Topic 3 - Moral panics

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  • Created by: Ben_95
  • Created on: 07-04-14 10:18

What is a moral panic?

A term used by Stanley Cohen (1972) - looked at youth 'disturbances' on Easter Monday 1964.

Moral panics = media reactions to particular social groups or particular activities which are defined as threatening societal values and consequently create anxiety amoungst the general poulation.

This anxiety or panic puts pressure on the agents of social control to control the problem and disipline the group responsible.

Stages of a moral panic: (deviancy amplification spiral

STAGE 1: Media use exaggerated language and headlines when reporting on a particular group.

STAGE 2: Follow-up articles identify this as a social problem, creating 'folk devils'.

STAGE 3: The media oversimplify the reasons why this social group/activity has appeared.

STAGE 4: Moral entreprenuers react to media reports and make statements condeming the social group/activity.

STAGE 5: There is then a rise in reporting the moral panic to the police as, the group/activity makes the public more conscious of it.

STAGE 6: The authories stamp down hard on the group or activity.

STAGE 7: The…


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