The Center for Cultural Sociology provides a focus for meaning-centered analysis in the social science tradition, with openings to normative themes such as democracy, justice, tolerance and civility. Drawing on classical and contemporary social and cultural theory, CCS students and researchers develop concepts and methods that illuminate the cultural texture of social life at both individual and collective levels. They apply these to understanding the full range of activities and processes from local to global levels. Because culture is always closely intertwined with the patterning of social organization, the CCS is centrally concerned with institutional life and the intersection of culture with social structure. Its own institutional life is carried on through the ongoing Workshop, seminars and courses offered by CCS faculty and students, guest lectures from distinguished visiting scholars, and occasional conferences. Through activities such as these, CCS also provides a meeting point for the humanities and social sciences, both at Yale and beyond.
The CCS Directors and Fellows maintain active research programs. The lines of ongoing research include:
- Developing cultural theory. We theorize the structure of meanings and the way these influence social action at levels from the interpersonal to the global. A core focus of the CCS is on developing new conceptual tools for this activity.
- The study of various empirical domains in which meaning shapes social life. In the past decade topics that have led to monographs have included war and cultural trauma, economic exchange, political authority, social movements, punishment, the mass media, and civil discourse and civil society.
- Ongoing projects and works in progress by CCS Faculty include household budgeting, climate change, President Obama, the crisis of journalism and the Vietnam War.