Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
RS14_07a_IC: Sociology of Morality IV
Thursday, 31/Aug/2017:
4:00pm - 5:30pm

Session Chair: Izabela Sakson-Szafranska, Faculty of Applied Social Sciences and Resocialization of the University of Warsaw
Session Chair: Urszula Szczepankowska, University of Warsaw
Location: Intercontinental - Omikron II
Athenaeum Intercontinental Hotel Syngrou Avenue 89-93 Athens, Greece Floor: Level 1

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Zhanna Puzanova, Tatiana Larina

Peoples` Friendship University of Russia, Russian Federation

The understanding of individual freedom and its realization in modern Russia based on the Constitution, but is not limited to it. Public opinion, social norms effect on people's perceptions of what is allowed and what is not allowed

Unwritten norms depend on concrete society, so for this reason in the modern world there are distinctions between understanding of freedom in Russia and in Europe. The fact that socially approved framework of self-realization of the person in the context of the European culture is much wider, than in Russia.

Youth is the most proactive part of society, and student's youth is the most progressive part of this proactive force, therefore within the empirical research conducted by us this social group is chosen as a research object. The research was conducted in September, 2016, based on the RUDN University (Moscow) for examination of opinion towards questions related to personal freedom within the context of the nonconventional gender relations. Legislatively in Russia same-sex marriages are not allowed, however these kind of relationships which are not legally fixed do exist, as well as in many other countries around the world. They traditionally meet a negative response from the Russian public. The youth is most susceptible to changes and it is logical to believe, that their attitude towards the considered aspects can be other.

Following the results of a research of 34% of students don't see anything reprehensible in the homosexual unions, every fifth – categorically against this kind of relations, 46% are not against the similar unions if it doesn't concern personally their or their acquaintances.

Is human nature good or evil? The case of violence

Anne Nassauer

Freie Universität Berlin, Germany

Are humans inherently good or evil? Is it part of human nature to hurt and kill others, or do humans act against their innate instincts when violence erupts? This presentation discusses these questions with regard to a human inhibition towards violence. I argue that the idea of an immanent ‘cruel nature’ lacks empirical basis, contrary to common belief.

The presentation connects a wide array of novel findings across research fields. Recent sociological findings indicate that all humans need to overcome an inhibition threshold to use violence. Studies on hooligans, street gangs, crowd violence, and atrocities show that being violent is difficult, not easy. Historical studies support these claims, showing that although every person at each point can use violence, violence is empirically rare across history. Anthropological research indicates that such an inhibition might exist as a product of human’s necessity to live within a group or larger society in order to be well supplied and protected. Neurological studies show that if people experience trust and solidarity by other human beings, they directly experience an increase of positive neurotransmitters, whereas the use of violence does generally not lead to such an increase. Lastly, primate studies indicate that serious fights are also rare among our direct ancestors, the great apes. Cooperative and affiliate behaviors are considerably more common across all primate species.

The presentation brings together these recent research results to argue for a non-violent human nature. Findings imply that humans could invest less effort in protecting themselves from each other and instead rely more on humans’ innate solidarity with each other.

The morality of homonegativity: revisiting the operationalization of modern homonegativity

Dieter Dekeyser1, Koen Abts2

1Ghent University, Belgium; 2Tilburg University, The Netherlands

Background: Previous research has separated negative attitudes towards LGBT’s into two dimensions: modern and traditional homonegativity. While traditional homonegativity is grounded in a moral (religious) traditionalist outlook on sexuality; modern homonegativity includes frustrations with public attention to LGBT’s which are grounded in a lack of solidarity and empathy. Both modern and traditional homonegativity are essential parts of the multilayered way in which LGBT’s are perceived in society.

Research problem: However, past results show that modern homonegativity is strongly associated with both traditional homonegativity and moral traditionalism. This questions the validity of modern homonegativity as a non-traditional type of homonegativity and makes it difficult to estimate the prevalence and social causes of modern homonegativity.

Aim: This study argues that modern homonegativity should be operationalized as a type of homonegativity that is not associated with traditional homonegativity. This takes account of the tendencies of moral traditionalists to be both modern and traditional homonegative and is based on our expectation that moral non-traditionalists will not be traditional homonegative, but are able to be modern homonegative. Using structural equation modeling, we statistically control modern for traditional homonegativity and relate both constructs to moral traditionalism and solidarism.

Results: Solidarism is related to modern homonegativity, but not to traditional homonegativity. Higher levels of moral traditionalism are related to higher levels of traditional homonegativity and, contrary to past results, to lower levels of modern homonegativity. These results reaffirm modern homonegativity as a subdimension of homonegativity with specific moral foundations and social explanations.

Moralities of provisioning amidst recession and austerity

Andreas Streinzer

University of Vienna, Austria

The Greek economic crisis has challenged notions of European solidarity and of solidarity among people living through austerity and recession. The severe decline in available incomes from state and private sectors has created serious difficulties for the social reproduction of most Greek households.

In my paper, I will present ethnographic data from my 11 months of doctoral fieldwork in Volos, Greece, to discuss how people moralize these changes in their everyday economic lives and justify their actions in ambiguous contexts of contemporary capitalism.

In arguing so, I will focus on three themes:

First, doing one's taxes right. While longing for a redistributive state yet observing social groups with easy access to the means of evading taxes, my interlocutors were ambivalent about how to deal with taxes in their own everyday economic lives.

Second, putting one's money into the right pockets. While facing the imperative for austerity in their own households, purchasing became a means of investment - by investing into the future of one's children but also by supporting the right producers and retailers. But who are they?

Third, doing economic relations better. By founding alternative economic networks for mutual solidarity, my interlocutors created new forms of inequalities that they struggled to accommodate in their quest for the good life.

The paper concludes with a discussion of the contribution that an analysis of these moralities in turmoil can be for the sociology of moralities as well as for economic anthropology.

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