what culture should i teach this spring?

I’m teaching my sociology of culture graduate seminar this spring. It’s a wonderful time, always a great group—and a ton of pressure to “perform” if you know what I mean :).  So, fair culturalists all, what are your favorite readings for culture, particularly new stuff in the past couple of years?

Author: andrewperrin

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

8 thoughts on “what culture should i teach this spring?”

  1. As someone who has collected as many Sociology of Culture syllabi as I could find in recent years, the only universal readings appear to be Bourdieu, Michele Lamont, and Richard Peterson.

    I’m personally partial to using David Grazian’s “Blue Chicago.” Though I teach undergraduates, it’s been my experience that students really love it.


  2. Ooh, great question. Last year my undergrads enjoyed Gabriel Rossman’s
    “Elites, Masses, and Media Blacklists: The Dixie Chicks Controversy” Social Forces September 2004, 83: 61-78.
    I’m curious to see what everyone else says… Whether ‘Culture’ is doomed or not, we shall see…


  3. I am a grad student in sociology of culture. These are a few of the culture readings that I have liked. (And I second Grazian’s “Blue Chicago” and Rossman’s Dixie Chicks.)

    Haveman, Heather A. 2004 “Antebellum Literary Culture and the Evolution of American Magazines.” Poetics 32: 5-28.

    Illouz, Eva. 2003. Oprah Winfrey and the Glamour of Misery: An Essay on Popular Culture. New York: Columbia University Press. Selections.

    Fleming, Crystal M. and Lorraine E. Roses. 2007. “Black Cultural Capitalists: African American Elites and the Organization of the Arts in Early Twentieth Century Boston.” Poetics 35: 368-387.

    Bauman, Shyon. 2001. “Intellectualization and Art World Development: Film in the United States.” American Sociological Review 66: 404-426.

    Lizardo, Omar. 2006. “How Cultural Tastes Shape Personal Networks.” American Sociological Review 71: 778-807.

    Grindstaff, Laura. 2002. The Money Shot: Trash, Class, and the Making of TV Talk Shows. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

    Blythe, Mark. 2002. Great Transformations: Economic Ideas and Institutional Change in the Twentieth Century. New York: Cambridge University Press.

    Mezias, Stephen J. and Elizabeth Boyle. 2005. “Blind Trust: Market Control, Legal Environments, and the Dynamics of Competitive Intensity in the Early Film Industry, 1893-1920.” Administrative Science Quarterly 50: 1-34.


  4. I am a grad student in Soc, currently enrolled in a graduate seminar in soc of culture. We recently read Zygmunt Bauman’s “Liquid Life.” Maybe you want to out something like that on the list — something by a scholar who is taking a look at the really big questions, like “what is the spirit of an era?”


  5. Thanks for posting the link to your syllabi. I am teaching an undergrad mass media course for the first time this semester and it was great to look at your grad syllabus.

    Good luck with your class.


  6. I wish there was a newer edition but in terms of an anthology, it is tough to beat “Rethinking Popular Culture” by Mukerji & Schudson (Univ. of California Press, 1991). I can’t leave out Becker’s “Art Worlds” and Berger’s “Ways of Seeing”; better yet, here’s a list I lifted from a grad course I took a few years back (thanks Fred):

    Becker, Howard. Art Worlds. University of California Press, 1984.
    Bender, Courtney. Heaven’s Kitchen. University of Chicago Press, 2003
    Berger, John. Ways of Seeing. Penguin, 1990.
    Gottdiener, Mark. The Theming of America, 2nd ed. Westview Press, 2001.
    Griswold, Wendy. Bearing Witness. Princeton University Press, 2000.
    Hunter, James. Culture Wars. Basic Books, 1992.
    Jasper, James. The Art of Moral Protest. University of Chicago Press, 1999.
    Lamont, Michele. Money, Morals and Manners. University of Chicago Press, 1994.
    Mukerji, Chandra & Michael Schudson. Rethinking Popular Culture. Univ. of California Press, 1991.
    Peterson, Richard. Creating Country Music. University of Chicago Press, 1997.

    I also like the afore-mentioned “Blue Chicago (being a bit of a blues guitarist myself) and Fine’s “Kitchens: The Culture of Restaurant Work” is useful both culturally and as a methodological text.


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