Campus Culture Wars and the Sociology of Morality

Comparative Sociology
Bradley Campbell Department of Sociology, California State University Los Angeles, California

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Jason Manning Department of Sociology and Anthropology, West Virginia University Morgantown, West Virginia

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In 2014 Comparative Sociology published our analysis of microaggression complaints – a comparative and theoretical piece addressing microaggression complaints as a form of social control indicative of a distinct moral culture. The article attracted a surprising amount of attention in popular media, and with this attention came confusion and controversy. Here we respond to popular accounts of our work, addressing common criticisms and confusions as well as the sociological question of why the article produced such strong reactions. We conclude by clarifying the sociology of morality’s role in moral debates and suggesting ways that sociological knowledge can inform debate and guide reform.


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