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Mark Cooney

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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 departmental specialty area is crime, law, and deviance.

Dr. Cooney is interested in moral conflict, particularly violence. His publications have addressed a variety of topics within that broad domain, including the role of third parties in violent conflict, the gravitational attraction of terrorism, and the effect of community ties on homicide.  In other work he has analyzed the social foundations of legal evidence, online hostility directed against individuals on death row, and everyday antagonism toward immigrants in Ireland.  His papers have appeared in the American Journal of Sociology, American Sociological Review, British Journal of Sociology, Criminology, Law and Society Review and other outlets.  His 2009 book Is Killing Wrong? A Study in Pure Sociology analyzes responses to homicide across and within human societies. Building on his interest in homicides that have traditionally attracted few or no sanctions his latest book is titled Execution by Family: A Theory of Honor Violence (2019). 

Most of Dr. Cooney’s work employs a theoretical system known as Blackian theory or pure sociology. Deviating from conventional conceptions of social reality, pure sociology explains human behavior without reference to what people think, feel, or want.  Dr. Cooney is among a growing number of scholars using pure sociology to develop innovative and powerful theories on a variety of subjects.  


  • 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
Research Areas:
Selected Publications:
  • Cooney, Mark and Scott Phillips, 2017.  "When will academics contest intellectual conflict?' Socius: Sociological Research for a Dynamic World X: 1-15.
  • 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.
  • 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.
Of Note:
  • 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.
Articles Featuring Mark Cooney
Thursday, January 6, 2022 - 11:58am

Boches, Daniel J. and Mark Cooney. 2022. “What Counts as ‘Violence?’ Semantic Divergence in   Cultural Conflicts.” Deviant Behavior

Thursday, April 18, 2019 - 2:38pm

Mark Cooney’s new book, “Execution by Family: A Theory of Honor Violence” will be released the week of April 21. The book is published by Routledge.