Philosophical Papers and Review

  • Abbreviation: Philos. Papers Rev
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-663X
  • DOI: 10.5897/PPR
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 40


The sociology and social science of ‘evil’: Is the conception of pedophilia ‘evil’?

Aliraza Javaid
  • Aliraza Javaid
  • University of York, United Kingdom.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 01 September 2014
  •  Accepted: 02 February 2015
  •  Published: 28 February 2015


This paper approaches ‘evil’ from sociological and social science perspectives, using them to increase our insight into the concept of ‘evil’ since they have long neglected direct analyses of ‘evil’. For example, sociology has focused on questions of the good, treating its other as an absence or a residual category. Durkheim suggested to avoid using common sense categorisations, without exploring their social construction as social fact. Therefore, because ‘evil’ is a common sense conception, a rather vague and multi-form one, we can see why sociologists have ignored the concept; we have abandoned that territory within sociology. To fill this gap in the literature and make a contribution to knowledge, this paper will explore sociological and social science perspectives to the study of ‘evil’. Bringing these perspectives together from disparate disciplines is not only original, but also enlightening, permitting deeper insights into the conception of ‘evil’. This paper also attempts to address how ‘evil’ relates to pedophilia, using it as a case study to explore how it is perceived as ‘evil’ with the help of sociological and social science theoretical frameworks. It is argued that ‘evil’ is socially constructed and differs in meaning within different cultures. The paper contributes to knowledge by opening up a dialogue regarding the sociology of ‘evil’.


Key words: ‘Evil’, social construction, culture, pedophilia, sociology of ‘evil’.