Cardiff University | Prifysgol Caerdydd ORCA
Online Research @ Cardiff 
WelshClear Cookie - decide language by browser settings

W. E. B. Du Bois's forgotten sociology of morality: Contesting the foundations and informing the future of the sociology of morality

Abbott, Owen ORCID: 2023. W. E. B. Du Bois's forgotten sociology of morality: Contesting the foundations and informing the future of the sociology of morality. Sociological Review 71 (5) , pp. 957-975. 10.1177/00380261221138207

[thumbnail of W E B Du Bois Forgotten Sociology of Morality Accepted pre publication.pdf]
PDF - Accepted Post-Print Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (330kB) | Preview


Du Bois’s work, especially his early work, was explicitly concern with morality, including dedicated studies into the moral lives of black Americans and their perceived moral standing in American society. His wider oeuvre was also regularly concerned with the role of stratified moral status and power-laden judgement as instruments of oppression. Yet, the long-overdue revival of Du Bois’s contribution to sociology has given little credence to his work on morality. Likewise, the resurgent sociology of morality has scarcely engaged with Du Bois’s work at all. The primary intention of this paper is thus to introduce and explore Du Bois’s work on morality. In so doing, the paper sets out the aims of Du Bois’s work on morality, explores his empirical investigations into the topic, and argues that recognition of Du Bois’s ongoing concern for the relationship between racialisation and moral status allows the moral content of his more familiar writings and concepts to come to the fore. Throughout, it is argued that Du Bois’s work on morality anticipates many of the features of contemporary sociologies of morality in its emphasis on moral contestation and power, in its focus on practices and care, and in its intention to use the study of morality for the purpose of social reform. But his work also goes beyond current approaches in its recognition of the significance of moral judgement to processes of racialisation. How Du Bois’s work contributes to the future of current sociologies of morality is the focus of the conclusion.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BJ Ethics
E History America > E11 America (General)
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Uncontrolled Keywords: W. E. B. Du Bois; Sociology of Morality; Double-consciousness; Morals and Manners; Racialisation
Publisher: SAGE Publications
ISSN: 1467-954X
Funders: Leverhulme Trust
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 23 October 2022
Date of Acceptance: 23 October 2022
Last Modified: 10 Nov 2023 00:19

Actions (repository staff only)

Edit Item Edit Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics