Human beings necessarily understand their social worlds in moral terms, orienting their lives, relationships, and activities around socially-produced tions of right and wrong. Morality is sociologically understood as more than simply helping or harming others; it encompasses any way that individuals form understandings of what behaviors are better than others, what goals are most laudable, and what proper people believe, feel, and do. Morality involves the explicit and implicit sets of rules and shared understandings that keep human social groups intact. Morality includes both the shoulds and should ts of human activity, its proactive and inhibitive elements. At one time, sociologists were centrally concerned with morality, issues like social cohesion, values, the goals and rms that structure society, and the ways individuals get socialized to reproduce those concerns. In the last half-century, however, explicit interest in these topics has waned, and modern sociology has become uninterested in these matters and morality has become marginalized within the discipline. But a resurgence in the topic is happening in related disciplines - psychology, neurology, philosophy, and anthropology - and in the wider national discourse. Sociology has much to offer, but is t fully engaged in this conversation. Many scholars work on areas that would fall under the umbrella of a sociology of morality but do t self-identify in such a manner, r orient their efforts toward conceptualizing what we kw, and should kw, along these dimensions. The Handbook of the Sociology of Morality fills a niche within sociology making explicit the shared concerns of scholars across the disciplines as they relate to an often-overlooked dimension of human social life. It is unique in social science as it would be the first systematic compilation of the wider social structural, cultural, cross-national, organizational, and interactional dimension of human moral (understood broadly) thought, feeling, and behavior.
Steve Hitlin received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is now Assistant Professor of sociology at the University of Iowa. His research interests include social psychology, self and identity, values, morality, social theory, life course studies and gender. His primary focus is on contributing to the sociology of morality, including building bridges between scholars and disciplines around this enterprise. In 2009, he received a grant from the National Science Foundation to host an interdisciplinary conference on the sociology of morality. His research focuses on various dimensions of the social shaping of individual moral orientations, as well as helping to establish the importance of moral dimensions for properly understanding social actors. His other research programs have looked at the development and social psychological nature of racial identities and attempts to empirically measure human agency to engage core sociological debates.
Springer-Verlag New York Inc.
Date of Publication
Sociology & Anthropology: Professional
Handbooks of Sociology and Social Research
Place of Publication
New York, NY
Country of Publication
Springer-Verlag New York Inc.
17 black & white illustrations, 20 black & white tables, biography