From Nordan Symposia
Jump to navigationJump to search



Immorality is the violation of moral laws, norms or standards. Immorality is normally applied to people or actions, or in a broader sense, it can be applied to groups or corporate bodies, beliefs, religions, and works of art.

Immorality is often closely linked with both religion and sexuality. Max Weber saw rational articulated religions as engaged in a long-term struggle with more physical forms of religious experience linked to dance, intoxication and sexual activity. Durkheim pointed out how many primitive rites culminated in abandoning the distinction between licit and immoral behavior.

Coding of sexual behavior has historically been a feature of all human societies, as too; has been the policing of breaches of its mores – sexual immorality – by means of formal and informal social control. Interdictions and taboos among primitive societies were arguably no less severe than in traditional agrarian societies. In the latter, the degree of control might vary from time to time and region to region, being least in urban settlements; however, only the last three centuries of intense urbanisation, commercialisation and modernisation have broken with the restrictions of the pre-modern world, in favor of a successor society of fractured and competing sexual codes and subcultures, where sexual expression is integrated into the workings of the commercial world.

Nevertheless, while the meaning of sexual immorality has been drastically redefined in recent times, arguably the boundaries of what is acceptable remain publicly policed and as highly charged as ever, as the decades-long debates in the US over reproductive rights after Roe v. Wade, or 21st-century controversy over child images on Wikipedia and Amazon would tend to suggest.