém Flusser and others as the focus. Austrian cultural sociologists include Gerhard Fröhlich, Helmut Kuzmics , Gerhard Mozetic, Ingo Mörth , Rudolf Richter , Alfred Smudits , Helmut Staubmann , Meinrad Ziegler , Stephan Moebius .

In Switzerland, within the Swiss Society for Sociology, there is the analog research committee “Symbols, Images, Ideologies” with the cultural researcher Hans-Peter Meier-Dallach as long-time spokesman.

In Denmark, the Institute for Cultural Sociology at the University of Copenhagen had an independent profile. It was general sociological, including historical, anthropological and social-psychological dimensions, was set apart from positivist sociology and was more closely related to the critical school. The institute was founded in the early 1960s by the legal sociologist Verner Goldschmidt and was assigned to the Philosophical Faculty. In the 1980s, Henning Eichberg taught here with a special focus on physical culture research. At the end of the 1980s the institute was closed by the Minister of Education for political reasons. However, Danish cultural sociology survived as a specialization within the newly established subject sociology.

Universities and degree programs

  • Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz - International Joint Master's Program in Cultural Sociology at the Institute for Sociology of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Economics


See also

Web links