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Moral Panics: The Social Construction of Deviance Paperback – October 28, 1994

2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0631189053 ISBN-10: 063118905X Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews


"Moral Panics is sure to become a classic in the literature of deviance and criminology. It reviews in a critical and informative manner the core concepts of the discipline, taking an international focus. It returns the study of criminology and deviance back to its sociological roots by highlighting the social reaction and construction of crime and deviance. Its readability makes it ideal for use by both undergraduate and graduate students." Simon Singer, University of Buffalo

"Moral Panics is remarkable in its scope and accomplishments. It develops a distinctively sociological account of the rise, demise and institutionalization of moral panics and is especially important for the insight it provides into recurring American panics about drugs." John Hagan, University of Toronto


"In a thoroughly updated new edition of their very valuable book, Goode and Ben-Yehuda demonstrate the wide gulf that so often separates the real menaces facing our society from the disproportionate waves of public fear and concern that regularly surface in the mass media. Their book - intelligently written, wide-ranging and provocative - shows us once again that knowing what a society fears is essential to understanding its core values, and its highest aspirations."
Philip Jenkins, Pennsylvania State University

"Moral Panics is more than a classic text in social theory. In this newly updated and enlarged edition, it is an indispensable text for every twenty-first century scholar interested in the social construction and diffusion of fear."
Barry Glassner, author of The Culture of Fear

"Moral panics remains one of the most hotly-debated sociological ideas to have entered the public sphere, so an up-dated version of Goode and Ben-Yehuda’s pathbreaking work on this subject is very welcome. The new version is even more enlightening than its predecessor."
Kenneth Thompson, Open University --This text refers to the Digital edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 1 edition (October 28, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 063118905X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0631189053
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.8 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,421,441 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Ray O'Keefe Cruitt on April 20, 2003
Format: Paperback
"Moral panics" as a defined concept has been around since 1972 when the British sociologist Steven Cohen was attempting to explain the peculiar hysteria surrounding a small, but violent incident between British youths at a seaside resort. The incident took place in 1964 between two youth groups who became known as the Mods and the Rockers.
What fascinated Cohen was how an incident seemingly so trivial as that between the Mods and Rockers, could have been taken by the news media, parents groups, and politicians to such hyperbolic heights. Due to Cohen's amazement and his search for a thesis topic, the beginning of a theory explaining the rise and fall of hysteria on a mass scale began. "Moral Panics" is an excellent introductory text to the concept of moral panic theory, besides Cohen's own study - "Folk Devils and Moral Panics: The Creation of the Mods and Rockers" (1972).
The correlation of moral panic theory and the wide-scale phenomenon during the 1980s of a growing irrational perception that all drug users were dangerous miscreants, that if drug users are not eradicated the state of America would quickly deteriorate, &c. may not be explicitly evident at first. However, when a false dichotomy between what is really the case and what is thought to be case is exposed and the difference which caused an over-reaction is recognized, then the notion of a moral panic becomes more tenable as an explanation. Not necessarily in the pejorative sense, but naturally, groups of people can be easily led to believe something that is simply not true. Oftentimes, this is because the only perceived source(s) of information are the official mainstream news programs which have from time to time (maybe many, many times) shared in disinformation and/or sensationalism.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Porcupine on March 12, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Goode and Ben Yehuda did an excellent job of taking Cohen's case study in Folk Devils and Moral Panics, and transforming it into a general resource for moral panic theory. The book is well organized and provides ample insight into the inner workings of the theory and is invaluable to anyone interested in how the media, the public, the criminal justice system, and the political system interact and influence each other. This book not only provides the basics on moral panic theory, but also provides good general examples of different moral panics throughout human history. While I had originally written off the theory, further research, including reading this book, has changed my mind. Anyone interested in this theory needs to read this and Cohen's work at a minimum.
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