24.5.2021 , 23-24.5.2022

Theorizing National Solidarity: International Workshop

The goal of this international working group is to examine how the concept of solidarity contributes to our understanding of nationhood (and related forms of civic and ethnic belonging) compared with the overworked concept of national identity. The group was initiated by the Bar Ilan Center for Cultural Sociology. It explores mechanisms, models and paradoxes of national solidarity related to the following research areas: trust and politics of friendship; group interactions and sociability; civic associations & state institutions; liberal nationalism and the social contract; the civil sphere and civility; everyday nationalism; multiculturalism; performances, rituals & media events; populism; trauma and victimhood discourse.
We have brought together a group of leading scholars, both senior and younger, working on solidarity and nationhood from diverse perspectives to discuss theoretically-informed work-in-progress in a relaxed, congenial atmosphere and to enhance further networking in this topic.

The workshop is funded by the Humanities and Social Sciences Fund at the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, The Azrieli Center for Israel Studies at The Ben-Gurion Research Institute and the Schnitzer Foundation for Research on the Israeli Economy and Society at Bar Ilan University.

The group convened for a preparatory meeting via Zoom on May 24, 2021.

Our main event will consisted of a two-day workshop, on May 23-24, 2022.

see the full program here 



June 16, 2021

Sandra Simonsen, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Semantic Ethnification: How Seemingly Neutral Words Get Endowed with Ethnic Information


June 17, 2020

Kristine Steenbergh, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The History of Emotions: An Introduction to Theory and Practice

Presented via zoom at the department seminar of the Interdisciplinary Program for Hermeneutics and Cultural Studies


June 10, 2020

Richard Schechner

Professor Emeritus at the Tisch School of the Arts, New York University

Ramlila of Ramnagar, India: Theatre, Ritual, Politics

Presented via zoom at the department seminar of the Interdisciplinary Program for Hermeneutics and Cultural Studies


May 6, 2020

Jeffrey C. Alexander, Center for Cultural Sociology, Yale University

The Performativity of Objects

Presented via zoom at the at a joint department seminar by The Interdisciplinary Program for Hermeneutics and Cultural Studies and The Department for Sociology and Anthropology

The Performativity of Objects, Jeffrey C. Alexander

ABSTRACT: In this lecture, I integrate my earlier work on “icon theory” more fully with cultural pragmatics, challenging understandings of modern objects as merely material things (e.g., Marx, Weber, and Benjamin). Materialist understandings of materiality need not, however, be connected to sweeping historicist metaphysics. In the sociology of objects that has emerged within contemporary sociology, objects are also mostly treated merely as things. Latour heralds their non-human status, celebrating the existence of materiality as the ultimate refutation of cultural sociology, and arguing for a shift in sociological focus from human action to the action of things.

I will demonstrate, to the contrary, that modern objects are enlivened with social imagination. Materiality is composed of aesthetic surface and discursive depth, the former compelling sensuous experience, the latter moral meaning. Surface and depth are imbricated in social performances: iconic power depends on a dramatic fusion that weaves together the attenuated elements of performativity in a seamless way. While noting background representations, scripts, mis-en-scene, and means of symbolic production, my attention will be devoted to “design” and “reviews,” critical but rarely recognized mediations of iconic construction and experience.


16.9.2019, 10.7.2019

Terrains of Time: Interdisciplinary Workshop

Bar Ilan University

10.7.2019  link to program 1


January 1, 2020

Carmelo Lombardo, Sapienza – University of Rome &

Lorenzo Sabetta, Institute for Analytical Sociology, Linköping University

Appearances of Nothing: Social Action Theory and Concealed Strategic Behavior

Presented via zoom at a joint department seminar by The Interdisciplinary Program for Hermeneutics and Cultural Studies and The Department for Sociology and Anthropology, (building 604, room 309)

Abstract: Within the theoretical framework of social action theory, we will focus on that kind of strategic actions which first conceal/disguise the very existence of a strategic action whatsoever, something akin to the well-known motto Ars est celare artem (the art is to conceal art). Under this light, examples will be drawn from Goffman's concept of "Secret Exhibition", R. Thaler's "Nudge Theory", D. Gambetta's "Countersignalling Theory". We will explore this topic and address its methodological implications, alongside an analysis of symbolic interactionism contribution to this issue.


1-2 January 2019

Reappropriating Durkheim?  Cultural Sociology Here and Now

The Launching Conference of the Bar Ilan Center for Cultural Sociology

Keynote speaker: Eva Illouz, Hebrew University & Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales

link to program (in Hebrew)

link to pictures

link to lecture recordings