Cultural Sociology

Published by SAGE Publications (UK and US)
Print ISSN: 1749-9755
Publications
This article sets out a case for a revived sociology of media work. It suggests that a certain sociological approach, neglected for some time, offers the promise of (a) providing a more rounded sociological account of journalistic practice that (b) will help us better understand what journalists do and how and why they do it, (c) will ultimately help us better understand the process of news production and message creation, and (d) may have wider applicability for the study of occupations in the realm of cultural production.The article argues that there is still much to be gained from sociologically informed empirical enquiry into the work of journalists. The examples of journalists' mistakes and the ways journalists regulate and control each others' work are used to illustrate the case. This involves an analytical framework built on the concept of journalism as an occupational accomplishment.
 
This article presents findings from an ethnography of fell running in the English Lake District. A provocative concept – existential capital – is proposed to underscore the profits acquired from fell running as an embodied technique, and as a means of defining the shared passions within the field. These gains are acquired through corporeal techniques that require sustained physical effort, embodied vigilance, and knowledge of an environment that is topographically challenging and aesthetically arresting. The visceral pleasures intrinsic to existential capital are appreciated by those within the field and this, in turn, means that this solitary sport gives rise to an intense sociality that ‘only a runner can understand’. Field analysis conventionally focuses on struggles; it is suggested here that a focus on what is shared allows us to understand how a field gains an identity. Thus the notion of existential capital highlights the field as passionately defined in ways that challenge the instrumentalism inherent to conventional modes of field analysis.
 
Ornamentation of New Ireland paddles, showing the transition of form
This paper reviews Franco Moretti's use of statistics and techniques for visualizing the action of literary forms, and assesses their implications for the development of cultural sociology. It compares Moretti's use of such methods with the work of Pierre Bourdieu, contrasting the principles of sociological analysis developed by Bourdieu with Moretti's preoccupation with the analysis of literary form as illustrated by his accounts of the development of the English novel and the role of clues in the organization of detective stories. His attempt to use evolutionary principles of explanation to account for the development of literary forms is probed by considering its similarities to earlier evolutionary accounts of the development of design traits. While welcoming the methodological challenge posed by Moretti's work, its lack of an adequate account of the role of literary institutions is criticized, as are the effects of the forms of abstraction that his analyses rest upon.
 
We use the term ‘creative democracy’ – coined by John Dewey – to explore the ways in which the creative activity of artists is shaped by democratic norms and practices. Using the case of the Amber Film and Photography Collective in the northeast of England, we discuss their process of creative democracy – featuring norms of project initiation, collective scrutiny and empowerment – and investigate how this practice became a vital feature of their everyday creative lives. We discuss the significant benefits of creative democracy, explore how the collective navigated its complexities and dilemmas, and investigate its relevance for contemporary cultural activists.
 
This paper examines three discussions in the American public sphere between 1998 and 2008 about whether irony is good for America: the response to a 1999 book against irony, the declared ‘death of irony’ after the events of September 11, 2001, and concerns about the ironic nature of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. After reviewing the literature on irony from various academic disciplines, the author shows how ‘knockers’ worried that irony was a counter-narrative that would distract from romantic progress, while ‘boosters’ claimed irony was a trope that could only strengthen the romantic story of the nation. Rather than answering the title question, the author uses the evidence of these ‘ironic crises’ to show how such questions reveal the cultural forms and reflexivity that structure the American public sphere.
 
This paper discusses the use of material generated in a mixed method investigation into cultural tastes and practices, conducted in Britain from 2003 to 2006, which employed a survey, focus groups and household interviews. The study analysed the patterning of cultural life across a number of fields, enhancing the empirical and methodological template provided by Bourdieu’s Distinction. Here we discuss criticisms of Bourdieu emerging from subsequent studies of class, culture and taste, outline the arguments related to the use of mixed methods and present illustrative results from the analysis of these different types of data. We discuss how the combination of quantitative and qualitative methods informed our analysis of cultural life in contemporary Britain. No single method was able to shed light on all aspects of our inquiry, lending support to the view that mixing methods is the most productive strategy for the investigation of complex social phenomena.
 
