This paper seeks to situate the concept of a 'moral panic' within a set of historical and social changes and thus to demonstrate that its impact and subsequent acceptability within the vocabulary of sociology were in part due to the conditions of its emergence. Earlier and more positivistic criminology was unduly committed to the 'essence' of an act, whereas the breakthrough afforded by Cohen and Young's idea was to attend to the 'appearance' of an act in an era when image and representation were becoming primary phenomena within the social sciences. The work concludes with an analysis of the social construction of transgression.
- moral panic
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cultural Studies
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)