Culture is increasingly important to American social science, but in what way? This book addresses the core issues of the sociology of culture-questions about the social role of meaning, along with those about the methods sociologists use to study culture and society-in a manner that makes clear their relevance to sociology as a whole. Part I consists of essays by leading cultural sociologists on how the turn to culture has changed the sociological study of organizations, economic action, and television, and concludes with Georgina Born's methodological statement on the sociology of art and cultural production. Part II contains a highly original, and at times heated, debate between Richard Biernacki and John H. Evans on the appropriateness of abstract and quantifiable coding schemes for the sociological study of culture. Ranging from the philosophy of science to the concrete, practical problems of interpreting masses of cultural data, the debate raises the controversy over the interpretation of culture and the explanation of social action to a new level of sophistication.