I provide here an analysis of how users choose and design personalized ringtones as an example of subjects’ current concerns with the management of social accessibility. As a result of the growing demands of ‘connected presence’ mobile phone users are faced with the proliferation of ringing phones in their soundscapes. They therefore exploit the new resources for customizing their ringtones with an orientation towards the management of the interactional problems which the development of ‘ubiquitous summoning’ may entail. Musical ringtones are chosen or designed by users, so that the shaping of the summons becomes a personal project of the recipients. They are shaped as ambiguous cues inviting two kinds of responsive actions, that is, treating them as a summons (inviting their being answered to) or as a music (inviting their being listened to). Their design becomes the locus of diverging rationales, with some users trying to exacerbate the summoning power of their phone ring and others to maximize their ambiguousness. Moreover musical ringtones are selected so as to constitute a personal gratification that the user addresses to himself (and sometimes also to potential bystanders). They become a ‘treat’ that users juxtapose and contrast with the obligation to answer that the ringtone incarnates. This provides evidence for a more general ‘crisis of the summons’ occurring as a collateral effect of increased availability requirements, which reshapes the ways we experience and perform the normative social order which underlies all social encounters.
 
This article sets out to rethink the relationship between the work of art and the work of sociology, drawing on Jacques Ranciere’s writing on the work of art to provide the basis for recognizing affinities and differences between these two processes. In juxtaposing the sociology of globalization with the art of globalization, beginning with their common desire to understand globalization through rendering invisible forces visible, the article suggests ways in which artistic practice might be said to be ‘proto-sociological’, while also considering the role that aesthetic categories play in producing sociological knowledge. These questions are approached through a detailed case study that focuses on the cultural response to the oil industry offered by Ursula Biemann in her film essay, Black Sea Files (2005). The article argues that to grasp a phenomenon as complex as globalization, collaborative work between different forms of knowledge construction plays a crucial role.
 
In this paper we seek to apply Bourdieu’s approach to consecration, legitimacy and autonomization in the fields of art to the struggle to legitimize film as art.We examine the efficacy of Bourdieu’s theory in relation to the early ‘film-as-art’ campaign as it received institutional expression in the profoundly different economic, social and cultural circumstances of Brazil and Britain in the 1920s and 1930s. After tracing the broad history of film art movements in each case,we employ Bourdieu’s concepts of heteronomy/autonomy and degree of consecration as the principal axes in mapping the fields of film art in Britain and Brazil.We then compare the conditions of possibility for failure or success in institutionally establishing film as art in the two cases, and conclude with an evaluation of the utility of Bourdieu’s model when applied to film art in such diverse social, cultural and political circumstances.
 
Days , Bruce Nauman, 2009. One audio source consisting of seven stereo audio files, 14 speakers, two amplifiers and additional equipment. Dimensions variable © MoMA. 
Floor Cake , Claes Oldenburg, 1962. Synthetic polymer paint and latex on canvas filled with foam rubber and cardboard boxes, 58 3/8" x 9' 6 1/4" x 58 3/8” © MoMA. 
Original performance of Mirage in 1976 at the Anthology Film Archive 
Mirage , Joan Jonas, 1976/2005. Six videos (black and white, sound and silent), props, stages, photographs. Duration variable. 
The paper explores the central role of artworks in the field of contemporary art. It is based on an ethnographic study of the conservation laboratory at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York and draws from three detailed case studies where the temporal and spatial trajectory of artworks led to processes of competition, collaboration, and repositioning among the agents involved in the acquisition, exhibition and conservation of these artworks. The study demonstrates the importance of artworks qua physical objects in the field of contemporary art, claiming attention to materiality in field theory and engaging with an object-oriented methodology in field analysis. Artworks are shown to intervene in field processes, both reproducing divisions and re-drawing boundaries within and between fields, and actualizing positions of individuals and institutions.
 
This article sets out to explain why after the 1978 assassination of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and city supervisor Harvey Milk, it is the latter who has achieved world recognition. At the time of their assassination Moscone was the more well-known figure, an American politician with a national reputation. The theories of social drama and cultural trauma are applied in this explanatory process. These theories provide a framework for analyzing how this incident became a significant event locally and nationally. The fact that Milk was one of the first openly gay people to hold public office in the United States meant that his life and death would have significance for a wide group of people. Individuals and organizations associated with gay liberation became carrier groups which created the Harvey Milk story and how it was told. Such carrier groups saw to it that Milk was remembered, and remembered in a particular way.
 
In the past three decades, human remains in museum collections have become the focus of contestation. This paper analyses the construction of the issue in Britain. The literature on contestation in the museum primarily identifies external influences: the market, the pressure of social movements and intellectual currents. I propose an additional influence of internal activism. Drawing on empirical material, I demonstrate important campaigning activity waged by actors inside the institution. The activities of campaigning museum professionals in promoting this issue is a response to a crisis of cultural authority, which has come about after decades of unremitting questioning of the purpose of the institution. The museum is traditionally understood as contributing to the cohesion and reproduction of capitalist society, as reinforcing dominant ideologies. These observations raise the question as to whether this function continues when members of the sector disown and question their authority.
 
