Identity Designs: The Sights and Sounds of a Nation

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Rutgers University Press, 1995 - Social Science - 252 pages
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National symbols, modern totems with ancient roots, remain entities for which men and women continue to march, debate, fight, and die. Modern political leaders still drape their campaigns in such symbols; modern revolutionaries still defile them. Identity Designs explores the source of this long-standing power--the way national symbols are selected, the manner in which their meaning is conveyed, their potential effects, and the sustenance of their power.

In particular, the book charts the role of design in the selection of symbolic images, thus demonstrating that symbols are chosen not just for what they convey, but how they convey their message. Karen Cerulo shows that the symbolic designs of a nation's identity are not simply the products of indigenous characteristics, as conventional wisdom might suggest. Rather, the banners and songs by which nations represent themselves are generated by broad social forces that transcend the peculiarities of any one nation. Cerulo's analysis acquaints readers with a set of social structural factors that delimit rules of symbolic expression. Further, the book suggests the benefits of adhering to these rules and explores the costs of violating them.


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We Pledge Allegiance
Syntactic Structure
Editors of National Symbol Structures
Socioeconomic Pockets and the Structure of National
Of the People For the People g i
Off Key Strategy Selections
Changing Voice
Final Notes on Identity Designs
Correlation Matrix for Measures of Melodic Syntax
A 2b Correlation Coefficients for Graphic Stability

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References to this book

Cultural Sociology
Lynette Spillman
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About the author (1995)

Karen A. Cerulo (PhD, Princeton University) is a professor of sociology at Rutgers University. Her research interests include culture and cognition, symbolic communication, media and technology, and comparative historical studies. Professor Cerulo s articles appear in a wide variety of journals, including the "American Sociological Review", "Contemporary Sociology", "Poetics", "Social Forces", "Sociological Forum", "Sociological Inquiry", "Communication Research", and annuals such as the "Annual Review of Sociology" and "Research in Political Sociology". She is the author of three books: "Identity Designs: The Sights and Sounds of a Nation", winner of the ASA Culture Section s award for the Best Book of 1996 (Rose Book Series of the ASA, Rutgers University Press); "Deciphering Violence: The Cognitive Structure of Right and Wrong" (Routledge); and "Never Saw It Coming: Cultural Challenges to Envisioning the Worst" (University of Chicago Press). She has also edited a collection entitled "Culture in Mind: Toward a Sociology of Culture and Cognition" (Routledge). Professor Cerulo s teaching and research earned her both the Rutgers University Awards for Distinguished Contributions to Undergraduate Education and the Scholar-Teacher Award. In 2014, she was named the Robin Williams Lecturer for the Eastern Sociological Society.

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