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essays on personal morality and collective responsibility

were edited as Responsibility and Judgement


Aron, Raymond (1905–1983)

A French journalist, political philosopher, and sociologist,

Raymond Aron studied at the E´cole Normale

Supe´rieure and spent some time in Cologne

and Berlin. He was Professor in Sociology at the

Sorbonne from 1954 until 1968. In 1970 he was

elected to a Chair at the Colle`ge de France.

Amongst his many publications are German Sociology

(1935 [trans. 1957], Introduction to the Philosophy

of History (1938 [trans. 1961]), and two volumes

of Main Currents in Sociological Thought (1960, 1962

[trans. 1965, 1967]). He contributed to the study of

industrial society in Eighteen Lectures on Industrial

Society (1963), and to the sociology of war in Peace

and War; A Theory of International Relations (1961),

The Century of Total War (1951), and Clausewitz; Philosopher

of War (1976). He positioned himself in the

French liberal tradition, stretching back to Baron

Charles de Montesquieu and Alexis de Tocqueville.

Aron introduced Max Weber to French sociology

and political science. He was particularly sympathetic

towards Weber’s political stance and his

methodology of history. Aron insisted that the

positivist view was inapplicable to the analysis of

social phenomena. He took issue with the tendency

of E´mile Durkheim and some Marxists to

embrace holism and to explain social processes

by a “prime mover.” For Aron, the search for a

single primary cause, whether it is economic or

cultural, does not do justice to the complexity of

social life. An opponent to Marxism, Aron insisted

that we should never abandon our aim for objectivity

in the social sciences, even if it can never be

obtained. He was highly critical of utopianism and

regarded Marxism as a dangerous route to totalitarianism.

These views made him unpopular

amongst the generation of May, 1968, but he has

since been rehabilitated. Jon Elster and Raymond

Boudon worked under his supervision.



The field of (the sociology of the arts) deals with

art works, forms, and genres in social, political,

and historical context. It has shifted, over the past

five decades, from a concern with the arts and

society, to a concern with the social shaping of

the arts, to, more recently, a focus on how the

arts may provide conditions for action and organization

in various social milieux. In all of these

projects, notions of the autonomy of the arts, of

absolute artistic worth, and of the isolated genius

creator are replaced by considerations of arts

occupations, organizations, and institutions, by a

focus on material and technical resources, and by

studies of reception and use of the arts.

This empirical focus has distinguished arts sociology

since the mid-1970s from earlier theoretical

and philosophical approaches (most notably the

perspective of Theodor Wiesengrund Adorno)

that adopt an evaluative stance in relation to

styles, genres, or epochs within the arts. It is also

different from semiotic readings of art works characteristic

of scholarly research on the arts within

literature, and from art and music history, in that

it tends either to evade the question of meaning

or to explore that question through the responses

and actions of artistic consumers. Various surveys

of the field have detailed this shift, such as Vera L.

Zolberg’s Constructing a Sociology of the Arts (1990)

and, more recently, Victoria Alexander’s Sociology

of the Arts (2003).

During the 1980s, arts sociology centered on

three main foci – the production of culture or art

worlds perspective, a focus on taste-as-classification,

and the study of individual and collective

arts consumption.

Within the first area, Howard Becker’s Art

Worlds (1982), Janet Wolff’s Production of Art

(1981), and Richard A. Peterson’s edited collection

The Production of Culture helped set the agenda.

