Centre for Rotterdam Cultural Sociology
Relentless processes of individualization and globalization have corroded much of the taken-for-grantedness of the erstwhile dominant cultural narratives of the West. This has transformed culture and meaning into major social problems in and of themselves, with the contemporary West haunted by problems pertaining to meaning, identity and morality. The research program Culture and Meaning in Contemporary Modernity of the Centre for Rotterdam Cultural Sociology (CROCUS, Erasmus University Rotterdam) aims to study these cultural problems, as well as the processes of cultural change they give rise to and the latter's wider social consequences.
Samira van Bohemen, Liesbet van Zoonen and Stef Aupers publish new article about the 'fun' of the Red Hat Society
This article has recently been published online by the European Journal of Cultural Studies (May, 2013), and studies the 'Red Hat Society': a popular international network of women's groups that organise 'fun' and 'frivolous' activities for women over 50. Modelled after the popular poem 'Warning' by Jenny Joseph, members dress conspicuously with red hats and purple dresses. More specifically, this paper studies the ways in which these women's life histories feed into their negotiations of gender and age. It is shown that life histories are important in contextualizing women's motivations and meanings for engaging in performances that negotiate hegemonic gender culture. Find the full article here (Pdf).
Peter Achterberg and colleagues publish on the ideological roots of support for welfare state reform
In the article they examine the extent to which four major trends in welfare state reform – privatisation, increasing selectivity, increasing activation and increasing discipline – are supported and how this support can be explained. Using recent public opinion data of the Dutch population, it is found that there are two ideological dimensions underlying welfare reform support, the first tapping distributive reform, the latter tapping commodifying reform. While support for distributive reform in the direction of decreasing redistribution can solely be explained by economic interests and economic values, support for commodifying reform can also be explained culturally. It appears that one’s cultural position and cultural ideological values are important for support for commodifying reform. Published in the International Journal of Social Welfare [LINK]
On the occasion of Queen Beatrix' abdication of the throne to (now) King Willem Alexander, Liesbet van Zoonen was asked by the Guardian to explain what place the House of Orange has in Dutch society. Read, or listen to the 4 minute fragment here (scroll down to 4.11 pm).
Jeroen van der Waal has received the EUR fellowship grant for his research project 'Why do Birds of a Feather Flock Together? Explaining Assortative Settling in the United States by Connecting Post-Industrialization and Detraditionalization'. This prestigious grant of € 135.000 is awarded to extremely talented scholars at Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR).
This article aims to move beyond media discourse about “new atheism” by mapping and explaining anti-religious zeal among the public at large in 14 Western European countries. We analyze data from the International Social Survey Program, Religion III, 2008, to test two theories about how country-level religiousness affects anti-religiosity and its social bases: a theory of rationalization and a theory of deprivatization of disbelief. Hypotheses derived from the former are contradicted, whereas those derived from the latter are largely confirmed. Anti-religiosity is strongest among disbelievers and among the higher educated in the most religious countries and among the older generations in today’s most secularized countries. Published in Politics and Religion LINK
Tonight Stef Aupers was the main guest in the Dutch popular science show De Wereld Leert Door, in which he talked about his research on conspircacy theories. The 12 minute show can be seen here [Dutch].
Jaron Harambam on why 'conspiracy theorizing' matters
In an opinion article Jaron Harambam shows how the critique of professor Schellekens (Medical Biotechnology) of the pharmaceutical industry does not differ that much from those expressed by the “conspiracy theorists” he encountered in his fieldwork. He argues therefore that conspiracy thinking should not be as easily dismissed as is often done. The sociological question regarding conspiracy theories should not be whether they are true or false, but should regard how they become "true" or "false". He argues that how these practices of legitimating or discrediting knowledge work, is fundamentally related to interests and positions in the field of knowledge production. Therefore, to counterbalance the power of the pharmaceutical industry and the media power to produce (their) knowledge, he argues, a more democratically organized knowledge production should serve the public interest. Published on the blog Sciencepalooza [DUTCH].
Samira van Bohemen, Roy Kemmers and Willem de Koster on secular intolerance of Islam in the Netherlands
Contemporary Dutch Islam criticism has attained a distinctly liberal character, so argue Samira van Bohemen, Roy Kemmers and Willem de Koster in their recent article in Sociologie. Hence they question whether such criticism can be explained simply by - well-documented - prejudice, or whether a secular liberal morality itself has become a basis for social exclusion. They show that this is the case particularly among the lower educated. Find the full article here (pdf). [DUTCH]