TitleAvoiding moral dichotomies: Teaching controversial topics to resistant students
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2001
AuthorsHedley, M., & Markowitz L.
JournalTeaching Sociology
KeywordsSocial Sciences

The authors of this publication contend that student resistance towards discussing and learning about the topics of social inequality commonly result from their application of the norm/other logic to course materials.  They propose that the problem with this dichotomy lies in the superiority assigned to the “norm” in relation to all “other.”  The social construction of the norm/other logic is contingent upon separation which in turn fosters the development of moral hegemony and justifications for social inequality.  It is by making students aware of the detrimental effects of the norm/other logic that teachers are able to overcome the barriers of resistance when teaching controversial topics.  Lecture topics, in-class exercises, and assignments are offered as suggestions for helping students in overcome the limits of the norm/other perspective.