1st Edition

Personal Ethics and Ordinary Heroes The Social Context of Morality

    116 Pages
    by Routledge

    116 Pages
    by Routledge

    Personal Ethics and Ordinary Heroes: The Social Context of Morality examines what it means to be an authentic hero and provides real-life narratives that underscore the ethical principles guiding decision-making in the justice system and beyond.

    This engaging work revolves around a collection of excerpts from students studying ethics and social justice. The essays were responses to an invitation to write about and discuss a hero in their lives who motivated them to be more just, compassionate and morally responsible persons. These essays, collected over several years, portray shared meanings of heroism rooted in themes like sacrifice, perseverance and wisdom. The authors set student narratives in dialogues related to ethics and leadership that are both entertaining and useful for contemporary students and practitioners. This book illustrates the lessons of ethics in criminal and social justice practice and makes them tangible to students. Fostering the benefits of experiential learning, it brings real meaning to students of criminal justice as well as professionals in the criminal justice field and other areas of human and social service practice. It is an essential accompaniment to primary texts used in ethics courses and training seminars.

    This book is intended for use in undergraduate classes in applied human sciences and services like criminal justice, criminology, social work and political science. It is particularly well-suited for classes in the areas of ethics, organizations and administration, and leadership. It is also worthwhile reading for the active justice practitioner.

    1. The Nature of Heroes and Heroism
    2. A Sampling of Heroes in History
    3. Personal Ethics, Moral Philosophy and Leadership
    4. The Making of a Hero: Responding to Life’s Challenges and the Needs of Others
    5. Heroes Around Us
    6. The Hero Within
    7. Heroic Actions
    8. Consequences and Courage
    9. The Hero’s Legacy
    10. Portrait of a Hero


    Michael J. DeValve is a dad, spouse, son, author, educator, zemiologist, meditator, mediator and musician. Michael’s primary scholarly focus is justice as love. He is interested in police-community conflict resolution and organizational capacity-building, and he is passionate about the arts in the justice classroom. Michael is Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at Bridgewater State University.

    Michael C. Braswell is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at East Tennessee State University. A former prison psychologist, he earned degrees from the University of Southern Mississippi, University of Georgia, University of West Georgia and Mercer University. He has published in the areas of ethics, counseling, human relations, corrections and law enforcement. His publications also include two novels and three short story collections.

    This book offers a completely different approach to learning about heroes, ethics and leadership. The reader will be taken on a journey through fable, fiction, and history, but, mostly, using first-person stories shared by students. The reader is invited to think about the meaning of authentic heroism. The authors share with us, their students’ heroes (the parent, friend, teacher, and others) and deconstruct the elements of heroism through them. This book is supremely timely as we now recognize heroism daily in the healthcare professionals and first responders who risk their lives daily to take care of others. In this pandemic of historic proportions, DeValve and Braswell give us perspective to distinguish between leaders who are also heroes in their quiet commitment to do their duty, and those who merely posture and pretend to lead.

    -Joycelyn Pollock, Professor, School of Criminal Justice, Texas State University