Moral Panic and Journalism

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Book Chapter

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Crime, Deviance, Moral Panic, News Values, Proportionality, Risk, Social Control


Moral panics refer to the societal response to the identification of a deviant group or behavior. Moral panic research has identified panics stemming from daycare abuse, drug use, youth crime, online pornography, and school shootings. When these moral panics occur, journalism acts as a hegemonic enforcer of normalcy, and through the various processes reaffirm that which is normal in a society. Often moral panics are expected to conclude with legal repercussions that may be more a matter of ritual than of practicality. As an essentially interdisciplinary concept, moral panic research does not have a standard theoretical or methodological foundation. However, it does draw from a standard set of process models discussed in this entry.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Moral Panic and Journalism, T. P. Vos & F. Hanusch (Eds.), The International Encyclopedia of Journalism Studies, John Wiley & Sons