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This book brings together for the first time in English internationally-recognized specialists who seek to identify what is 'living' and what is 'dead' in the great German social scientist Max Weber's analyses of China, India and Ancient Israel found in his massive, unfinished Economic Ethic of the World Religions. In so doing, the volume offers a powerful new perspective on the current debate concerning the timing of and deeper roots of the 'Great Divergence' - and more recent convergence - in the economic and political development of the West on the one hand, and the great civilizations of Asia on the other. At the same time, this volume also rebalances our understanding of Weber's entire intellectual output by returning The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism to its proper place within Economic Ethic of the World Religions and establishing that work as the equal of the similarly unfinished Economy and Society.
In a volume in the ‘Cambridge Studies in Opera’ series, Victoria Johnson has pointed to the ‘blossoming of opera studies’ that has occurred in recent decades in the wake of the cultural and historical ‘turns’ experienced by the social sciences and humanities since the 1970s. Two new directions in opera research which Johnson has termed the ‘material conditions’ and ‘systems of meaning’ approaches have reshaped in a fundamental way our thinking about the relationship between opera, the state and society, and in so doing have laid a firm foundation for further work in this area. While the ‘systems of meaning’ paradigm with its roots in the New Cultural History has reconstructed the time-bounded ‘horizons of expectation’ that opera’s librettists, composers and audiences shared during different periods of the genre’s four-century lifespan, the ‘material conditions’ approach, strongly influenced by social history, has delineated the ways in which political and legal – as well as social and economic – factors have shaped operatic production and reception.
This research has uncovered three paradigmatic systems of production and reception that one might call the impresarial, the statist and the impresarial-statist, each of which embodies a distinct pattern in the relationship between opera, the state and society. In the impresarial system, found in its purest form in Italy between the advent of public or commercial opera in 1637 and unification in 1861, in Britain until 1939 and in the United States right down to the present, central states and local governments create the framework conditions for opera production through the enforcement of contracts but provide only minimal financial assistance while leaving the organization of opera seasons in the hands of private businessmen (the impresarios) or associations aiming – but often failing – to turn a profit. Local urban-based social and economic elites choose the opera house as a locus of sociability and status differentiation while influencing the character and content of works through their expectations and tastes.
Karl Marx has long cast his shadow over the study of European political development. Beginning with the appearance of Barrington Moore's classic The Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy, leading theorists of long-term political change in Western Europe have centered their analyses around class actors and coalitions. More recently, however, newer explorations of comparative party formation and consolidation have begun to take into account the central role played by religious conflict across the continent during the 19th and 20th centuries. Although such conflicts led to the creation of large and powerful ‘parties of religious defense’ in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Italy, no such parties emerged in Britain, France, the Iberian peninsula, or Scandinavia, despite high levels of religious tension there. Instead, in these latter cases, religious cleavages were absorbed into existing, often bipolar, party landscapes. As Philip Manow and Kees van Kersbergen argue in Chapter 1, such differences in party configuration with respect to religion, when combined with the effects of contrasting electoral regimes, go a long way toward explaining variations in welfare states found later in the 20th century. Building on the writings of Stein Rokkan and the more recent studies of Hans Righart, Stathis Kalyvas, and Andrew Gould, this contribution will attempt to account for the divergent ways in which both religion and class came to shape European party systems between the Congress of Vienna and World War II.
As this collection has demonstrated, an exciting process of convergence is under way in the world of opera studies. The attention generated by the “critical” approach to opera, with its desire to read contemporary meanings into canonical works, has obscured the fact that many opera scholars who stand outside of this paradigm, be they musicologists, literary theorists, historians, or sociologists, are currently engaged in a common project: namely the reconstruction – based often on painstaking archival research – of the conditions of operatic production, reception, and social instrumentalization during different periods of the genre's four centuries of existence. It is this project that represents the common denominator between those following a “systems of meaning” and those employing a “conditions of production” approach and one that, as Victoria Johnson has shown in her introduction, was made possible by the historical “turn” within the humanities and social sciences over the last two decades.
As Craig Calhoun, Herbert Lindenberger, and Jane Fulcher have all argued in this volume, a close elective affinity exists between this recent research within opera studies and the theories of the French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu. In her contributions here, Fulcher has illustrated one way in which this often difficult body of writings can be put to use in understanding opera. She argues that Bourdieu's idea of a struggle among elites as well as between elites and non-elites over symbolic legitimacy and domination allows for a more complex understanding of the relationship between state power and ideology and art works produced under various forms of state sponsorship.