Moral panics

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  • Moral panics
    • Cohen (1972)- folk devils and moral panics
      • Mods and rockers
        • Mods- wore smart cloths and rode scooters, Rockers- wore leather jackets and rode motorbikes.
        • Exaggeration and distortion- The media exaggerated the numbers involved and the extent of the violence
          • Prediction- The media regularly assumed and predicted further conflicts and violence would result
            • Symbolisation- The symbols of the mods and rockers (Cloths, hair, bikes and scooter etc.) were labelled negatively.
      • Cohen argues the media's portrayal of events produces a devience amplification spiral by making it seem as if the problem is spreading and getting out of hand.
      • Cohen argues that the media plays a crucial role in creating a moral panic. This is due to us living in large scale modern society where most people don't experience the event.
        • This means the media is used to provide the information of what is happening, allowing them to portray them as folk devils.
    • What is a moral panic?
      • 2. The media present the group in a negative, stereotypical fashion and exaggerate the scale of the problem
      • 1. The media identify a group as a folk devil or threat to societal values
      • 3. Moral entrepreneurs, editors, politicians, police chiefs, bishops and other 'respectable' people condemn the group and it's behaivour
      • 4. The group get a label put on them by society. This leads to police focusing on these groups of people, therefore increasing the statistics of the crime creating a deviance amplification spiral
    • Criticisms
      • Left realists argue that's people's fear of crime is rational
      • Why do some problems amplify into a moral panic while some don't.
      • McRobbie and Thorntorn(1995) argue that moral panics are now routine and have less impact on society
    • Modern moral panics- Hoodies, terrorism, migrants

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