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 ?
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.
had a serious purpose: to urge readers in 1982 to avoid moral panic and a rush to historically-illiterate judgement.
Their first track, Moral Panic, is a tightly wound furiously kinetic effort.
The United States is walking the knife-edge of moral panic, and immigration is the touchstone.
The media, in turn, stereotyped youth as vulnerable to negative societal influences and thus, created a "moral panic." Tanner draws parallels between today's moral panics and legislative policies, portraying the process as a media-driven manipulation that instills public fear, and therefore, misguides public and political reactions.
Researchers Erich Goode and Nachman Ben-Yehuda (1994) argue that a social movement is a "manifestation of the moral panic" (1994, p.
The authors suggest that this assumption often stems from the "insider" relationship with popular music held by many of its researchers (as fans or advocates), as well as the urge to discredit the "moral panic" diatribe that assumes causality between musical subcultures and violent actions, often further propagated by mass media.
The purpose of this study was to see whether media coverage was proportionate to the scope of the problem, or if instead it served to promote a moral panic or scare over meth in three localities in the rural Midwest.
Caroline said: "I undertook the investigation because there is a great moral panic about the damage texting is having on the written language, as well as the effect it was having on children."
Moral regulation, heightened by moral panic, generated moral bullying.
While the construction of social problems has been approached from a range of disciplines, the key explanatory models come mainly from studies on moral panics. In his pioneer work on the English working-class youth, Stanley Cohen describes the different stages of the development of a moral panic to study the interactions thus established among the target group, moral and political entrepreneurs, the media, and the people.
Certain sections of the media (those predominantly concerned with style over substance) then jump on the issue and the media machine goes into overdrive and begins what Cohen termed moral panic, as follows: Identify problem - media hype (take the moral high ground) - stigmatise the focal point - simplify the issue - provoke a response from the authorities.