As intellectualism suppresses belief in magic, the world's processes become
disenchanted (...) and (...) simply 'are' and 'happen' but no longer signify anything.
As a consequence, there is a growing demand that the world (...) be subjected
to an order that is significant and meaningful (Max Weber)
This is the distinctively modern faculty, the ability to create an illusion
which is known to be false but felt to be true (Colin Campbell)
The 'truth' of a theory does not boil down to its reliability but also involves
the nature of its selective perspective on the world (Alvin W. Gouldner)
Dick Houtman (Utrecht, 1963) is Professor of Cultural Sociology at the Center for Rotterdam Cultural Sociology (CROCUS) at Erasmus University Rotterdam and visiting fellow at Yale University's Center for Cultural Sociology (CCS) during the academic year 2012-2013. He is member of the editorial boards of Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Politics and Religion, Sociologie, and Annual Review of the Sociology of Religion.
Dick Houtman's principal research interest is cultural change in the West since the 1960s, particularly the emergence of a new political culture in which cultural rather than class issues are central, processes of religious purification and revitalization, and, more generally, the Romantic quest for authenticity. As a cultural sociologist, he aims to expose intellectual pretensions of 'true' meaning, solidly grounded beyond culture and history, as moral discourse disguised as science.
Dick Houtman considers himself neither a social or cultural theorist, nor a methodologist, but firmly believes that the cross-fertilization of theoretical ideas and empirical research provides the only feasible road to socially relevant and theoretically meaningful sociological knowledge. As to teaching in higher education, his philosophy is simple enough: students should not be made to reproduce other people’s ideas, but trained to think for themselves and conduct empirical research.
Last updated in May 2013