Hayden White: ??? has argued that all narratives implicitly imply moral orientations
A useful start on the term “moral imagination” can be found at:
So the topic, Moral imagination in social practice is essentially a way of looking at cultural affairs, social practices, so as to appreciate the moral implications or insinuations in all social interaction.
If I were looking backwards to earlier works of interest I would include:
The counter enlightenment authors: See Isaiah Berlin, Counter Enlightenment. Dictionary of the History of Ideas. Key figures: Vico, Hamann, Herder, Hume. Respondents: Kant, Voltaire
Other important works:
As per my understanding of culture as essentially a body of forms whose meanings a community more or less share:
Geertz: The following are both about art as a cultural system and can be compared with his Deep Play, which is also about art as a cultural system. By comparing them you can get a sense of Geertz's concept of cultural system, a topic on which I am not sure many readers have gotten right.
Clifford Geertz: The following is the most important article to understand and internalize but it is difficult; it’s easy to miss the fact that the views he presents first are defective. Note what is wrong with each. Hint: Look for what he has to say about defining situations. The definition of the situation is a critical concept for our topic.
Victor Turner: all of his works are aimed at understanding the moral imagination in social practice. He comes out of a different tradition [British Manchester School] and so uses a somewhat different language. See for instance his Betwixt and Between, and his other works on the Ndembu.
Abner Cohen. See his Custom and Politics in Urban Africa. Also, his Masquerade Politics. [Also from the same tradition as Turner. Their mentor: Gluckman.]
Irving Goffman was an influence on Geertz's thought, but he comes out of a "symbolic interactionism" tradition. This was early associated with Geo Herbert Mead: "I" vs "Me", as fundamental concepts of the person.
Marshal Sahlins. Sahlins's ideas we will spend a lot of time on.
William Sewell is looking for theoretical frames of reference that will help historians be more deliberate and conceptually consistent in their work. I like the whole book. I don’t think he understands Geertz but he find’s Sahlins’s structuralist approach [that is, as critically revised by Sahlins] to the study of history helpful. [Of course Sahlins sought to revise structuralism, as in the readings above.]
From here many useful studies of the moral imagination appear in the anthropological journals.
Ben Anderson: Imagined Communities.
Bruce Kapferer. Evil and the State, In: Legends of People Myths of State.
Other works of my own [apologies for self-promotion]:
Lindsay:. Ch 1, "Presidents and Power" in Faith in the Halls of Power. Oxford University Press.