Review Essay: New Relationships? Two Perspectives on Reciprocity Between Empirical Work and Theorizing for a German Sociology of Culture

Guy Schwegler


The editors of the volume "Zum Verhältnis von Empirie und kultursoziologischer Theoriebildung" [Current Conditions and Perspectives on the Relationship between Empirical and Theoretical Work in the Sociology of Culture] collect contributions to an ongoing discussion regarding the relationship between empirical work and theorizing within a sociology of culture. This relationship still appears to be characterized by a tension, especially within Germany. In this essay, I discuss the various solutions offered in the volume from two perspectives: With the first perspective, I gather the solutions that start with a definition of what a sociology of culture should be. The respective authors deduce the relationship between empirical and theoretical work from this definition of a sociology of culture. From the second perspective, those positions and research examples are discussed that start with methodological practice and its given relationship between empirical and theoretical work. From here, the authors draw consequences for their respective definitions of a sociology of culture. With these two perspectives, I point to outcomes with regard to research and theory, but also look at the current status of this discipline in Germany. For the latter, I conclude, the contributors seem to dissolve old divisions in the sociology of culture. For the relationship between empirical work and theorizing, however, there is a lack of specific guidance to achieve reciprocity.


theorization; sociology of culture; cultural sociology; methodology; review


Copyright (c) 2020 Guy Schwegler

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.