Colloquium - Jeffrey Alexander

Thursday, September 12, 2019 3:30 PM
Claude Moore Nursing Education Room 1110

Thursday, September 12, 2019 - 3:30 PM to 5:00 PM
Jeffrey Alexander
Lillian Chavenson Saden Professor of Sociology

Title:  “#MeToo as Societalization”


Most of the time, social strains, no Matter how problematic and painful, remain insulated inside non-civil institutions — such as family, workplace, church, or school. Hidden from the critical discourses and institutions of the civil sphere, they are handled by intra-institutional elites according to the “self-serving” values of the particular sphere. Only when strains become scrutinized by civil sphere elites and democratic values do they become “social problems,” such that there is the experience of social crisis and the sacred center of society seems to be at stake. Over the last two years, Just such a process has occurred with regard to sexual harassment in the workplace. Once civil “Code Switch”  destroyed steady state,  cultural, material and organizational tranformations unfolded. 

In response to these changes and challenges, a powerful backlash movement pushed back against #MeToo, and we are now in the midst of a battle between spheres.  the sense of crisis will eventually abate, but the Civil regulation of sexual conduct has permanently entered into the workplace.