‘Good Moral Panics’ and the Late Modern Condition: Dimitar Pancheva

“The aim of the following paper is to provide and an overview of the concept of ‘moral panics’, discuss new developments in the sociology of deviance and the possibility of applying the ‘moral panic’ discourse in analysing ‘good’ moral panics.”

Although some of the ideas and language used in this paper will probably be a bit too advanced for A-level students, it contains a broad overview of the concept of moral panic – in terms of its initial development and applications – that teachers can précis. This is also true for the “problems” the author identifies with the concept.

In addition, the final section of the paper introduces the notion of “good” moral panics, such as those that derive from the idea of “genuine victims” – of terrorism, for example – or those that develop around “anti-denial” movements (the recent revelations about government surveillance practices, for example). This might prove useful for teachers who want to stretch their students’ understanding, application and evaluation of the concept of moral panic – as will the authors final observations that without making it explicit, edges into the territory of “amoral panics” – a further useful area of evaluation.

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