moral panic

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moral panic

an exaggerated, media-amplified, social reaction to initially relatively minor acts of social DEVIANCE, e.g. social disturbances associated with MODS AND ROCKERS (S. Cohen, Folk Devils and Moral Panics, 1972). Such an overreaction by media, police, courts, governments and members of the public in ‘labelling’ and drawing attention, far from leading to an elimination of this behaviour, tends to amplify it. It does so by constructing role models for others to follow or by publicizing unruly or unsocial behaviour which might otherwise attract little attention. Some theorists also suggest that moral panics are encouraged by governments as useful in mobilizing political support by creating a common ‘threat’ (see Hall et al., Policing the Crisis, 1978). See also DEVIANCE AMPLIFICATION, LABELLING THEORY.
References in periodicals archive ?
Moral panics about technology similarly encourage people to withdraw from, rather than engage with and understand, the tools of today and tomorrow.
They are all, in different ways, engaging critically with the relevance of moral panic ideas for their own understanding of some of the more pressing personal, professional, and political concerns of the day, and though they do not all come to the same conclusion, they all agree that moral panics focus on the social issues that worry people most.
In October 2014, I was invited to present at a Global Moral Panics symposium at Indiana University Bloomington that brought together scholars from diverse fields to explore global moral panics--defined as "issues hyped in the media and public discourse that crystallize a problem of geopolitical inequality.
5) This sounds rather like a moral panic about moral panics, although note that he breaks ranks with the social conservatives, even if "radical feminists" seem to be his particular dislike.
The hysteria about so-called 24-hour drinking ranks as one of the great moral panics of our time, but the evidence is now clear.
He added: "The hysteria about socalled 24-hour drinking ranks as one of the great moral panics of our time, but the evidence is now clear.
After comparing these conspiracy theories and moral panics related to the H1N1 pandemic, he concludes that these narratives were not unique but rather have appeared with every contemporary outbreak of infectious disease.
1) Laws in areas such as child sexual abuse, (2) child pornography, (3) fetal protection, (4) financial regulation, (5) and illegal drug use (6) have been criticized as overreactions to moral panics, often because the laws represent solutions that are unsuited or wildly disproportionate to the actual problem, although sold to the public as an easy cure-all.
However, faced with state necropolitics that staged moral panics about mara delinquency in order to occlude the state-sponsored violence of the war years, along with a rapid series of structural transformations in the country more broadly, mara members turned to death and violence as a form of what Levenson calls "necroliving.
We claim that media hypes based on constructed moral panics might be recycled in similar scenarios demonstrating the staying power of such media hypes and the utility of moral panics.
I found five key themes in the book: moral panics, power and control, context and norms, and amplification of social processes.
Here are some highlights from the history of game-driven moral panics.