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Moral Panics
Crime and Deviance Topic 12
The media can justify what counts as normal and
what counts as
deviant behaviour…read more

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Leslie Wilkins: the social amplification of
· Moral panics or social policies which are designed to
reduce deviance actually amplify deviance
· This is because the media creates a moral panic by over
reporting on a particular antisocial behaviour
· This then leads to the public calling for law and order to
be strengthened
· The attention given to deviance by the media attracts
new recruits to the `deviant group' and defines what
the public expects
· This amplifies that deviant activity in society…read more

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Jock Young (1971)
This then isolated
Increased policing
Studied drug use in drug users which
led to drugs being
north London caused them to
driven underground
develop a subculture
Policing was further
This led to further A moral panic was increased so the
increased policing created by the media drug users became
further isolated
This illustrates the
social amplification
of deviance…read more

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Cohen (1972) ­ folk devils and moral panics
· The media creates folk devils e.g. mods and
· The media coverage made people categorize
themselves into one of the two groups
· This resulted in social disruption which then
caused a moral panic
· This pressurized the police to do something
· The concern is usually out of proportion to the
act…read more

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Goode and Ben-Yehuda (1994)
· The media creates folk devils
· Folk devils are portrayed as selfish and evil
· The media suggests that if the folk devils aren't
controlled then there will be disasters
· This then puts pressure onto law enforcement
· Moral panics erupt and disappear fairly quickly,
possibly reappearing every so often
· They may even raise public consciousness to
the extent that policies are changed…read more

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Thornton (1995)
· Thepublicity and social reaction to the moral
panic may potentially further the crime and
· For example there was a just say no drug
· It actually increased the use of ecstasy…read more

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