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 practiced 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
The Morality, Society and Culture series publishes rigorous scholarly work exploring how questions of what we should do and how we ought to live are expressed and practised in contemporary social relationships and culture. How do ideas about what is right and good shape action and identities? Can cultural texts such as films, television, literature and art be guides for living? What do often abstract moral values mean in daily life? This series explores how and to what effect questions of meaning, identity and action are inextricably entwined with contemporary social and cultural forms, texts and relationships. The books in this series offer new understandings of the connection of morality, society and culture.