Moral Panics and the Media

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Open University Press, 2003 - Business & Economics - 207 pages
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"Chas Critcher's study is doubly welcome as it discusses theoretical underpinnings thoroughly, and also provides a set of illustrative case studies... This is an important and stimulating book for a range of audiences." VISTA Vol 8 no 3How are social problems defined and responded to in contemporary society?What is the role of the media in creating, endorsing and sustaining moral panics?The term `moral panic' is frequently applied to sudden outbreaks of concern about social problems. Chas Critcher critically evaluates the usefulness of moral panic models for understanding how politicians, the public and pressure groups come to recognise apparent new threats to the social order, and he scrutinizes the role of the media, especially the popular press.Two models of moral panics are identified and explained, then applied to a range of case studies: AIDS; rave culture and the drug ecstasy; video nasties; child abuse; paedophilia. Examples of moral panics from a range of countries reveal many basic similarities but also significant variations between different national contexts. 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.

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