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Moral panic

Moral panics are generally fuelled by, although not caused by, media coverage of social issues and can sometimes lead to mob violence. The term was coined by Stanley Cohen[?] in 1972.

Recent moral panics in the UK have included the ongoing tabloid campaign against paedophiles, which led to the assault and persecution of a paediatrician by an angry mob in August 2000, and that surrounding the murder of James Bulger in Liverpool in 1993.

Examples of moral panics, or real or imagined phenomena that spurred moral panic:

See also:


  • Cohen, Stanley. Folk devils and moral panics. London: Mac Gibbon and Kee, 1972.

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