This paper considers Jeffrey Alexander’s role in the past, present and future of the strong program in cultural sociology. The central argument is that Alexander is becoming an iconic intellectual, but that the process is not yet complete. Drawing on first-hand observations gathered through my long-term affiliation with the “Alexander group”, I trace the development of Alexander’s social authority and intellectual influence through the establishment, institutionalization and globalization of the strong program. Descriptions of his charismatic intellectual performances provide further insight into iconization. The conclusion identifies some of the challenges that must be overcome for further theoretical development of the strong program, and the conditions that must be met for Alexander’s iconization to reach completion.
- cultural sociology
- Jeffrey Alexander