This article aims to provide a synoptic account of the cultural writings of the West Indian intellectual and activist C.L.R. James. I aim to make a case for greater recognition of his work among cultural sociologists. I go on to show how James’ original, historicising account of cultural forms relates closely to his wider political interventions including, specifically, his ground-breaking discussion of mid-twentieth century black politics in America.
 
Using British and Dutch interview data, this article demonstrates how people from different social classes draw strong symbolic boundaries on the basis of comedy taste. Eschewing the omnivorousness described in recent studies of cultural consumption, comedy audiences make negative aesthetic and moral judgements on the basis of comedy taste, and often make harsh judgements without the disclaimers, apologies and ambivalence so typical of ‘taste talk’ in contemporary culture. The article demonstrates how, in particular, Dutch and British middle class audiences use their comedy taste to communicate distinction and cultural superiority. We discuss several reasons why such processes of social distancing exist in comedy taste and not other cultural areas: the traditionally low status of comedy; the strong relation between humour and personhood; the continuity between comedy tastes and humour styles in everyday life; as well as the specific position of comedy in the British and Dutch cultural fields.
 
This article suggests that the vitality of genre, and particularly music genre, is often missing from social and cultural research. This is despite its central presence as a structural force within increasingly popular forms of field analysis. To deal with this absence, the article draws upon conceptual material on everyday forms of classification and new forms of digital data. It is argued that the concept of a classificatory imagination might be used to develop a more contingent and transient vision of genre as a form of everyday cultural classification or as a structuring force in cultural fields. The article describes three problems facing cultural sociology in its use of genre categories. Two are briefly presented whilst the third is developed through a case study of hip hop. The article concludes with some reflections upon what this reveals about cultural boundary drawing and the impact of decentralized media upon genre formation.
 
Engaging key issues in a growing sociological literature on the emergence of ordinary cosmopolitanisms in consumer culture, this paper traces a link between brands and cosmopolitanism. Focusing on the case of specialty coffee brands Starbucks and Second Cup, the paper draws on recent theoretical approaches to the brand, and substantial qualitative data from research conducted in Toronto, to outline how the brands frame and invoke a narrow form of cosmopolitanism as part of the brand experience. However, it is not assumed that such cosmopolitanism is straightforwardly taken up or reproduced by consumers. Rather, considering the interactive ways in which consumers engage with the brands, it is argued that a stylized ‘cosmopolitan cool’ is co-generated in the dynamic interplay. While elaborating the connection between cosmopolitanism and the brands, the paper will also consider the paradoxes, limits and tensions of such branded cosmopolitanism.
 
Cloud of categories of the Swiss business elites 2000. 
Cloud of categories of the Swiss business elites 2010. 
The aim of this contribution is to explore how the recent internationalization and the increasing importance of ‘cosmopolitan capital’ has impacted on the structure and character of the field of the Swiss business elite. For this purpose we will develop the notion of cosmopolitan capital and comparatively investigate the field of the Swiss business elite in 1980, 2000 and 2010 with multiple correspondence analysis. We can show that in this period international managers with transnational careers and networks not only grow in number, but come to conquer the apex of the biggest and highest capitalized Swiss firms. At the same time, national forms of capital decline in importance and Swiss managers themselves are differentiated increasingly into national and international fractions.
 
British axis 1 (with 57 modalities most contributing to axis 1; left-hand side) and the Finnish axis 1 (with 68 modalities most contributing  
Selected cultural practices and tastes from seven cultural fields in Britain and Finland (%).
Cloud of individuals from British (left-hand side) and Finnish (right-hand side) survey data and identification of qualitative follow-up interviewees from MCA. (Source for the British figure: Bennett et al. 2009; Finnish figure unpublished).  
Selected follow-up interviewees' responses to questions on cultural practices and tastes from seven cultural fields.
Drawing on two projects which develop the methodological model of Bourdieu’s Distinction in the UK and Finland, this paper explores the issues raised by the use of multiple correspondence analysis (MCA) and mixed methods in comparative work on cultural tastes. By identifying the problems in the construction of two comparable yet nationally relevant research instruments, the paper considers the importance of the similarities and differences in the meaning of items in different national spaces for Bourdieu-inspired comparative analysis. The paper also reports on the evident similarities between the two constructed spaces and draws on the dialogue between quantitative and qualitative methods enabled by MCA in examining what different positions in social space appear to mean in these countries. It concludes by suggesting that, whilst Bourdieu’s model provides a robust set of methods for exploring relations between taste and class within nations, when used appropriately, it can also provide particular insight for the comparison of national fields.
 
The cosmopolitan has re-emerged as a popular figure within the social sciences, primarily as a means of addressing (the potential for) new forms of experience and sociability in an increasingly mobile and interconnected world. Investigations into practical or everyday cosmopolitanism have been useful in grounding some of the more theoretical of these debates but problems remain in terms of both defining and operationalizing the concept. The first section of the paper briefly addresses some key theoretical debates. In the second section, attention is focused on methodological issues, with regard to both data collection and interpretation. In particular, I suggest a move beyond labelling people and practices as cosmopolitan and, instead, emphasize the contradictory and rhetorical aspects of these engagements, drawing on empirical data. In this way, the temporal, conditional and often fragile aspects of such ‘cosmopolitan’ practices can be foregrounded.
 
Childhood and consumption are each firmly established as substantive topics in sociology, yet the relationship between them remains narrowly considered. In this paper I attempt to deepen sociological understanding of one aspect of children’s consumption (their clothing) through reimagining the structure and agency problematic via a novel theorization centred on the concept of determinativity. I do this by engaging in a critical evaluation and adaptive use of existing theories, and by using data from an empirical study to illustrate and strengthen the theoretical claims I make. Children are argued to be exceptional consumers, in that what they come to wear on their bodies is subject to a different set of social processes than is the case for adults. At the same time, the theorization offered in this paper suggests ways forward for rethinking how individuals at all stages of the life course interactively engage in consumer societies.
 
In the last decade, progressive Christians have been mounting an increasingly perceptible challenge to the ‘Christian right’ in the United States. New organizations and websites are cropping up, a wellspring of books are being published, and long-standing progressive writers and theologians are garnering more attention and support than ever before. Despite significant advances, however, the impact of the ‘religious left’ in the American public sphere is still limited. In this paper, I ask why. Based on participant observation, discourse analysis, and in-depth interviews, and using a multidimensional culturalist perspective rooted in Durkheimian and Weberian ideas, I explore the symbolic dynamics of the Christian ‘left’. I argue that in addition to their structural disadvantages, progressive Christians face thorny dilemmas regarding authority/legitimacy, rationalization, de-mystification, disenchantment, charisma (or the lack thereof), and profanation that, though not insurmountable, are not easily resolved.
 
How significant are class identities to lesbians and gay men? In the 1990s some theorists implied that lesbian and gay identities were classless or post-class ones. This paper challenges this idea by considering personal narratives of class (dis-)identification that were generated via interviews with lesbians and gay men in the 1990s. The salience of class was explicitly and implicitly articulated in narratives of ‘accepting’, ‘rejecting’, ‘ambiguous’ and ‘disrupting’ class identities. Interviewees’ narratives suggested the relative strength of sexual identities over class ones and their accounts of class had much in common with apparently ‘weak’ mainstream class identities. However, viewed relationally and historically, their narratives troubled the idea that lesbian and gay identities override or transcend class ones. They undermine arguments about the insignificance of class to identities more generally, and complicate arguments about the individualization of class.
 
What is the role, if any, of professional music criticism in the age of the internet, and what are the potential consequences of its likely demise? How do we evaluate the claim that the erosion of traditional forms of cultural authority, including professional criticism, is inherently democratic? To address these questions, this paper compares professional music criticism with the technologically-mediated forms of cultural judgment that have increasingly replaced it, analyzing the shift from aesthetics to consensus as the basis for cultural judgment. Rather than signaling the end of cultural authority, the recent transformations of the music world are marked by the emergence of authority of a different kind.
 
Distribution of active variables. 
Distribution of supplementary variables for geographically specific goods. 
(Modified) Eigen values and modified cumulated rates. 
Summary of MCA findings. 
Most field analyses have overlooked the geographical range of cultural preferences and tastes, adopting an implicitly national focus. This paper takes advantage of detailed questions on preferences of Dutch respondents for music, films and books from various geographical areas to show that taste for cosmopolitan items is multi-faceted and associated with three major cultural divisions. Firstly, more cosmopolitan orientations are associated with wider cultural engagements, whereas exclusively Dutch references are more commonly found amongst those who are relatively culturally disengaged. Secondly, the more ‘highbrow’ Dutch are pre-disposed towards European forms of culture. American culture appeals to the younger and better educated who engage in popular cultural forms. Thirdly there is a distinction between those attracted to specifically non-Dutch, and Dutch culture. This field analysis of cosmopolitanism taste shows how it operates in several different registers which cannot helpfully be captured through a unitary approach.
 
