1. Cohen - Moral panics and folk devils,
· Cohen's early work on mods and rockers provides a graphic case study of media manipulation of events and the creation of a moral panic around folk devils.
· The media blatantly distorted the events at Clacton in order to create sensational front page stories.
· Cohen identifies three important processes of moral panics: symbolisation, exaggeration and prediction.
· Moral entrepreneurs can manipulate people's insecurities in order to get the media to plant moral panics.
2. Hall et al. Policing the Crisis
· Hall et al's work is a study of how the media constructed a moral panic about the crime of 'mugging' in the early 1970s.
· In doing so the media constructed the typical 'mugger' as a young Black male.
· Hall et al argue that this media construction has its roots in the wider social conflicts and breakdown of consensus that were occurring in society.
· In response to ruling class concerns about a crisis of capitalism the media took their cue generated a moral panic to divert attention and gain public support for new police powers.
· However, by focusing upon ruling class interests critics argue they ignore other groups with a vested interest in changing the law.
3. Recent Moral Panics
· McRobbie and Thornton claim that the concept of moral panic is both outdated and in decline.
· The death of Leah Betts (Ecstasy) had all the makings of a classic moral panic about young people and drug-taking.
· There have been recent moral panics about asylum seekers (islamphobia), knife crime and hoodies.
4. Why Do Moral Panics Come About?
· Both Cohen and Furedi see moral panics as particularly linked to periods of social change.
· Moral panics have been used as an excuse to increase police powers and introduce new laws.
· Marxists argue that moral panics are cynically used to stir up people's fears and anxieties in order to sell newspapers and gain television viewers.
· Lea and Young argue moral panics take hold when they lock into fears and anxieties already held by the public.