1st Edition

Everyday Moralities Doing it Ourselves in an Age of Uncertainty

By Nicholas Hookway Copyright 2019
    154 Pages
    by Routledge

    154 Pages
    by Routledge

    Winner of the 2020 Stephen Crook Memorial Prize fromThe Australian Sociological Association, a biennial prize for the best authored book in Australian sociology

    From concerns of dwindling care and kindness for others to an excessive concern with self and consumerism, plenty of evidence has been provided for the claim that morality is in decline in the West, yet little is known about how people make-sense of and experience their everyday moral lives. This insightful book asks how late-modern subjects construct, understand and experience morality in a context of moral uncertainty. With a focus on two areas of morality and human conduct – love and intimacy, and the human treatment of animals – the author draws on the work of Bauman, Ahmed, Irigaray, Foucault and Taylor to construct an innovative theoretical synthesis, which is combined with new empirical material drawn from online diaries or blogs to examine the complex and intriguing ways that contemporary subjects narrate and experience everyday moral-decision-making. Providing theoretical and empirical insights into the contemporary production of morality and selfhood in late-modernity, Everyday Moralities sheds new light on the ways in which people morally navigate a changing social world and advances sociology beyond models of narcissism, moral loss and community breakdown. As such, it makes an important contribution to an underdeveloped area of the discipline, explicitly addressing the everyday ways morality is lived and practised in a climate of moral ambiguity.


    1. Introduction: Moral Life in the 21st Century

    2. Moral Decline Sociology and the Legacy of Durkheim

    3. Beyond Moral Decline: Theorising Alternative Moral Structures

    4. DIY Morality and the Problem of Narcissism

    5. ‘DIY Spirituality’, ‘DIY Catholics’ and ‘Anti-DIY’ Fundamentalists

    6. Love as Moral Space? The Morality of ‘Moving On’

    7. Animals and Ethics: Being for the Non-Human Other

    8. Conclusion: Moral Futures

    Appendix: Cast of Characters




    Nicholas Hookway is Senior Lecturer in Sociology within the School of Social Sciences at the University of Tasmania, Australia.

    ‘The analysis in Everyday Moralities is wonderfully clear and perceptive throughout, proving suitable for a wide audience, ranging from theorists of morality to digital ethnographers, along with graduate students investigating the resurgent sociology of morality. …a much-needed alternative to moral decline perspectives, demonstrating how late-modern subjects thoughtfully labour to craft moral worlds worth living in.’ – Matt Wade, Journal of Sociology