Can Moral Panics Over Popular Culture And Popular Media Ever Be Justified?

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Can moral panics over popular culture and popular media ever be justified? Discuss using one or two popular media examples. A moral panic has been described as a condition, incident, person or group of various people, which emerges to be seen as a threat to the interests and values of society. Historically, the term ‘popular culture’ has referred not to the culture identified as theirs by the people themselves, but to that identified for them by others. [Williams, 1976] In some circumstances, moral panics over popular culture and media can be justified as it is not certain that once someone is exposed to a particular text, how they are going to perceive it. However, it has been proven that being exposed to certain texts can change someone’s perspective and lead to violence, among other things. Then again, some moral panic might just be over-reactions to popular youth culture that the older generation has little or a different understanding of. This essay will discuss this, with various examples of moral panics from the Mods and Rockers of the sixties, to the popular culture of today through the music and electronic gaming industries. These subjects were chosen as they are perhaps the most significant as well as recent moral panics of the present day. The term moral panic was first introduced by Stanley Cohen, a professor of sociology at the University of Essex in the 1960s. Cohen explored this concept in his work Folk Devils and Moral Panics (1987), and used it to characterize the reactions of the media, the public and the authorities to the youth disturbances of the Mods and Rockers in Britain in the 1960s. He states that “Societies appear to be subject, every now and then, to periods of moral panic…” [Cohen, 1972: 9] He defines a moral panic as follows: “A condition, episode, person or group of persons emerges to become defined as a threat to societal values
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