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Moral decline sociology: critiquing the legacy of Durkheim


Hookway, N, Moral decline sociology: critiquing the legacy of Durkheim, Journal of Sociology, 51, (2) pp. 271-284. ISSN 1440-7833 (2015) [Refereed Article]

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DOI: doi:10.1177/1440783313514644


This article critically evaluates key assumptions within classical and contemporary ‘decline’ moral sociology. It argues that two dominant models of moral loss sociology – the ‘cultural pessimist’ and ‘communitarians’ – are indebted to a set of Durkheimian assumptions that underwrite his original diagnosis of the moral crisis of modernity. Three specific assumptions are identified and critiqued: view of human nature and self; ‘society’ as the necessary source of morality; and the functions of morality. The article suggests that these assumptions work to ignore how self, emotions and cultural ideals of self-improvement may work as alternate moral structures in late modernity.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:authenticity, decline sociology, Durkheim, emotions, ethics, morality
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Sociology
Research Field:Social theory
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in human society
UTAS Author:Hookway, N (Dr Nicholas Hookway)
ID Code:87099
Year Published:2015 (online first 2014)
Web of Science® Times Cited:14
Deposited By:School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2013-12-10
Last Modified:2016-10-13

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