These works described perspectives for grounding

arts sociology, albeit at different levels, in empirical

research and drew it away from earlier models

of arts sociology, most prevalent in the classical

canon (for example, Max Weber’s essay on The

Rational Foundations of Music, 1958, or Pitrim Sorokin’s

study of Social and Cultural Dynamics, 1937, in

Aron, Raymond (1905–1983) arts


which he contrasted the vision of ideational with

sensate cultures). These contributions emphasized

abstract parallels between form or structure in art

works and social structures writ large. While the

concept of the art world drew upon Howard Becker’s

classic American Sociological Review article “Art

as Collective Action” (1974), and conceptualized

the arts in terms of networks and conventions,

the approach associated with the term production

of culture brings into relief institutional

arrangements and contextual factors that shape

individual art works, styles, and patterns of


The focus on the connection between taste in

and for the arts and social status has been most

closely associated with the work of Pierre Bourdieu,

such as Distinction (1979 [trans. 1984]). In

Bourdieu’s vision, the arts function as signs of

social location and, owing to the various codes of

artistic appropriation associated with arts consumption,

as boundary tools. This perspective

has been developed through various studies of

arts patronage and cultural entrepreneurship, for

example by William Weber (Music and the Middle

Class, 1974) and Paul DiMaggio (“Cultural Entrepreneurship

in Nineteenth-Century Boston,” 1982,

in Media, Culture and Society), and criticized through

comparative and empirical studies of geographical

regions outside France, most notably in the

United States, where high socioeconomic status

has been associated with broad cultural and artistic

consumption (the “omnivore” concept) as opposed

to a concern for exclusive distinction, as in

Richard A. Peterson and Albert Simkus’s work on

taste and social status (“How Musical Tastes

Mark Occupational Status,” 1992, in Cultivating


Beginning in the late 1970s with, most notably,

work by members or associates of the Birmingham

Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies, focus

on the arts was used as a means for understanding

the social mechanisms of group membership and

identity formation. Here was one of the first explicit

attempts to focus on the links between the arts,

the meanings that the arts hold for their recipients

(here conceived as consumers), and social

formation. Equally significantly, the focus on artistic

works or products dispensed with the high/

popular distinction in favor of eclectic, user-driven

classification systems, via, for example, the concept

of articulation first developed by Stuart Hall.

This perspective, illustrated in work by Paul

Willis and Simon Frith, and by Dick Hebdige’s

Subculture and the Meaning of Style (1979), bound

together anthropological attention to collective

representation, identity formation, and arts sociology,

whether focused on fashion, decoration, or

music consumption, in ways that have bequeathed

important methodological tools to more recent

work in arts sociology.

In the early 1990s, the call for a “return to

meaning” in arts sociology began, taking various

forms, from a concern with cultural structures,

cognition, repertoires, and new institutionalism,

to a focus on situated contentions of artistic

meaning and value.

More recently, work in sociology of the arts,

once somewhat marginal to the discipline of sociology

as a whole, has been linked to a range of

areas. In the work of Tia DeNora (After Adorno,

2003) and Antoine Hennion (“Taste as Performance,”

2001, in Theory, Culture and Society), music

has been explored as an exemplar for various

forms of identification work, from self-identity to

emotional work. It has also been explored by Ron

Eyerman and Andrew Jamieson (Music and Social

Movements, 1998) as a social movement activity.

Depictions of the body in the plastic arts have

been examined in connection with gender politics

and sculpture, in particular high-profile public

works, and have been considered in relation to

the formation and stabilization of collective

memory and from the perspective of “technologies

of memory” (Robin Wagner-Pacifici, “Memories

in the Making,” 1996, in Qualitative Sociology).

New work, at the interstices of sociology and

social psychology, is emerging on aesthetic agency

and environmental aesthetics, in organizational

contexts and in the public sphere; and studies of

arts production and arts distribution technologies

have been linked to the historical and situated

formation of subjectivity. Boundaries between

“arts sociology,” other sociologies, and work in

cultural geography, community music therapy,

social psychology, philosophy, and work in the

arts and performing arts are continuing to blur,

in ways that decant the once specialist concern

with the arts into the realm of everyday life and

social institutions and bring to the fore a concern

with the aesthetic dimension in areas seemingly

far removed from the arts, traditionally conceived.


