Cultural Analysis: The Work of Peter Berger, Mary Douglas, Michel Foucault, and Jurgen Habermans, Robert Wuthnow, James Davison Hunter, Albert Bergesen, and Edith Kurzweil. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1984, 272 pp. (Cloth and Paperback editions)
Cultural Analysis is a systematic examination of the theories of culture contained in the writings of four contemporary social theorists - Peter L. Berger, Mary Douglas, Michel Foucault and Jürgen Habermas. Each of these writers represents a distinct tradition which has become increasingly prominent in the study of culture: Berger's work represents an extension of the phenomenological perspectiv; Douglas draws on the Durkheimian tradition of cultural anthropology to investigate the structures of meaning and moral order; Foucault has adapted a variety of structural analysis which focuses on the ordering if discourse; and Habermas currently stands as the leading representative of critical theory.
This study of their work clarifies their contributions to the analysis of culture and shows the converging assumptions that the authors believe are laying the foundation for a new approach to the study of culture. The focus is specifically on culture, a concept that remains subject to ambiguites of treatment, and concentrates on questions concerning the definition and content of culture, its construction, its relations with social conditions, and the manner in which it may be changing. In particular, the book shows that Berger, Douglas, Foucault, and Habermas have made strides towards defining cultuer as an objective element of social interaction which can be subjected to critical inverstigation.