Conflict is ubiquitous and inevitable, but people generally dislike it and try to prevent or avoid it as much as possible. So why do clashes of right and wrong occur? And why are some more serious than others? In Moral Time, sociologist Donald Black presents a new theory of conflict that provides answers to these and many other questions.
The heart of the theory is a completely new concept of social time. Black claims that the root cause of conflict is the movement of social time, including relational, vertical, and cultural time--changes in intimacy, inequality, and diversity. The theory of moral time reveals the causes of conflict in all human relationships, from marital and other close relationships to those between strangers, ethnic groups, and entire societies. Moreover, the theory explains the origins and clash of right and wrong not only in modern societies but across the world and across history, from conflict concerning sexual behavior such as rape, adultery, and homosexuality, to bad manners and dislike in everyday life, theft and other crime, racism, anti-Semitism, anti-Americanism, witchcraft accusations, warfare, heresy, obscenity, creativity, and insanity. Black concludes by explaining the evolution of conflict and morality across human history, from...