Asian-American studies

From their historical roots as one of the smallest

and most geographically concentrated racial

groups, massive international migration since

the passage of the Immigration Act of 1965 has

made Asian Americans the fastest-growing segment

of the United States population. According

arts Asian-American studies


to the US Census (2000), from 1960 to 2000 the

population of Asian Americans grew from fewer

than 1 million to over 10 million, raising their

share of the US population from less than 1 percent

to over 4 percent. While Chinese, Japanese, and

Filipinos made up the overwhelming share of the

Asian-American population before the 1960s,

the Asian-American population today is characterized

by tremendous ethnic diversity, resulting

from massive migration from nearly all parts of

Asia. The ethnic diversity of Asian Americans has

been matched by their class diversity. While laborers

dominated the earliest waves of Asian immigration

before the 1920s, contemporary Asian

immigration has been characterized by significant

class diversity, including large numbers of highly

trained and educated professionals as well as unskilled

workers, political refugees, and undocumented

immigrants who face severe economic

disadvantage and social marginalization. For the

Asian-American poor and the working class, the

prevailing “model minority” image that depicts

all Asian-Americans as economically successful

and highly educated functions to mask their


In addition to these social characteristics, Asian

Americans, as a racial term, represents one of the

most important and instructive lessons on American

race relations and racial categorization. On

the one hand, as Michael Omi and Howard Winant

show in Racial Formations in the United States (1994),

the term Asian American highlights the dominant

role of the state in the creation of racial categories.

Most notably, through successive federal legislations

and court decisions, the term Asian

American found its most politically powerful

meaning as an externally imposed legal category

to deny Asians from South and East Asia the right

to become citizens under the Naturalization Act

of 1790 that originally limited naturalized citizenship

only to “free whites.” The denial of naturalized

citizenship was joined through various state

laws to exclude Asian Americans from ownership

of land, to subject themto anti-miscegenation laws,

and to justify exclusion from immigration. This

de jure discrimination did not end until the civil

rights movement of the 1960s. On the other hand,

the term Asian American has served to organiz

internally the political activities and social life of

this group in powerful ways. In electoral politics,

as Yen Le Espiritu demonstrates in Asian American

Panethnicity (1992), the Asian-American banner

creates a much more potent political presence

than can be achieved through ethnic-specific

organizing. In this sense, Asian American has

become a category of empowerment. In addition

to strategic deployment in politics, Asian American

is increasingly becoming an important term

for explaining a wide range of social behaviors and

cultural formations, ranging from residential and

marriage patterns to literary and cultural productions

that shape collective action and personal

identity. Perhaps the most important sociological

lesson of Asian American is to show that all racial

categories are socially constructed and their significance

and meaning are constantly undergoing

change and transformation. EDWARD PARK

Asiatic mode of production

– see Karl Marx.


Originally developed by the Chicago School, assimilation

refers to the process by which outsiders

(especially migrants) give up their distinctive culture

and adopt the cultural norms of the host

society. This was typically thought to occur among

second-generation migrants. There is no single

model of assimilation but the concept was closely

related to the “melting pot” metaphor used by

Robert Park in relation to the United States, an

anticipated result of which was a diminution of

ethnic and racial divisions. Although often

regarded as a “one-way” process, assimilation actually

attempted to understand how heterogeneous

societies develop though the reciprocal cultural

interpenetration and adaptation of many different

groups. The end result would then be a society in

which a uniform cultural identity (for example

“the American”) would reflect the merging of diverse

cultural and religious ingredients. Modern

forms of organization, including urbanization,

the market, mass culture, and universal education,

were driving assimilation. Later theories in

the 1960s developed more nuanced models.

Gunnar Myrdal emphasized the contrast between

American ideals of equality and the practice

of racial discrimination, which he hoped would

be overcome through the democratic political

process. Milton Gordon developed a model of

seven types of assimilation (cultural, structural,

marital, identificational, attitudinal, behavioral,

and civic) that need not always coincide. More

recently the theory has been criticized on many

grounds. These include failing to address structural

racism, a deterministic and unilinear evolutionary

logic, the persistence of religious and

ethnic differences in modern societies, and existence

of globalized transnational communities.


Asian-American studies assimilation


associative democracy

The relationship between voluntary associations

and democracy is one of the most enduring issues

in social theory. While modernity is often defined

as the process which eliminates all intermediate

associations and affiliations between the individual

and state or society, the actual unfolding of

modernization has been much more complicated

than this image implies. Rather, voluntary associations

were the fundamental elements of the vitality

of democratic life without which modern

democratic states could not function. That this is

the case is the starting point of theories of “associative

democracy,” especially as put forward by

Paul Q. Hirst in Associative Democracy: New Forms of

Economic and Social Governance (1994) and Can Secondary

Associations Enhance Democratic Governance?

