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Article

The Ethical Challenge for Sociology in the Face of Global Modernity: toward Solidarity-Oriented and Ethically Contextualized Practice

The American Sociologist. 2018. Vol. 49. No. 3. P. 414-433.

Sociology is facing difficult times: fragmentation within and between regional,
national and international academic communities remains high while global
interdependence and instability increase generating societal threats of unprecedented
scale (progressing inequality, migration, ecological, political and economic crises).
Ethical issues are very important for comprehending both: processes within sociology
and transformations in the world around. Thus, we postulate the global ethical challenge
for sociology, which requires: first, formulating the ethical stance of a sociologist
towards the objects of disciplinary inquiry and the potentially involved social groups
and, second, elaborating research tools adequate for studying the ethical dimension of
the complex social reality. We demonstrate that dominating discourses in the current
professional communities are largely inadequate and cannot effectively address this
challenge. Drawing on Pitirim Sorokin’s theoretical heritage, as well as on John Meyer
and Volker Schmidt ideas, we propose an alternative project of global sociology,
emphasizing, first, solidarity-oriented and ethically contextualized sociological communication
with various extra-academic audiences; and, second, sociologists’ ethical
competence in exploring various localities and dimensions of global modernity with its
progressively intersecting different (and sometimes contrasting) ethical systems.