New publication by CCS Junior Fellow Anne Taylor in Cultural Sociology

Cultural Sociology Journal

CCS Junior Fellow Anne Taylor has published her paper, “Audience Agency in Social Performance” in Cultural Sociology.

Congratulations, Anne!

Abstract: Cultural pragmatics is a fruitful analytic tradition in sociology. However, theoretical use of this six-element model has largely focused on actors. Despite fusion’s definition as a product made between actor, audience, and text, the audience has been treated as a passive abstraction. Further, there is no methodical way to parse out the performative actions of the actor from those of the audience in a way that reveals the substantive similarities and differences that comprise fusion or de-fusion. This article seeks a solution via a rigorous theorization of the audience in cultural pragmatics, and argues that they are the sole arbiters of performative outcome. In their arbitration, audiences become performers themselves; they perform fusion or de-fusion in dialogic relation back to the actor, and to other audience members around them. With illustrations from US Senator Bernie Sanders’ political rise over the last decade, this process is visualized with a new analytic tool – arcs of fusion – so as to better trace varying trajectories of performative outcome