Jeffrey C. Alexander brings together new and leading contributors to make a powerful and coherently argued case for a new direction in cultural sociology, one that focuses on the intersection between performance, ritual and social action. Performance has always been used by sociologists to understand the social world but this volume offers the first systematic analytical framework based on the performance metaphor to explain large-scale social and cultural processes. From September 11, to the Clinton/Lewinsky affair, to the role of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Social Performance draws on recent work in performative theory in the humanities and in cultural studies to offer a novel approach to the sociology of culture. Inspired by the theories of Austin, Derrida, Durkheim, Goffman, and Turner, this is a path-breaking volume that makes a major contribution to the field. It will appeal to scholars and students alike.