This article sets out an argument for paying greater sociological attention to the public relations industry as an important mechanism through which society and culture are formed. It offers a theoretical and empirical exploration of public relations practice which begins to address this lacuna, using a Bourdieuian framework. After introducing the public relations industry and cultural intermediation, arguments are made for the centrality of discursive struggle in Bourdieu’s work, drawing on other theorists as necessary to make explicit the logic that puts language and discourse at the centre of the struggle for symbolic power. This clarifies the importance of public relations as an object of sociological analysis. Bourdieu’s conception of practice is then reflected on and applied to public relations, before the findings from an exploratory case study are considered. The article concludes by reviewing implications for future theoretical and empirical work in this area.
 
This paper is based on research on wind music in France, where this music is situated at the lowest level in the cultural hierarchy. We examine this music from three points of view: (1) in light of its position in the musical field, (2) as a specific sub-field and (3) at the local level of concrete practices. Then, thanks to the socio-cultural mapping of the orchestras and of their musicians, we establish various combinations of these three levels in the concrete and symbolic organization of musical activities. This framework allows us to evaluate the various degrees of exposure to cultural domination and the possibilities of escaping it.
 
(continued) 
Knowledge and likes of consecrated items
The concept of omnivorousness has become influential in the sociologies of culture and consumption, cited variously as evidence of altered hierarchies in cultural participation and as indicative of broader socio-cultural changes. The 'omnivore thesis' contends that there is a sector of the population of western countries who do and like a greater variety of forms of culture than previously, and that this broad engagement reflects emerging values of tolerance and undermines snobbery. This article draws on the findings of a study of cultural participation in the UK to explore the coherence of the omnivore thesis. It uses a survey to identify and isolate omnivores, and then proceeds to explore the meanings of omnivorousness through the analysis of in-depth, qualitative interviews with them. It concludes that, while there is evidence of wide cultural participation within the UK, the figure of the omnivore is less singularly distinctive than some studies have suggested.
 
The idea of field analysis has been championed as an alternative to ‘variable based’ accounts of social life, and offers the potential for cross-fertilization with complexity theory and forms of ‘descriptive’ research. Yet, the Bourdieusian roots of field analysis pose challenges as well as advantages, given the widespread critique of reductionist elements in Bourdieu’s thinking. This introduction to the special issue lays out how Bourdieu conceives of field analysis and some of the ambivalences this might give rise to. The papers in this special issue explore through worked examples how field analysis might be radicalized and made more dynamic. We focus on three main issues: (1) understanding emerging field dynamics which challenge the influential model that Bourdieu uses in Distinction, (2) showing the potential for comparative analysis and (3) recognizing the role of materiality in cultural relations. The papers collected here allow for varied engagements with the theoretical underpinnings of the classical formulations of field theory, via empirical analyses of both ‘established’ and ‘new’ fields to explore the trajectories of possible developments in field analysis.
 
Recent debates about the knowledge society have furthered awareness of the limits of knowing and, in turn, have fuelled sociological debates about the persistence and intensification of ignorance. In view of the ubiquity of the notion of ignorance, this paper focuses on Georg Simmel’s insightful observations about Nichtwissen (nonknowledge) as the reverse side of knowledge. The paper seeks to relate the notion of nonknowledge to Simmel’s conceptualization of objective and subjective culture. In Simmel’s view, modern society produces cultural objects in order to satisfy individuals’ inherent drive to become social beings. Ever more nonknowledge can be understood as an outcome of the growing difficulties in absorbing the achievement of objective culture into subjective culture. To illustrate the crucial importance of such a view of the unknown for today’s debates on the knowledge society, the paper uses illustrative examples ranging from the strategic acknowledgement of nonknowledge in personal relationships to public encounters and the right not to know one’s own genetic identity.
 
