Wolff, J. 1999. “Cultural Studies and the Sociology of Culture.”

Wolff, Janet. 1999. “Cultural Studies and the Sociology of Culture.” Invisible Culture 31.

Sociology has been absent in visual and cultural studies – sociology of culture versus cultural sociologists – notes (at the time) focus on positivistic and qualitative methods in American sociology, inclusion of new historicism, post-colonial, and post-feminist approaches. Promotes attention paid to institutional processes and structures in the study of culture. Representations, how social world is textually or discursively constructed – must be in context of social structuring processes. Aesthetics have “everything to do with institutional practices and social relations. … with how one might reading competing visual representations..”(8). Cultural studies as “sociologically impoverished” – how do we “read” culture, analogies in terms of noting structural and institutional interactions with the example studied?

Birmingham school as school of cultural studies – grounded in Marx, Weber, Mannheim, symbolic interactionism, ethnography. Revisitations of neo-Marxism through Althusser, Gramsci, and Frankfurt school, utilizing feminist and ethnic studies, focus on structures of social life. Cultural studies more recently associated with linguistics, semiotics, sociology of culture as a study of values, beliefs, ideas embedded in a culture.

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