(1995). Hirst argued that an associative democracy

model would address the recurring dilemmas of

social democratic models that rely on the state,

which create forms of dependency and pluralist

democratic models that rely on voluntary initiatives,

which create individualism. That such theories

were put forward clearly indicates that those

social theorists in the nineteenth century, notably

mile Durkheim in The Division of Labor in Society

(1894 [trans. 1984]), who had foreseen the increased

polarization of democratic life between

the individual and the state, were indeed prescient.

Throughout the twentieth century, the rise of

the social welfare state and then its rapid retrenchment

and withdrawal have illustrated these

intractable dilemmas of the right measure of

balance between individual and social responsibility.

Those who argued for associative forms of

democracy highlighted the importance of voluntary

associations and social groups in democratic

life, fostering both individual and social responsibility.

Others have argued more generally that,

without fostering an associative culture, democratic

states would become increasingly dominated

by politics as professional expertise and the

society as professional administration. The possibilities

of associative democracy remain one of

the most vital and lively questions of social and

political theory. ENGIN ISIN


This concept has a long, if sometimes controversial,

history in sociological research. An attitude is

generally defined as a learned disposition or belief

that allows us to predict behavior. If, for example,

we discover that an individual holds a positive

attitude (learned disposition or belief) towards a

presidential candidate we should, all other things

being equal, be entitled to predict s/he will vote

(behavior) for that candidate. Research based on

assessments of people’s attitudes is sometimes

held in higher scientific esteem than other types

of survey research on the grounds that well-established

attitude scales are said to have a higher

level of validity and reliability than other types

of survey research instruments. Attitudes are usually

understood to occur on several different

measurement continua, including those moving

from highly favorable to highly unfavorable;

stronger to weaker levels of intensity; and higher

to lower levels of resolution or stability. Hence, we

may hold a highly favorable attitude towards a

presidential candidate, more or less intensely. If

our attitude is less intense we may be less likely to

act on it than if it is more intense. Likewise we

may hold a highly favorable attitude towards a

presidential candidate, more or less resolutely.

This means that our attitude might be both highly

favorable and highly intense but also highly subject

to change based on new evidence. Attitudes

that are held with high levels of intensity and

high levels of stability are said to be those that

offer the best grounds for predicting behavior.


attitude scales

– see scales.


While earlier forms of cultural studies focused on

textual analysis and the production of culture,

beginning in the 1960s a variety of individuals

associated with the Birmingham Centre for Contemporary

Cultural Studies began paying close

attention to audience use of media, and the concept

of audience studies became a key part of

Cultural studies. The Birmingham group argued

for an active audience that was able to dissect

critically and make use of media material, arguing

against the media manipulation perspective.

Rooted in a classic article by Stuart Hall entitled

“Encoding/Decoding” (1980), British Cultural studies

began studying how different groups read

television news and magazines, engaged in consumption,

and made use of a broad range of media.

In Everyday Television: Nationwide (1978), Charlotte

Brunsdon and David Morley studied how different

audiences consumed TV news; Ien Ang (Watching

Dallas, 1985) and Tamar Liebes and Elihu Katz

(A World Connected, 1990) investigated how varying

audiences in the Netherlands, Israel, and elsewhere

consumed and made use of the US TV series

Dallas; and John Fiske (Understanding Popular

associative democracy audience


Culture, 1989; Power Plays, Power Works, 1993) wrote

a series of books celebrating the active audience

and consumer in a wide range of domains.

Some critics believed that audience studies

went too far in valorizing an active audience and

called for mediation between theories like those

of the Frankfurt School that posited that the

media were all-powerful instruments of manipulation,

and theories like those of Fiske that emphasized

the autonomy of audiences and their power

of resistance. Since the mid-1980s, there has

been a proliferation of how different audiences

in various parts of the world use media according

to their gender, race and ethnicity, social class,

and ideology. In addition, media industries have

always been interested in audience studies, and

so the audience has entered the center of a wide

range of communication, cultural, and social

theories in the contemporary moment.


audience research

– see audience.


The term Austro-Marxism was coined before

World War I to describe a group of young Marxist

theorists in Vienna – the most prominent being

Max Adler, Otto Bauer, Rudolf Hilferding, and Karl

Renner. They expounded a form of Marxism that

was rigorous yet undogmatic and that (unlike the

revisionism of the German Social Democratic

Party) remained revolutionary. Most had been involved

in the Austrian socialist student movement

and remained politically active in the Austrian

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