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The Term Folk Devils Essay

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The role of a folk devil is to create a moral panic. These folk devils are publicised which leads the people themselves to adapt another persona, in some cases a sense of pride, but ultimately leads to public outcry for affirmative action to be taken by the police and eventually the government. Folk devils are the first stage and the subject of moral panics. The term “folk devil” was coined by Stanley Cohen in his “Folk Devils and Moral Panics”. He used it to describe a person or group of people who were used as scapegoats for the current issues of society. Although the term was coined in the 1970's to describe Mods and Rockers, the concept can be traced back far into history and can also be applied to modern occurrences throughout the world. Some of the best examples of folk devils are the Teddy Boys, Paedophiles, Punks, and immigrants. Folk devils are created through stereotyping in the media to create another version of the subject than reality. Folk devils are often associated with certain symbols such as the safety pin that became specific to punks. The identifying of folk devils relies heavily on stereotyping and heavy reporting that is disproportionate to the level of action that is truly taking place. By using the folk devils as scapegoats, it reinforces stereotypes and segregation, increasing policing and the public's fear, and most importantly maintains segregation; sometimes increasing it.
The role of folk devils is extremely influential on the public perception of crime. By creating folk devils it allows the general public to be at ease, as long as they are distant from those targeted by the media. The media uses folk devils to convince people that all of the problems in society lie within these groups of people or a...


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...e lecturer). Year. Lecture title. MODULE CODE Title of module. Date, teaching organisation.

Munice, J. 2009. Youth and Crime. 3rd ed. London: SAGE.

News.bbc.co.uk. 2014. BBC ON THIS DAY | 18 | 1964: Mods and Rockers jailed after seaside riots. [online] Available at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/may/18/newsid_2511000/2511245.stm.

Provine, D. M. and Doty, R. L. 2011. The criminalization of immigrants as a racial project. Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, 27 (3), pp. 261--277.

Ratnesh, D. 2014. "A Decisive Social Media: Domination of Social Media in Deciding News
C" by Ratnesh Dwivedi Mr. [online] Available at: http://works.bepress.com/ratnesh_dwivedi/18

Rock, P. E. 1977. Drugs and politics. New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Books.

Sands, L. 2014. Moral Panics. [online] Available at: http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Students/lcs9603.html.



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