This article analyses the painted panels of the moliceiro boat, a traditional working boat of the Ria de Aveiro region of Por tugal. The ar ticle examines how the painted panels have been invented and reinvented over time. The boat and its panels are contextualized both within the changing socio-economic conditions of the Ria de Aveiro region, and the changing socio-political conditions of Portugal throughout the 20th century and until the present day. The article historically analyses the social significance of ‘moliceiro culture’, examining in particular the power relations it expresses and its ambiguous past and present relationships with the political and the economic powers of the Portuguese state. The article unpacks some of the complexity of the relations that have pertained between public and private, local and national, folk culture and ‘art’, and popular and institutional in the Ria de Aveiro region in particular, and Portugal more generally.
 
Based on focus groups and interviews with first-time voters in the UK, this study reflects critically on the role of popular culture as a resource of political engagement. Unlike previous studies, it looks at a wide range of popular culture and suggests that entertainment television, video games and popular music provide young citizens with some of the resources they need actively to engage in the public sphere. Young citizens struggle to see the relevance of formal politics in their everyday lives, yet they see themselves as part of a political community and connect with its concerns. They use media texts to learn about social and political issues and to explore the moral values that underpin the society in which they live. While some critics have suggested that the media disconnect citizens from their communities, the findings of this study suggest that media texts are a resource which prepares young people for their engagement in the public sphere.
 
Despite ongoing attention to the subject, cultural accounts of the globalization of human rights are surprisingly scarce. Most accounts describe this phenomenon either as a function of evolutionary progress or the rational/strategic action of states and social movement organizations. As a result, they have difficulty explaining both the moral impulse to act on behalf of human rights and the tremendous expansion of the ideology itself. Borrowing insights from global cultural analysis, I argue that the increasing concern for, and elaboration of, human rights points to a world-cultural environment where the individual is increasingly regarded as sacred and inviolable. To demonstrate this, I explore how human rights have developed historically as a `cult of the individual' and present new data on their recent worldwide expansion.
 
This paper analyses diasporic versions of Schuhplattler (slap dance), a German-Austrian folk dance, as a community activity among German and Austrian émigrés. It offers two case studies: one focusing on the anti-Nazi emigrant youth organization ‘Young Austria’ in the late 1930s, the other on the practice and politics of Schuhplattler dancing by German émigrés to the USA in the late 2000s. Discussions address how the dance has been deployed to serve starkly differing cultural objectives and political ideologies. The paper draws on concepts from nationalism, globalization and multiculturalism to contextualize the dance’s role as a source of national and regional identity.
 
MCA: social position of survey respondents and qualitative interviewees (see note) Note: Includes only respondents from the main sample (N = 1564). The individuals interviewed qualitatively who do not belong to the main sample (minority ethnic boost and focus groups samples) are not identified on this MCA.
The article discusses the significance of cultural capital for the understanding of the field of housing in contemporary Britain. It explores the relationship between housing and the position of individuals in social space mapped out by means of a multiple correspondence analysis. It considers the material aspects of housing and the changing contexts that are linked to the creation and display of desire for social position and distinction expressed in talk about home decoration as personal expression and individuals' ideas of a `dream house'. It is based on an empirical investigation of taste and lifestyle using nationally representative survey data and qualitative interviews. The article shows both that personal resources and the imagination of home are linked to levels of cultural capital, and that rich methods of investigation are required to grasp the significance of these normally invisible assets to broaden the academic understanding of the field of housing in contemporary culture.
 
Gender performativity has had significant influences in cultural studies and sociology, yet empirical cases of the theory remain scarce. While some analysis examines performativity in work, the focus is on organizations and how gender ‘gets done and undone’ within them with little attention paid to bodies outside organizations. Based on two empirical studies of freelancing fashion models, we extend Butler’s gender performativity to analyse the routine bodily practices and gender performances of men and women in fashion, investigating what happens when men and women perform the same work but under different gendered expectations. Fashion modelling presents a case that reproduces heteronormative definitions of femininity while potentially challenging traditional notions of masculinity and work. Observing ‘everyday transgressions’, we evidence how gender performativity, while largely reiterative of normative heterosexuality, may subtly confound the conventions. Observing how models ‘do and undo’ gender extends the analysis of gender at work to non-organizational bodies that tend to be under-represented within the literature.
 
This article explores a performative understanding of social science method. First, it draws on STS to consider the plausibility of the claim that research methods generate not only representations of reality, but also the realities those representations depict. Second, it undertakes an archaeology of a major survey — a Eurobarometer investigation of European citizens' attitudes to farm animal welfare — in order to explore the character of its performativity. Finally, it considers some of the implications of the performativity of research tools for the future of methods in social science.
 
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