On the Autonomy of the Aesthetic: Witkin I versus Witkin II


  • Jeffrey C. Alexander


Witkin, commentary,


A commentary on Robert Witkin’s The Aesthetic Imperative of a Rational-Technical Machinery.

Author Biography

Jeffrey C. Alexander

Jeffrey C. Alexander is the Lillian Chavenson Saden Professor of Sociology at Yale University. With Ron Eyerman, he is Co-Director of the Center for Cultural Sociology (CCS). Jeffrey Alexander works in the areas of theory, culture, and politics. An exponent of the “strong program” in cultural sociology, he has investigated the cultural codes and narratives that inform diverse areas of social life. His most recent paper in this area is “Cultural Pragmatics: Social Performance between Ritual and Strategy,” Sociological Theory, 22. He is the author of The Meanings of Social Life: A Cultural Sociology (Oxford, 2003), Cultural Trauma and Collective Identity (with Eyerman, Giesen, Smelser, and Sztompka, University of California Press, 2004), and The Cambridge Companion to Durkheim (2005), which he has edited with Philip Smith. With Bernhard Giesen and Jason Mast, he is the editor of Social Performance: Symbolic Action, Cultural Pragmatics, and Ritual (Cambridge, 2006). In the field of politics, Alexander has written The Civil Sphere (Oxford, 2006), which includes discussions of gender, race, and religion, as well as new theorizing about social movements and incorporation.