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Cohen Moral Panic Essay Help

Stanley Cohen's Concept of a Moral Panic

1692 WordsJan 18th, 20117 Pages

Introduction
Stanley Cohen has become famous due to his brilliant works on sociology, criminology and human rights. His talent allowed him to depict human fears and concerns, conflicts between different social groups and human sufferings which resulted from these conflicts. Stanley Cohen’s career started to move in the upward direction with the publication of his first serious research in 1972. The book called “Folk Devils and Moral Panics” was devoted to the issues relevant to the British society in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Exactly in this book he introduced for the first time such a term as “moral panic”, which became rather widely used since then. The author of the book concentrated his attention on the rivalry of the two…show more content…

In any case they will be labelled as deviant. Stanley Cohen’s book “Folk Devils and Moral Panics” was devoted to “youthful delinquencies and vandalism” [6]. He studied the phenomenon which occurred in the English society in the 1960s which received the name of “The Mods and Rockers”. These two groups of youth were the first one to appear after the so-called “teddy boys”. However, Cohen does not accuse either Mods or Rockers or the conflict between them of being responsible for the moral panic. Instead he states that it was mass media, which assisted greatly in developing the conflict between young people. Thus, “the core idea of the book is that interventions - usually in the name of benevolence or “doing good” - can sometimes actually make situations worse not better” [6].
The peaceful life of the English society of the 1960s was struck by the clashes between the Mods and Rockers. Both Mods and Rockers were called “gangs”, which is a “structure sharing the same ideas, attachments and solidarity” [7]. Every gang usually has its own “interests, activities, membership, and status” [7]. Usually such groups appear spontaneously. Both gangs - Mods and Rockers - “represented opposite tastes with regard to a number of social conventions such as clothing, grooming, music, and so on” [7]. For example, the Mods (modernists) preferred to wear suits and pointed shoes, listen to Jazz and Rhythm & Blues style of music and ride scooters. In their

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Moral Panic Essay

Moral panic was a term explored by Stanley Cohen in the early 70's and is defined as a condition, episode, person or a group of people who are portrayed as a threat to societal values and interests, its nature is presented in a stylized and stereotypical fashion by the mass media. (Cohen, 1973, p.9)It is a reaction by a group of people based on exaggerated information that some certain youth cultures are a threat to society.

These moral panics are mostly fuelled by media coverage who generally exaggerate and sensualise situations, which then can cause mass hysteria and panic within the public.

Youth culture is one of the most popular types of moral panic, whose behaviour is seen as deviant, delinquent and immoral. These cultures are usually associated with violence, vandalism and drug taking. Such youth cultures have involved the Mods and Rockers, Teddy Boys, Skinheads, Hells Angels and Hippies.

The Mods and Rockers are a great example of moral panic and this is what Stanley Cohen based his study on. The disturbances that occurred in Clacton on Easter Monday 1964 showed how the media coverage blew the situation out of proportion and created mass hysteria and panic. What started off to be small scale crime, the media portrayed it to be an invasion and a mob 'hell-bent' on destruction. This then increased the amount of police who intervened more strongly, therefore resulting in more arrests. There were headlines in every national newspaper, stating huts were vandalised, windows broken and there were numerous arrests. These facts were distorted and made out to be a much more violent occurrence than it actually was. This was found after numerous people were spoken to who had attended this event and made their comments about what actually did occur. The press coverage followed what is called a 'stereotypical pattern'.

Media choose to portray what society finds threatening therefore making a good news story. They play an important role of identifying an issue, defining a problem and presenting...

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