moral panic The process of arousing social concern over an issue—usually the work of moral entrepreneurs (see MORAL ENTERPRISE) and the mass media. The concept was used most forcefully by Stanley Cohen in Folk Devils and Moral Panics (1971), with reference to the concern over the teenage styles of Mods and Rockers in England in the mid-1960s, but it has since been applied in the analysis of the societal reaction to many other social problems, including football hooliganism, child abuse, AIDS, and numerous adolescent subcultural activities. See also LABELLING.
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