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The right measure of guilt: disclosure, transgression and the social construction of moral meanings

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journal contribution
posted on 31.01.2013, 12:41 authored by Cristian TileagaCristian Tileaga
Using a discursive and ethnomethodological analytic framework, this article explores the social construction of moral transgression and moral meanings in the context of coming to terms with the recent communist past in Eastern Europe. This article illustrates some significant aspects of everyday uses of morality and the socio-communicative organization of public judgements on moral transgression. The article considers the range of public reactions and commentaries to a public confession of having been an informer for the former Romanian secret police. Moral reasoning around transgression takes several forms: a) invoking everyday psychological categories and morally implicative descriptions associated with identities of persons and actions; b) drawing upon culturally available metaphors and images with roots in Judaeo-Christian ethics and morality; c) using the wider political context of coming to terms with the past as foundation and criterion for moral judgement. This article argues that rather than attempting to analyse moral (public) judgement in abstract, one must focus on the everyday constructions and uses of morality found in social interaction and social responses to moral transgression.

History

School

  • Social Sciences

Department

  • Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies

Citation

TILEAGA, C., 2012. The right measure of guilt: disclosure, transgression and the social construction of moral meanings. Discourse and Communication, 6 (2), pp. 203 - 222.

Publisher

Sage (© the author)

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publication date

2012

Notes

This article was published in the journal, Discourse and Communication [Sage © The Author] and the definitive version is available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1750481312437443

ISSN

1750-4813

Language

en