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Moral panic

From Academic Kids

A moral panic is a mass movement based on the perception that some individual or group, frequently a minority group or a subculture, is dangerously deviant and poses a menace to society. These panics are generally fuelled by media coverage of social issues (although semi-spontaneous moral panics do occur), and often include a large element of mass hysteria. A moral panic is specifically framed in terms of morality, and usually expressed as outrage rather than unadulterated fear. Though not always, very often moral panics revolve around issues of sex and sexuality. A widely circulated and new-seeming urban legend is frequently involved. These panics can sometimes lead to mob violence. The term was coined by Stanley Cohen in 1972 to describe media coverage of Mods and Rockers in the United Kingdom in the 1960s. A factor in moral panic is the deviancy amplification spiral.

A moral panic is different from mass hysteria in that a moral panic is specifically framed in terms of morality.

Recent moral panics in the UK have included the ongoing tabloid newspaper campaign against pedophiles, which led to the assault and persecution of a pediatrician by an angry mob (who'd mistaken the terms) in August 2000, and that surrounding the murder of James Bulger in Liverpool, England, United Kingdom in 1993.

Examples of moral panics, or real or imagined phenomena that spurred moral panic:

See also

References

  • Cohen, Stanley. Folk devils and moral panics. London: Mac Gibbon and Kee, 1972.

External links

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