folk devils


Also found in: Idioms.

folk devils

any stereotypical, ‘socially constructed’ cultural types identified as socially threatening by other members of society; e.g. in the 1960s, high-profile and newsworthy youth subcultures such as MODS AND ROCKERS.

The ‘folk devil’ is a cultural type akin to the ‘hero’, the ‘villain’ or the ‘fool’. The term was developed by Cohen (Folk Devils and Moral Panics, 1973), who explored the phenomenon of Mods and Rockers and sought to show how social typing, or labelling, of ‘rule breakers’ occurs. Such people are labelled as ‘socially deviant’ and threatening, and all subsequent interpretation of their actions is in terms of the status to which they have been assigned. The study of folk devils and MORAL PANICS belongs to the wider study of the relations between the MASS MEDIA OF COMMUNICATION and the social construction of social problems. See also LABELLING THEORY, DEVIANCE, DEVIANCE AMPLIFICATION.

References in periodicals archive ?
It opened in 1965, near the height of the moral panic that surrounded the 'mod' and 'rocker' violence, meaning that the club's target audience were high up the public's list of folk devils.
These groups come to be clearly identified and perceived as 'folk devils' (Goode and Ben Yehuda, 1994), marginalized groups that embody the social anxieties of the dominant group (de Young, 2011).
THE CULTURE SHOW: DELLER AND KANE - FOLK DEVILS BBC2, 10pm British folk art has been largely ignored for centuries, but in June the first national exhibition to reflect on the tradition opened at Tate Britain, running until the end of August.
Read as a whole, the book has a tendency towards repetition in its references to Cohen and Young's seminal studies and their definitions of 'moral panics' and 'folk devils'.
The terrorist attacks of two of the paramount of western democracies (USA and UK), illustrate what Erich Goode and Nachman Ben-Yehuda said about terrorist as nowadays folk devils. (6) As a crucial theoretical dimension of the present paper, the term folk devil is first used in Cohen's work, where is employed to define a suitable enemy, the agent responsible for the threatening or damaging behavior or condition.
Muslims in the West are described as being the victims of a 'volatile', 'hostile' and 'disproportionate' moral panic, and as being built into 'folk devils' who are blamed for many of the underlying social and economic problems of the Western societies in which they live.
This then leads to widespread alarm - "moral panic" - during which politicians feel compelled to get involved, and the behaviour of culprits or "folk devils" is made the subject of concern and, sometimes, legislation - often of a highly punitive and negative nature.
Stanley Cohen, Folk Devils and Moral Panics: The Creation of the Mods and Rockers Third Edition (New York: St.
BACK in the 1960s, the academic Stanley Cohen wrote a classic sociological text called Folk Devils And Moral Panics.
The sensationalising of incidents such as these are typical examples of what the sociologist Cohen called moral folk devils.
The term moral panic was popularized by the British sociologist Stanley Cohen in 1972's Folk Devils and Moral Panics.
Others, exploited regularly by the media for profit, attain the status of folk devils in the public mind, become icons of their era, their names written large in the milestones of homicidal history."