Sociology Index

MORAL RHETORIC

In the study of crime, moral rhetoric is the set of claims and assertions that deviants make to normalize and rationalize deviant behavior. With moral rhetoric, individuals, businesses and public institutions may be blamed for unfairness, exploitation or some moral or biological failing thus justifying them as targets of crime.

The moral rhetoric of a group is an important component of socialization into a deviant identity.

A Western moral rhetoric fares well if the researcher chooses methodologically individualist framework.

The framework assists a moral rhetoric by providing it with concrete rather than abstract social actors, with a basis for explanation in terms of motive rather than situational forces.

MORAL RHETORIC IN THE FACE OF STRATEGIC WEAKNESS: EMPERIMENTAL CLUES FOR AN ANCIENT PUZZLE - VAROUFAKIS Y.

Moralising is a venerable last resort strategy. The ancient Melians presented the Athenian generals with a splendid example when in a particularly tight corner. In our Western philosophical tradition moral rhetoric is often couched in the form of reasons for action either external to preference and desire (eg. Kant) or internal to the agent's calculus of desire (e.g., Hume, Gauthier). A third tradition dismisses such rhetoric as the last recourse of the weak (e.g., Aristotle, Nietzsche) whereas a fourth calls for an examination of the social context (e.g., Socrates, Marx, Wittgenstein, Habermas).

E. Digby Baltzell: Moral Rhetoric and Research Methodology 
Samuel Z. Klausner, Sociological Theory, Volume 16 Issue 2 Page 149 - July 1997
The ways in which values are assimilated to social research differ according to the theoretical frame of reference informing the research. An example from the writings of E. Digby Baltzell illustrates how a moral commitment shaped his assumptions about the nature of the social matrix and his research strategies. A Western moral rhetoric fares well if the researcher chooses a methodologically individualist framework. The framework assists a moral rhetoric by providing it with concrete rather than abstract social actors and with a basis for explanation in terms of motive rather than situational forces. Along the way moral statements can appear in the form of empirical generalizations and historical laws.

Moral Reasoning and Moral Rhetoric: The Acceptability of Arguments About AIDS-Related Dilemmas
Michael L. Schwalbe, CLIFFORD L. STAPLES, Journal of Applied Social Psychology, Volume 22 Issue 15 Page 1208
Abstract: The disease AIDS has given rise to a host of social dilemmas. Here we explore the rhetoric that affects people's reasoning about actions taken in the face of such dilemmas. We presented a group of 514 undergraduates with vignettes depicting dilemmas having to do with the distribution of sexually explicit educational material to high school students and with the forced HIV blood testing of factory workers. Subjects rated the acceptability of arguments for and against courses of action taken by persons in the vignettes. The arguments embodied concerns typical of moral reasoning at each of Kohlberg's six stages. We found that the acceptability of stage-typical moral arguments about AIDS-related dilemmas depends on both the dilemma at hand and the course of action being argued for. We argue that knowledge of how people respond to different kinds of moral arguments concerning AIDS-related dilemmas.

Moral Dilemmas and Moral Rhetoric in Interviews with Conscientious Objectors. 
Adelsward, Viveka 
Source: Research on Language and Social Interaction, v31 n3-4 p439-464 1998 
Abstract: Presents an exploratory study based on 20 interviews with Swedish conscientious objectors. The interviews represent a special form of institutional discourse, the evaluative interview, designed to help decide whether or not the conscientious objector is to be recommended for alternative civilian service. The practice has recently been abandoned in Sweden.

The primacy of abortion in the moral rhetoric of U.S. Catholic bishops
Sunshine ER. Annu Soc Christ Ethics. 1989;:167-186.