Moral Dialogues

  • Amitai Etzioni
Part of the Library of Public Policy and Public Administration book series (LPPP, volume 11)


Outside the walls of capitol buildings throughout the country, citizens engage every day in moral dialogues—organic, disorganized, and sometimes heated interactions, from the intimate to the transnational, at the office, on the internet, in the media, and anywhere else people might address one another’s moral positions. Through these dialogues, people’s stances can shift and even form “shared moral understandings” (SMUs) that can influence policymaking. The chapter points to the change in attitudes toward environmental protection, same-sex marriage, and smoking as cases in SMU formation, and uses these and other examples to outline the process through which a SMU emerges. Finally, the chapter discusses “megalogues”—dialogues that are amplified and interlinked through multiple large groups—and the role moral dialogues in general play in community bonding and deliberating power structures.


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Authors and Affiliations

  • Amitai Etzioni
    • 1
  1. 1.The George Washington UniversityWashington, DCUSA

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