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Dr Owen Abbott

Dr Owen Abbott

Research Associate


I joined Cardiff University on a Leverhulme fellowship in January 2022, having previously been a lecturer at the University of York and the University of Manchester. Before that, I completed my PhD in Sociology at the University of Exeter in September 2017. My research predominantly focuses on the sociology of morality (with a particular emphasis on everyday practice), sociologies of the self, and relational sociology. My research has culminated in the completion of a book entitled The Self, Relational Sociology, and Morality in Practice, published in 2019. This book won the BSA Philip Abrams Memorial Prize 2020 for best first and sole-authored book in sociology.

My current fellowship project is an empirical study into forgiveness in personal relationships, an area of research that has so far gone largely untouched by sociologists. This continues my interest in the moral features and dynamics of everyday personal lives.

This interest is also extended through my ongoing participation in The Morgan Centre for Research into Everyday Lives (University of Manchester). Together with Morgan Centre colleagues, I am co-authoring a book entitled Masking and Social Change: Materiality, Interaction, and Moral Practice, which explores the sudden flux of face coverings in our lives and interactions from March 2020.

My second monograph, Social Theorists of Morality, is due to be published in 2024. This book will provide a collection of critical essays on key social theorists whose work has informed sociological approaches to morality, with each essay setting out what the theorist’s contribution to sociological understandings of morality is, how they have been used in sociology and adjacent disciplines, and what the limitations of their arguments might be from the perspective of contemporary sociological understandings of morality.










My main research areas are:

  • Sociology of morality, with a specific focus on everyday moral practice and the moral features of personal lives.
  • Forgiveness, specifically forgiveness in personal relationships, but also the cultural settings and interactional processes of forgiveness.
  • Social theory, specifically moral theories, relational and interactional approaches to sociology, and pragmatism. I have written on a number of social theorists and philosophers for my second monograph (Social Theorists of Morality), including:
    • W.E.B. Du Bois
    • Emile Durkheim
    • Jane Addams
    • G. H. Mead
    • Hannah Arendt
    • Charles Taylor
    • Alasdair MacIntyre
    • Carol Gilligan
    • Seyla Benhabib
    • Zygmunt Bauman
    • Peter Singer
    • Jonathan Haidt


Areas of expertise

Research links