Informations and abstract
In recent decades, after the cultural turn that has transformed the human sciences, sociologists have learned that a society's normative standards are not established primarily by formal rules or even by social values. Rather, they are established through collective discourses built from codes, narratives, and metaphors. But collective discourses also assume an iconic form, and their meanings are learned through subjective immersion and projected through materiality. Following Nietzsche, and building on a discussion of Alberto Giacometti and his lifelong research in the art of sculpture, the paper explores how iconic experience is crucial in modern social life and how it produces social meanings, that it communicates through material forms whose surface draws actors inward to experience deeper moral and emotional depths. The paper is a further contribution to that "cultural sociology", to be intended as a strong program in the sociology of culture, which the author has been developing over the last two decades.