Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

What's Political or Cultural about Political Culture and the Public Sphere? Toward an Historical Sociology of Concept Formation

Margaret R. Somers
Sociological Theory
Vol. 13, No. 2 (Jul., 1995), pp. 113-144
DOI: 10.2307/202157
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/202157
Page Count: 32
  • Download ($14.00)
  • Subscribe ($19.50)
  • Cite this Item
What's Political or Cultural about Political Culture and the Public Sphere? Toward an Historical Sociology of Concept Formation
Preview not available

Abstract

The English translation of Habermas's The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere converges with a recent trend toward the revival of the "political culture concept" in the social sciences. Surprisingly, Habermas's account of the Western bourgeois public sphere has much in common with the original political culture concept associated with Parsonian modernization theory in the 1950s and 1960s. In both cases, the concept of political culture is used in a way that is neither political nor cultural. Explaining this peculiarity is the central problem addressed in this article and one to follow. I hypothesize that this is the case because the concept itself is embedded in an historically constituted political culture (here called a conceptual network)-a structured web of conceptual relationships that combine into Anglo-American citizenship theory. The method of an historical sociology of concept formation is introduced to analyze historically and empirically the internal constraints and dynamics of this conceptual network. The method draws from new work in cultural history and sociology, social studies, and network, narrative, and institutional analysis. This research yields three empirical findings: this conceptual network has a narrative structure, here called the Anglo-American citizenship story; this narrative is grafted onto an epistemology of social naturalism; and these elements combine in a metanarrative that continues to constrain empirical research in political sociology.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
[113]
    [113]
  • Thumbnail: Page 
114
    114
  • Thumbnail: Page 
115
    115
  • Thumbnail: Page 
116
    116
  • Thumbnail: Page 
117
    117
  • Thumbnail: Page 
118
    118
  • Thumbnail: Page 
119
    119
  • Thumbnail: Page 
120
    120
  • Thumbnail: Page 
121
    121
  • Thumbnail: Page 
122
    122
  • Thumbnail: Page 
123
    123
  • Thumbnail: Page 
124
    124
  • Thumbnail: Page 
125
    125
  • Thumbnail: Page 
126
    126
  • Thumbnail: Page 
127
    127
  • Thumbnail: Page 
128
    128
  • Thumbnail: Page 
129
    129
  • Thumbnail: Page 
130
    130
  • Thumbnail: Page 
131
    131
  • Thumbnail: Page 
132
    132
  • Thumbnail: Page 
133
    133
  • Thumbnail: Page 
134
    134
  • Thumbnail: Page 
135
    135
  • Thumbnail: Page 
136
    136
  • Thumbnail: Page 
137
    137
  • Thumbnail: Page 
138
    138
  • Thumbnail: Page 
139
    139
  • Thumbnail: Page 
140
    140
  • Thumbnail: Page 
141
    141
  • Thumbnail: Page 
142
    142
  • Thumbnail: Page 
143
    143
  • Thumbnail: Page 
144
    144