Moral Panics

1587 words 7 pages
Challenge: Select and describe a “moral panic” against a perceived deviance. Analyse the role of the “moral entrepreneur” and “folk devil” in your selected case. Finally, explicate what it demonstrates about individuals and their socialization. (Length: 2 000 words)

Societies tend to view the youth as the future and hope of a nation. To a certain extent, societies observe the behaviours and potential of the young people to ‘estimate’ the political and socio-economic future of a nation. When there is what societies view as a deviance from the norm when in it comes to young people – often there is what is viewed as a ‘moral panic’. I will be looking at the ‘moral panic’ of youth crime or juvenile delinquency, the role of its ‘moral
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Youth crime has risen drastically in the past years. A major case in South Africa of juvenile delinquency is mostly gang affiliated violence in mostly poor communities in urban areas such as townships.
Moral entrepreneurs and folk devils
Cohen also states that those who create the moral panic due to having a fear of a threat to prevailing social or cultural values are referred to as “moral entrepreneurs”, whereas those who are seen as a threat to the social order are defined as “folk devils” (Cohen 1973:16).
In the case of juvenile delinquency the Media is the biggest “moral entrepreneur” as the stories on juvenile delinquency is mostly depicted by the media and also sensationalized by different organisations such as the police, political organisations, religious groups, Education institutions and groups concerned with youth development. Different types of media representations include radio, newspaper, magazines, websites and news channels who are all exclusively involved in spreading and broadcasting news directly to the public. How they represent the news is specifically up to them however they have a drastic impact on how the public view it as well as they are the main influence on people’s emotions and opinions. Furedi explains that moral panics tend to begin “at times when society has not been able to adapt to dramatic changes” and such changes lead to those becoming concerned and to express their fear over what they see as a “loss of control” (Furedi


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