The Creation and Establishment of Moral Vocabularies

Why Moralizing and Moral Vocabularies Matter
  • Brian M. Lowe
Part of the Handbooks of Sociology and Social Research book series (HSSR)


The moral vocabularies approach offers a way of examining and organizing the essential moral claims disseminated by a group of claimsmakers. Moral claims and understandings are organized internally (in claims and the actions of moral entrepreneurs) and externally (how internal moral vocabularies intersect with the larger societal dynamics). This framework seeks to strike a theoretical balance between recognizing the essential agency of morally-relevant activity and the structured nature of moral systems. The moral vocabularies approach is compared to the memetic account of culture and to Lakoff’s metaphor-based framework and is shown to possess more explanatory potential due to its greater analytical flexibility. The study of moral vocabularies is compatible with both micro-level or macro-level empirical research and has particular relevance for understanding how discourses become attached to specific social controversies.


Host Society Moral Claim Moral Panic Darwinian Natural Selection Moral System 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyState University of New York College at OneontaOneontaUSA

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