Performing Action
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Performing Action : Artistry in Human Behaviour and Social Research

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Description

In recent years the social sciences and the humanities have drawn closer to each other in thought and method. This rapprochement has led to new perceptions of human behavior by sociologists, as well as new methodological orientations. Sociologist Joseph R. Gusfield draws upon drama and fiction to show how human action is shaped by the formal dimensions of performance. Gusfield first defines the concept of behavior as artistic performance. He then analyzes routine and classic social research reports as literary performances in qualitative and quantitative terms. Next he moves to social movements and public actions, demonstrating how objects and events are products of the interpretation and reflection of individuals. He draws upon literary and artistic conventions to deal with issues of representation and meaning. In the first and last chapters, Gusfield provides a conceptual summary examining the relation between sociology as science and art, arguing that sociological methods are neither science nor art, but partake of both. Following the philosopher Paul Ricouer, Gusfield shows how human behavior can be read as a text, always telling the participant or observer "something about something." Performing Action will be of interest to sociologists, psychologists, and students of aesthetics and critical theory.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 350 pages
  • 157.5 x 231.1 x 30.5mm | 748.44g
  • Taylor & Francis Inc
  • Transaction Publishers
  • Somerset, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0765800160
  • 9780765800169

Review quote

-The goal of the 14 papers in this curious book is to -forge a closer relationship between art and sociology.- The link is that individual conduct studied by sociologists is like planned and rehearsed theatrical actions, which is the concern of theater critics... [T]his is a thought-provoking book. Graduate students and faculty.- --D. Harper, Choice "The goal of the 14 papers in this curious book is to "forge a closer relationship between art and sociology." The link is that individual conduct studied by sociologists is like planned and rehearsed theatrical actions, which is the concern of theater critics... [T]his is a thought-provoking book. Graduate students and faculty." --D. Harper, Choice "The goal of the 14 papers in this curious book is to "forge a closer relationship between art and sociology." The link is that individual conduct studied by sociologists is like planned and rehearsed theatrical actions, which is the concern of theater critics... [T]his is a thought-provoking book. Graduate students and faculty." --D. Harper, Choice "The goal of the 14 papers in this curious book is to "forge a closer relationship between art and sociology." The link is that individual conduct studied by sociologists is like planned and rehearsed theatrical actions, which is the concern of theater critics... [T]his is a thought-provoking book. Graduate students and faculty." --D. Harper, Choiceshow more

Table of contents

1. Introduction: Human Behavior as Performance Part 1: Rhetoric 2. The "Double Plot" in Institutions 3. The Literary Rhetoric of Science: Comedy and Pathos in Drinking-Driver Research 4. Two Genres of Sociology: A Literary Analysis of The American Occupational Structure and Tally's Corner 5. Sport as Story: Form and Content in Agonistic Games Part 2: Reflexivity 6. The Modernity of Social Movements: Public Roles and Private Parts 7. Social Movements and Social Change: Perspectives of Linearity and Fluidity 8. The Reflexivity of Social Movements: Collective Behavior and Mass Society Theory Revisited 9. The Social Construction of Tradition: An Interactionist View of Social Change Part 3: Symbolism 10. Secular Symbolism: Studies of Ritual, Ceremony, and the Symbolic Order in Modern Life 11. Nature's Body and the Metaphors of Food and Health 12. The Social Symbolism of Smoking and Health 13. The Social Meanings of Meals: Hierarchy and Equality in the American "Potluck" 14. Conclusion: "Buddy, Can You Paradigm?": The Crisis of Theory in the Welfare State Indexshow more