The Great Normative Changes of the Twentieth Century
This chapter examines some of the great normative changes of the twentieth century. Alongside changes in manners, these include changes in religious ethics, human rights, racial civil rights, the women’s movement and the newer, broader movement around LGBTQ.
The larger point of the comparison is to abstract some general elements of normative change. It is found that normative changes are complex phenomena, involving multiple mechanisms. Certainly, they involve human agency – in some respects intentional and in some unintentional. The agency involved, moreover, is multiply placed, from moral entrepreneurs who at the grassroots combine forces to form social movement organizations to the higher placed agency of government officials. We also see repeatedly not just within each individual narrative but also across them chains of morphogenetic cycles, in which one movement’s success becomes a precedent for another’s evolution. There is also a general movement away from deontological reasoning toward moral utilitarianism.
KeywordsMoral change Morphogenesis Civil rights Human rights LGBTQ Women’s movement Etiquette Secularizatrion
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