Department of Sociology

Cooney, Mark

208 Baldwin Hall
Athens, GA 30602
706-542-3209 • 

Dr. Mark Cooney, Professor of Sociology, has been at the University of Georgia since 1991. He received a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Virginia in 1991. In addition, Dr. Cooney holds a Doctor of Juridical Science degree from Harvard Law School, received in 1988. His speciality areas include sociology of law, social control, and criminology.
Dr. Cooney studies social reality primarily from the theoretical perspective known as pure sociology (developed by Donald Black). A new kind of theory, pure sociology treats social life as a realm of human existence that is independent of the mind or the body.  Consequently, pure sociology explains human behavior without invoking the three P's found in virtually every other social science theory: psychology, purposes, and people.
Substantively, Dr. Cooney studies conflicts, especially those that attract law or violence. He has a particular interest in the role of third parties in fomenting and settling disputes. His work draws heavily on anthropological and historical materials as well as on data from modern societies. His most recent book, Is Killing Wrong? A Study in Pure Sociology, adresses the morality of homicide across and within human societies.


  • Ph.D., Sociology, University of Virginia, 1991
  • S.J.D., Juridical Science, Harvard Law School, 1988
  • LL.M., Harvard University, 1981
  • LL.M., University College of Dublin, Ireland, 1980
  • LL.B., J.D., University College of Dublin, Ireland, 1976

Selected Honors, Awards, and Grants

  • 2003. M. G. Michael Award, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, University of Georgia.
  • 2011  Sandy Beaver Excellence in Teaching Award, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, University of Georgia.

Selected Publications

Cooney, Mark.  2014.  "Death by family: honor violence as punishment." Punishment and Society 16 (4): 406-427.
Cooney, Mark. 2009.  Is Killing Wrong? A Study in Pure Sociology. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press.
Cooney, Mark and Callie Harbin Burt, 2008. "Less crime, more punishment." American Journal of Sociology 114: 491-527.
Phillips, Scott, and Mark Cooney. 2005.  "Aiding peace, abetting violence: third parties and the management of conflict."  American Sociological Review 70: 334-354.
Cooney, Mark. 1998.  Warriors and Peacemakers: How Third Parties Shape Violence. New York: New York University Press.
Cooney, Mark, 1997. "From warre to tyranny: lethal conflict and the state." American Sociological Review 62: 316-338.
Cooney, Mark. 1994. "Evidence as partisanship." Law and Society Review 27: 833-859.