Prior to beginning work on this assignment, review Chapter 6 from your course textbook, perform your own research, and read the following articles:
- The Media, Stereotyping and Moral Panics
- What Caused the Salem Witch Trials? (Links to an external site.)
- Moral Panic: Who Benefits from Public Fear? (Links to an external site.)
- What are Moral Panics? (Links to an external site.)
- On the Concept of Moral Panic (Links to an external site.)
- The Return of the Techno Moral Panic (Links to an external site.)
An important aspect of public sociology is gaining an understanding of the creation of social norms and societal perceptions of deviant behavior. In the modern technological age, social norms and what is deemed to be deviant behavior can change and/or be revealed through media and political communications very quickly and with broad reach, with little scrutiny or critique. Without an assessment, as to the scope of the prescribed deviant behavior, nor its impact or perceived negative value to society, these “moral panics” can be problematic and deter a citizen’s focus away from the true issues in society. However, they can also be a first glint of a growing concern that could become a major social issue, so ignoring them can be perceived as short-sighted as well. This assignment seeks to highlight the social issue of moral panics in modern society and critique their value in forming society’s opinions on what is deviant behavior and worthy of significant social concern. This assignment is a “thought-piece” that requires you to academically support your ideas, as a presentation of your own developing and evolving perspective on social norms and social problems.
In your paper, include the following sections/components:
The Creation of Moral Panic (1-2 pages)
- Explain the concept of moral panic.
- Discuss how social norms, deviant behavior, and moral entrepreneurs influence the creation of moral panics.
Choose a Moral Panic (1-2 pages)
- Describe an example of a moral panic that you have chosen from your research.
- Discuss whether the moral panic was a justified response to social phenomena or an overstatement of a niche social issue worthy of little societal concern.
Value to Society (1-2 pages)
- Summarize the positive and negative impacts that moral panics can have upon society.
- Justify through using your informed opinion and conclusions whether moral panics have a value in modern society.