Moral Panics and the Media
The term moral panic is frequently applied to sudden eruptions of concern about social problems. This title critically evaluates the usefulness of ... Show synopsis The term moral panic is frequently applied to sudden eruptions of concern about social problems. This title critically evaluates the usefulness of moral panic models for understanding how politicians, the public and pressure groups come to recognize apparently new threats to the social order. The role of the media, especially the popular press, comes under scrutiny. Two models of moral panics are initially identified and explained, then applied to a range of case studies: AIDS, rave/ecstasy, video nasties, child abuse and paedophilia. Experience is compared across a range of countries, revealing many basic similarities but also significant variations between different national contexts. Common to all is an increasing focus on threats to children, evoking images of childhood innocence. The conclusion is that moral panic remains a useful tool for analysis but needs more systematic connection to wider theoretical concerns, especially those of the risk society and discourse analysis.