After the cultural turn: For a textural sociology
This article proposes the social sciences consider texture - rather than text − as the important legacy of the 'cultural turn' in the social sciences. The article considers texture in the literal sense of surface-patterns, as well as texture as a metaphor for the 'dynamic' and hard-to-capture qualities of social life. The article draws on the philosopher Stephen C. Pepper and the anthropologist Tim Ingold, the 'practice turn' in organizational studies and recent developments in geography and cultural research to map out different textural frameworks. While sociologists have lagged behind their counterparts in other fields in embracing a textural sensibility, the article considers the writings of Georg Simmel and the Yale School of Cultural Sociology as prominent exceptions to that rule. The article concludes by encouraging sociologists to consider the textural as a way into a 'theoretical' - as against a purely 'methodological' conception - of the qualitative.