Not ironically, the topics explored in this masterfully conceived volume are precisely what make this work invaluable: Meaningfulness, conceptual power, uniqueness, verbal articulation. Few in our field have that rare ability to wrap a superior mind around the most difficult and yet essential matters of being in the world, such as the subjective reading of society and culture. Loren Demerath appears to be one of the special ones. Explaining Culture is a gem of a book. (Thomas J. Cottle)
This provocative book offers a new theory of culture with a unique focus on our aesthetic response to order and meaningfulness. After first identifying the basic principles of aesthetic valuation, then describing the three dimensions of producing shared meaningfulness, it explains the appeal of such things as myth, ritual, symbol, humor, conversation, identity, stereotypes, change, religion, organizational culture, solidarity, and how all of those things vary according to positions within social structure.