Kies de Nederlandse taal
Course module: 424015-B-6
Cultural Sociology
Course info
Course module424015-B-6
Credits (ECTS)6
CategoryBA (Bachelor)
Course typeCourse
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byTilburg University; Tilburg School of Social and Behavioral Sciences; TSB: Sociology; Sociology;
Is part of
B Sociology
B Sociology (International Sociology)
B Culture Studies
Minor Culture in Comparative Perspective
prof. dr. P.H.J. Achterberg
Other course modules lecturer
Academic year2019
Starting block
Course mode
Registration openfrom 13/08/2019 up to and including 02/08/2020
Course objectives:
To read sections of modern-classic cultural sociological books and to reconstruct central research questions, theories, method, and empirical findings. Students will read a selected number of chapters from modern-classic cultural sociological books from (roughly) the 1950s to now. The books presented center around the theme of culture and cover a variety of research methods (quantitative and qualitative methods). By reconstructing the central research questions, theories, method, and empirical findings students will gain more knowledge on each of these elements.
Course design:
Each week the course covers one or two chapters of a so-called cultural sociological modern classic. The lectures are intended to introduce the book and the broader sociological context. In (most of the) workgroups we will discuss these chapters in relation to more recent research articles which deal with roughly the same themes as the classics.

Your grade will be based on two elements – The grade on your midterm essay (30%) and the grade on your written exam (70%). Both grades need to be higher than 5.5!
Midterm paper:
In this paper you will write a paper of approximately 2000 words and report on a qualitative research in the realm of cultural sociology. In this paper, you will confront one cultural sociological theory and discuss a theme or subject of your own choice. 

1. What is cultural sociology? 
2. Individualization
3. Secularization
4. Spiritualization
5. Class and culture
6. Science and culture
7. Consumption and culture
The main contents of the course are:
1. What is cultural sociology? 
2. Individualization
3. Secularization
4. Spiritualization
5. Class and culture
6. Science and culture
7. Consumption and culture

Compulsory Reading
  1. Alexander, J., & Smith, P. (2001). The strong program in cultural theory: elements of a structural hermeneutics. In Handbook of sociological theory (pp. 135-150). Springer US.
  2. Houtman, D. & Achterberg, P. (2016), ‘Quantitative Analysis in Cultural Sociology: Why It Should Be Done, How It Can Be Done’, in: David Inglis and Anna-Mari Almila (eds), Sage Handbook of Cultural Sociology. London: Sage, pp. 225-236
  3. David Riesman, with Nathan Glazer and Reuel Denney, (2001 [1950]), The Lonely Crowd: A Study of the Changing American Character [Abridged and revised edition with foreword by Todd Gitlin], New Haven: Yale Nota Bene. Chapter 1 and 2 (pp. 3-36)
  4. Bond, R., & Smith, P. B. (1996). Culture and conformity: A meta-analysis of studies using Asch's (1952b, 1956) line judgment task. Psychological bulletin, 119(1), 111 - 137
  5. Manevska, K., Achterberg, P., Houtman, D. (2017), ‘Why There Is Less Supportive Evidence for Contact Theory Than They Say There Is: A Quantitative Cultural-Sociological Critique’ American Journal of Cultural Sociology, forthcoming.
  6. Robert N. Bellah, Richard Madsen, William M. Sullivan, Ann Swidler, and Steven M. Tipton (2008 [1985]), Habits of the Heart: Individualism and Commitment in American Life [with new preface], Berkeley: University of California Press.(Chapter 1 and 2 (pp. 3-54))
  7. Matthew Wood and Christopher Bunn, (2009), ‘Strategy in a Religious Network: A Bourdieuian Critique of the Sociology of Spirituality’, Sociology 43 (2): 286-303.
  8. Flere, S., & Kirbiš, A. (2009). New Age, Religiosity, and Traditionalism: A Cross‐Cultural Comparison. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion48(1), 161-169.
  9. Berger, P. L. (1967). The sacred canopy: Elements ofa sociological theory ofreligion. New York.
  10. Roeland, Johan, Stef Aupers, Dick Houtman, Martijn de Koning and Ineke Noomen. "The Quest For Religious Purity In New Age, Evangelicalism And Islam Religious Renditions Of Dutch Youth And The Luckmann Legacy." Annual Review of the Sociology of Religion: Volume 1: Youth and Religion. Ed. G.Giordan. Brill, 2010, pp. 289-306
  11. Baker, J. O. B., & Smith, B. (2009). None too simple: Examining issues of religious nonbelief and nonbelonging in the United States. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion48(4), 719-733.
  12. Inglehart, R. (1990). Culture shift in advanced industrial society. Princeton University Press.(Introduction, Chapters 1 & 2)
  13. Campbell, C. (2006). Modernity and postmodernity. The Blackwell Companion to the Study of Religion43, 309-320
  14. Harambam, J., & Aupers, S. (2015). Contesting epistemic authority: Conspiracy theories on the boundaries of science. Public Understanding of Science24(4), 466-480.
  15. Achterberg, P., de Koster, W., & van der Waal, J. (2015). A science confidence gap: Education, trust in scientific methods, and trust in scientific institutions in the United States, 2014. Public Understanding of Science, 0963662515617367.
  16. Sapiro, G. (2016), ‘Bourdieu’s Sociology of Culture’, in: David Inglis and Anna-Mari Almila (eds), Sage Handbook of Cultural Sociology. London: Sage, pp. 91-104
  17. Bryson, B. (1996). " Anything but heavy metal": Symbolic exclusion and musical dislikes. American sociological review, 884-899.
  18. Kraaykamp, G., & Van Eijck, K. (2010). The intergenerational reproduction of cultural capital: A threefold perspective. Social forces89(1), 209-231.
  19. O’Neill, C., Houtman, D., & Aupers, S. (2014). Advertising real beer: Authenticity claims beyond truth and falsity. European Journal of Cultural Studies17(5), 585-601.
  20. Josée Johnston & Shyon Baumann, (2007), ‘Democracy versus Distinction: A Study of Omnivorousness in Gourmet Food Writing’, American Journal of Sociology 113 (1): 165-204. 
Course available for exchange students
Bachelor level
Contact person
prof. dr. P.H.J. Achterberg
Timetable information
Cultural Sociology
Written test opportunities
Written test opportunities (HIST)
Schriftelijk / WrittenEXAM_01BLOK 1117-10-2019
Schriftelijk / WrittenEXAM_01BLOK 2208-01-2020
Required materials
Recommended materials


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