Reframing the Relations of Media, Knowledge, and Innovation in Society
Edited By Hubert Knoblauch, Mark D. Jacobs and René Tuma
Communication Culture and Powerpoint
The humanities have witnessed an impressive “cultural turn” within the last decades. Next to the establishment of the broad field of cultural studies, the study of culture seems sometimes to become synonymous with the humanities. Within the German tradition of the humanities, the cultural turn is much like a “déjà vu”: the Geisteswissenschaften had been preoccupied with meaning, and meaning lay at the very heart of the foundation of sociology in Germany. While Geertz (1973) argued for the necessity of interpretation and meaning at the beginning of the cultural turn, meaning and interpretation have constituted the basic categories ever since Max Weber’s foundation of the “verstehende” sociology (Weber 1980/1922).
Like the sociology of culture, the new sociology of knowledge, too, takes meaning as its point of departure, translating it into knowledge in the sense of socially transmitted meaning (Knoblauch, 2005). Similarly to the recent developments in cultural sociology (Wuthnow et al., 1984; Bourdieu, 1980; Alexander, 2003), the sociology of knowledge does not reduce meaning and knowledge to a mere “cognitive” phenomenon but links it tightly to action and, consequently, to all results, products, and effects of action. This implies a broad notion of culture that includes all those features Parsons (1964) still had regarded as “social structural” rather than cultural. A similar extension had already been carried out by Berger and Luckmann (1966). Following Weber, they took meaning to define action and redefined it as “knowledge.” From the...
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