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Describe what is meant by the term 'moral panic', using your own words as far as possible - Cite at least one example of a 'moral panic'.

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  • Essay length: 750 words
  • Submitted: 19/06/2006
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University Degree Paper-based media studies

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DD100

TMA 07

Question Part (b)

Describe what is meant by the term 'moral panic', using your own words as far as possible. Cite at least one example of a 'moral panic'.

The term moral panic is a concept introduced by the social sciences to help understand certain problems that arise in society from time to time. Periodically society is faced with a problem that threatens the moral standards of the day.

Geoffrey Pearson in his book Hooligan came up with the idea that the older generation of every period look back on their younger days as a time of morality, comparing it with the immorality of the present day youth. The institutions responsible for law and order in whichever time period the narrative is referring to are unable to contain the crime problem. The notion of a moral panic attempts to understand such claims.

Stanley Cohen used the notion of moral panic whilst examining the disturbances between the mods and the rockers' in Clacton in 1964. In his view the media reaction was excessive, generating widespread public concern and causing the authorities to react stronger in later incidents and ultimately

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