How has the meaning of culture been reconsidered? What impact has this had on approaches to social enquiry? Should culture be seen as central to social science? Over the past three decades, there has been a transformation in the ways that social science has been conducted. In order to understand what is happening, we have to explore the implications of a rethinking of the meaning of culture, from a hierarchical system of classification to a contested space. This wide-ranging introduction to the concept of culture examines the ways in which we approach social enquiry, and argues that cultural theory can help to overcome problems in disciplinary and interdisciplinary analysis. Mark J. Smith explores how changes in the meaning of 'culture' have pinpointed key shifts in the way we research society, and draws on contemporary sociology, psychology, politics, geography and the study of crime to consider the ways in which cultural transformation has changed the landscape of social research. He concludes with a persuasive and focused discussion of the centrality of culture in postdisciplinary social science.
This landmark text represents essential reading for students and researchers with an interest in the cultural dimension of social science.