SOC 530

Selected Topics in Social Processes: Cultural Analysis

Professor Michèle Lamont
Department of Sociology
Princeton University

This seminar will meeting during the first six weeks of the Spring semester on Tuesdays between 9:00-12:00 in 2-N-13 Green Hall.


Because a general survey of cultural sociology was offered last year in the department, this year's seminar will focus on a few selected areas with the goal of helping graduate students identify gaps in the literature and define their own research agenda. Particular attention will be paid to comparative scholarship and comparative research strategies, as well as to the most recent literature. We will focus on the following areas: cultural repertoires and agency, boundaries, identity, inequality, and status.


Students are given responsibility for leading the discussion of specific readings in class. You are also asked to prepare short analytical memos on the readings (app. 3 pages) for three of the meetings. At the end of the seminar, you are also asked to submit a longer memo (7-10 pages) on your research agenda.


Our meetings are spread over six short weeks. Given time constrains, I have attempted to keep required readings within limits, with the assumption that students particularly interested in the field will initiate individual reading courses with faculty members. Optional readings, which are preceded by an asterisk, will be presented by a seminar member to the group. More suggested readings will be provided as we go along.


Meeting #1 (Friday February 6): The Current State of American Cultural Sociology


Meeting #2 (Tuesday, February 10): Comparative Research Strategies: From National Character to Cultural Repertoires and Cultural Structures


Meeting #3 (Tuesday, February 17): Symbolic Boundaries, Logics of Action, Principles of Evaluation, and Networks


Meeting # 4: (Tuesday, February 24): Identity, Class, Gender, and the Linguistic Turn


Meeting #5: (Tuesday, March 3): How is Culture Understood in the Literatures on Race, Ethnicity, Immigration, and Racism?


Meeting # 6 (Tuesday, March 10): New Developments in the Study of Status and Cultural Consumption/Reception