Moral Panics Regarding Youth Behavior

2227 Words9 Pages
Throughout history and in contemporary Britain “a sequence of moral panics about ‘depraved youth’ has been a dominant and recurring feature of media representations of young people” (Muncie, 2004, p. 8), and as a result, the youth-crime nexus has undergone vast transformations in terms of the conception of ‘youth crime’ and its prevailing consequences (Omaji, 2003). In the post-war period, youthful ‘folk-devils’ were continually pinpointed by the media as the underlying source of public anxiety and the main cause for concern regarding “what was wrong with society” (Muncie, 2009, p. 127). Among such public anxieties were the fears evident in 1960’s Britain revolving around violent and depraved youths in addition to the perceived threat of hooliganism and vandalism, which were all characteristic of the ‘folk devils’ evident at that time (for example ‘Mods and Rockers’) (Muncie, 1999). Although moral panics cover a wide spectrum of literature and interrelate with different aspects of society on a variety of levels, this essay will take only a specific focal stance on moral panics regarding the behavior of youths throughout history and in contemporary Britain, paying eminent attention to the consequences of such moral panics. The essay will begin with a concise explanation of the term ‘moral panic’ and the context in which it were coined, followed by an in-depth analysis of the most influential moral panics regarding concerns over deviant youthful behavior in relation to their repercussions at an individual and societal level. Material presented will unravel the role that not only the media, but also wider entities play in amplifying perceived issues and threats of ‘youth crime’, thus demonstrating how perceptions about young peopl... ... middle of paper ... ...3rd edn. London: Sage. Muncie, J., Hughes, G. and McLaughlin, E. (eds.) (2002) Youth justice: Critical readings. London: Sage. Omaji, O.P. (2003) Responding to youth crime: Towards radical criminal justice partnerships. Sydney: Hawkins Press. Pearce, J.M and Charman, E. (2011) ‘A social psychological approach to understanding moral panic’, Crime Media Culture, 7 (3), pp. 293-311. Ralphs, R., Medina, J. and Aldridge, J. (2009) ‘Who needs enemies with friends like these? The importance of place for young people living in known gang areas’, Journal of Youth Studies, 12 (5), pp. 483-500. Springhall, J. (1998) Youth, popular culture and moral panics: Penny gaffs to gansta-rap, 1830-1996. Basingstoke: Macmillan. Thomson, K. (1998) Moral panics. London: Routledge. Waiton, S. (2008) The politics of anti-social behaviour: Amoral panics. Oxon: Routledge.
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