If sociology is about "society" must it not also be about morality? The identification between sociology and morality was clear cut in the 19th and early 20th centuries: Marx, Durkheim, Weber, Spencer and Veblen all dealt with moral issues. However, now the connections between sociology and moral concerns have become more tenuous. In this volume, the author examines what it means to be moral in contemporary social and cultural life. He takes the step of exploring what the massacres in the Balkans and Rwanda, the Holocaust and the slaughter of Vietnamese peasants at My Lai might mean to the relatively safe and secure individuals in the West. Increasingly in the West horror is experienced only through television and cinema screens and Tester looks at the moral possibilities and implications of this, and what it means to those who are its consumers. Tester also addresses the pressing concern of whether or not this is a time of moral decay. He uses a range of literature to explore these questions and develops his account around debates raised by Arendt, Simmel, Riesman and Bauman.
`In four provocative chapters - Indifference, Duty, Guilt and Virtue - Tester draws intelligently on the work of George Simmel, Hannah Arendt, Karl Jaspers and Zygmunt Bauman to explore what a morally informed sociology can say about the defining political experiences of our age... Tester's book will provoke discussion and argument. Many will be infuriated by it. Tester has offered a challenge to liveral neutralism - who in sociological theory is prepared to take it up?' Political Studies
`Life is nasty, brutish and short, but sociologists have generally failed to provide an adequate account of human rights and have no satisfactory explanation of how strangers in the modern metropolis might live together in harmony and prosperity. Tester presents a challenge to na[um]ive notions of ethical neutrality and to what we might call caf[ac]e cosmopolitanism and yuppie intellectualism.... Powerful, bold and fascinating' - Professor Bryan S Turner, Deakin University, Australia