Issues of Life and Death such as abortion, assisted suicide, capital punishment and others are among the most contentious in many societies. Whose rights are protected? How do these rights and protections change over time and who makes those decisions? Based on the author’s award-winning and hugely popular undergraduate course at the University of Texas, this book explores these questions and the fundamentally sociological processes which underlie the quest for morality and justice in human societies. The Author’s goal is not to advocate any particular moral "high ground" but to shed light on the social movements and social processes which are at the root of these seemingly personal moral questions. Under 200 printed pages, this slim paperback is priced and sized to be easily assigned in a variety of undergraduate courses that touch on the social bases underlying these contested and contentious issues.
'The author shows the connections between debates surrounding the most contentious issues in many societies: abortion, assisted suicide, and capital punishment, among other topics. The discussions proceed from an ethical framework that is more assumed than argued for, but that approach does not stand in the way of readers' getting a deeply informed, well-organized set of perspectives. This is exactly the type of book that could motivate undergraduates to take seriously the most pressing social issues of the time. Summing up: Highly Recommended'— J. H. Barker, Converse College, CHOICE Reviews
1. A Moral System Evolves 2. The Early Moments and Months of Life: Should the Baby Live? 3. The Boundaries of Tolerable Suffering 4. Taking Life: Lynching and Capital Punishment Epilogue: Six Lessons Learned
This innovative series is for all readers interested in books that provide frameworks for making sense of the complexities of contemporary social life. Each of the books in this series uses a sociological lens to provide current critical and analytical perspectives on significant social issues, patterns and trends. The series consists of books that integrate the best ideas in sociological thought with an aim toward public education and engagement. These books are designed for use in the classroom as well as for scholars and socially curious general readers.