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Moral Minefields

Price: $35.75
SKU:  9780226828183
Product  9780226828183
An analysis of the effects of moral debates on sociological research.

Few academic disciplines are as contentious as sociology. Sociologists routinely turn on their peers with fierce criticisms not only of their empirical rigor and theoretical clarity but of their character as well. Yet despite the controversy, scholars manage to engage in thorny debates without being censured. How?


In Moral Minefields, Shai M. Dromi and Samuel D. Stabler consider five recent controversial topics in sociology--race and genetics, secularization theory, methodological nationalism, the culture of poverty, and parenting practices--to reveal how moral debates affect the field. Sociologists, they show, tend to respond to moral criticism of scholarly work in one of three ways. While some accept and endorse the criticism, others work out new ways to address these topics that can transcend the criticism, while still others build on the debates to form new, more morally acceptable research.


Moral Minefields addresses one of the most prominent questions in contemporary sociological theory: how can sociology contribute to the development of a virtuous society? Rather than suggesting that sociologists adopt a clear paradigm that can guide their research toward neatly defined moral aims, Dromi and Stabler argue that sociologists already largely possess and employ the repertoires to address questions of moral virtue in their research. The conversation thus is moved away from attempts to theorize the moral goods sociologists should support and toward questions about how sociologists manage the plurality of moral positions that present themselves in their studies. Moral diversity within sociology, they show, fosters disciplinary progress.